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Arms Control Today

Clinton Urges Senate to Act on CTB; Helms Calls Treaty 'Low Priority'

By Craig Cerniello

In late January, the Clinton administration launched its campaign to achieve swift Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. During his January 27 State of the Union address, President Clinton urged the Senate to give its advice and consent to ratification this year and announced that four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had endorsed the treaty. In February, several key administration officials—including Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Energy Federico Peña—also voiced their strong support for the test ban.

However, achieving Senate approval of the CTB Treaty in 1998 may prove difficult. In a January 21 letter to Clinton, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) announced that the committee will only consider the treaty after it has voted on the ABM "demarcation" and "multilateralization" agreements as well as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. This condition could seriously delay Senate action because the administration has stated that it does not intend to submit the ABM agreements (along with the START II extension protocol) to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification until after Russia has approved START II—a move that may not come for some time. Moreover, the Clinton administration has no plans to submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate in the forseeable future, pending further participation by key developing countries in addressing the issue of climate change.

CTB Gains Momentum

In his State of the Union address, Clinton explained how the CTB Treaty would strengthen U.S. and international security. "By ending nuclear testing, we can help to prevent the development of new and more dangerous weapons, and make it more difficult for non-nuclear states to build them," he said. Clinton continued: "I am pleased to announce that four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell and David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe—have endorsed this treaty, and I ask the Senate to approve it this year."

In their January 27 statement, the four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff conditioned their support for the CTB Treaty on the "six safeguards" established by Clinton in August 1995 and reiterated in his September 1997 transmittal letter to the Senate. Under these safeguards, the United States will conduct the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program (SSMP) to ensure the safety and reliability of its nuclear arsenal; maintain modern nuclear laboratory facilities and programs in theoretical and exploratory nuclear technology; maintain the basic capability to resume nuclear testing, if necessary; continue a comprehensive research and development program to improve its treaty monitoring capabilities and operations; continue developing intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities and operations on worldwide nuclear arsenals and programs; and retain the option of withdrawing from the CTB under the "supreme national interests" clause in the event that a nuclear weapon-type critical to the U.S. nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified as safe and reliable.

In a February 2 White House briefing, Robert Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, gave seven reasons why the CTB Treaty enhances U.S. security. First, the CTB allows the United States to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent. "The point of the treaty is to ban the bang, not to ban the bomb," Bell said. Second, the treaty constrains "vertical proliferation"—the development of more advanced nuclear weapons by the declared nuclear-weapon states. Third, the test ban constrains "horizontal proliferation"—the spread of nuclear weapons to states that do not currently possess them. Fourth, Bell argued that the CTB strengthens the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime and that it would not have been possible to achieve the treaty's indefinite extension in 1995 without negotiating the CTB. Fifth, the CTB improves the ability of the United States to "detect and deter nuclear explosive testing." Sixth, U.S. ratification will encourage other countries to ratify. Finally, Bell said ratification by the United States and others will constrain non-signatories from conducting nuclear tests by "establishing an international norm against testing."

On February 3, President Clinton visited Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where he witnessed a nuclear test simulation by the "Blue Mountain" supercomputer and received a briefing on the status of the SSMP by the directors of the three nuclear weapons laboratories (John Browne at Los Alamos, Bruce Tarter at Lawrence Livermore and Paul Robinson at Sandia). Clinton said the laboratory directors "confirmed that we can meet the challenge of maintaining a nuclear deterrent under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty through the Stockpile Stewardship Program." He also noted that the treaty is supported by General Henry Shelton, current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Eugene Habiger, current commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Command.

Clinton's endorsement of the CTB Treaty has been echoed by senior administration officials. Cohen urged the Senate to approve the treaty during his February 3 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Albright noted the national security benefits of the test ban in her February 10 statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Two days later, Peña gave a strong pitch for the CTB at the National Press Club and announced that Clinton was forwarding to Congress the second annual certification from the secretaries of defense and energy that the U.S. nuclear stockpile remains safe and reliable.


Helms Letter

In his January 21 letter to Clinton, Helms stated that the CTB Treaty is "very low" on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's list of priorities. Helms said "The treaty has no chance of entering into force for a decade or more. Article 14 of the [CTB Treaty] explicitly prevents the treaty's entry into force until it has been ratified by 44 specific nations. One of those 44 nations is North Korea, which is unlikely to ever ratify the treaty. Another of the 44 nations—India—has sought to block the [CTB Treaty] at every step." (Emphasis in original.)

In this context, Helms explicitly stated that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will not take up the CTB Treaty until after it has considered and voted on three agreements related to the ABM Treaty (the First Agreed Statement, Second Agreed Statement and Memorandum of Understanding on Succession) as well as the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Convention on Climate Change. The First and Second Agreed Statements attempt to establish a "demarcation" line between permitted theater missile defense systems and restricted ABM systems, while the Memorandum of Understanding on Succession expands the number of states that are parties to the ABM Treaty from two to five by including Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine (see ACT, September 1997).

President Clinton restated his strong support for the test ban in his February 10 response to Helms. "Rather than waiting to see if others ratify the CTBT, I believe America must lead in bringing the CTBT into force. And with regard to India and Pakistan, I think it is important that when I travel to the subcontinent later this year I do so with U.S. ratification in hand," Clinton said.

Clinton Urges Senate to Act on CTB; Helms Calls Treaty 'Low Priority'

Iraq Strikes New Deal On Inspections at Special Sites

By Howard Diamond and Erik J. Leklem

With a U.S.-led strike on Iraq possibly only days off, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan brokered an 11th hour deal with Saddam Hussein, averting what could have been the most significant conflict in the region since the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The new agreement ended a three month standoff between Iraq and the international community by providing UN weapons inspectors access to eight so-called presidential sites Baghdad had previously declared off limits. A seven point memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Annan and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz on February 23 provides special procedures for inspections of presidential sites where UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will have to be accompanied by diplomats.

Since last December, UNSCOM has been seeking access to the presidential compounds to search for documents and computer data it believes Iraq has hidden in an attempt to deny the information to inspectors. Although UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors are supposed to have complete access to all sites in Iraq in order to verify the elimination of Baghdad's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their ballistic missile delivery systems, Iraq has refused to provide access to the so called "presidential and sovereign" sites. The new agreement, while reaffirming the inspectors' right to "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access" to presidential and all other sites, recognizes Baghdad's concerns about the composition and conduct of UNSCOM's teams and the sensitivity of the presidential sites.

According to the MOU, inspections of presidential sites will be conducted by a Special Group composed of senior diplomats appointed by Annan, and experts drawn from UNSCOM and IAEA. Annan announced on February 26 that Sri Lankan Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, the new UN undersecretary general for disarmament, would be leading the Special Group as commissioner. Dhanapala achieved acclaim in 1995 for shepherding the indefinite extension of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty through the treaty review conference.

UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler of Australia said Dhanapala would be reporting to him and that he was "delighted" with the secretary general's selection. As of the end of February, procedures for the Special Group were still being worked out at the UN, and regular UNSCOM inspections into Iraq's past weapons programs and concealment activities were expected to resume in early March.

Clinton Cautious

The Clinton administration has offered cautious approval of the Annan Aziz deal, but insists that with seveal details of the presidential inspections agreement to be worked out, final judgment should wait until the new procedures are tested. President Bill Clinton has said the new arrangements could enable UNSCOM to fulfill its mandate, "but the proof is in the testing." Clinton said he intends to keep the U.S. strike force deployed in the Persian Gulf until the new inspection arrangements are in effect and Iraqi compliance is confirmed.

Republican reaction to the secretary general's diplomacy was mixed. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) complained "it is always possible to get a deal if you give enough away," while two top leaders of the House of Representatives, Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Majority leader Dick Armey (R-TX) took a wait and see approach. Other Republicans objecting to the secretary general's deal included the chairmen of the foreign affairs committees, Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and House International Affairs Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), as well as House National Security Committee Chairman Floyd Spence (R-SC).

Annan's trip to Baghdad came after three months of escalating tension over UNSCOM's ability to inspect all sites within Iraq. Last November, only days after accepting a Russian diplomatic initiative to resolve the October 29 to November 22 stand-off over UNSCOM's right to use American inspectors, Baghdad began warning that special sites reflective of Iraq's sovereignty and security would be off-limits to UN inspectors.

At the urging of the Security Council, Butler traveled to Baghdad for meetings with Aziz on December 14 and 15 to discuss ways to accelerate progress on verifying the elimination of proscribed weapons and to seek clarification of Iraq's position on access. In the meetings, Baghdad made clear that "presidential and sovereign sites" were off limits to UNSCOM. Aziz also declared that Iraq had completely divested itself of all of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and would no longer offer new data to UNSCOM. After declining Butler's request to develop a joint program for accelerating UNSCOM's work, Aziz proposed holding technical evaluation meetings (TEMs) where outside experts and UNSCOM staff would meet with Iraqi officials and assess Baghdad's disarmament achievements. 

Assessing Iraqi Compliance

Butler accepted the Iraqi proposal for TEMs and agreed to schedule meetings on the chemical agent VX, missile warheads and the entire biological weapons file. In response to Iraq's declaration that no access would be given to presidential sites, on December 22 the UN Security Council issued a statement rejecting the Iraqi position and again insisted that weapons inspectors were entitled to complete access to all parts of Iraq.

On January 13, six days before Butler's scheduled trip to Baghdad to arrange the TEMs, Iraq blocked a team of UNSCOM inspectors led by American Scott Ritter. Unwilling to accept Baghdad's limits on the nationalities of inspectors, Butler pulled Ritter and his team out of Iraq on January 16 but kept UNSCOM's monitoring and verification staff in their Baghdad headquarters. Backed by another Security Council statement demanding Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions, Butler returned to Baghdad for meetings January 19 to 21 with Tariq Aziz.

Iraq, Aziz said, had already fulfilled its disarmament obligations and would not allow inspections of its eight presidential compounds. Baghdad was ready for war if it came as a result, he said.

Amid Butler's December and January trips to Baghdad, U.S. and British officials reiterated their readiness to use force against Iraq and began pressing allies and members of the Security Council to support military action against Iraq. Following a meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on January 29, French Foreign Minister Herbert Vedrine announced France would not oppose military action, but still believed in finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Iraq.

U.S. officials were unable to obtain even passive support from Russia and China. Days before strikes were expected in late February, Moscow and Beijing were still outspoken opponents of using force against Iraq. Arab states in the Gulf were more forthcoming, offering varying levels of cooperation and support for U.S. airstrikes. Bahrain and Kuwait offered Washington bases for strike aircraft, while Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates gave permission for cargo, refueling and airborne warning jets to operate from their soil.

Unresolved Issues

Washington initially emphasized using force to coerce Baghdad into giving full access to UNSCOM inspectors by attacking the key supports of Saddam Hussein's power. As criticism of this approach mounted in late January, however, the administration changed its objective to punishing Baghdad by degrading Iraq's production facilities for proscribed weapons and its ability to threaten its neighbors. The administration also continued to build up the largest assembly of warships and attack aircraft in the Persian Gulf since the 1991 war. By mid February the United States and allies had sent over 30,000 military personnel, 20 warships and 400 combat aircraft to the Gulf area to prepare for strikes on Iraq.

Washington and London also began providing assessments of the outstanding issues remaining in Baghdad's compliance with Security Council resolutions, in attempts to justify military action against Iraq. On February 4, British Foreign Minister Robin Cook released a White Paper arguing that Iraq retained or had not accounted for: chemical precursors that could be used to produce over 200 tons of VX; 17 metric tons of biological growth media that could be used to produce "up to 350 liters of weapons grade anthrax per week;" and continuing efforts by Baghdad "to acquire banned WMD technology," including "advanced missile guidance parts."

The British paper was followed on February 15 by a more detailed report released by the U.S. National Security Council (NSC). Starting with the extensive record of Iraqi interference with inspections and refusal to provide necessary documentation, the NSC report detailed continuing concerns in the nuclear, chemical, biological and missile areas.

According to the NSC paper, Iraq continues to hide or cannot verify the elimination of 25 missile warheads filled with anthrax, botulinum toxin or aflatoxin; 45 to 70 missile warheads for use with chemical agents, 134 aerial bombs and a small number of aerosol spraers for delivering biological agents; and a stockpile of as much as 600 metric tons of VX, sarin, mustard agents and associated munitions and production equipment. Baghdad may also have a small force of SCUD type missiles and the capability to make more. In the nuclear file, Iraq continues "to withhold significant information about enrichment techniques, foreign procurement, weapons design andpostwar concealment," suggesting continued interest in nuclear weapons.

The U.S. and British assessments were supported by reports from the VX and missile warhead TEMs that met in early February. Both panels, after meetings with Iraqi officials, confirmed UNSCOM's judgment that Iraq had not provided sufficient information to confirm the destruction of the proscribed weapons and production facilities associated with them. An UNSCOM source said the missile warhead meeting produced no new information and described it as a political maneuver by Iraq to try to undercut UNSCOM. The biological weapons TEM was delayed due to the political crisis of February and has been rescheduled for mid March in New York, according to UNSCOM officials.

With UN officials working out the details of the Annan Aziz deal, analysts are attempting to assess its likelihood of success as well as the long term effect the new arrangements will have on UNSCOM. Critics of the new arrangement, including previous UNSCOM inspectors, cite the new deal as evidence of success in Baghdad's campaign to discredit the UN inspection regime and challenge the integrity of its inspectors.

Others are more sanguine. Chief weapons inspector Butler quickly voiced his approval of the new arrangement, which he had himself proposed during his January meetings in Baghdad. Some U.S. officials, while remaining skeptical of Saddam's willingness to cooperate, have suggested that if Iraq fails to comply with the new arrangements, Washington will be well situated to demand international support for military action.

