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May 19, 2021
Documents & Reports

Iran's Nuclear Program and Diplomatic Options to Contain It










9:30–11:00 A.M.


Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.
Edited by the Arms Control Association


DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good morning, everyone.  My name is Daryl Kimball.  I’m the executive director of the Arms Control Association, and many of you here know about ACA.  But for those of you who don’t, we are a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research and public education organization, and we are dedicated to practical strategies to eliminate the chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons threat.  And we’re also pleased to publish the monthly journal, Arms Control Today, copies of which I think you have. 

I want to welcome you this morning to this briefing, which is going to focus on Iran’s nuclear program and what can be done to contain it.  We’re meeting at a very important juncture.  Just yesterday, as you all know, the U.S. intelligence community released its update of its National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s nuclear intentions and capabilities. 

And as you’ve probably read by now, the report says the intelligence community has high confidence that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has moderate confidence the halt continues today.  The report concludes that this is primarily in response to international pressure, but the NIE reports acknowledges that it is unclear whether, and for how long, Tehran is willing to maintain that halt of its nuclear weapons program while it weighs its options.

In other words, there is time to find a diplomatic solution.  But for how long will this condition last, and how can we persuade Iran to curtail or suspend its most sensitive nuclear activities, enrichment activities, in particular?  We may never know.  In my view, if leaders in Tehran are going to do this, if leaders in Washington and other key capitals don’t find a way that tests whether a new round of direct negotiations can lead to a settlement that contains Iran’s sensitive activities, and reintroduces more extensive (International Atomic Energy Agency) IAEA additional protocol inspections. 

Now, as we know, for the last couple of years, rather than engage Iran in a broad-based dialogue, the Bush administration has said it will only negotiate if Iran complies with the UN Security Council calls to suspend its uranium enrichment and heavy-water reactor projects.  The (European Union’s) EU’s point man on this issue, Javier Solana, has met with the Iranians, but in my view, what he’s been doing is he's essentially been reiterating the demand to suspend.  And although divided on tactics, the Iranians appear to be more determined than ever to pursue their uranium enrichment program and to build their heavy-water reactor at Arak. 

Last week, Iran’s new nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, told Javier Solana that all diplomatic offers were essentially null and void.

Now, U.S. and European diplomats may eventually  find a way to reach agreement at the Security Council for tougher sanctions, a third round of sanctions vis-à-vis Iran, but Iran’s nuclear program appears to be moving faster than Iran will be decisively influenced by such sanctions, especially if oil prices remain at just below $100 a barrel.

Now, I believe – and this is my view, our speakers might have other views, other perspectives – that the U.S. and other key Security Council members might go ahead and seek to impose still tougher sanctions, but they must also engage in a comprehensive, serious, and sustained direct dialogue with Iran’s leaders now, even if Iran has not yet suspended its enrichment program. 

And the focus needs to be on limiting its program to its current research level, around 3,000 centrifuges – David Albright will talk about this in a moment – and to try to make sure that the IAEA has the capability to inspect Iran’s facilities under the terms of the Additional Protocol. 

Now, this morning, our three panelists are going to explore these and other issues, and they may offer some different approaches, as I said, to what I’ve outlined.  They’re going to report on what we know about Iran’s nuclear program and discuss the diplomatic options that have been explored and might be explored in order to contain it. 

Now, first, we’re going to hear from David Albright, who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a leading independent authority on the Iranian nuclear weapons program – nuclear program and its history.  David has co-written an in-depth article that appears in the November issue of Arms Control Today that outlines the progress and the challenges facing Iran’s nuclear program.  And I think he’s also going to discuss a little bit, David, the perils of military strikes against Iran’s facilities. 

Next, we’re going to hear from Dr. Hans-Peter Hinrichsen, who is the first secretary, political affairs at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany here in Washington.  Dr. Hinrichsen has worked in the German diplomatic service for 13 years, with four years covering specifically nuclear nonproliferation issues for the Foreign Office in Berlin.  He is going to discuss Germany’s perspective on options to address Iran’s nuclear program and, in the context of Berlin’s role in consultations with the EU-3 and the Security Council, the prospects and the dynamics of the negotiations on additional sanctions. 

And then to clean up is a friend of the Arms Control Association, Joe Cirincione.  He’s a senior fellow and director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress.  He’s traveled to Iran earlier this – and earlier this year, he wrote the Center for American Progress’ report "Contain and Engage." 

Now, following each of their remarks, we’ll take your questions and answers, and because of the difficulties with the sound system here, we’ll be coming up to the microphone to answer those questions. 

So with that, David, I’ll turn over the podium to you, and be careful navigating with your paperwork. 

DAVID ALBRIGHT:  Thank you very much.  Iran continued – well, let me start with saying I’d like to summarize – four points I’ll make and then I’ll go back through those points in a somewhat circuitous route, making those points again and some others. 

Iran continues to make progress on developing a nuclear weapons capability that could produce weapons-grade uranium relatively quickly following the decision to do so.  Efforts to obtain a suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment program remain valid and urgent. 

The second point I’d like to make – and Darryl touched on this – is that inspections of Iran’s nuclear program continue to weaken.  The IAEA knows less and less about what is going on inside the nuclear program in Iran.  Therefore, there is a need to convince Iran to re-implement the Additional Protocol and the additional transparency measures that have been identified by the IAEA. 

Third point, revelations in the National Intelligence Estimate about the assessed lack of covert uranium enrichment, conversion and weaponization facilities after the fall of 2003, bring the U.S. intelligence community into line with those of many others, including the IAEA, some of the European countries, and independent experts.  These groups assessed several years ago that they were unlikely to be significant covert uranium-enrichment capabilities after the fall of 2003. 

The last point, which I’ll touch upon probably less than the others, is that military options appear increasingly unnecessary and counterproductive, and I believe personally – and I guess Jackie and I state in our article – they should simply be taken off the table. 

In the last year, Iran went from operating and enriching uranium in about 300 centrifuges to 3,000.  Progress continues at the Natanz enrichment plant.  The centrifuges are operating at less than optimal, and the challenge now for Iran is to get these 3,000 centrifuges enriching uranium at a more acceptable level.  And in this article that’s available, you can – we chart out some of the progress they’ve made on producing low enriched uranium and then project some scenarios about how fast they can produce it in the future. 

But I want to make the point: it is moving forward and that in the last year, we would assess that they concentrated on getting the 3,000 centrifuges installed, which looking back a year ago, was quite a feat.  Now, they would concentrate on getting those centrifuges to work better.  And I don’t think that it’s outside – and so I guess one of the first points I want to make is that I would disagree with some of the statements in the NIE that talk about they’ll need at least six to eight years before they could produce, in essence, a significant amount of enriched uranium. 

The NIE uses the term highly enriched uranium, but if they – if Iran could produce a significant amount of low enriched uranium on a continuous basis in those 3,000 centrifuges, it can also make highly enriched uranium in a sufficient quantity for a nuclear weapon. 

