“Over the past 50 years, ACA has contributed to bridging diversity, equity, inclusion and that's by ensuring that women of color are elevated in this space.”
– Shalonda Spencer
Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation
June 2, 2022
Arms Control Today

Iraqi Missile Parts Arrive in U.S. for Tests

Parts from about 130 destroyed Iraqi missiles were shipped to the United States on March 9 for analysis to determine if Iraqi missile destruction complies with the UN mandate that ended the Persian Gulf War.

The missiles, which Iraq said it destroyed in April 1991 without UN supervision, may have included operational Soviet rocket motors as required by UN Security Council Resolution 687. But the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with implementing the mandate, suspects that Iraq may have substituted worthless replicas. To verify Iraqi compliance, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, head of UNSCOM, insisted on exhuming the missile parts for analysis by an international team of experts. The parts were sent via Bahrain on March 8 to a U.S. Department of Defense laboratory in Huntsville, Alabama, after an agreement for their removal was reached in Baghdad between Ekeus and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minsiter Tariq Aziz. UNSCOM expects metallurgical tests to show whether the missile parts came from functional Soviet produced systems, and whether critical components that Iraq cannot produce domestically were removed before the missiles were destroyed.

Patriot and Arrow Pass, THAAD Fails

The U.S. Army's improved Patriot ballistic missile defense system successfully intercepted a Scud missile target during a March 20 test in the central Pacific Ocean¾marking the system's second successful intercept of such a missile target in two attempts. The system, a more advanced version of the Patriot deployed during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, achieved its first intercept of a Scud class target on February 7.

In addition, on March 11, the U.S. Israeli Arrow II ballistic missile defense system successfully intercepted a missile target in Israel for the second time in two test attempts. The Arrow II system, which could be ready for limited deployment as early as 1998, achieved its first intercept of a missile target on August 20, 1996. Arrow II is designed to defend fixed sites in Israel against Scud type ballistic missile threats.

However, on March 6, the Army's mobile Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system failed to intercept a ballistic missile target at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, for the fourth consecutive time, seriously calling into question whether the system will be ready for initial deployment in 2004 as presently intended. THAAD's three previous intercept failures occurred on December 13, 1995, March 22, 1996, and July 15, 1996.

Air Force Deploys 'New' Earth Penetrating Warhead

On March 19, C. Paul Robinson, director of Sandia National Laboratories, testified before the strategic forces subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee that four complete retrofit kits of the B61 11 earth penetrating nuclear bomb were delivered to the Air Force in December 1996, permitting the United States to proceed with the retirement of the B53 (the oldest bomb in the stockpile). Although the exact number is classified, U.S. deployment of B61 11 bombs is expected to number in the tens.

Development of the B61 11 has been controversial. Some critics have argued that it would undermine the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty because it would be seen as a "new" weapon that was developed after the treaty's signature in September 1996. They contend that the B61 11 is a new weapon because it gives the United States a new capability¾to destroy deeply buried targets, such as command and control bunkers. The position of the U.S. government is that the B61 11 is only a modification of the existing B61 7 bomb and that it utilizes an existing nuclear package that has not required a nuclear test.

Some critics have also argued that development of the B61 11 may call into question U.S. "negative security assurances," whereby the United States has pledged not to use nuclear weapons against any non nuclear weapon state party to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unless attacked by such a state that is allied with a nuclear weapon state. Although subsequently repudiated, Harold Smith, assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, asserted in April 1996 that the B61 11 could be used to destroy a suspected underground chemical weapons facility under construction in Libya, a member of the NPT.

Majority Leader Emerges As Key To Fate of CWC in Senate

March 1997

By Erik J. Leklem

With the April 29 deadline for the Chemical Weapons Convention's (CWC's) entry into force approaching, prospects for Senate approval remain uncertain. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R MS) has emerged as the key to the fate of the CWC. His decisions over the next three weeks will determine whether the treaty reaches the floor for a vote, and his positioning on the treaty will determine whether the resolution of advice and consent receives the necessary two thirds vote of approval.

As of early April, negotiations continued not only between Lott and Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D SD) on scheduling a vote for the treaty, but also between National Security Advisor Samuel Berger and Lott with a task force of nine Republican senators, and between Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R NC) and Senator Joseph Biden (D DE), ranking minority member on the Foreign Relations Committee, over understandings on implementation of the treaty. These understandings are contained in a set of over 30 conditions that would accompany a resolution of advice and consent to ratification. However, several of these are "killer" conditions that could prevent the United States from depositing its instruments of ratification.

Daschle revealed that one such condition requires the ratification of the CWC by China, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria and by all state sponsors of international terrorism, before the president deposits the U.S. instruments of ratification. The administration opposes this, as it would give these countries "veto power" over U.S. participation in the treaty. Another would require the president to certify "that the intelligence community has a high degree of confidence in its ability to detect militarily significant violations of the treaty," where "militarily significant" is defined as one ton of agent. Administration witnesses have emphasized the extent to which the convention would enhance verification capabilitites, but have avoided more quantitative assessments at low levels. A third condition requires amending Articles X and XI of the treaty which opponents charge would require transfer of chemical weapons (CW) defense technologies to "rogue" states. The administration, cognizant of the fact the treaty cannot be amended under the current time line, has rejected this as "completely unrealistic," and sees sharing of chemical defense technologies as an option under the treaty, and not an obligation.