Iraq Strikes New Deal On Inspections at Special Sites

Clinton Moves to Implement Sino-U.S. Nuclear Agreement

By Howard Diamond

Following through on his October announcement that China had met the non-proliferation standards demanded by U.S. laws, President Bill Clinton submitted to Congress on January 12 the certifications and reports necessary to activate the Sino-U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement that was signed in 1985. In approving the deal, Congress made its implementation contingent on the president certifying that U.S. nuclear materials and technology would only be used by China for peaceful purposes, and that Beijing was no longer assisting any state in acquiring nuclear weapons.

With potentially billions of dollars in nuclear power contracts at stake, congressional action to block nuclear trade with China is unlikely, especially in light of a new pledge made by China's defense minister, General Chi Haotian, to Defense Secretary William Cohen on January 20 that Beijing will end sales of anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran. China has sold Tehran more than 200 C-801 and 25-50 C-802 missiles (which are unconstrained by the Missile Technology Control Regime), and the issue has been a sticking point for legislators disturbed by China's non-proliferation policies. To prevent the agreement from taking effect, both houses of Congress would have to adopt resolutions of disapproval by veto-proof margins within 30 legislative days after the opening of the congressional session on January 27.

With the new pledge on cruise missiles, China's written assurance of October 1997 that it will end nuclear cooperation with Iran, and no evidence that Beijing has violated its May 1996 pledge not to provide assistance to facilities operating without International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, the Clinton administration believes it has made important progress in getting Beijing to address Washington's foremost non-proliferation concerns.

At a Washington policy forum, on January 21, Gary Samore, the non-proliferation director on the National Security Council, rejected criticism that the administration made a bad deal and had sold U.S. non-proliferation objectives short. In particular, certification opponents objected to the administration's decision not to insist that China accept the full-scope safeguards standard of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Unlike the Zangger Committee, which China has joined, NSG member-states condition their nuclear exports on the presence of IAEA monitoring over all of a recipient country's nuclear facilities, and not just at any particular site looking to purchase nuclear materials or technology.

Samore agreed that getting China to join the NSG and adopt its more stringent export standards was desirable, but explained that pressing the issue would have meant forcing Beijing to end its peaceful nuclear cooperation with Pakistan and India—something China said it was unwilling to do. Forcing the full-scope safeguards issue would have been a deal-breaker, Samore said, jeopardizing Washington's primary concern: ending China's nuclear cooperation with Iran. Tehran, as a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has accepted full-scope safeguards and is entitled to civil nuclear cooperation. Ending Beijing's nuclear commerce with Iran has been Washington's top priority since China broached the subject of implementing the nuclar agreement in 1995, he said.

Even though several prominent congressional Republicans, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC), Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and House International Affairs Committee chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) have announced their opposition, the chances for reversing the president's decision appear to be slight.

The House International Relations Committee held a hearing on nuclear cooperation with China on February 4, but whether there will be a Senate hearing is not certain. Hearings may be mere formalities though, because according to a Hill staffer, the leadership in both the House and Senate favor certification—or at least are not opposed to it—and without their support, forcing the certification issue to the floor of either chamber is impossible. 

Licensing Procedures

Even after the agreement takes effect (probably sometime between late March and late April, depending on congressional scheduling), nuclear trade with China will still have to go through Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing procedures. The Clinton administration has argued that verification measures agreed upon in a 1987 U.S.-China memorandum of understanding and NRC licensing controls give the United States a continuing source of leverage in case of Chinese backsliding.

Federal regulations governing export licenses for nuclear technology allow the NRC to cancel contracts and revoke licenses if a recipient country violates its cooperation agreement with the United States, assists a non-nuclear-weapon state with activities involving special nuclear materials that have "direct significance" to making nuclear weapons, or agrees to sell reprocessing technology to an unsafeguarded facility. The president can waive the cancellation of a license if he believes the cancellation would jeopardize U.S. non-proliferation objectives or the common defense and security.

At the January policy forum, Walker Roberts, a majority staffer on the House International Relations Committee said Congress will probably reexamine nuclear licensing laws this year with an eye toward providing more opportunities for legislative oversight. One of the ideas being discussed is requiring the administration to certify with each license request that China is abiding by its non-proliferation commitments.

Clinton Moves to Implement Sino-U.S. Nuclear Agreement

Russia Issues New Export Decree To Stem Missile Transfers to Iran

By Howard Diamond

Following a A year of steady high-level U.S. diplomatic pressure, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on January 22, issued a new "catch-all" regulation to cut off the flow of Russian technology and materials to Iran's ballistic missile development effort. The edict will—if fully implemented—close an important gap in Russian export laws and regulations that Iran has used to acquire technologies not explicitly listed for control, according to an administration official. The decree, which took effect immediately, could also provide the Clinton administration with the leverage it needs to halt congressional efforts to sanction Moscow for past transfers of missile technology.

The new regulation requires Russian businesses to forgo transactions of dual-use nuclear, chemical, biological or missile technology or services when they know or have reason to know of a proliferation end-use, and report to Moscow all proposed contracts of restricted dual-use materials and technology. The decree is similar to parts of the 1991 Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative (EPCI) in the United States and like measures in other countries that require industry cooperation in controlling potentially dangerous exports. Such measures, however, depend heavily on government efforts to advise businesses of customers to avoid, as well as the willingness of companies to abstain from illegal but often lucrative deals.

The U.S. official said that over the long term, the effectiveness of the decree will depend on whether Moscow puts up the money to support a solid export control regime—something the United States will be watching closely. He added that Moscow appears to be taking new steps to end the transfer of missile technology by limiting access for Iranian students to advanced aerospace training and warning both Russian companies and Tehran that leaks of Russian ballistic missile technology will not be tolerated.

The Clinton administration has made stopping Tehran's drive to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as ballistic missiles for their delivery, one of its highest priorities, and has won pledges from both Russia and China to either cut off or limit their cooperation with Iran. Beijing has promised Washington that it will end its nuclear cooperation and sales of anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran. (See page 30.) Moscow, on the other hand, while pledging not to sell weapons or nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technologies to Iran, has rejected White House requests not to finish the German-origin 1,000-megawatt (electric) light-water reactor project at Bushehr on the Iranian coast.

Iran's Missile Efforts

Washington believes Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons in spite of its membership as a non-nuclear-weapon state in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and is concerned Tehran is now developing missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads. News reports based on U.S. intelligence claim Tehran is trying to produce two types of medium-range missiles: the 1,300-kilometer Shahab-3, based on the North Korean Nodong missile, with a 750-kilogram payload; and the 2,000-kilometer Shahab-4, alleged to be based on the Soviet SS-4 missile, with a 1,000-kilogram payload.

CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee on January 28 that much of Iran's progress in moving up the deployment dates for the two missiles—from the 1997 estimate of 10 years or less to the current estimate of only two or three years—is due to assistance from Russian companies. Leaked U.S. and Israeli intelligence reports have suggested widespread Russian cooperation with Iran on engine technology, guidance systems and special materials, and have named several entities including Rosvoorouzhenie, the state arms-export agency; the Bauman Institute, an advanced technical education center; the companies NPO Trud, Polyus and Inor; as well as the Russian Space Agency (RSA) and its director, Yuri Koptev.

Koptev's name has sparked special concern because he has been leading the Russian side in bilateral efforts to address U.S. concerns about the missile technology leaks. According to the administration official, however, the accusations about him and the RSA are not accurate. Koptev's and the RSA's involvement with Iran, he said, has been limited to discussions of peaceful space cooperation and satellites.

Since July 1997, Koptev has met four times with U.S. special envoy Ambassador Frank Wisner as part of an ongoing diplomatic mechanism to assess U.S. intelligence showing possible technology transfers to Tehran and to discuss ways of preventing them. Koptev told reporters on January 30 that out of 13 warnings, Washington's intelligence has produced only two cases in which Russian officials found illicit activities. Wisner's last visit to Moscow, on January 13, was described by U.S. officials as his most productive trip yet. Wisner is expected to make another trip to Russia prior to the March 9-11 meetings in Washington of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission which has also been addressing the missile technology issue.

Signs of progress through the Wisner-Koptev mechanism and Moscow's recent promulgation of the export decree have put the Clinton administration in a delicate position with regard to punishing Russian entities for past cooperation with Iran's missile program. U.S. laws enforcing the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) require sanctions if entities in a member-state violate the regime's prohibition on selling missiles or missile technology for systems capable of delivering a 500 kilogram payload over 300 kilometers without the member-state taking adequate investigative or enforcement action. Sanctions could also be imposed under the EPCI at the president's choosing. According to the administration official, however, discretionary sanctions under the EPCI would be counterproductive. The administration has yet to make a determination with regard to the companies' legal culpability under U.S. sanctions laws.

Congressional Action

Its apparent reluctance to "get tough" on Moscow and impose sanctions has been critically received on Capitol Hill and has prompted new legislation aimed at sanctioning Russia. Prior to ending its last session on November 12, the House of Representatives adopted, by a voice vote, the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997, intended to punish any entity that provides technology or assistance to Tehran's ballistic missile program.

Senate Democrats blocked a move to quickly adopt the House bill and, at the administration's request, the Senate has held off further consideration of the measure. According to one Hill staffer, even with 84 co-sponsors, Senate action on the measure is unlikely until after the GCC meeting in March in order to give the administration time to work with Moscow on concrete steps to stop the missile technology leaks.

In addition to sanctioning entities found to be assisting Tehran's missile program, the legislation also includes the implementation language for the Chemical Weapons Convention, making the bill harder for the president to veto. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Advisor Samuel Berger have already stated, however, that the president will not accept the measure as it now stands.

The administration's chief objections are that the proposed statute will undermine the diplomatic efforts that are showing signs of success and that, unlike other U.S. laws, the new sanctions bill doesn't require a high-standard of evidence or even an exporter's awareness of complicity in proliferation efforts to be liable for punishment. Sanctions would also have to be imposed within 30 days of receiving "credible evidence" of an entity's involvement in Iran's missile program, opening the possibility of sanctions being imposed erroneously. The bill does allow for a presidential waiver, but only where doing so is "essential to the national security of the United States."

Russia Issues New Export Decree To Stem Missile Transfers to Iran

Proposed FMS Deals in 1997 Reflect Tight Markets, Economic Woes

By Wade Boese

During 1997, the Department of Defense notified Congress of requests from 18 countries for military equipment and services worth $10.6 billion. These requests came through the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, which conducts U.S. government-to-government military sales. The proposed deals, $1.3 billion less than in 1996, reveal a continuing demand for equipment upgrades and support services, a steady market for air-to-air and anti-ship missiles, and limited purchases of "big ticket" conventional weaponry.

Asia's economic crisis will likely forestall any increase in the amount of advanced conventional arms purchased for the near future as some states in the region, which only recently was considered to be the next major arms market, alter their procurement plans. South Korea has already delayed its 1997 request for four Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) surveillance aircraft and related support services valued at $3 billion. Facing a contracting global arms market, which has dropped from a Cold War high of $73 billion in 1985 to $32 billion in 1995, according to the latest edition of World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers, published by the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), U.S. defense manufacturers are exploring new markets for 1998 and beyond.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, Congress must receive notification of proposed FMS, which currently account for a majority of U.S. arms transfers, and commercial sales if the equipment is identified as "major defense equipment" on the U.S. Munitions List and the value of the deal is $14 million or more. Congress has 30 days (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Japan and New Zealand) to block a sale with a joint resolution of disapproval, but it has never successfully used this authority. Notified FMS deals do not always result in finalized transactions and there can be a substantial delay between notifying Congress and signing an agreement.

Proposed 1997 FMS Deals

Ten states (Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates) requested various types of missiles, torpedoes and missile systems totaling at least $1.4 billion in 1997. Other demands for advanced conventional weaponry included Kuwait's appeal for 16 Apache attack helicopters, Taiwan's bid for 21 Super Cobra and 13 Kiowa Warrior attack helicopters and Thailand's request for 107 M60-A3 tanks.

Nearly $3 billion (28 percent) of the proposed FMS deals involved states seeking upgrades and training and support services. France, Japan and Saudi Arabia requested equipment to upgrade their reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft, while Bahrain, Portugal and Singapore asked for modification kits and support services for their F-16 fighter aircraft. Both South Korea and Taiwan requested the establishment of supply arrangements to acquire spare parts for their aircraft. Taiwan also asked for, as did the Netherlands, training for their F-16 fighter pilots.

Impact of Asia's Economic Woes

Arms exporters recently viewed Asia as the market with the most growth potential as East Asia's arms imports alone rose to $6.4 billion in 1995, an increase of 50 percent from 1993, according to the ACDA report. Moreover, the most recent Congressional Research Service report, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1989-1996, shows that Asia (all regions) accounted for 33.6 percent ($28 billion) of all arms agreements from 1993 to 1996.

Initially, the proposed 1997 FMS deals showed that the Asian market appeared to be meeting expectations as Asian states requested $5.9 billion worth of equipment, while Middle East states sought equipment totaling $3.5 billion. However, South Korea's postponement of its AWACS purchase and decisions by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to delay or revise procurement plans indicate that the Middle East will likely remain the largest arms market for the near future.

Thailand's announcement that it could not meet payments for eight F/A-18C/D aircraft, signed for in 1996, generated immediate concern for the Pentagon. A special team traveled to Bangkok on January 28 to evaluate three possible options for Thailand: stretching out payments, canceling the sale or finding a third buyer. No solution has been announced, but Secretary of Defense William Cohen stressed during his 12-day, seven-nation trip to Asia in January that Washington was encouraging U.S. companies "to be as flexible as they possibly can in order to accommodate the needs of our very strong partners."