So I think – just to reiterate, I think that the NIE is, in a way, on the timeline, as you can read into almost anything you want.  They’ve even introduced the possibility of 2009, but I would disagree with some of the assessments in there that say it's no sooner than 2013, perhaps later than 2015.  And I – we have to take questions on that. 

At any point – any case, whatever they have – will have a nuclear weapons capability, they will have the ability to produce weapons-grade uranium relatively quickly at that point because gas centrifuges are so flexible.  And therefore, when the NIE says that Iran could reverse course at any point, unfortunately, it can reverse course and once it’s competent in operating the gas centrifuges, move to make highly enriched uranium relatively quickly. 

And that’s one of the reasons why I continue to believe that it’s important to argue with Iran and to try to achieve a suspension and not to accept the current level of enrichment, particularly if they continue to improve the production in those centrifuges. 

And complicating the entire situation has been Iran’s refusal to continue implementing the Additional Protocol, as you're all aware.  And what that means in concrete terms is – and the IAEA has said that – is they’re no longer able to tell us whether Iran has – well, they use a term, an absence of undeclared activities.  What it means in practical terms is, Iran could be building the gas centrifuge plant in secret and they wouldn’t have much chance of detecting it. 

And unfortunately, the inspections in Iran have gone back to the level that were imposed in the 1980s on states, and in fact, are somewhat similar to those that existed in Iraq in the late 1980s, when the IAEA was unable to detect Iraq’s secret nuclear weapons program, and particularly where those kinds of activities were taking place.  And so without getting more transparency in Iran, it’s going to be very difficult to know what they’re doing. 

Another example is the IAEA no longer knows where Iran makes centrifuge components or how many it makes.  And IAEA people had said last – early this year that they – the technical people – these are people, who’d worked – in one case, worked in Iranco, people who’d been on the ground in Iran – that Iran was able to make all the centrifuge components now. 

It took them many years to master that, but that they could make the centrifuge components and they had quite a supply of parts, at least sufficient for several thousand, perhaps up to 10,000, which means that Iran is now, we know, making centrifuge components in secret, but we don’t know where and we don’t know how many.  And so you lose the ability to know is Iran building a covert plant. 

The NIE was rather weak on this point.  It’s – the language is probably – it has moderate confidence that the nuclear weapons program, which could imply covert enrichment plants, did not restart as of mid-2007.  And I would say that moderate confidence – and another part of the NIE has just interpreted it as probably, but in fact, it’s not a very sound assurance that something isn’t going on.

And in fact, it mirrors the IAEA statements that without more inspections, without the Additional Protocol, without additional measures, the IAEA simply can’t answer that question.  And Iran, in a sense, is free to decide what to do and there’s a little chance of being detected.  And there's – also Iran has exempted itself from a certain condition in the safeguards – traditional safeguards – that it doesn’t have to tell the IAEA when it starts construction. 

So in fact, if it’s building a secret centrifuge plant, it’s not violating anything until it moves to the point of putting enriched – or nuclear material, and then it has to tell the IAEA about the plant six months before it does that.  But it could have a completely functioning centrifuge plant prior to doing that. 

And so again, I want to add this point, just to stress that there is an urgency to this problem.  It’s not – the NIE is not saying that everything is okay, and I would add that in the international negotiations and some of the current discussions, the Additional Protocol was not getting the attention it needs. 

The last thing I’d like to mention is step back to the fall of 2003, this magic date that’s in the NIE.  And just to remind you what happened then, the main event was three foreign ministers from Europe went to Tehran and were successful in getting an agreement with Rohani, the head of the National Security Council, who, even during the meeting, was talking directly to the supreme leader by telephone.  And so it was a very dramatic change in what had been going on, which was Iran was hiding its nuclear program – because again, all its enrichment program was undeclared prior to 2003.  Then, when it declared it, it hid parts of it.  It took steps to deceive the inspectors.  And the inspectors were able to penetrate that deception and expose this program—and in essence, drive the Iran atomic energy organization out of the game. 

And it was at that point that Rohani stepped in and make a deal with these EU ministers to suspend enrichment and to agree to the Protocol.  He also had organized a person to set up a committee, to go out and say, “What the hell is going on in this nuclear program?”  And so he took responsibility to come up with a new declaration that would be complete.  And so when the EU ministers left that meeting, they felt that they were no – there weren’t going to be significant covert enrichment or uranium-conversion facilities in Iran from that date on. 

Now, of course, there were concerns that there may be cheating and that not everything had been declared.  There were some – Rohani’s people missed the P2 program, which some argue maybe he deliberately tried to hide it.  There was a strenuous effort by the IAEA to find – try to find an undeclared pilot conversion facility because Iran had gone from lab scale on making UF6 to a production scale.  And so there must have been a pilot.  But after many months, they were satisfied that, yes, indeed, the Iranian declaration was true. 

And so I add this just to say that yesterday’s announcement, while it may be perceived as big news in Washington, is actually not such big news if you’ve been following this issue.  And the EU ministers wouldn’t have moved forward with their deal in 2003, unless they had some assurance – in a sense, their guess – that Iran was going to come clean and not have significant gas-centrifuge efforts or conversion efforts. 

On weaponization, it’s much harder for them to focus on this, but there was at least the belief that the program had slowed down on weaponization, if not stopped.  And so I think again, what you had yesterday is United States, in a sense, recalibrating itself.  Maybe it needed a two by four in terms of information to change its mind, but it came to a point that many had come to much earlier, and that – and now I hope, with this recalibration, that there’ll be a recalibration in the diplomacy. 

Certainly, I would hope there’s a recalibration to drop this – always this implied discussion that we’re going to whack you, Iran, that it’s not helpful.  I’d watched it play out in Iran for years.  It incites the right wing, makes diplomacy much harder to get in Iran. 

The other thing is – and Darryl mentioned this – is I hope that it leads to more creative diplomacy, that maybe it’s time to drop the precondition on negotiations and move into negotiation, while the goal remains suspension.  I think I would have a hard time living with Iran having a nuclear weapons capability, given the nature of the regime, given the nature of the region, where it can quickly take its low enriched uranium that’s been produced for civil purposes, and within a matter of months, perhaps in a covert facility that has not operated until that decision is made – so it’s legal – then within a few months or a year produce enough material for a bomb, and then go forward with a nuclear arsenal. 

So thank you. 

KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, David.  Hans-Peter Hinrichsen?  Thank you.    

HANS-PETER HINRICHSEN:  Thanks very much for inviting me.  The first point – I have to make a point which is obvious that I’m speaking on a personal basis.  The development of yesterday is quite new and even if the German government is working quickly, it’s not as quickly that I would have clear-cut instructions what to tell you today.  So what I’m going to tell you is my personal assessment of the situation in which we are – and please don’t attribute that to the German government or report that as being an official German government point of view. 