The role of Lott is conditioned on whether Helms exercises his senatorial power to block consideration of the CWC. If Helms allows the treaty to be reported out of or released from his committee, however, Lott's influence with undecided Republicans will be pivotal in the final vote.

President Bill Clinton sought to set the tone for the month's debate on the CWC at an April 4 White House South Lawn event. Clinton was joined by a bipartisan cast of speakers in favor of the treaty, including Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former Secretary of State James Baker, former Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker (R KS) and former Senator David Boren (D OK). Clinton urged the Senate to "rise to the challenge" of ratifying the CWC. Baker rebuffed opponents of the treaty, saying, "Frankly, the suggestion that George Bush and Ronald Reagan would negotiate a treaty detrimental to this nation's security is outrageous."

In response, Helms scheduled three hearings during the week of April 7 10 on the CWC. The first hearing, on April 8, starred four former secretaries of defense: Caspar Weinberger, James Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld and, by prepared statement, Richard Cheney. "The Senate is being asked to ratify the CWC even though it is likely to be ineffective, unverifiable, and unenforceable," Cheney wrote. Schlesinger emphasized specific problems by saying, "the U.S. is obliged to share (CW) technologies with Iran, Cuba and other such nations." Weinberger dismissed the importance of "norms" that would outlaw the development, stockpiling and use of CW. "I don't think for a moment that it would make the slightest difference to Saddam Hussein whether it was legal or illegal for him to use poison gas," he said.

Albright, who testified alone in support of the treaty the same day, since Helms limited the number of proponent witnesses, stressed "the imperative of American leadership" on the CWC, and that there would be "real costs" to not becoming an original party. She went on to refute assertions on the sharing of CW technology made by the former secretaries of defense, saying, "the CWC prohibits members from providing any assistance that would contribute to chemical weapons proliferation." In countering Weinberger, Albright stressed the importance of international norms and said, "the lowest common denominator is not enough. Those who abide by the law, not those who break it, must establish the rules by which all should be judged."

An additional hearing on April 9 underscored Helms' determination to have more critics of the treaty appear before his committee than proponents. Speaking against the treaty were Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Fred Ikle, former ACDA director; Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense; and Douglas Feith, former assistant secretary of defense. A panel of treaty supporters followed including retired General Brent Scowcroft, retired Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and retired Lieutenant General and former Ambassador Ed Rowny.

With less than three weeks before entry into force of the CWC, there will be little time to handle the treaty even if it leaves the committee for the Senate floor. Additional hearings, as promised by Helms, will only prolong the process. The prospects for timely consideration have been muddied further by the introduction of S.495, sponsored by Senator Jon Kyl (R AZ), an opponent of the treaty. Intended as an alternative to the CWC, the bill mandates sanctions on countries that use chemical or biological weapons. It is unilateral, domestic legislation outlawing chemical and biological weapons in the United States, but lacks the international scope of the convention. Daschle has rejected the bill outright and suggested it would receive a presidential veto, but the bill could provide enough political cover for undecided Republican senators wanting to avoid being labeled "pro poison gas" if they oppose the CWC.

Majority Leader Emerges As Key To Fate of CWC in Senate

111 States Consider Draft Treaty Banning Anti-Personnel Landmines

March 1997

By Sarah Walkling

After considering an Austrian draft of a treaty to ban anti personnel landmines, 111 states concluded their February 12-14 closed door meeting in Vienna by sending Austria back to the drawing board. The draft served as a starting point for the upcoming negotiations in the Canadian led "Ottawa Process" seeking to achieve a worldwide comprehensive ban on anti personnel landmines by December 4, 1997. The next version of the treaty, to be presented June 24 27 in Brussels, Belgium, will have to take into account many states' strong opposition to the draft's verification regime and disagreement over the timeline for landmine destruction.

Of the 34 opening plenary statements, approximately half—mostly by Latin American, African and Asian countries—expressed support for a total ban. The conference had before it a draft agreement obliging parties not to use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer (directly or indirectly) anti personnel landmines during armed conflicts and times of peace, or to provide assistance for such activities. Acquisition or retention of mines in "small amounts" would be permitted only for development and teaching of mine clearance, detection or destruction techniques. Debate arose over the comprehensiveness of the ban, with Cuba, Sri Lanka, Ecuador and South Korea defending their right to use landmines for self defense.

During the discussions following the plenary, almost all participating states supported a longer phase in period for mine stockpile destruction than the one year provided for in the draft. The proposed treaty also gave states five years after entry into force to destroy mines that they had already employed. If parties needed additional time to complete the destruction, they could defer compliance for one year (for stockpiles) or two years (for deployed mines). Under this schedule, mine stockpiles could be eliminated beginning in 2000.

Until mine destruction was complete, however, the draft stated that each party would send the UN secretary general annual reports on the number of anti personnel mines retained, their types, uses and areas of deployment. The reports were to include such technical information as types of fuses, lifetimes of mines, and general plans for clearing and destroying anti personnel land mines.

The strongest opposition to the draft arose over its intrusive inspection regime. Challenge inspections could be requested by any party of "any facility or location in the territory or in any other place under the jurisdiction or control" of any party whose compliance with the treaty came under suspicion. If a Board of Eminent Experts determined a request not to be "frivolous, abusive or clearly beyond the scope of this convention and the evidence sufficient," it would order the inspection within 24 hours after receiving the request. The draft did not specify how soon after the order was issued the inspection could take place.