The United States is not the only supplier experiencing setbacks in Asia, as Indonesia delayed its purchase of 12 Su-30K fighter aircraft and eight Mi-17 transport helicopters from Russia. The deal, announced on August 5, 1997, after Indonesia canceled a U.S. fighter buy in June because of human rights criticism from Congress, was reportedly worth more than $500 million in cash and consumer goods.

Despite continued hostility between Greece and Turkey, the U.S. State Department authorized American companies to compete for arms sales to both states. On December 5, the State Department granted McDonnell Douglas a marketing license for flight demonstration tests of its F-15E fighter to Greece, which is seeking approximately 40 aircraft. Lockheed Martin's F-16 was previously granted the same authorization, but the F-15E, which no other NATO ally possesses, is of more concern because of its greater range and ground attack capability.

Nearly three weeks later, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on December 23 decided to allow Bell Helicopter's AH-1W Super Cobra and Boeing's AH-64D Apache to participate in Turkey's competition for 145 attack helicopters. In February, Turkey subsequently expressed its interest in acquiring F-15E fighters.

State Department Deputy Spokesman James Foley has said in both cases that the decision to allow U.S. companies to contend fr the sale does not guarantee that if a U.S. company wins, the sale will go forward.

Potential Markets

President Clinton paved the way for U.S. companies to seek new clients in Latin America last August with his reversal of a 20-year policy of restraint on U.S. sales of advanced conventional weaponry to the region. In response to Clinton's decision, 27 current heads of state and 14 former heads of state in the Western Hemisphere have called for a two-year moratorium on arms purchases by Latin American states. Clinton pledged his support, but conditioned it on the signature of all the region's current heads of state. Although no Latin American states have purchased U.S. equipment previously denied, Chile is expected to announce the winner of its competition for approximately 20 fighters this spring.

Early expectations that the expansion of NATO would result in immediate sales of advanced equipment have been tempered by economic realities. A combination of lack of desire by current NATO members to pay for enlargement and the budgetary limitations of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (all of whose defense spending as percent of gross domestic product falls below the NATO average of 2.8 percent) have prompted a reorientation of priorities. The three remain interested in purchasing advanced fighters, at least a total of 150, but will first seek the command, control and communications equipment necessary to ensure basic interoperability with NATO.

Unless Asia quickly rebounds and Eastern Europe generates greater purchasing power, future sales are likely to remain similar to the last couple of years. A U.S. government official familiar with arms control issues observed that "sometimes economic limitations are the best form of arms control."

Proposed FMS Deals in 1997 Reflect Tight Markets, Economic Woes

CD Opens 1998 Session As Members Reiterate Competing Priorities

By Wade Boese

The UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) convened its first session of 1998 on January 20 after a paralyzed conference in 1997 failed to establish even a single ad hoc committee to begin negotiations, the only time in the conference's 19-year history that had happened. Progress within the 61-member CD this year will depend on whether a compromise can be found between the competing priorities of a time-bound framework for nuclear disarmament and a fissile material cutoff treaty, or whether the CD can bypass this central dispute and consider other agenda issues including a step-by-step ban on anti-personnel landmines.

The secretary-general of the CD, Vladimir Petrovsky, delivered an opening statement from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan declaring that "nuclear disarmament must be pursued more vigorously, particularly by the nuclear weapon states." However, the new U.S. representative to the CD, Robert T. Grey (a counselor for political affairs of the U.S. mission to the UN, 1989-1994; and acting deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1981-1983) read a statement from President Clinton declaring that "no issues are more important" than a fissile material cutoff for weapons purposes and an anti-personnel landmine ban, indicating that the U.S. position remained unchanged from last year.

Members quickly approved an agenda on the plenary's first day, whereas last year an identical agenda could not be adopted until February 14. Although the 1998 agenda lists seven topics for possible negotiations—cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, prevention of nuclear war, prevention of an arms race in outer space, negative security assurances, new types of weapons of mass destruction, a comprehensive program of disarmament and transparency in armaments—the current president of the conference, Lars Norberg of Sweden, stated that "if there is a consensus in the conference to deal with any issues, they could be dealt with within this agenda." 

U.S. Supports Cutoff Regime

In addition to the United States, Russia, Australia, Austria and Belgium voiced their support for a cutoff regime as the next step toward nuclear disarmament following the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Supporters of a cutoff regime continue to argue that nuclear disarmament should be left to bilateral negotiations between the United States and Russia rather than multilateral negotiations within the CD, which according to Belgium's representative, Andre Mernier, would only halt progress through a multiplication of actors.

Conference members had once agreed to negotiate a cutoff regime under the "Shanon mandate" in March 1995. This mandate gained consensus because it blurred whether a cutoff regime would apply solely to future production, as advocated by most nuclear-weapon states, or include stockpiles, which some conference members (particularly Egypt and Pakistan) desired. Currently, some members insist that convening an ad hoc committee based on a similar mandate should be acceptable.

However, Egypt, Myanmar and Brazil proclaimed that they would continue to attach the highest priority to nuclear disarmament. Members of the "Group of 21" (G-21) non-aligned states insist that non-nuclear-weapon states should be involved in nuclear disarmament negotiations because the weapons pose as much a threat to their security as to nuclear-weapon states. Pakistan, a member of the G-21, has expressed concern to the UN First Committee during the 52nd UN General Assembly and last year's conference that most of the nuclear-weapon states have "reaffirmed and reinforced their reliance" on nuclear weapons and that some nuclear-weapon states have said that they "will retain nuclear weapons indefinitely." At this year's CD, Egyptian representative Mounir Zahran further criticized the slow pace at which disarmament negotiations have proceeded.

South Africa, seeking common ground between nuclear disarmament and a fissile material cutoff regime, submitted a proposal to form an ad hoc committee with a mandate to "deliberate upon practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons." The initiative, designed to be vague enough not to exclude either objective, attracted support from a number of states including Canada and Japan. However, because the conference requires consensus for action, it will be necessary to win over the rigid proponents of both a cutoff regime (the United States and Russia) and a time-bound framework (India), none of which have endorsed the South African proposal.

Alternative Issues

Annan's opening statement also exhorted the conference that "it must be you, finally, to rid the world of the scourge of anti-personnel landmines." Both Russia and the United States have announced support for a progressive landmine ban starting with a prohibition on exports to complement the recently signed Ottawa Treaty. But critics question the intent, asking how the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of landmines, can be complemented and contend that the CD's efforts will merely be redundant and detract from other issues. Of the 123 signatories to the Ottawa Treaty, 35 are conference members.

Convening ad hoc committees on negative security assurances and the prevention of an arms race in outer space generated interest last year and received some early support from Russia this year. Canadian representative Mark Moher also called for preventing the militarization of outer space, noting that more than 30 countries are involved in space related activities. If ad hoc committees cannot be formed on these issues, special coordinators may be appointed as an alternative.

The conference is still deciding whether to reappoint last year's special coordinators on landmines, the CD's agenda, CD expansion and CD effectiveness. Conference President Norberg is conducting informal consultations with members to assess what issues hold the most promise for work during the first session, which concludes on March 27, and the later sessions scheduled from May 11 to June 26 and July 27 to September 9.

CD Opens 1998 Session As Members Reiterate Competing Priorities

Britain, France Propose EU Code of Conduct

European Union (EU) members began consideration of a proposed arms sales code of conduct within the EU Council of Ministers' working group COARM on February 17. The proposal, drafted by Britain and France, lists eight broad criteria which EU members should take into account when making arms export decisions.

Under the proposed code, members are expected to refuse an export request for military equipment or dual-use goods (when the end user is suspected to be the armed forces or internal security forces) if the request is "inconsistent" with international obligations such as arms embargos and treaty commitments and if there is a risk that the equipment might be used for "internal repression," prolonging an existing conflict, used "aggressively" against another country or re-exported to a third country. A requesting country's human rights record is to be considered, as well as economic factors such as external debt and economic and social development.

EU members are to inform all other members of an export denial and its underlying rationale. If another member decides to make an "essentially identical" export within three years of a refusal, that member must only notify and consult the state that issued the original refusal.

Although the code claims to have the aim of "setting high common standards for arms exports," the code would not be legally binding and the final export decision would remain a matter of national discretion.

Strategic Agreements and the CTB Treaty: Striking the Right Balance

January/February 1998

By Robert Bell

On February 18, Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for national security and counselor to the assistant to the president for national security affairs, delivered the luncheon address to the Arms Control Association's annual membership meeting. In his dual-hat role, Bell advises the president and the president's national security advisor on a broad range of defense and arms control issues, including national security strategy, strategic nuclear and conventional arms control and weapons acquisition. Since joining the National Security Council in 1993 as senior director for defense policy and arms control, Bell has become a leading voice in U.S. policy debates on these issues.

Before joining the administration, Bell served as the principal arms control advisor to two of the Senate's most influential members during the 1980s and early 1990s: Charles Percy (R-IL), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and then Sam Nunn (D-GA), chairman of the Armed Services Committee. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1969) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (1970), Bell also served as an Air Force officer and worked as a defense analyst at the Congressional Research Service. The following is an edited version of Bell's remarks and his responses to questions.


It is a special pleasure for me to be invited to address your annual membership luncheon, because the Arms Control Association and its leadership, especially your very able executive director and deputy director, Spurgeon Keeny and Jack Mendelsohn, and all of your members—and forgive me for not recognizing many of the "giants" in this room who have built the platform of defense security and arms control on which this administration stands today—have truly been stalwart champions for arms control and non-proliferation throughout my entire professional career.

It's a true pleasure to salute the association, Spurgeon, for everything you do—for your intense involvement in winning the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC] last year; before that, winning the ratification of START I and START II, and those were not givens; and winning the unanimous support of the Senate, including a "yes" vote from Senator [Jesse] Helms, for the CFE flank accord last summer; for your close monitoring, involvement and support for the indefinite and unconditional extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] in 1995 and the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban [CTB] Treaty, which the president has called the hardest-fought, longest-sought prize in the history of arms control; for your efforts to sustain and extend the Nunn-Lugar program and other efforts to address the security, control and safe disposition of the residue of the Soviet Union's nuclear menace; and last, but certainly not least, for your organization's unwavering defense of the fundamental integrity of the ABM Treaty and its continuing vital role as a cornerstone of strategic stability.

When I think about the Arms Control Association and the ABM Treaty, I can't help but be reminded that the last time I attended a full-membership event of this organization was in 1988. I was in the company of Senator Sam Nunn, who this organization was honoring that night for his phenomenal defense of the ABM Treaty and his rebuttal—indeed, the demolishing—of the reinterpretation that Judge Sofaer had put together. Senator Nunn had drawn hugely on contributions from John Rhinelander and Ray Garthoff and so many other people in this room, but you were here to honor Senator Nunn that night. As I well recall, Senator Nunn decided, being a plain-speaking man, that that would be a good occasion and this would be a good forum to unveil his proposal for deploying by 1996 a treaty-compliant national missil defense [NMD] that he, at my urging, had called "ALPS," for Accidental Launch Protection System—a term that he hated, by the way. And as I recall quite clearly, when the senator finished his remarks, the silence was deafening. That was quite a night. He was your "man of the year," but what a moment.

So, before anyone worries, let me be very quick to say that I've not come back seven years later to announce that the administration has decided to deploy a national missile defense. But I would like to talk about national missile defense and the ABM Treaty, and especially their interrelationship. I also want to update you and the association on where we're going with START II ratification, START III, CTB ratification, de-alerting, and our policies on strategic nuclear deterrence, no first use and negative security assurances. In doing this I want to repeatedly come back to the theme of balance. Indeed, I've titled my remarks, if you will, "Strategic Agreements and the CTB Treaty: Striking the Right Balance."

Now, for those of you that know me well or have worked with me over the last two decades, it may not surprise you that I've put so much emphasis on the need for balance in our strategic approach. I mean, just consider the following tidbits from my bio, some of which Stan Resor ticked off. My mother was a very wealthy Yankee from Massachusetts, but my father was a working-class Southerner from Alabama. My military service was in the Air Force, but in the Senate I worked for a Navy man and a former Coast Guardsman. In the Senate I worked on a Republican staff and then went to work on a Democratic staff. Then I worked in the legislative branch for 18 years, but followed that with five years in the executive branch. And for the last five years, prior to this recent decision, I've worn two hats—senior director for defense and senior director for arms control—which basically meant that I would spend my mornings building up our armaments and spend the afternoons building them back down.

The burden of my remarks today is to persuade you and the association that what we've achieved during these five years of Bill Clinton's presidency is a national security posture whose defense and arms control components reflect a prudent and rational degree of equilibrium.

You have to start, really, by asking what are the objectives? What is the objective of our national security strategy? First and foremost, it goes without saying, because it's in the Constitution, we have a responsibility to have a strategy that "provides for the common defense, promotes the general welfare and secures the blessings of liberty." And clearly, the greatest danger that we as a nation face to our "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" is weapons of mass destruction [WMD] and their prospective use or proliferation.


Living With WMD

To address this threat, this paramount defining threat of this era, of WMD, we have put together a three-part strategy. Part one is preventing, or at least constraining, the spread of these terrible weapons and reducing or eliminating them outright. And here, of course, the main burden is carried by arms control treaties and multilateral non-proliferation regimes such as the NPT or the Australia Group. And it certainly includes the CTB Treaty, which has now been endorsed by four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the three directors of our national nuclear laboratories and which the president has asked the Senate to give its advice and consent to this year. And finally, it includes rograms designed specifically to eliminate WMD, particularly the Nunn-Lugar program—the legacy achievement of my former boss, Senator Nunn, and his visionary Republican colleague, Senator Richard Lugar.

Part two of our strategy is deterrence—deterrence of efforts or temptations by adversaries or prospective enemies to use weapons of mass destruction to attack or coerce the United States or its allies. And should parts one and two prove inadequate, part three of the strategy involves active means of defeating WMD, including missile defenses and counter-proliferation attack capabilities.