Of course, we have taken notice of the report yesterday and we think it contains important findings which require further analysis, and we will certainly talk to our American colleagues on that.  There have been some press reports about phone calls between Minister Steinmeier and Minister Rice.  Minister Steinmeier is quoted in the press to have said that this shows that the double-track approach, followed by the E3+3, has been the right approach. 

But at the same time, I want to make an important point, which was made by David already to some extent.  We think that the findings of the report do not seem to remove the suspicion that Iran could use its enrichment program to pursue the nuclear weapons option.  So there are still reason for concern, as my previous speaker has noted.  And confidence is still not there that Iran might not use a breakout option to create nuclear weapons, lest we see a continued urgency to build confidence on the basis of a complete physical transparency and plausibility regarding the Iranian nuclear activities, which especially concerns enrichment. 

Those are demands which have been on the table by the IAEA and by the United Nations Security Council, and obviously, Iran has not been prepared to comply with these so far.  But we think that methods and goals, as pursued by the United Nations Security Council and the international community, remain valid, the double-track approach, using incentives, as well as measures like sanctions to increase pressure on Iran.  It therefore remains important to continue with efforts to seek a third Security Council resolution and to proceed with our discussions about possible EU measures in order to support the United Nations process. 

We have hoped to achieve a third Security Council resolution soon, if possible this month.  In this process, Germany attaches great importance to the unity of the international community, and we think this is especially important because of two reasons.  One reason is the political message we send to Iran, that of unity of the world community that is against Iran creating this nuclear weapons option without restoring confidence in its nuclear program.  The alternative that Iran faces is getting either isolation, or to comply with their obligations under the Security Council resolutions.  We think that this political message has been very important on the Iranian side to influence Iranian decision makers so far. 

And secondly, economically, sanctions would be much more effective if they are taken on global scale.  I will come back to that in a moment. 

At the same time, and this was stressed before here, we will stay in contact with Iran and pursue diplomatic talks.  According to the report, the National Intelligence Estimate, diplomacy has worked and there is still time to let diplomacy work. 

As I mentioned, the EU will deal with this as well, and decisions in the EU need to be taken in the light of the progress of the United Nations process.  What we want to avoid is to have negative influences on the United Nations Security Council process by European measures and to have a detrimental effect on the international consensus on Iran.  So we will have to carefully examine what the EU will do and when it will do it. 

Now, coming to Germany, Germany has implemented the United Nations and the EU sanctions comprehensively and quickly.  The federal government has already, and has done so for quite a while, advised German industry on the risks inherent in business in Iran.  And the German economy has already significantly reacted to the political situation.  Just to give you some figures, exports from Germany to Iran have gone down in 2006 by 7 percent and in 2007, up to today, by 16 percent. 

German banks have reduced their activities concerning Iran significantly, which had a tangible effect on the Iranian side.  And if I talk about activities of German banks, I’m not only talking about activities of banks in Germany or in other financial marketplace, but also in Dubai.  We don’t have any subsidiaries from other places doing business with Iran. 

In 2006, new German export credit insurances have gone down by 33 percent compared to the previous year, 2005.  And we assume that in 2007, the number will go down by 40 percent. 

Our impression is that diplomatic pressure and sanctions are effective.  We see in the report that Iran is estimated to have halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 because of diplomatic activities.  We are convinced that the international pressure built up so far has moved Iran to address the questions raised by the IAEA, the process that we see between the IAEA and Iran. 

The economic problems that Iran faces have been deepened by the discussions and proceedings concerning Iran’s nuclear program.  There is now general restraint concerning investment in Iran.  It’s difficult for Iran to get credits on the international market.  And trade with Iran has become much more difficult, as international banks have reduced their business with Iran. 

One result we see from that that there are already cleavages within the Iranian elite and the Iranian political stratum.  The second result you see, and from that you can deduce that the sanctions had effect, Iranian countermeasures to that.  What we are seeing is that the Iranian economy has reoriented itself towards Asia and Russia away from Europe.  And Iran has switched its foreign trade from currencies – dollar, of course, and mostly going away from euro to other currencies. 

We all know, however, what Darryl has mentioned already, that the high oil prices help Iran to ease all these problems I just quoted, but we think the clear message to Iran has to be that the international community is united concerning Iran’s nuclear program. 

To sum up, we think that the findings of the report have not removed the suspicion that Iran could use its enrichment program to pursue a nuclear weapons option.  Thus, we see a continued urgent necessity on the Iranian side to build confidence in its nuclear – the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by complete physical transparency and plausibility, and methods and goals as pursued by the United Nations Security Council and the international community remain valid, the double-track approach, using incentives, as well as measures like sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Iran.  Thank you. 

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE:  Thank you very much.  Darryl has told me I had the rest of the hour for my remarks.  (Laughter.)  It’s a pleasure to lay these out for you.  Let me try to summarize the remarks.  I just have to say a few words about the NIE.  I’ve been reading National Intelligence Estimates for about 25 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like this, so many – may concur with this. 

This is a remarkable document, both in its candor, its willingness to explicitly point out that the previous estimate was wrong, 180 degrees wrong, and two, to start laying out policy prescriptions of what a successful policy might be in this area.  An NIE has rarely, if ever, go into this kind of territory, and I think this indicates something more than just an intelligence estimate.  This is a clear sign of the struggle within the Bush administration, within the executive branch, over proliferation policy, over the strategic direction for the United States.

And in some senses, the NIE is the final nail in the coffin of the Bush doctrine.  In a very real sense, this doctrine is dead.  We are here at the wake of this Bush doctrine.  It is gone.  It breathes no more.  We are putting the sheet over its head.  It has gone to the great beyond.  (Laughter.) 

There may be a few at The Weekly Standard or at the Office of the Vice President who still cling to the illusion that military force can solve the proliferation problem, or that the goal of U.S. policy should be to overthrow those regimes we disagree with, but this policy has proved to be a complete disaster, a complete disaster. 

The NIE now comes around, as David has said, to the views that many experts have held, that I have held for at least a couple of years.  How do you look at the Iranian program?  In my view, the evidence, although circumstantial, is largely compelling that Iran did engage in weapons-related activity in the past.  It started the program during the Iraq-Iran war.  They were not interested in nuclear energy.  However, the evidence is also compelling that they no longer conduct significant weapons-related activity.  The NIE says it ended in 2003.  I would say it ended by 2003.  And in fact, Iran shifted to another model, a much more difficult strategy to prevent, which you might think of as the Japan model; that is, they are trying to legally and openly acquire all the capabilities that would allow them to build nuclear weapons sometime in the future, should they decide to do so. 

The Bush doctrine, the administration policy, had been based on the premise that there was a large covert nuclear weapons program and that exposure of that program would then build support and justify strong economic and diplomatic measures that could crush the regime, or military action that could literally destroy the regime.  It’s that policy that is now gone. 