None of the delegates expressed support for including any sort of verification regime to ensure treaty compliance. Arguments against a regime ranged from fear of intrusion by foreign inspectors to concern that such a regime could not be enforced.

Delegations from the United States, Russia, India, Pakistan, Cuba, Turkey and Finland attended the meeting only to observe the proceedings. Commenting on the final day of the meeting on the inactive role played by the observer countries, Ambassador Andre Meriner, the Belgian representative to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva said, "We do not expect this [Austrian] convention to be universal from the very beginning, we realize it may take a few years for some to join." Clinton administration officials have explained that their decision to simply observe reflected their preference for pursuing a ban at the CD. (See ACT, January/February 1997.) While Russia and China, the leading landmine producers, remain opposed to the Canadian led effort, the United States nevertheless sees a chance to negotiate with them as members of the CD, and to seek a ban that would include an exception for mines it uses on the Korean Peninsula.

On February 14, the 61 CD member states adopted a 1997 agenda which did not refer specifically to a global landmine ban. Although CD President Joun Yung Sun of South Korea inserted into the record the statement that "if there is a consensus in the Conference to deal with any issues they could be dealt with within this agenda," leaving the option open, consensus on adding a ban to the agenda appears unlikely this year. Several countries (including France, Germany, Italy, Australia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Chile, Romania and Hungary) joined the United States in pushing for negotiation of a landmine ban in the CD, but many of the non aligned states opposed such a move. Ambassador Stephen Ledogar, the outgoing U.S. representative to the CD, on February 14 said some developing countries have argued that landmines are "the poor man's weapons, and that the rich countries of the world are now trying to deprive them of this means of defense." The non aligned countries have argued that achieving a ban is a humanitarian issue and, thus, should not be addressed in the CD which is devoted to arms control. U.S. officials said that if they do not succeed in getting a landmine ban placed on the CD agenda by June 27, when the conference's second 1997 session ends, they will begin looking for alternative forums, which remain unspecified.

Ottawa Process parties will meet in June in Brussels, where they expect to review a second version of the proposed treaty. A final round of negotiations is scheduled for the end of September in Oslo, Norway. Already, 58 states have indicated that they intend to sign a treaty in December in Ottawa.

111 States Consider Draft Treaty Banning Anti-Personnel Landmines

NATO Presents Initial Proposal For Adaptation of CFE Treaty

March 1997

By Sarah Walkling

Reassuring Moscow that NATO's expansion will not threaten Russian security interests has become one of the main alliance objectives in negotiations to adapt the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty to post Cold War Europe. On February 20, NATO proposed replacing the now obsolete group structure of the treaty with national limits and reducing CFE equipment levels as two basic elements for adaptation of the accord.

In a press statement following the presentation of the proposal, the U.S. mission to NATO explained that "while NATO enlargement can proceed without Treaty adaptation, revisions will make it possible to integrate new members more fully into the Alliance military structures. CFE adaptation will also provide additional assurance to Russia and other states that NATO enlargement will not mean a destabilizing eastward shift in NATO's military capabilities."

Vladimir Andreyev, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said February 25 that Moscow welcomed the proposal. However, Andreyev added that the proposal did not fully address Russian concerns about the impacts of NATO enlargement and the contingency of NATO forward deployed combat forces.

Concluded in 1990 by the 16 NATO members and the Warsaw Pact, the CFE Treaty places equal numerical limits on five categories of heavy conventional weapons deployed or stored by the two groups between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. Individual countries negotiated their weapons "entitlements" from the overall limits, and the Commonwealth of Independent States divided Soviet entitlements among the new states after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Additional treaty sub limits on ground equipment (tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs) and artillery) within a series of concentric geographic zones and within a "flank" zone (southern and northern Europe) are designed to prevent destabilizing concentrations of forces.

CFE Beyond the Blocs

NATO's so called "Basic Elements for Adaptation of the CFE Treaty" attempts to respond to anomalies in the structure of the accord created by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and disintegration of the Soviet Union and to ease Russian concerns over the military implications of NATO expansion. The proposal calls for establishing national limits in place of group limits and for a significant decrease in the numbers of treaty limited equipment (TLE) in Europe below the current overall limits. Thus, under the NATO proposal, the total number of battle tanks, ACVs and combat aircraft permitted in Europe is likely to drop well below 40,000, 60,000 and 13,600, respectively.

The NATO proposal also introduces "territorial ceilings" comprised of the sum of national and stationed ground equipment permitted on the territory of a party. There may be exceptions to these ceilings, but only in the case of temporary deployments for activities such as military exercises and UN or Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe peacekeeping operations.

While the proposal drops the treaty's current geographic zones (with the exception of the flank zone), in an effort to alleviate Russian concerns about NATO forward stationing, it introduces a new zone in Central Europe which covers Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Slovakia, the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia and Ukrainian territory outside the flank zone. In this new Central European zone, the territorial ceilings will be no larger than current national entitlements. As a result, any stationing of NATO tanks, ACVs and artillery in this region would be significantly restricted or could take place only at the expense of national forces.

Significant' Reductions

In addition to calling on all parties to reduce entitlements, the proposal states that "the total of future aggregate national ceilings of ground TLE of [NATO's] 16 members will be significantly less under the adapted Treaty than their current group ceilings." NATO has not quantified these reductions, but Clinton administration officials have said they will go beyond the reductions that brought NATO down to its original CFE Treaty ceilings¾a five percent cut or approximately 3,500 pieces of ground equipment. NATO's aggregate actual holdings of tanks, ACVs and artillery are presently 30 percent below its group ceilings, leaving considerable room for such cuts.