Now, in my two decades of involvement here in Washington in debates in the policy arena over defense and arms control issues, I think I've come to realize more than anything that the fault lines that we see in these debates can be attributed to the relative weight or priority that some, in the context of this debate, are placing on different parts of this three-part package. Some place far greater, if not exclusive, reliance on one of the elements; others discount or even dismiss altogether the value of others.

For example, let's start with the arms control treaties and the multilateral regimes. Some—and here I'm thinking mainly of the far right, if you will—think that arms control is a "sham," that it's at best ineffective or even works as a counter-productive bromide that lulls us into a false sense of security. Some would even terminate the Nunn-Lugar program. With regard to the second element, deterrence, we have sort of an unusual situation now where deterrence as a concept and as a building block of national security is under attack from the right and the left. There's the view that deterrence as a concept or as a pillar of national security is itself immoral, if not unviable. The prospect or the threat of massive retaliation as a building block for national security, in some quarters, is simply not accepted.

And now, with the growing discussion in the public arena over de-alerting options, I think we're seeing increasingly a line of argument that's coming from another side of this debate that says that deterrence is part of the problem; because by clinging to the continued importance of this we are putting barriers in the way of what should be a more straightline and rapid movement to step back completely—a zero-alert posture, if you will—from the precipice of the Cold War and take all the systems down, even at the expense of the traditional calculations that have underpinned our confidence that our deterrence posture was credible.

And then last, of course, missile defense, an issue that's in swing from the right and the left as well. For some, missile defense is the complete answer; a complete solution to our national security requirement, even if it's at the expense of the loss of the other two elements. Even if it means the destruction of the NPT, the CTB, the START agreements, and indeed, strategic stability as a measure of deterrent posture. For others, it's missile defense, not arms control, that's the "sham." Missile defense is a contrivance in the eyes of some: not proven, not likely to work, costing billions, getting in the way of what could be a more robust policy with respect to arms control.

But we in the Clinton administration—and I hope this doesn't surprise you—believe that each of these elements has merit, that each has a significant contribution to make to our national security, and that each can only be pursued if we acknowledge their interrelationship. And yes, to be sure, that means, necessarily, recognizing that there are trade-offs involved across those three baskets. Let me illustrate this point by discussing in a little more detail each element of this strategy triad, starting with the arms control regimes and the multilateral non-proliferation regimes.


The Non-Proliferation Strategy

Of course, if you look at the NPT and the CTB, which ar two of our principal tools for preventing, or at least constraining, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, you have to begin by recognizing that neither offers a foolproof guarantee. The critics have a talking point, to be sure, in pointing out that NPT can't stop nuclear proliferation, the CTB can't stop a country that's determined to acquire a nuclear capability. But they can constrain them. And together they're effective. One without the other isn't going to be viable.

If the Senate should reject or refuse to act on the CTB, I believe we put at risk the NPT. Certainly, I feel very strongly that had it not been for our willingness to negotiate the CTB in the first term of the Clinton administration, we would have never achieved the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT.

Now, with respect to going directly at the problem and reducing or eliminating weapons of mass destruction, I think it's important to note standing here today, in February of 1998, nine months after what was a very earnest Senate debate on the Chemical Weapons Convention, that the arguments that the administration made at the time about the paramount importance of the United States leading in this field have been validated. That came to a vote in the Senate. The Senate exercised its correct judgment, in my view. And because we ratified, things that the critics said would not happen have, in fact, happened. Russia ratified and deposited its instrument. China deposited its instrument of ratification, as did Iran and Pakistan. We have seen real vindication here for the argument of the importance of American leadership.

With respect to the START treaties, we have the opportunity for a truly breath-taking achievement in human experience. In START I, we are now two years ahead of schedule. The first reduction milestone was this past December. Both we and Russia are at the point of reductions now that we did not have to get to until 1999. We are both two years ahead of schedule in building down real nuclear dangers. START II, still pending in the Duma, offers the next step down, but more importantly opens the door to START III. And with START III, as per the Helsinki agreement, we have the commitment to reduce to the level of 2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear warheads by the year 2007, in tandem with a separate but related negotiation on tactical nuclear weapons and on the disposition of warheads and fissile material itself. So we have the opportunity available; indeed, we have a commitment in principle from the presidents of these two nuclear powers to achieve within the next nine years an 80 percent reduction in the strategic nuclear danger that existed at the end of the Cold War in 1991.


The Future of the ABM Treaty

Now, what does all of that mean for the ABM Treaty? Here, too, it's a question of balance, because I do not believe that we can achieve the promise of START II and START III unless we maintain our commitment to the ABM Treaty. Now, that's not just my view. This is the fundamental position of the Russian Ministry of Defense [MOD]. In their presentations to the Duma for ratification of START II—and they are making some very powerful arguments to the Duma—they have stressed two things about the ABM Treaty. One is that U.S. adherence, scrupulous adherence, to the ABM Treaty is a fundamental condition for MOD supporting ratification of START II. It's part of their, if you will, "safeguards package;" it's a condition of their support. Second, the MOD has argued to the Duma that there are many things in START II that they think are advntageous to Russia, and right at the top of that list is the fact that in the treaty itself you have a cross-reference to the ABM Treaty that reaffirms our U.S. fundamental commitment to that treaty.

So, what does that mean then in terms of this interrelationship between defense and offense, between the ABM Treaty and the reality of where we are with the START process? First, and I think obviously, it means that had this administration not—beginning in 1993 when we went to Geneva at the five-year review of the ABM Treaty and reaffirmed our commitment to it—made clear our fundamental commitment to the integrity of the ABM Treaty, we would not be where we are today with the prospect of START II ratification.

Second, I would say that absent our success last year in terms of the agreements on higher- and lower-velocity theater missile defense [TMD] demarcation and the succession understandings for the ABM Treaty—the Duma would not act on START II. I think it's that simple; the linkage in their mind is that clear.

Third, I believe that absent Senate approval of these three ABM agreements, there's a real question of whether the government of Russia will allow START II to enter into force, or will continue, for that matter, the START III negotiations that we're pledged to begin immediately upon Duma ratification of START II. I'm not predicting that, and in the end I don't know for sure what their reaction would be. But many, many things that they have said lead me to that view. In fact, some quarters in Moscow—Chairman Lukin of the Foreign Affairs Committee, for example—have argued that the Duma shouldn't even take up START II until the Senate has given its advice and consent to these three ABM agreements, a sequencing that we do not accept in the administration and that we have tried to warn the Russians off of as fatal to the future of both sets of agreements.

So in sum, we believe that once the Duma has approved START II—as extended by this five-year measure that Secretary Albright and Foreign Minister Primakov signed in September—the Senate, hopefully this year, will have an opportunity for a historic debate on strategic offense and strategic defense issues and their interrelationship. Indeed, this will be a great debate in the history of arms control—one in which we hope the Arms Control Association is a major player—that will determine, in my view, the future not only of the ABM Treaty—and certainly, Chairman Helms has made clear in his recent letter that he sees the debate on these three agreements as the vehicle for a larger debate on the treaty itself—but also will determine the future of START. And in our judgment, Senate defeat of these three ABM accords would carry with it the genuine risk of derailing the START process altogether and forfeiting the opportunity for reducing by 80 percent the strategic nuclear danger that we saw just seven years ago.


The New PDD

Now, with respect to deterrence as the second element of our strategy, you are all familiar, of course, from the extensive press coverage of the presidential decision directive [PDD] that the president signed in November. I want to talk very briefly about two aspects of it: first, in terms of strategic nuclear deterrence, and second, its implications for regional conflicts, particularly those where chemical or biological weapons could be in play.

With respect to strategic nuclear deterrence, the PDD reaffirms our fundamental commitment to maintain a strategic nuclear posture across a triad of strategic forces, robust posture that is not dependent on a launch-on-warning planning assumption, and that includes secure reserve forces and survivability sufficient to allow you to confirm that a nuclear weapon has actually detonated on American soil before you would have to face the retaliatory decision.

Now, the good news in this PDD is that it confirms the position of the president, with the full support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander in chief of our strategic command, that we can maintain that kind of deterrent posture as a hedge against an uncertain future, not a deterrent posture that we think is required today or tomorrow or next week or next month given the course that Russia's on today. But because that course is not certain we are maintaining that strategic posture as a hedge. The good news is that we believe, and now have confirmed with this PDD, that we can do that at significantly lower levels than have ever been entertained before, indeed, down to the levels of the Helsinki agreement for START III.

The PDD also reaffirmed—and I was very glad to see that Spurgeon's editorial in the most recent issue of Arms Control Today took note of this (See ACT, November/December 1997)—our negative security assurance policy; that is, it is the policy of the United States, as restated in this PDD, not to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict unless the state attacking us or our allies or our military forces is nuclear-capable or not in good standing under the NPT or an equivalent regime, or third, is attacking us in alliance with a nuclear capability.

So what that means, then, in terms of our no-first-use or negative security assurance policy is that we are continuing to stand up for the assurances we've given the world that have been so instrumental in achieving our non-proliferation goals and underpinning our non-proliferation agenda, including the extension of the NPT and the attainment of the CTB. Now, there is an element of balance here. This is not a categorical no-first-use posture. For the states that are identified in those three exceptions, we do not forswear any options. And there's an element of deterrence there.

Here, too, we are trying to recognize that our interests are best served by balance and equilibrium. To be sure, if you wanted to put the most weight, the greatest priority, on the deterrence element of your strategy, you would make a very clear nuclear threat. You would say if you attack us in any fashion—conventional, chemical, biological—we will use nuclear weapons. That would be a categorical threat that would maximize your deterrence. Unfortunately, it would derail your non-proliferation policy and your non-proliferation agenda. So we have tried to strike the balance by maintaining long-standing U.S. policy in this area, actually dating back to Secretary of State Vance in 1978.

Now last, with respect to the defense or active means for destroying weapons of mass destruction, we've continued on course with our national missile defense developmental program that we still refer to as "three-plus -three," and the president's NMD budget request for 1999, which is almost a billion dollars, still presents the option of a deployment decision in the year 2000 that could be realized by the year 2003. That said, it's important to note the caveats: the testimony has been very clear that this accelerated course entails very high technical risk and very high degrees of concurrence between the test program and the production program. The GAO recently did a study that underscored that.

In my own experience, I remember back to the debate we had with Senator Nunn's ALPS proposal, where this issue of what is the appropriate level of technical risk that one should sign on to was very much at the heart of the debate between Senator Nunn and then-Senator [Al] Gore. In the end, the position the Congress adopted was that a national missile defense deployment objective should be low-to-moderate technical risk, at best.

And we have to remember some of our experience with weapons systems to know the dangers that are inherent if you push thetechnical risk too far. But you'll do what you have to do if the threat requires it. There have been crash programs before in our nation's history—Polaris was certainly one. If the threat requires the compression of the program, you will do what you have to do. But if the ballistic missile threat does not require a deployment decision in the year 2000, this administration will not make a deployment decision.

With respect to TMD we're committed to the full panoply of programs that we're pursuing, all of which, at least with regard to the programs that are mature enough to reach that stage, have been certified to the Congress as compliant with the ABM Treaty.



Now, if this balanced three-part national security strategy is going to be effective, it can't just be on autopilot. Things have to happen, things have to fall into place. I think there are five principal challenges that we face, not just the White House or the administration, but we collectively as people that believe both in arms control and national security.

The first is the Duma has got to ratify START II. It's been a long wait. We've worked very hard the last year and a half to bring it just to the point of final action. We've been assured by the Russian government that they have everything they need to get the job done. There is now this issue of Iraq, which is overshadowing everything in terms of calculations of the ratification prospects. But leaving that aside its seems to me we're in a position to get this done. And it's very important as that debate is going on that we not have a divisive debate within the United States Senate over the ABM agreements. That is one reason we feel so fundamentally that we're not going to submit the ABM package to the Senate until the Duma has ratified START II.

The second challenge is to get the debate that we're having on de-alerting right. And by "right" I mean the right balance. It's not black or white; there are arguments on both sides. We need to strike the right equilibrium. On the one hand, we need to be open to every opportunity that presents itself to improve crisis stability, to step back from the precipice of the Cold War, to stand down the nuclear dangers of an era that's now receding. But at the same time, we also have to be sensitive to the requirements of deterrence in terms of how you calculate stability; and second, we need to be sensitive to the implications of our actions with respect to timing.

The strongest argument that's being made in the Duma right now for ratification of START II is the argument of their Defense Ministry that if the Duma ratifies START II, the parity ratio of strategic nuclear forces between Russia and the United States will be 1:1, and if they fail to ratify START II, Russia will be in a position of nuclear inferiority at the strategic level by a ratio of 1:3. They have reduced the argument to that simple an argument: What would you rather have, parity at 1:1, or inferiority at 1:3?

I think we need to be very careful that, while START II hangs in the balance in terms of ratification in the Duma, setting aside the Iraq issue, we not, in effect, suggest that that argument doesn't carry weight anymore because we're going to end-run START II with an alternate approach through e-alerting. So it's a question of timing. I also think we need to appreciate that we are on the hook from the Helsinki agreement, just as soon as START II is ratified, to immediately enter into a negotiation with the Russians to agree on how to deactivate half of our remaining strategic forces—the drop from the START I level to the START II level—five years before those systems have to be destroyed under the old arms control treaty rules.

In that early deactivation negotiation, we've been put on notice by the Russians that they're going to come to the table with ideas different than simply taking warheads off of delivery systems. So, we need to be careful, first, to take into account the START II implication, and second, to think ahead to a negotiation that we're going to have on deactivation or de-alerting, because in that sense I think the words are interchangeable.

Now, the administration is very hard at work on this. We've had a very earnest review both within the Strategic Command, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the secretary of defense's office, and the interagency that's moving along very nicely. We have not reached any final conclusions. But I want to assure you that we are looking at each of these ideas to ask ourselves which ones would have merit.