There’s very little prospect in the remaining months of this administration that there could support for military action against Iran.  You already see first, the military commanders resisting this exclusively in public statements countering this view, and now you have the intelligence agencies speaking out on this. 

Well, what can replace it?  If the Bush doctrine is dead, if regime change is not an option, if military strikes – and I agree with David – are not an option for Iran, what can replace it?  I start from the premise that we do not know for certain what Iran’s intentions are.  Is there still interest in acquiring nuclear weapons, or are they willing to end or defer the program for a different strategic relationship with the West? 

Our policy has to test the latter while minimizing the chances of the former.  We call this policy contain and engage.  We wrote about it over – we released this report in February of this year.  It is even more valid today in light of the findings of the NIE, which closely tracks our logic, our reasoning in this report.

I think the U.S. policy has to have three goals at this point, and it has to be to contain the program, prevent the Iranian enrichment program from going to industrial-scale production.  Two, verify all Iran’s nuclear activities.  Three, change the strategic dynamic. 

Let me explain what I mean.  By containing the program, I mean we have to maintain, and if possible, increase the pressures on Iran to come to some compromise on the program.  I believe it’s still possible to get another sanctions resolution through the United Nations.  The talks that the United States officials have had with China and Russia in recent weeks seem to hold some promise.  I don’t believe the NIE kills these efforts. 

I disagree with some of the analysts.  I think there still might be a chance of getting that, but only if the U.S. shows a willingness to put in place the missing link in the strategy, and that is engagement.  I do not believe our allies will agree to increase sanctions if that’s the whole policy, if you’re still clinging to the belief that somehow these sanctions are going to force a collapse or coerced compliance. 

So there has to a willingness by the United States to engage with Iran.  We engaged with Libya with great success.  We engaged with North Korea with substantial success.  It is time to engage with Iran.  This might not be possible at the Secretary of State level, but it is certainly possible at the level of, say, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations or the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad or Nicholas Burns, who has been conducting the U.S. version of diplomacy with Iran, which is trying to line up U.S. pressure on Iran.  We’re talking about diplomacy that now engages with Iran.  That’s the missing link.

I would like to see the goal of this.  I believe it’s got to be more realistic, although I continue to desire full suspension of the Iranian enrichment program, I don’t think we’re going to get that.  I think it’s impossible for any Iranian diplomat, any Iranian official, right now to agree to that suspension.  So the U.S. should engage Iran.  While we should seek that goal, it should no longer be a precondition to negotiations with Iran.  The U.S. is the only nation that holds this. 

You can still support the IAEA Board of Governors’ report, you can still support the UN sanctions, the Security Council resolutions without – but engage with Iran.  It isn’t necessary that they suspend before we actually start talking to them.  I believe our goal should be to keep – to try to arrange a temporary measure where Iran could operate a small number of centrifuges while the talks gone on. While the goal of suspension is still sought, we should be focusing mainly on limiting the number and capability of the existing centrifuges.

The second part of it is verify.  Any kind of agreement with Iran, temporary or permanent, must increase the inspection authority of the international inspectors.  In shorthand, this is Additional Protocol-plus.  Iran has to again implement the procedures of the Additional Protocol to their safeguards agreement, allow inspectors to go to every facility in Iran, allow greater access.  And I would add, under these extraordinary circumstances, we require additional forms of verification.  We could have, for example, have international officials participating in the centrifuge operations that are continuing.  There has to be additional disclosures of Iran’s past activities.  No agreement can be sustained unless we get these kinds of verification procedures. 

But here’s the third and most important part: we must change the dynamic with Iran.  This is never going to be settled on just the level of a nuclear agreement.  It’s never going to be settled on a sanctions resolution, or an export control regime, or threats of force.  You’ve got to change the relationship with Iran.  The point of the negotiations on this nuclear issue is to buy time, is to bring about an opening within which you can change the relationship of Iran to the U.S. and to its neighbors in the region, and develop regional diplomacy that can start as the NIE says, satisfying Iran’s security and prestige concerns in the region, bring them into the Iraq stabilization process; bring them into the Middle East peace process.  Then I believe you might be able to get the – you might be able to see some changes in the regime that could allow the Iranian people to do what they, and only they, can do: change that regime once and for all.  I’ll close with that.  Thank you.

KIMBALL:  Thanks very much, Joe.  Thanks to all of you for your very nimble presentations the day after this National Intelligence Estimate came out.  We now can take your questions.  You’ll have to bear with us because these are the only mikes that are working right now, so we’ll have to bring the speaker up to the podium.  So what I’d like to do is ask reporters, journalists here, if they have questions, let us know who you are, who you’d like to direct your question to and we’ll start.  Anyone?  Yes, sir,
QUESTION:  This is really to anyone on the panel.  If you could talk about the timing of the release of the NIE.  I know it’s been in the press that this has been – it’s been outstanding since January and if you could just speak to that.

KIMBALL:  The question is about the timing.  This NIE has been delayed for some time.  Anyone here?  One thing that I think is relevant is there was some good reporting in the Washington Post this morning, which corresponds with what rumors I’ve been hearing about the reworking of this NIE.  There was a statement from Mr. Kerr from the National Intelligence Council yesterday that explained that because – I don’t have that in front of me – that because of the shift in the assessments from the previous NIE in 2005, that is, that the nuclear weapons program has been assessed to have ended, they felt it important for the unclassified version to be released, whether that had to do with the timing, this Monday or not.  I’ll also say that we didn’t have anything to do with the timing of this.  We had this press conference scheduled today – (laughter) – and we’re very glad that the NIE came out yesterday.  Joe?

CIRINCIONE:  Just to say it’s important to keep this in perspective because I think in some ways this NIE goes – it has importance beyond the actual issue it addresses.  So the narrow issue is what was the delay?  I’m hearing the same things you might be hearing that the intelligence agencies picked up some pretty compelling evidence, either from human intelligence, that is an Iranian official who provided this information directly to the agencies, or surveillance that resulted in overheard conversations that convinced them that the program had been ended. 

They presented that intelligence to the White House, the White House was incredulous about this and there was a struggle over this particular bit of intelligence, while the agency struggled to verify it, and just in recent months, they were able to do and they released it.  But that’s just the narrow part of it. 

The bigger part is that this is a continuing struggle between – I don’t know what else to call them – the ideologues in the White House and the intelligence agencies over intelligence.  And what has changed between now and 2005?  Yes, there’s new intelligence, but we’ve had new intelligence before and it hasn’t changed our assessments.  We had new intelligence on Iraq in the winter of 2002 and 2003 that showed that there wasn’t a nuclear program in Iraq.  It did not change our policy. 

What’s different now from 2005 is the people, the hardliners in the Department of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Steve Cambone have been banished.  Their operation that provided alternative, and as it turns out, false intelligence to the White House to justify their policies is gone.  You have professionals back in charge of the intelligence operation, and I believe this NIE is a very hopeful sign that professionalism and integrity have been returned to the intelligence agencies, and you have senior officials protecting the analysts, allowing them to say what they believe and not bending to the political pressures they’ve been subjected to.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir?