The proposal also alters the current CFE Treaty provision that calls for an increase in one party's entitlement to be offset by a corresponding reduction by one or more parties belonging to the same group of states. With the elimination of the group structure, NATO proposes that redistribution of TLE allocations between states need only be agreed between the parties involved. Moscow, on the other hand, advocates approval of such changes by all treaty parties.

Finally, in response to Moscow's desire to eliminate the distinction between active and stored equipment, the NATO proposal suggests allowing parties to choose between two options: either keeping their storage allotments or eliminating at least 80 percent of these allotments and adding the remainder to active forces. Under this proposal, Russia could choose to eliminate approximately 3,000 stored weapons and transfer approximately 700 weapons from stored to active status. NATO states have very little equipment in storage in Europe and are likely to take at least part of their promised reduction in ground equipment by eliminating their storage allotments.

According to the March 21 "Joint U.S. Russian Statement on European Security" from the Helsinki summit, a framework agreement for an adaptation accord is expected "by late spring or early summer of 1997." If negotiators meet this first deadline, they will have an agreement prior to the Madrid NATO summit in July 1997, when NATO intends to invite the first new members into its ranks. Parties will go on to negotiate the details of adaptation in the year to 18 months prior to NATO integration of its new members.

NATO Presents Initial Proposal For Adaptation of CFE Treaty

U.S. Investigating Computer Exports To Russian Nuclear Weapons Labs

March 1997

By Howard Diamond

Anxious to test the safety and reliability of its nuclear arsenal without nuclear testing, Russia has acquired five American made supercomputers, according to Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM).

The acquisitions of the supercomputers for use in simulating nuclear explosions were deliberately publicized at a January 13 press conference by the head of MINATOM, Viktor Mikhailov. Russia claims to have four Silicon Graphics "Power Challenge L" deskside servers, together capable of more than 4,400 million theoretical operations per second (MTOPS), and one IBM Corporation RS 6000 SP system capable of 10,000 MTOPS.

Russian attempts to buy similar machines directly from IBM and the Convex Company, a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard, were turned down in October 1996 by the Commerce Department as inconsistent with U.S. export control policy. Official U.S. policy is not to provide either classified information or supercomputers to Russian stockpile security efforts.

The Gore Chernomyrdin Commission's Energy Policy Committee has held four meetings since December 1995 where U.S. and Russian experts have conferred on scientific cooperation related to maintaining the safety and reliability of nuclear arsenals under the terms of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). During the commission's eighth meeting in February 1997, collaboration on three joint projects was agreed to under the conditions that the scientists only work with unclassified information and on issues not directly tied to the development of nuclear weapons.

The four Silicon Graphics machines were sent in September 1996 to the All Russian Scientific Research Institute for Technical Physics, which is housed at Chelyabinsk 70, one of Russia's most prominent nuclear weapons laboratories. The computers, worth $650,000, were sold by Silicon Graphics without a license from the Commerce Department with the understanding they would be used for "modeling of earth water pollution caused by extension of radioactive substance." According to the company, in addition to getting this end use statement, the firm checked to make certain the Russian institute was not on the U.S. government's "Denied Parties List."

A Commerce Department spokesperson said that checking the Denied Parties List, while necessary, does not by itself fulfill an exporter's responsibility. "The law requires the exporter to know the customer. They should have called [the Commerce Department] if they weren't sure," the spokesperson said. Current export controls allow supercomputers capable of 2,000 to 7,000 MTOPS to be sold to Russia without a license from the Commerce Department, provided the seller makes certain that the end user is civilian and the computer's end use will not relate to weapons of mass destruction.

Little information is available about the $7 million IBM system, whose sale was reportedly arranged by a European middleman. According to Russian officials, the IBM machine, which was shipped to Arzamas 16, offers a 10 fold improvement in computing power over any previously used Russian system.

At the urging of U.S. computer manufacturers, the Clinton administration substantially loosened U.S. export controls on supercomputers in October 1995. The old limit for supercomputers had moved up slowly from 80 MTOPS in 1992 to 260 MTOPS in early 1994. The new regulations tie licensing requirements to concerns about proliferation, and shift much of the responsibility for assessing potential buyers to the exporters themselves. Friendly or allied countries face few or no restrictions, while "rogue" states are effectively excluded from all computer sales. In the middle are states like Russia, that either have weapons of mass destruction or are believed to be seeking them. For such countries, licensing and speed restrictions depend on the computer's proposed end use and end user.

The departments of Commerce and Justice are investigating the Silicon Graphics sale, and plan to send a team to Russia to conduct interviews and collect documents. The focus of the investigation will be on determining the intent and circumstances of the sale, specifically, to see if the California based company made a mistake or was duped. Silicon Graphics has said it is cooperating with the government's inquiry and maintains it "fully complied with the law in making this export."

Supercomputers can be used to test mathematical models of nuclear explosions, which, by comparing data from the models to data from actual tests and expected values, can be used to assess the safety and reliability of stockpiled weapons. Officials responsible for managing nuclear stockpiles depend on computer modeling to determine if weapons that have undergone changes due to aging or environmental factors will still perform reliably. Computer modeling is also critical to assessing new warhead designs without testing.