The third challenge—and this is much more parochial and domestic—is to win the argument with Congress over base closings. Now, that may surprise you in this arms control audience. But the Quadrennial Defense Review [QDR] is a balanced package with strategic nuclear elements, conventional elements, readiness elements and training elements. And the whole package depends on generating the savings we need to do everything: to maintain the readiness, the training, the quality of life enhancements for our troops, the conventional modernization, and yes, the strategic nuclear forces that underpin our deterrent posture. If we fail to win the argument with Congress over infrastructure reductions, particularly base closings, and don't generate the billions we need to make the QDR whole in terms of its fiscal assumptions, the first pressure point is going to come, I believe, in the services on the nuclear accounts, because the further you move away from the Cold War the harder it is to maintain support across the river for the nuclear accounts.

Fourth, I think we've got to be very clear-headed in this debate over TMD and NMD about the importance of considerations of technical risk. We need to make sure that the money is being spent wisely on defenses that will, in fact, work.

And last, we've got to ratify the CTB. I've not saved that until last because it's the lowest on my list; it's the one issue I'm spending most of my time on each day at the NSC right now. I've saved it until last because I just want to end on that note and leave it very much on your mind. The president believes fundamentally that the CTB is in the best interests of the United States. We believe that its provisions will significantly further our nuclear non-proliferation and arms control objectives and strengthen international security. And we believe that this is the session of Congress that the Senate should act.

There's been a lot of debate about entry into force and the future of this treaty, and everyone in this room is familiar with the very daunting challenge we face with regard to India, Pakistan, North Korea and perhaps others to bring the treaty into force. But when the president goes to the subcontinent this fall, we believe it is extremely important that he go from a position of strength, having secured Senate advice and consent to this treaty so we can approach other governments with the best position and the best leverage.

It's a huge job of changing Indian perceptions on this treaty. And should, God forbid, we fail to change their perspective on this treaty, it's important to realize that the fall-back position for the CTB, in terms of getting it into force, is an extraordinary conference that would be called in September of 1999—which, after all, is only 18 months from now—at which the world figuresout how to get the treaty into force anyway. And the catch is you cannot vote to call that conference, you cannot vote to convene the conference, indeed, you cannot participate in the conference unless your country has ratified the treaty.

So, going back to where I began, the importance of American leadership. If we are to lead the world, as we did in the negotiations, in securing the entry into force of the CTB, we believe it is fundamentally important that the Senate act on this treaty this year.


Questions & Answers

Q: How confident are you that the Duma will act favorably on the various elements of the START II-ABM package?

Bell: Well, in the last several months I've gone from skeptic to cautious optimist, setting aside the issue of Iraq. There's no question, based on what [Foreign Minister Yevgeniy] Primakov and [Defense Minister Igor] Sergeyev have said, the Russian government, almost with one voice, is saying very clearly that hostilities with Iraq fundamentally change the equation with respect to START II, certainly in the near term. And the Duma adopted a resolution to that effect. But I had gotten myself to the point of cautious optimism earlier this year based on three things.

First was everything we did and succeeded in doing, going back to Secretary Perry's visit to the Duma a year and a half ago, where he had a very rude reception, to deal with the issue of NATO enlargement. We did that through the NATO-Russia Founding Act, by concluding the [CFE Treaty] flank agreement and by concluding an MOU on the basic elements of an adapted CFE Treaty, all of which were designed to address this concern. Second was the five-year extension of the [START II] destruction requirements to address their economic concern about the cost of arms control. Third was Stan Riveles's hard work to get the ABM agreements done, which was clearly a precondition for START II ratification.

With that set of agreements it seemed to me that, with the overlay of the Helsinki accord and the certitude for the Duma that START II was not the end of the road but there was another meaningful step to follow, we had put down the four building blocks for ratification. Beyond that, you had the coincidence of the Primakov-Sergeyev team coming together, which, by anyone's calculation, is the strongest lobbying duo we could hope for in face-to-face daily contact with the Duma. It takes Yeltsin too, but Primakov and Sergeyev do carry weight in the Duma, and they've been on point and effective in their presentations. The MOD's arguments, I think, have been quite brilliant in terms of framing the issue for the Duma.

And last but not least, you had reports of this fairly remarkable deal between the Communist faction in the Duma and the Kremlin over the Russian flag and its relationship to START II. There are reports that in exchange for Yeltsin agreeing not to press the Duma now to approve legislation recognizing Russia's new flag (which the Communist party faction does not like), Speaker Gennadi Seleznev has agreed to schedule the START II debate for this spring. Now this may sound preposterous on first hearing, but we shouldn't find it preposterous because that's the only way we got START II through the Senate. We tend to forget about these linkages, but there was a time when we were not making any headway in terms of getting START II on the Senate schedule. This is the same treaty that the Communists think is demonstrably one-sided to Russia's disadvantage. It took us until January of 1996 to secure Senate ratification of START II, and the reason it finally got put on the Senate schedule was that Democrats had organized a filibuster against an amendment to prohibit flag burning, and it was only the decision to stop that filibuster and schedule a vote on the flag-burning amendment that got START II to the Senate floor.

Well, we're very good teachers. That's where we were on the eve of the Iraqi crisis. If we can get the treaty to the Duma floor, I am persuaded we'll win the vote.

Q: What are the administration's plans for dealing with the reserve warheads under the START III arrangements?

Bell: I think there are two elements that will come into play, neither of which has been decided yet, but both are very interesting and fundamental questions. The first one is: How successful will we be in the course of the START III negotiations themselves in making real headway in a side agreement to eliminate warheads? At Helsinki we agreed in principle that, for the first time, the START III treaty will feature a negotiation on the disposition of the warheads and fissile material. We've been very hard at work—Rose Gottemoeller and Lucas Fischer have co-chaired an interagency working group on the options that are available in terms of an opening U.S. position on that very subject, and there's a full range of options. I can't breach the confidentiality of that options review right now because we've not taken it yet to a point of decision.

Perhaps even more important, Russian receptivity to push the envelope with respect to actually dealing with reserve warheads is going to fundamentally affect your overall nuclear holdings, setting aside what the accountable deployed levels are. The accountable deployed levels will, by the year 2007, be down to 2,000-2,500. So the question is what's in your reserve, or inactive storage? That's going to be a function, first, of the result of the negotiations in START III. But second, it's going to be a function of sort of national policies with respect to the weight you attach 10 years from now—in the year 2007—to hedge strategies.

In other words, we basically maintain a START I force now. We've kept at START I levels to keep weight on the Duma to do the right thing with respect to START II. Once you get an agreement to come down to that next level, you have to make decisions as a matter of national policy about what reconstitution capability you want to preserve should the agreement fall apart or should you discover that the other side is fudamentally violating the treaty. So, in the context of START III levels, a big-ticket question will be: What is your tasking to the Department of Energy in terms of a reconstitution level? That's a decision that has not been made and will only be made once we get further into START III negotiations. I can't confirm or deny that 10,000 is the total number of warheads the U.S. will have under START III because there is no number yet that is associated with a successful START III negotiation. We just have not made those decisions.

Q: Will tactical warheads be addressed in START III as well?

Bell: We agreed at Helsinki that there will be a separate but related negotiation on non-strategic nuclear forces. One of the big questions, in terms of the actual content of START III negotiations, is what position the Russian government will bring to the table when it's time to start turning cards over and show what they're prepared to propose.

Certainly, we expect scrupulous Russian reaffirmation and adherence to the unilateral tactical nuclear reduction commitments that were made in 1990 and 1991 by Gorbachev and Yeltsin, which, in the aggregate, could produce about a two-thirds drawdown. That would, in comparison with the levels that President Bush announced, leave a Russian advantage, but it's markedly reduced from the advantage they have in non-strategic nuclear forces right now.

With regard to both warhead disposition and tactical weapons, in the run-up to Helsinki we were able to reach agreement on a set of words that both sides would sign up to. But there are a lot of second- and third-order specifics beyond that baseline in terms of what the Russian government really proposes to do when we get to the negotiation.

Q: Could you elaborate on the interrelationship that you're describing between the CTB Treaty and the NPT, particularly the possible effect of Senate inaction on the CTB as we approach the NPT review conference in 2000?

Bell: I think there's a very direct interrelationship in the eyes of a large part of the world between the position that the declared nuclear-weapon states take with respect to arms reductions and nuclear testing on the one hand, and the viability of our non-proliferation agenda on the other hand. The first and most obvious manifestation of that, I think, is the NPT.

In January of 1995, we made some very hard decisions within the Clinton administration with respect to the content of our CTB negoiating position, specifically dropping what had been our opening position to negotiate a CTB that was 10 years in duration and would have to be affirmatively renewed. In early 1995, Tony Lake gave a speech at the Carnegie Endowment dropping that and agreeing to pursue an indefinite CTB, because we had come to the conclusion that without that change we would not have prevailed in winning the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT. There were a lot of news stories being written through 1995 that said, in effect, we were losing this battle and that the NPT was going to go down. There's no question in my mind that if we had sustained the policy of the two previous administrations and refused to negotiate a CTB in any forum, the Conference on Disarmament or otherwise, we would not have gotten the NPT extended.

Now, the NPT is facing a review conference in the year 2000, with preparatory conferences in 1998 and 1999, and I think that Senate rejection of CTB could create a dynamic that would put the NPT at risk. But it's not just the NPT that's at risk. It's the credibility of U.S. leadership across the board on non-proliferation as we make demands on countries—whether it's Russia, China, Pakistan, India or anyone else—if we're not prepared to walk the walk and talk the talk ourselves when it comes to fundamental treaty obligations with respect to a cessation in nuclear testing.

Q: At Helsinki we agreed to a ceiling of 2,000 to 2,500 strategic warheads. Yet, Yeltsin has been reported as saying that the Russians could achieve their objectives with a level as low as 1,000 weapons, and there have been other proposals to reduce the levels to 1,000 or 1,500 weapons. Has the Clinton administration talked about the question of how low the United States can go and still maintain its objective of deterrence?

Bell: There are lots of people who have opinions and views about what the outer edge of the envelope is with respect to the strategic deterrence paradigm that we're in now and that we codified with the presidential decision directive in November. But if you're asking have we worked the hard bureaucratic, interagency task of driving through to a decision for numbers below the Helsinki numbers—either divided recommendations to the president or a consensus position that the national security team brings to the president for affirmation—the answer is no.

The Helsinki numbers were affirmed through just such a process. Before the president reached a decision, he was assured by [Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff] General Shalikashvili that the Joint Chiefs and the commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Command were confident that we could maintain a robust strategic nuclear deterrent, but not some protracted nuclear warfighting capability, with the numbers that were in play for Helsinki.

There have been suggestions of lower numbers from different places within the Moscow establishment. But first you've got to get START II ratified, because we've been very clear that we are not going to commence formal negotiations on START III until that happens. When we get to the START III table, based on this melange of different numbers that have been thrown around post-Helsinki, we'll see what the Russian government's number is. And if it's different than Helsinki, we will work a process, as we did before Helsinki, to see where we are on that.

Q: What is the administration's policy on the use of nuclear weapons in Iraq, particularly in response to Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction? How does this fit in with the recent Presidential Decision Directive [PDD]?

Bell: There has been comment on this dating back about 10 days, to a piece that ran in Newsday on February 9 that had a number of errors in it, both about our policy and the PDD. Let me be clear. The PDD reaffirmed the U.S. negative security assurance that we have held to in this administration and that we codified in a UN Security Council resolution. Indeed, this policy dates back to Secretary of State Vance in 1978, and it has been a fundamental position of Republican and Democratic administrations ever since.

We have no plans, no planning, no intention, no policy of using nuclear weapons preemptively to go after, take out, whatever you want to call it, WMD storage or production facilities. There was a flap over this two years ago with respect to Tarhunah in Libya, and Secretary of Defense Perry went down to Maxwell Air Force Base and made very clear what our policy is, and we stand by that policy.

We have every conventional option we need to deal with our ability to target facilities that store or produce weapons of mass destruction. And that is distinct, then, from the use of such weapons by an adversary in a conflict where our negative security assurance policy stands.

Q: How far could the administration go in pursuing non-treaty agreements with Russia in the event the START process bogs down?

Bell: The short answer is I don't know, because it's an untested proposition. I think we have a pretty clear sense that the Russians, not just by our estimates but by their own statements, think that due to their economic difficulties they are on a glide path to a START II level, or a lower force level, one way or the other. In fact, that's one of the principal arguments that the Russian MOD makes for ratification—they're going down and they might as well get us to join them.

Now, on our side, we have a very different situation. Right now, we have not only a presidentially directed policy that says until and unless the Duma ratifies START II, we're going to maintain START I levels, but we have a law that says that. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1998, which was signed in November by the president, includes a provision, Section 1302, that says thou shall—that's a mandatory verb—maintain 18 Trident boats, 71 B-52s, 500 Minutemen and 50 MXs. That's the law. That is the will of the Congress in a binding provision.

That provision goes on to say that once START II is ratified, no money can be spent on any agreement or understandingbetween the United States and Russia, not just negotiated agreements but perhaps tacit reciprocal measures—I think lawyers would have to come to a judgment on this point—that requires deactivation of systems before they have to be destroyed under arms control requirements, until the president submits a report to Congress. The report must inform Congress whether the de-alerting or deactivation measure—for example, taking warheads off, turning off power generators, removing launch keys, putting large tractors on top of silo lids—is, first, verifiable (and most of this doesn't come up to the traditional standards of verification); second, reciprocal, that is, whether one side is getting a better deal; and third, whether one side or the other has an undue breakout asymmetry advantage.