QUESTION:  If the Iranians stopped their program in 2003 to pursue this acquisition of technology legitimately, why didn’t they continue to permit the Protocol to be enforced and actually pursue that and get over all of these sanctions?

KIMBALL:  So the question is essentially if they stopped their nuclear weapons program, why didn’t they allow the Additional Protocol inspections to continue and to achieve a clean bill of health?  One part of the answer is very clear, which is that the Iranians said, from quite early on, that they wanted this issue to addressed and settled in the context of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Board of Governors.  And they warned repeatedly that if their file, so to speak, was referred to the UN Security Council, that they would reduce the amount of cooperation they would provide to the IAEA. 

Now, I don’t agree with that at all.  I think that’s counterproductive for the Iranians, but that is what they warned because this is one point of leverage apparently they had in order to try to avoid this from being sent to the Security Council for its action. 

I think, as we’ve all said, it is vital right now for Iran to provide information that we’ve been waiting on for some time.  As everyone knows, the IAEA recently worked out a work plan with Iran to settle the past and the current issues that are still surrounding its nuclear activities. 

Some of these were addressed in the report that was just released by the IAEA in mid-November, but there are other issues and of course, we do need to have, as Joe said, as David said, and I think as Hans-Peter was strongly implying, we do need to have the Additional Protocol enforced in Iran, so that we don’t have to rely on trusting the Iranians, what they say, but that we have the inspectors on the ground. 

And I think we have to remember one of the points that Joe did make about the NIE is that the U.S. intelligence agencies are, I think, they may not admit it, but they are depending on information that is being obtained by the IAEA.  So this is important for everyone and this is a strategic objective that I think has been lost in the mix over the last couple of years, that is, getting the Additional Protocol working in Iran once again.

QUESTION:  Why are – (inaudible) – Iran simply permit it if, in fact, they had stopped their program?

KIMBALL:  All right.  David?  I’m not ducking it.  I’m not the Iranians.  (Laughter.) 

ALBRIGHT:  For one, Jim, you know that Iran refused to stop enrichment and that was after a certain point, and I think the Additional Protocol gets caught up in that, but one of the problems – in fact, one of the damages that the U.S. policy did, particularly in ’04, was that it kept – it put pressure on the EU not to give rewards to the Iranians.  So after about nine months after this, Rohani reported that he had gained nothing from this agreement, and I think the United States has to take some of the responsibility for that because there was pressure brought to bear to keep rewards from going out, whatever those rewards would be.  There could have been several from the Europeans to the Iranians. 

There were deliberate leaks of information.  If you remember the Lavizan case, when we learned about it and Jackie was working at ABC, we were in collaboration with her and ABC.  The leak was U.S. government has evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons equipment at a secret site in Iran that’s being leveled to the ground.  The secret nuclear weapons equipment was radiation-monitoring-detection equipment, full-body counters.  Now, it turned out that that site was being leveled to the ground. 

It was very important for the inspectors to go there and track back what happened there, but it was spun by the U.S. – and I believe in a deliberate attempt to sabotage progress on the EU-3 Iran agreement, particularly – the EU giving rewards.  And so I think what you ended up with, after a couple of years of suspension, was the Iranians realized the EU is serious.  You have to suspend enrichment and continue that, but the rewards were very tenuous.  And the U.S. was throwing stones at this process through much of it and then moving towards sanctions, even when it joined in the effort finally. 

And so I don’t think the Additional Protocol inside Iran is seen as fine.  The Iranians are very tough on this, they’re very clear.  The whole background of the IAEA is they're a bunch of spies.  There’s military options that are being discussed.  Why should we reveal the target list by these additional inspections?  And that’s really what they’d reveal.  If you know where they’re making the centrifuges, I’m sure if you’re into military options, that’s a good one.  And in fact, the best time to attack Iran was right at the end of the suspension, when the maximum amount of knowledge was known about the program and you could have done the most damage.  And the Iranians were well aware of that, and so I think backing off the Additional Protocol had to do with the lack of rewards, the sanctions and the perception of a military strike.  And – so anyway, others may want to add to that.

KIMBALL:  Other questions. Yes, sir, in the middle.

QUESTION:   I’d like a few questions if I may, one concerning the NIE and what we know about how far – because I don’t think it was about how far Iran actually progressed – (inaudible) – policy.  Is there anything that you can say about how far Iran actually progressed on its secret weapons program and by that time of course, the whole process of moving some – (audio break) – if it was something that really seem to suggest the Iran-Iraq war.

And if I could, I’d like to ask Mr. Hinrichsen whether the estimate within some sense demonstrated the importance of diplomacy, but by the same time making it impossible for the U.S. to stand up and take Iran back to the nuclear weapons, which actually undermined – (audio break) – today, the prospects of Russia and China – (audio break) – Russia and China, that the sanctions resolution as they appeared to – (audio break) – the Russians seem very receptive, and then on Monday, two days later, the U.S. comes up with this bombshell, something that perhaps is damaging to the sanctions process.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Thanks. Joe, do you want to take the first question, please?

CIRINCIONE:  Sure.  I think in the short run, the NIE does undermine the ability to increase pressure on Iran.  In the short run, it does undermine the U.S. ability to garner international support for another UN sanctions resolution.  But I believe this bombshell could have a midterm and long-term benefit.  This might be exactly the nuclear shock therapy that U.S. policy needs to reset and restart our policy if it leads – if it now permits the pragmatists in the administration who want to engage Iran to do so, it could increase the chances of getting that sanctions resolution and present a much more united front. 

Maybe our German colleague wants to count on this.  So I wouldn’t see it frozen in time.  What’s the effect today?  You’re right.  The effect today is everybody freezes, stop, wait.  Let’s recalibrate and a lot depends on what the administration does from this point forward on this, how it reacts to this.

HINRICHSEN:  Well, if I understand the question correctly, it doesn’t undermine the approach that we have so far.  I don’t think so.  I agree with Joe.  What you see now is that what we achieved is a greater amount of unity where the threat really lies, so that you have a greater consensus, and that I would include Russia clearly into that.  So if we are clear on what we are facing, I believe we are clear in what we can do about that.  We don’t have these quarrels among the three-plus-three, what we are really trying to achieve and manage is and different perceptions, what –

CIRINCIONE:  Suspicions.

HINRICHSEN:  – and so on, but I think this offers an opportunity to get much more united on what we want to achieve and how we can achieve that, so I agree with you completely. 

KIMBALL: David, on the technical point?

ALBRIGHT:  At ISIS, we don’t know.  We assume that they did some work on their own; they had many years to do it.  They may have gotten some significant help from the A.Q. Kahn network, which we're still researching, and Iran, of course, denies doing any of these things, which further complicates the issue.  But I would say that the long pole of the tent is fissile material production.  And so – and building a nuclear weapon, even to have it fit on a missile, I don’t think will be the thing that’s going to delay an Iranian program.  And it’s really how quickly do they want to develop a capability to make highly enriched uranium, that’s the main factor. 