U.S. Investigating Computer Exports to Russian Nuclear Weapons Labs

Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission Expands Cooperative Measures

March 1997

By Craig Cerniello

In a prelude to the U.S. Russian summit in Helsinki, Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met in Washington on February 6 and 7 for the eighth session of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, commonly known as the Gore Chernomyrdin Commission. During this session, the United States and Russia signed a joint statement on nuclear materials security and continued to make progress on other arms control related matters, such as implementation of the 1993 highly enriched uranium (HEU) purchase agreement.

Joint Statement on MPC&A

In an effort to improve the security of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, then Acting Secretary of Energy Charles Curtis and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhailov co chairmen of the Energy Policy Committee, one of the commission's eight committees signed a joint statement on February 7 that reaffirms each side's commitment to the bilateral nuclear materials protection, control and accounting (MPC&A) program and includes the Instrument Research Institute (Lytkarino) in the program beginning this year. As a clear indication of the progress that has been made thus far, the sides noted that 15 Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MIN ATOM) facilities were incorporated into the MPC&A program during the previous three sessions of the Gore Chernomyrdin Commission. Six additional MINATOM facilities also engage in MPC&A related activities through a cooperative program between each side's nuclear laboratories, known as the "lab to lab" program. A total of 44 sites in the former Soviet Union participate in the MPC&A program.

HEU Purchase Agreement

According to the Energy Policy Committee report, signed by Curtis and Mi khailov on February 7, the sides continue to make progress in implementing their HEU agreement, which requires the United States to purchase over a period of 20 years 500 metric tons of HEU that has been removed from dismantled former Soviet nuclear warheads and blended down to low enriched uranium (LEU) suitable for use in commercial nuclear reactors. In 1995 and 1996, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the executive agent of the agreement for the U.S. government, purchased the LEU equivalent of 18 metric tons of HEU from Russia.

The committee report referred to an amendment to the HEU agreement, reached in November 1996, that establishes set prices and quantities for the LEU shipments through the year 2001, thereby allowing the USEC to purchase the LEU equivalent of an additional 132 metric tons of HEU over the next five years. (See ACT, November/December 1996.) As part of this amendment, Russia has been awarded an advance payment of $100 million against future deliveries and enhanced transparency measures have been successfully concluded to help assure that the LEU blended down in Russia is actually derived from dismantled nuclear weapons instead of existing HEU stockpiles.

Enhanced Transparency

These enhanced transparency measures, which were signed during the fifth session of the Transparency Review Committee in December 1996, will ensure that U.S. equipment is installed to continuously monitor the enrichment and flow of uranium at the blendpoint at both the Ural Electrochemical Integrated Enterprise in Novouralsk, Russia, and the new Krasnoyarsk Electrochemical Plant blending facility. This new enrichment and flow measurement equipment will be installed at the Russian blending facilities beginning in March 1997 and will be completed this summer.

Furthermore, these enhanced transparency measures will provide the United States with significantly greater access to the facility in Seversk. As of January 1997, U.S. monitors now have access to the receipt and storage area for HEU weapons components arriving from Russian dismantlement facilities and have the right to perform radiation measurements on HEU weapon components, HEU metal chips produced from weapons components and HEU oxide. U.S. monitors will also have access to new documents at Seversk to track HEU at each step of the conversion process. The U.S. government maintains that implementation of these enhanced transparency measures "will provide greatly increased confidence that U.S. non proliferation objectives are being met, in other words, that HEU from weapons is being blended to LEU."

In 1997, the USEC is scheduled to receive 10 shipments consisting of approximately 482 metric tons of LEU derived from 18 metric tons of HEU. As of early April, the first two shipments of the year were in transit.

Other Issues

In addition, the Energy Policy Committee reported on the on going construction of a fissile material storage facility at Mayak, which is being funded under the Defense Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) or "Nunn Lugar" security assistance program. The Mayak facility, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 1998, will be capable of storing the fissile material from approximately 12,500 dismantled former Soviet nuclear warheads. (The facility will store 50,000 containers of fissile materials, with each warhead occupying up to four separate containers). Although construction of the Mayak facility is proceeding on schedule, the committee report cautioned that "funding and taxation issues" could inhibit its completion. The Clinton administration has requested $64.7 million in fiscal year 1998 CTR funds for the facility.

The committee also noted that a new agreement has been reached in principle to allow the core conversion of the three plutonium producing reactors in Russia. Under the original 1994 agreement, Russia was obligated to shut down the three reactors by the year 2000. Negotiations on a new agreement, which would allow Moscow to operate the reactors as long as their cores were converted, became necessary because Russia claimed that it needed to operate the reactors to provide heat for neighboring cities. Details of the new agreement are still being worked out by the sides.

The Energy Policy Committee also reported on U.S. Russian scientific cooperation related to maintaining the safety and security of nuclear weapons stockpiles under the recently concluded Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, as well as bilateral cooperation on the disposition of weapons plutonium.

Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission Expands Cooperative Measures

U.S. and Soviet/Russian Strategic Forces

START I was signed July 31, 1991, and entered into force on December 5, 1994. Under the treaty, the five parties—the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine—semi-annually exchange memorandum of understanding (MOU) data providing numbers, types, and locations of accountable strategic nuclear weapons. The table below compares the number of START-accountable deployed warheads declared in the Seprember 1990 MOU with data from the January 1997 MOU, demonstrating the progress the parties have made in nuclear force reduction thus far.