If the president cannot inform the Congress that any de-alerting or deactivation agreement or understanding is verifiable, reciprocal and not asymmetrical, money can only be spent to go forward with that deal if the president waives the requirement on national security grounds. In other words, if we give them the rope to hang ourselves with by saying, "We've just signed up to something that's not verifiable and not reciprocal, and presents an undue breakout advantage to Russia, but is still in the U.S. national security interests," only on those conditions could we spend the money.

So, there is a major question there, at least in my mind, about how open the running field is even for the de-alerting debate given the congressional legislation, setting aside the question that we've not come to internal conclusions within the administration yet on how we would handle the deactivation negotiation that we're required to have pursuant to Helsinki once START II is ratified.

Q: If the de-alerting or deactivation steps were unilateral, would they be covered by this law?

Bell: I don't know. The first half of Section 1302, which requires the United States to maintain specified strategic nuclear delivery systems at certain START I levels absent START II ratification, prohibits any action to retire or prepare to retire any of those systems.

Again, I'd have to get lawyers to work on this, but if it ever came to it, you would have to decide whether a particular measure, if it were decided to pursue it unilaterally, and I don't think that's a given necessarily, would be construed for purposes of the law as being a step preparatory to retirement or as just a step that is a change in the alert posture, which, because it is reversible, could be construed as not being preparatory to retirement of the system.

Q: Given the focus on biological weapons that has arisen during this latest crisis with Iraq, will the administration give more high-level attention to the verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention [BWC] now under negotiation in Geneva?

Bell: The short answer is yes, for a variety of rasons. One has to do with timing and considerations that were pertinent during the debate on the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC]. As Lori [Esposito Murray] well knows, as the president's representative for ratification of that treaty last year and someone who spent countless scores of hours on the Hill talking to staff, there was an interrelationship established during the CWC ratification debate between our position on the BWC verification issue and continued support from the pharmaceutical industries for CWC. There were, I thought, obvious suggestions that had we put together an initiative that involved something that the industries would have construed to have been unacceptably intrusive inspections for BWC, that they would have turned against the CWC. We wanted to secure the CWC and that was, as you all know, a close vote as it was.

From my conversations with the president on this subject—and I need to be very clear to say that I am not working that issue—he believes that because of this crisis with Iraq, the world now is much more sensitive to the dangers that are represented by the BW threat and that the dynamic may have changed in terms of what the traffic will bear on an inspection regime, which isn't to say, "Anything goes." We have a very modest set of steps, but it's one that we think that will improve the situation and can sustain the support of the pharmaceutical industries. That proposition is going to be tested. It's being tested right now in consultations with allies.

Q: Given the fact that most U.S. allies have signed the Ottawa landmine treaty, what effect will that have on the ability of the United States to conduct coalition operations using landmines?

Bell: That's an issue that we're spending a lot of time on. What we're discovering is that our allies, particularly in NATO but also in Asia, in most cases had simply not thought this through. You had a case where the negotiating position was being driven principally out of foreign affairs ministries, and the defense ministries had not cranked in analytically and in terms of their own view on this. So, we're in a situation now where these countries have signed the treaty and are clearly going to ratify, at least eventually, and their own defense ministries are saying, "What does this mean for coalition operations?"

What we're hearing is a wide range of answers. It's not just a function of the legal views of what Ottawa requires and different countries' own interpretations of Ottawa, but it's also largely a function of the domestic legislation that was moving through a lot of these countries' parliaments while Ottawa was under way. In some cases, there are domestic laws that are more restrictive than Ottawa. In other cases, there are domestic laws that may provide more flexibility, even assuming ratification and entry into force of Ottawa.

The second point is that there is one set of issues that has to do with the so-called pure anti-personnel landmines [APLs], and another that is unique to the "mixed munitions," such as anti-tank mines that incorporate anti-personnel, or anti-handling, devices to keep infantry from deactivating the anti-tank mine. During the final negoiations in Oslo, the United States sought unsuccessfully to exclude certain mixed munitions in which the anti-handling device is not integral to the anti-tank mine.

The president has directed, of course, independent of Ottawa, that we will replace all of our systems everywhere except in Korea by the year 2003—and in Korea by 2006. If you take the Ottawa treaty, figure out how much time you need to get the requisite ratifications and then add six months for entry into force, then the timeline provided in that treaty to get rid of pure APLs is not that far away any more from U.S. target date of 2003. But that's a lesser-order issue.

The larger issue is that while we are looking for possible alternatives to existing U.S. mixed-munitions, it's not clear whether there is a viable alternative. It's in the area of mixed munitions, particularly if you imagine a war with Iraq where there's armored-maneuver warfare going on and you're trying to lay down anti-tank fields to protect maneuvering armored forces, that the impact is the greatest. That's the area where we're getting, I think, the widest range of answers back from allies.

We've had one round of consultations. We're going to have another round this spring. NATO's looking into this institutionally within the Military Committee. It was discussed at defense ministerial levels by Secretary Cohen late last year. But I think it's going to be another couple of months before we're able to take the full measure of the implications of the Ottawa treaty for that issue.

Now, all of that said, we are not, I repeat, we are not trying to talk people out of going forward with Ottawa. The president's been very clear. It's each country's decision to make, and if they choose to sign the treaty, that's their prerogative, and we recognize that.

On February 18, Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for national security and counselor to the assistant to the president for national security affairs...

National Missile Defense: An Overview of Alternative Plans

The debate about whether the United States should deploy a national missile defense (NMD) system may intensify in Congress later this year. The Clinton administration's "three-plus-three" program, adopted in February 1996, calls for the development of an NMD system that is capable of being deployed by 2003 if the ballistic missile threat makes it necessary.

In his response to President Clinton's January 27 State of the Union address, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) once again urged the administration to make a decision now on NMD deployment. According to a spokeswoman for Lott, his "National Missile Defense Act of 1997" (S.7), which calls for the actual deployment of an operational NMD system by the end of 2003, is tentatively scheduled to come up for Senate floor consideration between late April and early August of 1998. The legislation was introduced in January 1997 and approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee in April of that year by a vote of 10–8 along party lines.

In an attempt to find a middle ground, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced the "Defend the United States of America Act of 1997" (S.64) last January. The Lugar bill endorses the "three-plus-three" schedule but empowers Congress—not the administration—to make an NMD deployment decision in the year 2000. The table below highlights the differences between the three approaches to NMD policy. —For more information, contact ACA.


Clinton Administration's "Three-Plus-Three" Program Lugar's "Defend the United States of America Act of 1997" Lott's "National Missile Defense Act of 1997"
NMD Policy Develop by 2000 the elements of an NMD system that could be deployed within three years to protect the United States against a limited "rogue" nation ballistic missile attack as well as an accidental or unauthorized launch from more nuclear-capable states. Develop a single-site NMD system that is capable of being deployed by the end of 2003 to protect the United States against limited ballistic missile threats, including accidental or unauthorized launches or attacks by Third World countries. Deploy an NMD system by the end of 2003 that is capable of defending the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized or deliberate).
If a missile threat exists in 2000, the United States will then decide whether to deploy the system by 2003. Congress will make the NMD deployment decision in 2000 based on several factors, such as the ballistic missile threat to the United States, the projected cost and effectiveness of the system based on available technology and testing results, and arms control factors. System could be augmented over time to provide a layered defense against larger and more sophisticated missile threats if they emerge.
If no threat exists in 2000, then the United States will continue NMD development and maintain the capability to deploy the system within three years of an identified threat. Requires the United States to seek a cooperative transition to a regime that does not feature an "offense-only form of deterrence" as a basis for strategic stability.
Views on the ABM Treaty The ABM Treaty is the cornerstone of strategic stability. NMD system will be compliant with the ABM Treaty. Urges the president to pursue, if necessary, discussions with Russia to achieve an agreement to amend the ABM Treaty to allow for NMD deployment.
Three-plus-three development program will be compliant with the ABM Treaty. Urges the president to pursue discussions with Russia regarding amendments to the ABM Treaty, as necessary, to allow for more effective limited defenses against long-range ballistic missile attacks (for example, two ABM deployment sites.) If amendments are not reached within one year of the bill's enactment, the president and Congress will consider exercising the option of U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.
Deployed NMD system might require amendments to the ABM Treaty depending on its configuration.

Strengthening the BWC: Moving Toward a Compliance Protocol

January/February 1998

By Jonathan B. Tucker

Note: The following sidebars appeared in the original ACT publication, and are included after the main text:

Verifying the BWC: The Pharmaceutical Industry's View

The Australia Group

The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which bans the development, production, stockpiling and transfer of biological and toxin weapons, has been in force since 1975. To date, 140 countries have joined the treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon states and a number of countries of proliferation concern such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Libya; another 18 states have signed but not ratified the accord. Yet, the absence of any formal mechanisms to monitor compliance has effectively reduced the BWC to a gentleman's agreement and undermined its ability to resolve festering allegations of non-compliance and to address growing concerns about the proliferation of biological warfare (BW) capabilities. In September 1994, the memberstates of the BWC, recognizing the need to strengthen the treaty, held a special conference in Geneva to consider a report on the scientific and technical aspects of biological weapons verification prepared by a group of governmental experts known as VEREX. At this meeting, the participating countries agreed to establish a new negotiating forum, called the Ad Hoc Group (AHG)—open to all states-parties—to develop a legally binding protocol to the BWC. The goal of the negotiations is to craft a legally binding regime that will promote compliance with the treaty. Because the protocol will apply only to those states-parties that ratify it, negotiators are seeking to avoid creating a two-tiered regime under which only some states accept new compliance obligations.

Since January 1995, representatives from over 50 countries have met periodically at the Palais des Nations in Geneva (separate from the UN Conference on Disarmament) to pursue the protocol negotiations through the AHG. The group held one procedural and two substantive meetings in 1995, two meetings in 1996 and three meetings in 1997. In 1998, the AHG will intensify its work schedule, having agreed to 11 weeks of negotiations in four sessions: three weeks in January, one week in March, three weeks in late June and early July, and four weeks in September and early October.

The forum has functioned largely through the efforts of four informal working groups, known as "Friends of the Chair" (FOCs), which have addressed the major issues in the negotiating mandate: definitions and objective criteria, chaired by Iran; confidencebuilding measures (CBMs), chaired by Hungary; compliance measures, chaired by Britain; and Article X measures (relating to peaceful cooperation and technology transfers), initially chaired by Chile and now by Brazil. Although the FOCs produced substantive working papers during the first two years, most of the discussion was of a theoretical nature, with little emphasis on developing concrete measures and rocedures.

The Fourth BWC Review Conference in November 1996 discussed the work of the AHG and encouraged it to transition to a negotiating format. (See ACT, January/February 1997.) At its March 1997 meeting, the AHG agreed that its chairman, Ambassador Tibor Tóth of Hungary, would move from committee reports to a consolidated draft—a "rolling text" in diplomatic parlance—for consideration at its next session. To this end, a onepage annex titled "Possible Structural Elements of a Protocol to the BWC" was attached to the group's procedural report. Using this outline, Ambassador Tóth produced a draft treaty by cutting and pasting text from the various FOC working papers under the appropriate headings. Many sections (including entire articles) of the initial rolling text were blank, and the text was in narrative form rather than in legal language.

During its July 1997 meeting, the AHG fleshed out several of the articles in the draft treaty, a process that continued during the September session. In addition, four additional FOCs were established: one, chaired by South Africa, is drafting an annex on investigations; an FOC chaired by Australia is preparing the sections on legal issues; Germany chairs an FOC on confidentiality; and India chairs an FOC on national implementation and assistance. By the end of the September 1997 session, the draft treaty had grown by more than 50 percent, to 253 pages, and represented a nearly complete text consisting of some 23 articles, eight annexes and five appendices.

During the January 1998 session, new text was added on consultation procedures, declarations and clarification visits. Considerable effort is still required, however, to convert the rolling text into a coherent legal protocol. Moreover, as is traditional in international negotiations, words, phrases and sections not yet agreed by consensus have been set off in brackets. So far, bracketed language has proliferated as fast as the text.

When complete, the protocol will specify how international inspectors from a future BWC implementing organization will monitor facilities suspected—or merely capable—of producing biological weapons. Possible elements of the future regime include:

  • Requiring countries to declare all treaty-relevant facilities;
  • Occasional "challenge" inspections to pursue suspected treaty violations at declared or undeclared facilities;
  • Possible "nonchallenge" visits to check the accuracy of declarations and to deter declared sites from engaging in illicit activities; and
  • Field investigations to pursue allegations of biological weapons use and suspicious outbreaks of disease potentially related to a clandestine biological weapons program.

Monitoring compliance with the BWC is particularly challenging because the equipment and facilities used to cultivate BW agents are essentially the same as those employed for the commercial production of vaccines, antibiotics, vitamins, biological pesticides, feed supplements, and even beer and yogurt. Such dualuse technologies for industrial microbiology offer real benefits to developing countries through improved agricultural yields and better public health. But these technologies also have a dark side: states can cloak their acquisition of biological wepons under the guise of legitimate research and production.

Whereas chemical weapons such as mustard gas or sarin must be produced in multiton quantities in a large production plant to be militarily significant, biological agents such as anthrax replicate within the host and hence are much more potent per unit weight. Because it takes only on the order of a few kilograms of dried anthrax bacteria to produce a militarily effective weapon, a deadly arsenal could be prepared in a 50liter continuousflow fermentor over a period of weeks without the need for longterm stockpiling.

Cultivation of diseasecausing micro-organisms cannot be banned outright because the same pathogens that can be weaponized can also have legitimate medical and industrial uses. Pharmaceutical companies routinely grow large quantities of dangerous pathogens for the production of vaccines, and potent toxins such as ricin and botulinum toxin play an increasingly important role in the treatment of cancer and neurological diseases. In addition, the development of defenses against biological weapons entails some work with dangerous pathogens and toxins. Recognizing these legitimate applications, the BWC specifically prohibits the development, production or acquisition of biological agents or toxins for other than peaceful purposes.