And then the nightmare – let me just add this – is what if A.Q. Khan gave Iran a complete nuclear weapons design and Iran bought it and then satisfied itself that it knows how to do it.  I don’t have any evidence of that per se, but I think it's – in our analysis, it’s certainly one of the possibilities.  If they only went their own route and did it, they may run into problems on the miniaturization to get it onto their missiles.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir, in the back.

QUESTION:  I’m surprised that no one has really talked about the relationship between the timing of the program and internal Iranian politics. Especially with the election of Ahmadinejad and some of the changes in Iranian policy—and this was in the summer of 2005, if I remember, and that was when they began to pull back from assisting the IAEA and refused to implement the Additional Protocol and take away some of these other elements.  I think you know that we've – (audio break) – there’s still a power struggle going on that’s – (audio break) – or more moderate camp sort of pulled sway in Tehran. 

The one thing that surprised me about the NIE is that even though we saw the change of administration there, and it was a very significant change of policy, apparently, Ahmadinejad didn’t have the authority to take it to the next step and crank up the nuclear weapons part again.  So I wonder if any of you could comment on the change in leadership and how it maybe affected the situation.  So that might be perhaps more important than the lack of – (audio break) – the Iranian pull back.  I thought it was maybe a shift in the personnel.

CIRINCIONE:  Yes, it's a very interesting point, excellent point.  The NIE doesn’t address this explicitly, but it’s clear that some of the harder line policies of the Iranian regime came in with Ahmadinejad’s ascendance to the presidency.  The purges that followed, he’s placed his people in many of the key positions, now replacing Ali Larijani, who we used to think of as a hardliner, but became a moderate in the Ahmadinejad presidency, with Mr. Saeed Jalili, who’s an Iranian Neanderthal by everything we can see.  So this does have an effect. 

I think that one of the great contributions of this NIE is its description of the regime itself, not the weapons capability or the weapons program, but what – that this regime is susceptible and is influenced by the same kind of pressures that issue all other – that influence all other states, concerns about security, prestige, carrots, sticks, all that works.  In other words, it sort of punctures the myth that Iran is the new Nazi Germany, Ahmadinejad is the new Adolph Hitler and this is a regime bent on bringing about the next Armageddon, and it helps us see Iran in context. 

This is basically an isolated, small country, whose three major exports, after oil, are carpets, dates and pistachios, that as a regime – that Ahmadinejad is not the most powerful man in Iran, that there is a fierce debate going on in Iran on what the policy should be.  We have major figures like the mayor of Teheran, like Mr. Rohani, publicly criticizing Ahmadinejad, arguing that his policies have isolated Iran. 

In other words, we have a dynamic that we could be exploiting, but we’re not.  We have a dynamic inside Iran where there are allies that we could be reaching out to, who for their own interests, might be willing to make a deal with the United States.  And one of the goals of U.S. policy has to be to isolate Ahmadinejad, reach out to those pragmatists and see if we can make a tactical alliance that could contain and ultimately reverse this program.

HINRICHSEN:  I only want to add this on the lines what’s in the report, what we have always assumed that Ahmadinejad is not the one to take the final decisions.  There are others above him.  What you see that the change of personnel certainly hasn’t – (inaudible) – the style and results of the diplomatic process, but it hasn’t led to a decision to, let’s say, revitalize the weapons program.  So actually, he is not the one in charge.  He’s selling things and he’s handling things, but he’s not taking the big decisions and this is what we have assumed so far.

ALBRIGHT:  Sandy, when Ahmadinejad came into power, there wasn’t – the forces behind Rohani didn’t have a lot to show.  It was clear the EU had demonstrated its resolve.  They want a suspension, they want the Additional Protocol ratified.  And so there wasn’t anything on the side of the Iranians to say, well, here’s the big benefits we’ve got, other than capitulations, that the Iranians wanted something less than a full suspension, and they wanted some clear benefits, one of which would have been, I believe, U.S. engagement and at least U.S. security assurances that they weren’t going to get attacked if they made a deal.  And I don’t think that’s – even now, that’s not completely clear, that if there is a deal with the USA, we will not attack you or try to overthrow your regime.

QUESTION:   I agree with Joe that the NIE is clearly unprecedented and quite remarkable in getting 16 agencies all in on the line in agreement on such a document.  I wonder whether the group would comment on the following.  At one extreme, you can look on this as being orchestrated by the government and authorized by the government, in which case one could argue that they want a basis to get off the posture they were in, threatening military action, when they saw this domestically and internationally counterproductive, and whether, at the other extreme, this represents really the collapse of the government in which you can get an intelligence, or a unified posture of the intelligence community, contrary to the wishes of the White House.  The White House can always delay or prevent something be published and I wonder if there could be a little more speculation in which to – how fundamental this is and really the administration policy on this issue because this now gives the administration a rationale for taking the military threat off the table.

KIMBALL:  You want to take a shot, Joe?

CIRINCIONE:  I don’t believe there’s any evidence that indicates that the current administration is competent enough to orchestrate – (laughter) – a procedure such as you suggest, and I say that in all seriousness.  (Laughter.)  This is not just a lame-duck administration.  This is a dying administration.  Their people are leaving, their leadership in Congress are fleeing, the basic precepts that have guided them for the last seven years are collapsing.  They’re down to their last redoubts and basically, in the Office of the Vice President and few in the National Security Council staff. 

I think we’ve seen over the last year a reassertion of the institutions over the White House policy, first from the military, from the kinds of statements and postures that Admiral Fallon has taken in Central Command and now, Admiral Mullen, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in some sense, there’s General Petraeus, himself in Iraq.  

I think we’re now seeing the intelligence agencies reassert their institutional prerogatives.  They understand that this administration is leaving, that this group is leaving power and it’s not – whoever replaces President Bush in a year, it’s not going be – it’s going to be a very different set of policies, so the institutions are, in a very real sense, reasserting themselves. 

I don’t think you would have gotten this NIE in 2005.  We didn’t.  We got a very different NIE and it was because of the personnel, it was because of the balance of power, so this NIE is a reflection of the political struggles in the administration, the shifting balance of power, and I think it’s all to the good.  It’s a restoration of some rationality, some integrity, to the intelligence-assessment process. 

QUESTION:  But do you feel that – (audio break) – intelligence community are trying to reestablish their credibility –

CIRINCIONE:  Yes, yes.

QUESTION:  – and not a organized, coordinated effort on the part of the administration that might have a basis to moderate their policy?

CIRINCIONE:  I do not believe the administration orchestrated this to prepare an exit plan.  There was no indication whatsoever that they have an exit plan for anything.  (Laughter.)  And so I do believe that the much more we may know – the much more, I guess, simple, but more compelling rationale, is that this is a struggle.  It’s a political struggle, it’s an institutional struggle and the NIE is one manifestation of it.