—For more information, contact ACA.


U.S. Strategic Forces:

Warheads by Delivery System1





MX 500 500
Minuteman III 1,500 1,770
Minuteman II 450 115
Total 2,450 2,385
Poseidon (C-3) 1,920 320
Trident I (C-4) 3,072 1,664
Trident II (D-5) 768 1,920
Total 5,760 3,904
B-52 (ALCM) 1,968 1,656
B-52 (Non-ALCM) 290 56
B-1 95 93
B-2 0 17
Total 2,353 1,822
Total Warheads 10,563 8,111

Soviet/Russian Strategic Forces:

Warheads by Delivery System1

  September 19902 January


SS-11 326 0
SS-13 40 0
SS-17 188 0
SS-18 3,080 1,860
SS-19 1,800 1,020
SS-24 silo 560 100
SS-24 rail 330 360
SS-25 288 360
Total 6,612 3,700
SS-N-6 192 16
SS-N-8 280 208
SS-N-17 12 0
SS-N-18 672 624
SS-N-20 1,200 1,200
SS-N-23 448 448
Total 2,804 2,496
Bear (ALCM) 672 504
Bear (Non-ALCM) 63 10
Blackjack 120 48
Total 855 562
Total Warheads 10,271 6,758

Strategic Forces on Non-Russian Territory1

  Belarus Kazakhstan Ukraine
ICBMs 0 0 414 (SS-19)

460 (SS-24)

SLBMs 0 0 0
Bombers 0 0 200 (Bear)

152 (Blackjack)

Total 0 0 1,226


1. Warhead attributions are based on START I counting rules. This results in bombers having fewer warheads attributed to them than they actually carry. On the other hand, even though all nuclear warheads from Ukraine have been removed to Russia, they remain START-accountable until the delivery systems have been destroyed. [Back to Table 1 , 2 or 3]

2. Includes weapons in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. [Back to Table]

3. Weapons in Russia only. [Back to Table]

Sources: START I Memorandum of Understanding, January 1, 1997; ACA.

The Arms Control Agenda At the Helsinki Summit

Jack Mendelsohn and Craig Cerniello

AFTER AGREEING to disagree on the desirability and acceptability of NATO enlargement, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin reached agreement on a number of arms control issues during their March 20 21 summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

In an effort to address Russian concerns over the residual force levels and timing of reductions of START II, the two presidents agreed once START II enters into force to begin immediately negotiations on a START III agreement which would reduce deployed strategic warheads by 1,000 below START II levels. In addition, they agreed to extend by five years the deadline for reaching START II levels for deployed strategic warheads.

In a "Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces" (see p. 19), the presidents agreed that the START III negotiations will include four basic components: a limit of 2,000 2,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads for each side by the end of 2007; measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories as well as to the destruction of strategic warheads; conversion of the current START agreements to unlimited duration; and the "deactivation" by the end of 2003 of all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles to be eliminated under START II.

In a separate "Joint Statement Concerning the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty" (see p. 20), agreement was also reached in principle on the next steps in the effort to regulate the deployment of higher velocity (above 3 kilometers per second) theater missile defense (TMD) systems which are permitted by, but some fear could circumvent, the 1972 ABM Treaty. On the basis of the joint statements on START II/III and higher velocity TMD systems, Yeltsin pledged to seek the prompt ratification of START II by the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.


START III Guidelines

In the joint statement on future nuclear force reductions, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to a set of basic principles for a START III agreement, to be negotiated as soon as START II enters into force and designed to respond to the Duma's concern that START II will require a prohibitively expensive restructuring and buildup of Russian strategic nuclear forces. Members of the Duma have vigorously complained that by eliminating all its MIRVed ICBMs—multiple warhead, land based missiles which currently constitute 50 percent of Russia's strategic nuclear forces—START II would require it to build several hundred single warhead ICBMs in order to maintain numerical parity with the United States at the permitted 3,500 warhead ceiling.

The joint statement seeks to respond to this objection by limiting the United States and Russia under a new START III agreement to a level of 2,000 2,500 strategic nuclear warheads each by December 31, 2007—thereby reducing the need for Russia to build up as rapidly and extensively its single warhead ICBM force to maintain numerical parity. Assuming both sides had deployed the maximum number of permitted warheads under both treaties, the new START III level represents a 28 percent reduction from START II.

A second basic element of START III is agreement that, as both sides reduce their strategic nuclear arms to lower levels, measures should be taken to assure the irreversibility of those reductions. The joint statement calls for measures that would increase the transparency of each side's strategic nuclear warhead stockpiles as well as measures that would provide for the actual elimination of strategic warheads. If this element is successfully negotiated, START III would be the first agreement to require each side to destroy warheads in addition to strategic nuclear delivery systems.

The third basic element of START III would convert both START I and II (along with III) to treaties of unlimited duration. As currently written, START I—which is now multi lateral—and START II remain in effect for a period of 15 years and are renewable for five year periods.

As a final element of START III, the sides agreed that all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles to be eliminated under START II will be deactivated no later than December 31, 2003, "by removing their nuclear warheads or taking other jointly agreed steps." This provision steps back from the September 1994 U.S. Russian statement on strategic stability and nuclear security, which called for such deactivations once the treaty had been ratified, but still renders the systems non operational, although not in an irreversible fashion, four years before they are required to be eliminated.