As a practical matter, however, it is difficult to distinguish between treaty-permitted and treaty-prohibited activities. Production of vaccine against botulinum toxin, for example, involves the production of a large quantity of toxin that is then inactivated with a solution of formaldehyde and water. Because the inactivation step takes place late in the production process, an assessment of a state's offensive or defensive intent—that is, whether the agent was produced for peaceful purposes—is essential in judging BWC compliance.

Whatever measures are agreed to in Geneva will be equally binding on all BWC states-parties that ratify the protocol; AHG members must be prepared to accept the same level of intrusiveness they would wish to apply to others. Each nation must therefore find the right balance between monitoring measures that build confidence that others are complying with the BWC, and the need to protect its own industrial and national security information.

New U.S. Initiative For the first three years of the AHG talks, a deadlock among U.S. government agencies over a negotiating position kept the United States on the sidelines in Geneva. Lacking interagencycleared negotiating instructions, the U.S. delegation was unable to play a leading role in the talks or even to circulate substantive policy papers. This protracted deadlock resulted from a strong divergence of opinion and interest among the various agencies involved in making policy for the Geneva talks.

The departments of Defense, Energy and Commerce advocated a less intrusive inspection regime that would exclude random visits to declared facilities and establish fairly strict evidentiary requirements for approving a challenge inspection. Although such a regime would be somewhat less effective in detecting and deterring BWC violations, it would provide greater protections to U.S. biodefense and sensitive military programs and to confidential business information unrelated to treaty compliance. For this reason, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the leading trade association for the U.S. drug industry, also supported a less intrusive approach.

On the other side of the coin, the National Security Counci (NSC) favored a more intrusive regime, including some type of nonchallenge visits and a less demanding evidentiary standard for challenge inspection requests, in the hope of increasing the chances of detecting and deterring BWC violations. Because of the major divergence in approach between the two sides, compromise remained elusive.

In September 1997, PhRMA representatives met with members of the NSC staff and insisted that the United States develop a position in order to safeguard the pharmaceutical industry's proprietary interests. But the interagency process remained deadlocked until January 1998, when the United States was preparing to go to war with Iraq over Baghdad's continuing defiance of UN weapons inspectors and concern that Iraq had retained a biological weapons capability in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The intensifying confrontation exposed an apparent disconnect between the increasingly vocal U.S. concerns over BW proliferation and Washington's lack of leadership at the AHG talks in Geneva. Finally, the political need to address the Iraqi threat pushed senior administration officials to break the bureaucratic logjam. At a highlevel meeting in January, the heads of three key agencies involved in the policy dispute—Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Commerce William Daly—hammered out a package of compromise proposals.

This package, released on January 27 in a White House fact sheet, struck a reasonable balance between the competing needs for onsite inspections of suspected BW-related sites and protection of national security and business secrets at U.S. military and commercial facilities. President Clinton announced the new U.S. initiative in his State of the Union address the same day, declaring, "We must act to prevent the use of disease as a weapon of war and terror. The Biological Weapons Convention has been in effect for 23 years now. The rules are good, but the enforcement is weak. We must strengthen it with a new international inspection system to detect and deter cheating."

Nevertheless, the new U.S. proposals are quite vague and many critical details will have to be worked out in the interagency process, which is likely to remain contentious. The highlevel compromise has not changed perceptions within the Pentagon that the BWC is essentially unverifiable and that arms control alone cannot provide an effective response to the BW threat.


Outstanding Issues

The major issues in the BWC protocol negotiations can be divided into eight areas: (1) definitions, lists and criteria; (2) declarations; (3) challenge inspections of facilities suspected of a treaty violation; (4) field investigations of unusual disease outbreaks possibly associated with the covert use of biological weapons or an accidental leak from a clandestine development or production facility; (5) non-challenge visits to declared facilities; (6) protection of confidential information; (7) scientific and technological cooperation in the peaceful uses of biotechnology; and (8) the non-transfer of equipment and knowhow needed for the production of biological weapons. The role of confidence-building measures in the BWC protocol is also in the AHG mandate but has not yet been addressed in any detail.


Definitions, Lists and Criteria

Because many BW agents have legitimate applications in medical therapy, biomedical research and the production of vaccines, and because biological production equipment is also dualcapable, the BWC focuses its prohibitions on purposes rather than specific agents or technologies. Article I of the treaty bans the production of "[m]icrobial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes." This generalpurpose criterion allows the BWC to prohibit the application of biological and toxin agents for offensive military purposes while permitting their peaceful uses, and it is also intended to be broad enough to capture future technological innovations. For this reason, a state-party could not legally circumvent the BWC by genetically engineering new types of biological or toxin agents.

In Geneva, the Russian delegation has argued that the generalpurpose criterion is too vague and that more precise definitions are needed if inspectors are to make objective assessments of BWC compliance. To this end, Russia seeks de facto to amend Article I, through the protocol, by providing specific definitions of banned activities, agents and quantities. Most AHG members (including the United States) reject the Russian approach on the grounds that precise definitions might create loopholes that BWC violators could exploit. A list of prohibited agents would inevitably be incomplete, and prohibited quantities may vary depending on the ways in which states carry out peaceful activities.

More generally, amending the BWC would exceed the AHG's mandate. A way out of the current impasse might be to leave the broad prohibitions in Article I intact while developing definitions, lists and criteria tied to specific measures in the compliance protocol. For example, illustrative lists will be required so that memberstates know which agents, facilities and activities to declare.



Most AHG countries, including the United States, agree that BWC parties should be required to submit annual declarations about facilities and activities that are particularly suited for offensive BW purposes, such as facilities that work with hazardous microbes or that contain certain types of aerosol test chambers. By increasing the transparency of biodefense laboratories and dualuse industrial facilities such as vaccine plants, mandatory declarations would make it more difficult for wouldbe cheaters to carry out illicit production at these sites.

There is disagreement, however, over the scope of facilities to be covered by the regime. The AHG must make a trade-off between casting the net wide enough to cover all facilities of potential compliance concern and avoiding an undue burden on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. For this reason, the industrialized countries want declaration criteria that do not capture a large number of Western pharmaceutical plants that are presumably low risk. Yet, developing countries are unlikely to accept a regime that requires them to declare a disproportionate share of their own facilities.

In January 1998, Britain crculated a paper on proposed declaration formats that calls for detailed information not only on specific declarable facilities such as biodefense laboratories but also on nearby buildings at the same site, such as waste treatment plants. The United States objects strongly to this approach because it would penalize sites such as national defense laboratories, which contain many sensitive facilities that are not related to BWC compliance. In the U.S. view, the declaration requirement should cover only those buildings that are directly engaged in activities relevant to the treaty. This difference in approach is linked to Britain's preference for random visits to declared sites, which would be facilitated by more detailed declarations.


Challenge Inspections

Nearly all countries in the Ad Hoc Group support the need for challenge inspections of declared or undeclared facilities suspected of violating the BWC, but they disagree on the procedure for initiating such inspections. Here again, delegations face a trade-off between ensuring that challenge inspections of suspicious facilities are approved, and preventing frivolous challenge requests intended as a means of harassment, espionage or theft of trade secrets. Those countries most concerned about pursuing violations favor a "red-light" approval mechanism, in which a majority or supermajority of the Executive Council (the governing body of the future BWC implementing organization) must vote to block a challenge inspection. Conversely, countries most concerned about preventing frivolous or abusive inspections favor a "green-light" mechanism, in which a majority or supermajority of the council must vote to authorize a challenge inspection. Several countries, referring to the precedent set by the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty, have endorsed a green-light filter for the BWC protocol.

The new U.S. negotiating position announced in late January calls for a green-light filter in which a simple majority of the governing body must vote to approve a challenge inspection before it can proceed. PhRMA also favors a green-light approval mechanism (although by a three-quarter majority vote), because this filter would require "probable cause" of a BWC violation before a challenge inspection could proceed—an eventuality that industry assumes would never occur at a legitimate commercial facility.


Field Investigations

Russia has endorsed the investigation of alleged use of biological weapons but opposes investigations of suspicious outbreaks of disease, such as might result from the accidental release of BW agents from a clandestine military development or production facility. This position is troubling in light of the fact that just such an accident occurred at a secret military biological institute in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk in 1979, triggering an unusual outbreak of human anthrax. Moreover, whereas most countries assume that a new international organization will be created to handle BWC declarations and inspections, the Rusian delegation claims that since compliance complaints will be rare, there is no need for a new and costly bureaucracy to handle them. Instead, Moscow seeks to retain the existing procedure under Article VI of the BWC, in which formal complaints of non-compliance are lodged with the UN Security Council. Most countries in the AHG believe, however, that current treaty mechanisms are inadequate. Although the Security Council has the authority to initiate a BWC investigation by a group of experts or an existing international body, it has never done so. Morever, as a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia would have the power to veto any challenge inspection on its territory.

During the January 1998 session of the AHG, the group of NonAligned Movement (NAM) states presented a working paper titled "Investigations: Exclusion of All Natural Outbreaks of Disease." Although this paper appears to accept the principle of investigating unusual disease outbreaks, it stresses the need to distinguish natural outbreaks from those associated with covert BW efforts or accidental release. Further, the NAM paper places the onus on the state requesting a field investigation to provide epidemiological and other evidence that a suspicious outbreak has not resulted from natural causes. Some Western delegations believe the NAM proposal is tautological, because it would require the requesting state to prove in advance what a field investigation would seek to determine. If a greenlight approval process were adopted for field investigations, the political process in the Executive Council would determine the appropriate standard of evidence on a casebycase basis.


NonChallenge Visits

The AHG is split over the desirability of nonchallenge visits to declared biodefense and industry facilities relevant to the BWC, which would be selected on a random basis. Countries favoring such visits include most of the countries of Europe (particularly Britain), Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. These delegations argue that random visits would provide an effective means of checking the accuracy of declarations, enhancing transparency and helping deter the misuse of declared facilities for illicit production. Seeking to achieve these goals through challenge inspections alone would be risky because they may be difficult to trigger, politically sensitive and expensive. In addition, countries favoring random visits point out that the future BWC inspectorate must be kept busy on a day-to-day basis, yet challenge inspections are likely to be rare, high-profile events.

In contrast, the United States and Japan oppose random visits on the grounds that they would burden industry and jeopardize confidential business information but would be unlikely to detect BWC violations, which are far more likely to occur at dedicated clandestine facilities. Countries opposed to random visits argue that a reasonably sophisticated violator could use a declared facility for illicit production without the inspectors detecting anything. Russia, for its part, rejects random visits as part of its overall effort to render itself immune from intrusive inspections under the BWC protocol.

During the AHG's January 1998 session, the Swedish delegation circulated a paper proposing a total of 50 random visits per year. These visits would be divided equally among the five geographic blocs, so that each bloc would receive a quota of 10 visits. However, the NAM states consider equal geographical quotas "discriminatory" and want to base the number of random visits strictly on the number of declared acilities in each state-party. Under the NAM approach, Western countries would probably have the vast majority of declarable facilities and would receive most of the visits.

As a means of either substituting for or complementing random visits, a number of AHG states have proposed a "clarification" process that would make it possible to pursue facilities of BWC concern for which the declared information is inaccurate, ambiguous or incomplete. If a state-party, on reviewing another country's declarations, believes that the country has failed to declare a key facility or defense program or has provided misleading information, it could request a consultation and clarification procedure between the Technical Secretariat and the state-party concerned. Because it is inevitable that declarations will contain errors and omissions, particularly in the early stages after entry into force of the protocol, it is likely that many cases will be clarified without the need for an onsite visit to the relevant facility.

The White House fact sheet released in January rules out random visits of declared sites but proposes two onsite measures short of challenge inspections. First, BWC parties would be encouraged to allow a "voluntary visit" at a declared facility. These visits would be at the discretion of officials of the facility in question, who would also have the right to manage the inspectors' access to sensitive areas of the site. The second U.S. proposal is that BWC parties would be required to accept a "reasonable number" of visits by a multinational team from the BWC implementing organization to "clarify an ambiguity, anomaly, omission or other issue related to their annual declaration." While such clarification visits could not be refused by the host country, they would be distinct from challenge inspections, which require a formal allegation of non-compliance. The option of requesting a clarification visit would make it more difficult for countries to cheat by not declaring facilities involved in proscribed activities.

During its January 1998 session, the AHG flagged two unresolved issues about clarification visits. First, should these visits be confined to declared facilities or should they apply to undeclared facilities as well? Even without evidence of a BWC violation, a clarification visit might be triggered by the failure to declare a relevant facility.

Second, who should have the right to initiate a clarification visit? All of the countries that support clarification visits endorse the idea that memberstates should be able to request them, but a subgroup (led by Britain) argues that the BWC implementing organization should also have the ability to call for and conduct clarification visits. If, for example, the organization's Technical Secretariat believes that a member-state has not provided accurate information about a relevant facility, it might submit a request for a clarification visit to the Executive Council. Some countries object to the British proposal on the grounds that if the Technical Secretariat has the power both to raise compliance concerns and to conduct inspections, it could find itself in a conflict of interest that could compromise its political neutrality.

Although the United States has proposed clarification visits as an alternative to random visits, the Western Europeans (together with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa) argue strongly for the desirability of both types of visits, which might differ with respect to timelines and the permitted use of sampling and analysis techniques. The Western group of states plans to meet before the next AHG meeting in early March in an attempt to hammer out an agreed position on nonchallenge visits, but it is likely that the tug-of-war over this issue will continue for some time.