KIMBALL:  Just very quickly.  I’m not sure if this intelligence – if we can consider this intelligence estimate was an attempt by the intelligence community to change policy.  I don’t think that’s what you’re saying, but I just want to be clear.  I think they went back, they said they needed to scrub the previous information they had.  I think if they have learned a lesson, what they learned is that they have to write an estimate in a way that cannot be so easily cherry-picked as the Iraq NIE was. 

This is written in a rather clear and very explicit way.  There are some differences, I think, from the way it was done before with Iraq.  And I think one of the things it may show, if we may try to impute any motives or thoughts to the broad intelligence community, is that they understand that what they say makes a difference and that they have to be very careful in their judgments about what is being said, and they have to be careful the policy makers don’t misconstrue or mishandle the judgments that they make.

And so I think this is refreshing in that sense, in that they have gone back, they reviewed the information they had.  They probably got some more new information and the assessment is fundamentally different on one of the key findings, which is whether or not Iran is continuing to pursue nuclear weapons activities and clearly, is continuing uranium-enrichment efforts, which can be used for nuclear weapons in the future.  We may have another couple of questions and we’ll try to get to all of you.  Let me go to you here and then we’ll go here. 

QUESTION:  (Audio break.)  And my question was about Iran – (audio break) – uranium enrichment and why – can any of you address why Iran continues to reject the – demands for suspension?

CIRINCIONE:  First, you have to realize Iran is in a bit of a bind, because if my thesis is correct, and I think most of us probably here agree, Iran did have covert nuclear weapons program activity in the past.  And what the IAEA work plan basically calls for is for them to admit this.  Well, they can’t admit this.  This blows their whole story line and it might give the U.S. grounds for increased sanctions or maybe military activity that has previously, up until this point – and I would argue still. 

So in some ways we’ve got to create a process that makes it safe for Iran to admit these past activities the way – when we caught South Korea engaged in illegal enrichment activities in 2000, it was safe for South Korea to admit, oh, yes, those unauthorized scientists did this. But with these activities that South Korea did and the South Korean government explained it, and there was not penalty, no harm, no foul, done.  So we have to create an arrangement where Iran feels that it can safely admit these past activities, knowing that it’s part of a larger deal where it’s all going to be worked out. 

They cannot simply accept the P-5+1 until they know there’s a larger deal, what David had said.  Is the U.S. going to give up the option of regime change?  Is the U.S. saying they’re willing to normalize relationship with Iran?  In other words, is the U.S. willing to offer Iran what we offered Libya and North Korea?  That’s the deal they’re waiting for.  That’s point number one. 

Point number two, Iran doesn’t feel that it has to make a deal at this point.  There’re divisions within the regime about this, but some in their regime think that they’re getting stronger and the U.S. is getting weaker, and all they have to do is wait us out.  A year or two might seem like a long time to us, but if you’ve been occupying that land for 5,000 years, it doesn’t seem so long.  And they think they can wait us out and there’s a division within the regime and you see it. 

All you have to do is read the comments that are coming out from the Iranian Parliament, the mayor of Tehran or Mr. Rohani, who talk the deteriorating economic conditions, the rising unemployment, the rising inflation.  They need a new relationship with the West, they have to change their policy, they’re willing to trade Iranian policy for this new relationship, others in the regime or not.  That struggle is still playing out and it’s unresolved.  Our policy has to help them resolve their policy struggle. 


(End available audio.)

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Bring the Adapted CFE Treaty into Force


International Appeal

This appeal was initiated by former diplomats and senior research associates from different nations and research institutions in Europe and North America in order to support the ratification of the Adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. The treaty is a key element of the European security structure and an indispensable political symbol of security cooperation which should not be destroyed.

It is with great concern that we, the undersigned, note the Russian Federation’s announcement that it intends to suspend implementation of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty on December 12, 2007. We fear that such a move could not only doom the CFE Treaty, but that it also could prevent the entry into force of the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty, thus risking a collapse of the entire CFE regime. Such a development would undermine cooperative security in Europe and lead to new dividing lines and confrontation.

The CFE Treaty is a cornerstone of European security and the key element of the cooperative approach to security as agreed upon in the Charter of Paris of November 1990. The accord’s invaluable verification regime, including regular information exchanges and on-site inspections, has shown that confidence and security can be better achieved through cooperation and openness than by competition and secrecy. Additionally, stability throughout Europe is increased by adherence to specific limitations.

But now, due to disagreements between NATO and Russia,the whole regime is in serious danger. Russia asserts that the combination of NATO expansion and the alliance’s failure to ratify the Adapted CFE Treaty threaten Russian security. NATO states claim thatthe continued presence of Russian forces in Georgia and Moldova, despite a prior commitment by Moscow that they will be withdrawn, does not permit ratification of the revised accord. We firmly believe thatall the states-parties should abide by the core CFE principles and that current disagreements must not be allowed to erode or destroy a regime fundamental to the security of the whole of Europe.

The CFE Treaty made a substantial contribution to ending the Cold War, enabling the peaceful unification of Germany and the peaceful transformation of the states of Central Europe and the successor states of the Soviet Union, and preventing inter-state conventional war in Europe. Indeed, the treaty resulted in the destruction of more than 60,000 heavy conventional weapons and the eliminationin Europe of capabilities for large-scale offensive action and surprise attack. Conventional stability also contributes to making nuclear weapons in Europe unnecessary.

Beyond that, the CFE Treaty has contributed to stabilizing sub-regional military power relations and to limiting sub-regional arms races. The treaty also has provided a model for regulating the military aspects of violent conflicts in Southeast Europe. If the CFE regime is maintained, it can serve as a model for other regional peace and stability processes.

Bringing the Adapted CFE Treaty into force is an important means to include more states in an integrated European arms control regime and thus maintain and extend key elements of security cooperation in Europe. Entry into force of the Adapted CFE Treaty also is necessary to ensure that the instruments of European security cooperation keep pace with the global challenges to European security today, including the new threats posed by transnational terrorist actors. Its loss will resurrect past problems and yesterday’smistrust.

We therefore appeal to the governments of all CFE states-parties to preserve the CFE regime and bring into force the Adapted Treaty as early as possible. Ratification by those who have not yet done so should go hand in hand with constructive new approaches to resolve current disputes.

All states and peoples of Europe would lose if the CFE regime, an unprecedented instrument for the preservation of peace and with greatest importance to Europe’s future, would now be destroyed.