The Helsinki statement also notes that in the context of START III negotiations, the United States and Russia will "explore, as separate issues possible measures relating to nuclear long range sea launched cruise missiles [SLCMs] and tactical nuclear systems." (Emphasis added.) Russia apparently raised the issue of limits on nuclear SLCMs because, although these systems are not currently deployed by the United States, they are only loosely limited in a politically binding declaration that accompanies START I. The United States sought discussions on tactical nuclear systems, where the Russians may have as much as a 10 fold numerical advantage, primarily to better understand the extent of implementation by Moscow of its 1991 and 1992 pledges to withdraw large numbers of tactical weapons from its operational forces.

Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin also agreed in Helsinki that the United States and Russia will "consider the issues related to transparency in nuclear materials." Thus, the sides will not only address strategic nuclear warhead stockpile and warhead elimination transparency (presumably at the dismantlement facility), but will also explore transparency measures pertaining to the fissile materials that have been extracted from dismantled warheads. Overall, these measures would significantly improve accountability and both sides ability to monitor the strategic nuclear infrastructure of the other.


Extending the START II Deadline

Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin also agreed to extend the deadline for the elimination of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles under START II to December 31, 2007—five years beyond the original January 1, 2003 deadline. Although the United States and Russia are already well ahead of schedule in implementing START I, this five year extension is intended to help overcome the Duma's concern that Moscow will not have enough time and money to destroy, restructure and replace its strategic forces under START II by the beginning of 2003. Because START I only entered into force in December 1994, Duma critics point out that scheduled reductions under that treaty will not be completed until December 2001 (seven years after entry into force), leaving Russia with only one year to eliminate the large number of MIRVed systems banned by START II. Under the new agreement, the United States and Russia will have 10 years (1997 2007) to complete their respective nuclear force reductions under START II and III. This corresponds to the 10 year implementation period originally agreed to in START II (January 1993 to January 2003) but, since START II and III are now to be co terminous, will result in at least 1,000 fewer deployed strategic warheads.

More significantly, by easing budgetary and restructuring pressures on Moscow, the extension of START II provides Russia with additional time to evaluate the impact of NATO enlargement and U.S. TMD deployments on its national security. Russian critics of START II have argued against Russia's elimination of its MIRVed ICBM force in 2003 on the eve of U.S. deployment of highly capable TMD systems. (The Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is scheduled to be deployed in 2004.) Now, even though all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles to be eliminated under START II must be deactivated by the end of 2003, Russia can delay their actual elimination (in particular, the large force of 10 warhead SS 18s) and thus retain a "hedge" against unfavorable or unforeseen strategic developments.

The joint statement notes that after the extension of the START II reduction schedule has been approved by the Duma as part of the normal ratification process, it must also be approved by the U.S. Senate, which gave its advice and consent to the treaty in January 1996 based on the original deadline.


ABM and TMD Issues

In the "Joint Statement Concerning the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty," Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin reaffirmed the May 10, 1995 principles for agreement on demarcation between ABM and TMD systems. (See ACT, June 1995.) These principles include a commitment to the ABM Treaty, viewed as a "cornerstone of strategic stability," as well as the understanding that each side has the right to deploy effective TMD systems as long as they do not violate or circumvent the treaty.

In addition, the principles permit each side to deploy TMD systems as long as they do not "pose a realistic threat to the strategic nuclear force of the other side" (the so called "force on force" criterion) and are not tested to give such systems that capability. The principles also prohibit the United States and Russia from deploying TMD systems for use against each other, and state that the "scale of deployment"—in number and geographic scope—"will be consistent with theater ballistic missile programs confronting that side" (a "commensurate with the threat" criterion).

During their meeting, in what was characterized by the United States as "a major breakthrough," the two presidents also reached an agreement in principle governing the status of higher velocity TMD systems under the ABM Treaty. Prior to the Helsinki summit, the United States and Russia had been far apart on the ABM TMD demarcation issue with Russia seeking explicit limits on more capable TMD systems and the United States prepared to agree only to a very general set of confidence building measures related to TMD plans, programs and deployments.

In June 1996, the five parties to the Geneva based Standing Consultative Commission (SCC)—the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine—reached a preliminary "phase one" agreement that would have acknowledged as compliant the deployment of lower velocity TMD systems, such as the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC 3) and THAAD systems. (See ACT, July 1996.) The sides were scheduled to sign the phase one agreement in October 1996 but the signing ceremony was canceled at the last minute when Russia announced that it was not prepared to allow the agreement to enter into force until a "phase two" agreement covering higher velocity TMD systems, such as the Navy Theater Wide TMD system, had been negotiated. (See ACT, October 1996.) The SCC reconvened in February 1997 but was unable to resolve these differences before Helsinki.

The Helsinki joint statement basically reflects the U.S. position that explicit limits on TMD should relate only to targets and testing and not to the systems themselves. The statement notes that there are four elements to the phase two agreement on higher velocity TMD systems. The first two elements allow the United States and Russia to deploy higher velocity TMD systems provided that they are not tested against ballistic missile targets with velocities above 5 kilometers per second or ranges that exceed 3,500 kilometers. The third element prohibits each side from developing, testing or deploying space based TMD interceptors or components based on other physical principles (such as lasers) that can substitute for such interceptors. Finally, the sides agreed to exchange "detailed" information related to their TMD plans and programs on an annual basis.