Protection of Confidential Information

AHG members agree on the importance of protecting industrial trade secrets and national security information unrelated to BWC compliance, but they disagree on how to achieve this objective. In addition, the $100 billion U.S. pharmaceutical industry, the world's largest and most advanced, has serious concerns that onsite inspections under a compliance protocol could open the door to industrial espionage. PhRMA, which represents the largest U.S. drug manufacturers, contends that because the development of new medications is highly research intensive, pharmaceutical companies have far more valuable proprietary information at stake than makers of commodity chemicals. Since drug companies routinely invest millions of dollars to develop and test new medications, genetically engineered production micro-organisms and manufacturing processes, any inspection regime must include measures to safeguard proprietary information. To give but one example, the DNA sequences contained in the genetically engineered micro-organism that produces human insulin have been valued at more than $1 billion.

Many AHG countries endorse the concept of "managed access" devised for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), in which the inspection team and the host country negotiate the amount of access to be provided to sensitive areas of the inspected site. For example, facility managers might turn off computers, lock up documents, place cloth shrouds over sensitive items of equipment and specify where samples may be taken. In return for such limits on access, the inspected party would make "every reasonable effort" to provide alternative means of addressing the inspectors' compliance concerns. Some countries are also pushing for greater restrictions on access during facility inspections. At the September 1997 AHG meeting, Pakistan attacked the concept of managed access and proposed instead a more restrictive approach it termed "negotiated access." Referring to the precedent of the CTB Treaty, Pakistan called for restricted zones in which no access at all would be provided. China and Russia have also called for greater restrictions on access.

In an attempt to reassure the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, the White House fact sheet stresses that the United States will insist on "strong provisions" in the compliance protocol to protect confidential business information and constitutional rights, including the use of managed-access procedures and appropriate timelines. PhRMA, however, has been somewhat critical of the new initiative. According to Gillian Woollett, the association's assistant vice president for biologics and biotechnology, because a company's reputation could be seriously damaged by an unfounded allegation, a state-party must have a legitimate case before being allowed to request a clarification visit to a pharmaceutical plant. PhRMA also fears that hostile states could request clarification visits of industry facilities as a means of harassment—perhaps in retaliation for a challenge inspection—or industrial espionage.

Part of the problem is that PhRMA was not consulted during the development of the new U.S. negotiating position, exacerbating the lack of trust between the pharmaceutical industry and the NSC staff coordinating biological arms control policy. A positive model for industry involvement is the constructive role played by U.S. and other Western chemical industries during the negotiation of the CWC, which entered into force in April 1997. In 1978, the U.S. delegation to the talks had the farsighted idea of inviting representatives from the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA), the leading U.S. chemical trade association, to advise it on issues affecting the chemical industry. This relationship continued for several years and built a sense of trust and confidence on both sides. Other chemical trade associations from Australia, Western Europeand Japan also advised their respective delegations during the negotiations. As a result of CMA's extensive involvement in shaping the CWC's provisions on managed access and confidentiality, the association pledged its "unqualified support" for the treaty. This strong endorsement by the U.S. chemical industry later proved crucial in obtaining the Senate's advice and consent to ratification of the convention.

Until fairly recently, the NSC staff has not followed the positive example of the CWC by engaging the pharmaceutical industry on the BWC protocol. Instead of vetting ideas cooperatively with industry and developing a national outreach effort to educate company executives about the need to strengthen the BWC, the White House has largely excluded the pharmaceutical industry from the negotiating process. As a result, an antagonistic relationship has developed between PhRMA and the U.S. government—one that, unless repaired, could well derail the future ratification of the BWC protocol in the U.S. Senate. Although the NSC staff has recently taken some positive first steps to reach out to the pharmaceutical industry, much more work will be needed to build a cooperative relationship.


Technical Cooperation

The developing countries in the NAM group are most interested in Article X of the BWC, under which parties undertake to exchange biotechnology knowhow, materials and equipment for peaceful purposes. Indeed, developing countries that do not face an immediate threat from biological weapons tend to view the benefits of the compliance protocol primarily in economic rather than security terms.

The industrialized countries argue that the compliance protocol is not an appropriate framework for providing assistance in the peaceful uses of biotechnology. They do, however, favor providing expertise and infrastructure for effective implementation of the protocol. Possible areas of cooperation include biosafety and public health, such as improved epidemiological surveillance of emerging infectious diseases.



Several countries in the NAM group, including Brazil, China, India, Iran and Pakistan, want to eliminate controls on trade in biological pathogens and production equipment among BWC parties on the grounds that such restrictions are redundant and discriminatory. The chief focus of the NAM's ire is the Australia Group, an informal mechanism that enables 30 industrialized countries to harmonize their national export controls on chemical and biological weapons-related materials and production equipment. These trade controls are targeted specifically against countries suspected of producing biological weapons, including some BWC member-states.

The NAM countries would like to replace the Australia Group with a multilateral regime under the compliance protocol that would restrict trade solely with nonparties. According to a recent proposal by India, all parties to the BWC would have access to controlled biological pathogens andproduction equipment, with the sole proviso that they fill out an enduser certificate. Moreover, the only grounds for denying a stateparty access to sensitive technologies would be if the BWC organization finds the country in violation of the treaty. The Western industrialized countries, for their part, contend that the continued existence of the Australia Group is essential if they are to meet the non-transfer obligations in Article III of the BWC, which requires states-parties not to transfer, directly or indirectly, any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment or means of delivery banned by the treaty. While the export controls harmonized by the Australia Group are sometimes circumvented, they have generally played a useful role in impeding the ability of known proliferators to import dangerous biological agents and dual-use production equipment. Thus, Australia Group members are determined to resist efforts by the NAM countries to weaken Article III.

The contentious issues of technical assistance and nontransfer remain highly politicized and are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Such NorthSouth disputes have become increasingly prominent in multilateral arms control negotiations since the end of the Cold War, and center around differences of national interest between developed and developing countries with respect to trade in sensitive dual-use technologies.


Prospects for the Geneva Talks

The prospects for the AHG negotiations are mixed. Although the group has taken the important step of moving to a rolling text, the draft treaty is rife with disputed language and consists largely of parallel, mutually incompatible approaches rather than consensus text. Once the language of the rolling text has been converted into the appropriate legal format, the AHG will begin seeking compromise approaches to remove the brackets. Given the sharply divergent views among delegations, however, this will be a challenging task. Indeed, some countries are even objecting to "boilerplate" language that has already been incorporated into the CWC and the CTB Treaty.

The belated U.S. adoption of a negotiating position, however sketchy, should enable the U.S. delegation to play a more active role in Geneva, giving some impetus to the negotiations. Even so, the agreements reached among the departments of Defense, State and Commerce and the NSC staff are still at a high level of generality, and much additional interagency bargaining will be needed to develop more detailed proposals. For this reason, the chronic interagency conflicts within the U.S. government will probably continue to hamper progress in the AHG.

Given the numerous hurdles facing the negotiations, it is difficult to predict when the AHG will have made enough progress for national policymakers to set a firm deadline for concluding the protocol, moving the talks into the endgame phase. As has occurred with other multilateral treaty negotiations, such as the CWC and the CTB Treaty, at some point the chairman will prepare a "vision text" without brackets that seeks to broker workable compromises on all the key points of contention. After the vision text has been developed, several more months of negotiation may be required to conclude the treaty.

Before a vision text of the BWC protocol becomes possible, the rolling text will have to be mature, with all of the issues fully addressed in legal language. That goal is not likely to be reached for at least another year. The chairman will also face a problem of political timing, that is, how long to wait for national delegations to resove contentious issues before putting forward his own compromise proposals. Resolving the increasingly polarized debate over Article X, in particular, is likely to pose a formidable challenge to Ambassador Tóth's diplomatic skills.

In the current situation, it would take a major leap of faith for the chairman to move directly from the current muddle of brackets to a clean text. Thus, later this year Ambassador Tóth may ask the various FOCs to prepare compromise language for the less contentious sections while highlighting the "hotbutton" issues that remain to be resolved, such as random visits and redlight versus greenlight approval filters. These substantive policy issues might be broken out into alternative sections of treaty text. The chairman would then seek to broker trade-offs among the various hotbutton issues, with the ultimate goal of weaving together an overall vision text of the protocol that is acceptable to all delegations. During the CTB negotiations, for example, countries differed over the percentage vote within the Executive Council needed to approve a challenge inspection: one group proposed 51 percent, another 75 percent; they compromised on 60 percent.


Lessons From Iraq

Fortunately, many countries in the Ad Hoc Group now recognize the urgency of strengthening the BWC in light of Iraq's production of BW bombs and missile warheads prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and the attempted terrorist use of anthrax and botulinum toxin by the Japanese doomsday cult, Aum Shinrikyo. The highly intrusive "anywhere-anytime" inspection regime imposed on a defeated Iraq by the UN Security Council also provides some useful lessons for a future BWC compliance regime.

Although the inspections conducted by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) are far more intrusive than any conceivable negotiated regime, they have triggered a "theological" debate about the value of inspections. Critics argue that the inability of UNSCOM to find a "smoking gun" (such as filled biological munitions) demonstrates the limitations of inspecting biological weapons facilities, which are either easily hidden or dual-use and hence ambiguous. Admirers of UNSCOM counter that the commission has been remarkably successful at determining the full scale and scope of the Iraqi program through persistent detective work, despite a systematic effort by Baghdad to conceal evidence and limit access.

In particular, UNSCOM has demonstrated that auditing of plant records can be a powerful tool. The inspectors managed to uncover a shipment of 17 tons of imported bacterial culture medium that the Iraqis could not account for, providing strong circumstantial evidence for large-scale production of BW agents. UNSCOM staff have also made effective use of interviewing Iraqi officials to identify inconsistencies and poke holes in cover stories.

Although the AHG has now taken the significant step of moving to a rolling text, much clearly remains to be accomplished. The current relatively calm period of international relations offers a window of opportunity for transforming the BWC from a gentleman's agreement into enforceable international law. If this historical chance is lost or squandered, it may not recur for a long time.


For Further Reading

Cole, Leonard A. The Eleventh Plague: The Politics of Biological and Chemical Warfare, New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1997.

Kaplan, David E. and Andrew Marshall. The Cult at the End of the World: The Terrifying Story of the Aum Doomsday Cult, from the Subways of Tokyo to the Nuclear Arsenals of Russia, New York: Crown Publishers, 1996.

Terrorism with Chemical and Biological Weapons: Calibrating Risks and Responses, Brad Roberts, ed., The Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute, 1997.

Biological Weapons Proliferation: Reasons for Concern, Courses of Action, Amy E. Smithson, ed., The Henry L. Stimson Center, Report No. 24, January 1998, 136 pp.

Tucker, Jonathan B. "Putting Teeth in the Biological Weapons Ban," MIT's Technology Review, January/February 1998, pp. 38-45. (http://web.mit.edu/techreview/www/articles/jf98/tucker.html)


Verifying the BWC: The Pharmaceutical Industry's View

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is the leading trade association for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. On May 16, 1996, the PhRMA Executive Committee approved a statement supporting the goals and objectives of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), noting that a compliance protocol could help reduce the threat from biological weapons. At the same time, PhRMA expressed concern that proposed inspections of dual-capable industry facilities could compromise legitimate confidential business information, harm a company's good name if it were falsely accused of producing biological weapons, and result in onerous implementing regulations.

PhRMA issued a White Paper laying out its preferred approach to the BWC compliance protocol. The basic elements of the PhRMA approach are as follows:

On-site inspections must be limited to challenge inspections based on an alleged BWC violation. In PhRMA's view, visits to declared facilities have a low probability of detection or deterrence and are likely to result in significant costs to the facility, potential loss of confidential business information and adverse publicity.

Allegations that may result in a challenge inspection must be reviewed by a "green-light" approval mechanism. According to this approach, a three-quarter majority of the members of a BWC Executive Council would vote to approve a challenge inspection request on the basis of probable cause of a treaty violation. This approach would block frivolous or abusive requests for challenge inspections that fail to demonstrate probable cause.

"Managed access" must be employed during any on-site inspection. This method entails a negotiated agreement between the inspection team and the host facility with respect to the degree of access that will satisfy the team's compliance concerns, while protecting the site's legitimate proprietary information. The inspected facility must have the final determination of what is proprietary and therefore what information will be shared with the inspection team. Inspection teams must be qualified and the individual inspectors must be acceptable to the inspected state-party.

The pharmaceutical industry has no role in the Article X provisions of the BWC that encourage technology transfer, which are the sole responsibility of the participating governments.

The White Paper concludes that, "PhRMA is anxious to be an active participant and full partner with the United States Government to reduce the threat of biological warfare, while protecting confidential business information that permits our companies to discover, develop, manufacture and distribute solutions to health care problems." —J.B.T.


The Australia Group

The Australia Group (AG) is an informal group of 30 states whose mission is to impede the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons by adopting common export controls on relevant materials and production equipment and by sharing information on proliferation programs. The group was formed in 1984 in response to chemical weapons use during the Iran-Iraq War; it has no charter or constitution and operates by consensus. Current members are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and the European Commission (as an observer).

The AG develops lists of hazardous micro-organisms, toxins and equipment that could be used in a biological warfare program, so that export controls can be targeted at known or suspected proliferant states. The AG's Export Control Core List includes 20 viruses, 13 bacteria, four rickettsiae, 10 toxins and genetically modified micro-organisms derived from agents on the core list. In addition, a Control List of Dual-Use Biological Equipment covers a variety of items whose technical parameters make them particularly well suited for the production or testing of germ weapons, including stainless steel fermentation tanks, centrifugal separators, filtration equipment, freeze-drying equipment, biocontainment systems and aerosol inhalation chambers. In tandem with the "harmonized" export control list, the AG distributes to industry an informal "warning list" of dual-use materials and equipment. —J.B.T.


Jonathan B. Tucker directs the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which bans the development, production, stockpiling and ...


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