The joint statement further notes that neither side "has plans" to flight test higher velocity TMD systems against ballistic missile targets before April 1999; to deploy TMD systems with interceptor velocities above 5.5 kilometers per second for land based and air based systems or 4.5 kilometers per second for sea based systems; to test TMD systems against ballistic missile targets equipped with MIRVs; or to test TMD systems against strategic ballistic missile reentry vehicles.

The presidents also agreed to continue consultations through the SCC on TMD related matters, including "any questions or concerns either side may have regarding TMD activities, including matters related to the agreement to be completed on higher velocity systems." The U.S. side maintains that these consultations would not give either side a veto over the other side's TMD programs. The joint statement also repeats another theme of the May 1995 statement, noting that there is "considerable scope" for U.S. Russian cooperation in TMD efforts, including the possibility of collaboration on early warning information and technology cooperation in areas related to TMD.

As drafted, the Helsinki joint statement addresses some, but clearly not all, of Russia's previously stated requirements for a phase two agreement on higher velocity TMD systems. According to a letter to then Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov proposed that a phase two agreement include maximum speed limits for interceptors, a ban on space based tracking and guidance sensors, and explicit limits on the number and geographic deployment of high velocity TMD systems. (See ACT, July 1996.) These key Russian conditions were notably absent from the Helsinki agreement. As a result, there has been considerable uncertainty as to how the phase two agreement will be received in the Duma (which generally remains skeptical of U.S. TMD efforts) and among the key officers of the Strategic Rocket Forces (who have traditionally been strong supporters of the ABM Treaty), and some speculation that these demands could resurface in the SCC.


Congress Denounces TMD Agreement

Despite the fact that it essentially adopted the U.S. position, the Helsinki joint statement on high velocity TMD systems still drew a strong negative reaction from several Republican members of Congress. In a March 23 joint statement, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R GA), Representative Bob Livingston (R LA) and Representative Chris Cox (R CA) argued that the agreement "will halt the development of the most effective possible ballistic missile defense," a reference to space based systems. "If allowed to stand, this agreement will place the lives of our brave fighting men and women—and ultimately millions of Americans—in jeopardy," they asserted.

Just days before the Helsinki summit, congressional opposition to any effort to negotiate on TMD had intensified. On March 19, the House Republican Policy Committee, which is chaired by Representative Cox, adopted a unanimous policy statement that offers a scathing critique of the Clinton administration's missile defense policies. On that day, Representative Curt Weldon (R PA) along with five other House Republicans wrote a letter to President Clinton expressing their "strong opposition" to measures that would impose limitations on U.S. TMD systems. Then, in a March 20 letter to President Clinton, Gingrich and four other House Republicans expressed their "deep concern" that the United States might propose at the summit restrictions on TMD deployments as well as measures that would multilateralize the ABM Treaty.


The Administration Responds

In the days immediately after the Helsinki summit, the Clinton administration responded to these congressional critics. On March 24, in a White House briefing clearly provoked by the March 23 joint statement, Robert Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, refuted several "misconceptions" related to the ABM TMD demarcation issue. In response to the claim that the administration's position on demarcation has resulted in the "dumbing down" of U.S. TMD capabilities, Bell argued that the Helsinki agreement will allow the United States to deploy all six of its planned, "core" TMD systems. These systems include the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability 2 (PAC 2) upgrade, an improvement of the system deployed during the Persian Gulf war; PAC 3 (formerly ERINT); THAAD; Navy Area Defense; Navy Theater Wide Defense; and the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which is being developed by the United States, Germany and Italy for deployment by NATO. With the exception of the Navy Theater Wide TMD system, which has already been judged compliant with the ABM Treaty by the U.S. national review process, all of these systems were deemed compliant on the basis of last year's phase one agreement covering TMD systems with lower velocity interceptors (up to 3 kilometers per second).

In a March 27 address to the Navy League, Secretary of Defense William Cohen argued that the ABM agreement "does not impinge on the development, testing or deployment of any of our planned TMD systems" and "places no limitation on the speed of the TMD interceptors." Rejecting the notion that there is a distinction between space based interceptors deployed on TMD or ABM systems, Cohen argued—as had Bell—that the agreement's prohibition on the former is not a new restriction on U.S. missile defense capabilities because the ABM Treaty already explicitly bans space based ABM interceptors.

Other critics in the missile defense debate, however, argue that the administration's position on high velocity TMD systems will almost certainly have a deleterious impact on the ABM Treaty in the long term. Although the Helsinki agreement places limitations on the parameters of ballistic missile targets and prohibits space based TMD interceptors, these critics argue that it would allow the United States and Russia to deploy highly capable TMD systems, in the Russian case with nuclear warheads, that could have inherent capabilities against strategic ballistic missiles, become the base for a nationwide defense, undercut the ABM Treaty, and complicate efforts to achieve further nuclear force reductions.

The SCC is likely to reconvene in early May, when it will begin the process of transforming the Helsinki joint statement into a formal phase two agreement on high velocity TMD. During his press briefing, Bell indicated that the agreement would contain only the four elements specified in the joint statement and would require approval by Congress—National Security Advisor Samuel Berger subsequently indicated that the administration would request Senate advice and consent—and the Duma. Based on the initial negative congressional and uncertain Duma reaction to the agreement, however, the Clinton and Yeltsin administrations may both face—for different reasons—an uphill battle in winning such approval.


Subscribe to RSS - Arms Control Today