Signatures (As of November 28, 2007)

Altes, Edy Korthals, Ambassador (ret.), The Netherlands

Beach, Sir Hugh, General (ret.), The United Kingdom

Bertram, Christoph, former Director of The International Institute of Strategic Studies, London,
and former Head of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin

Boden, Deiter, Ambassador (ret.), Deputy Head of the CFE Delegation of the Federal Republic
of Germany (1989-1992)

Boese, Wade, Research Director, Arms Control Association, Washington

Brzoska, Michael, Director, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of

Croll, Peter J., Director, Bonn International Center for Conversion

Czempiel, Ernst-Otto, former Executive Director of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Dean, Jonathan, Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions
Delegation of the United States

Dorn, Walter, Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group

Dunay, Pal, Faculty Member, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and former Legal Advisor of
the CFE Delegation of Hungary

Dunkerley, Craig G., Ambassador (ret.), former Special Envoy of the Secretary of State for CFE, The
United States

Ekéus, Rolf, Chairman, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Finney, John, British Pugwash Group

Gärtner, Heinz, Austrian Institute for International Affairs

Gessenharter, Wolfgang, Helmut Schmidt University of the German Armed Forces, Hamburg

Goldblat, Jozef, Vice President, Geneva International Peace Research Institute, and Resident Senior
Fellow, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Geneva

Gyarmati, Istvan, Ambassador, Director, International Centre for Democratic Transition, and
former Head of the CFE Delegation of Hungary

Hartmann, Ruediger, Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the CFE Delegation of the Federal
Republic of Germany and former Federal Government Commissioner for Arms Control and Disarmament

Hippel, Frank von, Professor, Princeton University, The United States

Joetze, Guenter, Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the OSCE Delegation of Germany and
former President of the Federal College of Security Studies, Berlin

Keeny, Jr., Spurgeon M., former Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency,
and former Head of Theater Nuclear Forces Delegation of the United States

Kelleher, Catherine McArdle, Professor, Watson Institute, Brown University and University of
Maryland, The United States

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

Klein, Jean, Professor, Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, and Research Associate, French
Institute for International Relations

Kryvonos, Yuriy, Colonel (ret.), Senior Officer, Conflict Prevention Centre, OSCE Secretariat, and
former Head of the Conventional Arms Division of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lachowski, Zdzislaw, Senior Researcher and Project Leader of the Conventional Arms Control
Project, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Lever, Sir Paul, Ambassador (ret.), Chairman, Royal United Services Institute, and former Head
of CFE Delegation of the United Kingdom

Lodgard, Sverre, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

McCausland, Jeffrey D., Visiting Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Penn State
Dickinson School of Law, and former Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council Staff, The United States

Meerburg, Arend J., Ambassador (ret.), The Netherlands

Mendelsohn, Jack, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University and American University,
and former U.S. Representative on NATO’s Special Political Committee for Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions

Mueller, Harald, Director, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Mutz, Reinhard, former Acting Director of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the
University of Hamburg

Neuneck, Götz, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy,
University of Hamburg, and Germany Pugwash Group

Resor, Stanley R., Ambassador (ret.), former Head of the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions
Delegation of the United States

Rhinelander, John, former Legal Advisor to U.S. Strategic Arms Limitation Delegation

Sharp, Jane, Kings College, The United Kingdom

Schmidt, Hans-Joachim, Senior Research Fellow, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Staack, Michael, Director, Department of Social Sciences, Helmut Schmidt University of the German
Armed Forces, Germany

Steinbruner, John, Director of the Center for International and Security Studies, University of
Maryland, and Chairman, Arms Control Association, Washington

Tetzlaff, Rainer, Board of Trustees, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of
Hamburg, and Lecturer, Europe College, Hamburg

Trenin, Dmitri, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Deputy
Director, Carnegie Moscow Center

Wagenmakers, Henk, Ambassador (ret.), The Netherlands

Zagorski, Andrei, Senior Research Fellow, Center for War and Peace Studies, Moscow State
Institute of International Relations

Zellner, Wolfgang, Deputy Director, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University
of Hamburg, and Head, Centre for OSCE Research

Country Resources:

Avoiding Renewed U.S.-Russian Strategic Competition


MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2007








Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.


DARYL KIMBALL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. I want to welcome you here to ACA’s birthplace, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where we were established 35 years ago. For those of you not familiar with ACA, we’re a research organization devoted to advancing effective arms control policies designed to enhance international security, and we have, for many of our years, been working to advance U.S.-Russian arms reductions. We’re here again today to talk about that very subject.

As a result of many landmark U.S.-Soviet Russian arms reduction and limitations agreements, U.S. and Russian arms holdings and arms competition have significantly decreased. The Cold War is over, but many Cold War weapons still remain behind. The U.S. and Russia are not true allies, suspicions linger, and they continue to store thousands of obsolete weapons that were originally built to deter and destroy one another and they continue to deploy many of those weapons. Five years ago this month, President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, also known as SORT, which calls for deeper reductions in deployed strategic warheads to 1,700 to 2,200 each by the year 2012. But unlike the START agreement, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991, SORT does not require the destruction of delivery systems, warheads may be stored, and no new verification mechanism was established. In sum, the treaty’s emphasis on flexibility undermines predictability. 

Now, news reports indicate that neither party wants to extend START in its current form. Washington’s 2002 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and current plans to deploy ground-based interceptors and advanced radars in the former eastern bloc coupled with the expansion of NATO and the Bush administration’s resistance to further arms reductions is only increasing Moscow’s anxieties about U.S. strategic missile capabilities, prompting new Cold War-style threat-mongering from Moscow. As we’ve heard in recent weeks, Moscow has threatened to abrogate a number of old Cold War-era agreements like the INF Treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. It’s threatened to target European countries if the missile defenses go in. President Putin has authorized new strategic missile systems and plans to increase the number of warheads carried by certain Russian missile systems.

Just in the last few days, President Putin has suggested the United States could, instead of deploying missile interceptors in Poland and building a radar in the Czech Republic, use U.S. ship-based missile interceptors on Aegis destroyers and access information from the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan. That was positive. It has technical merit and should be explored. But it still seems as though the Bush administration wants to move forward with the Poland and Czech plan.

Today, you’re going to hear from three distinguished experts and opinion leaders on these issues. Our bottom line message, I think, coming out of this session is going to be that Washington and Moscow have a responsibility to refrain from threats and counter-threats and to actively pursue a meaningful and sustained dialogue on offensive nuclear arms reductions and missile defenses to restore transparency, predictability, and trust between the former adversaries.

Much of our focus today is going to be on START. While U.S. and Russian experts have begun discussions on the follow-on to START just beginning last March, the two sides are at odds over several core issues. Let me add before I introduce the speakers that in the view of the Arms Control Association, and I think others here today, rather than to allow that pact to expire or mask over long-simmering differences with non-legally binding transparency measures, as the Bush administration proposes, Bush and Putin should agree to extend or at least to continue to observe START until they can enter into a new agreement that accomplishes what the 2002 SORT Treaty did not: permanent verifiable reductions of excess U.S. and Russian Cold War nuclear forces.

To discuss these issues and others, we’re honored to have with us today Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher of California. She is the chair of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. She is going to provide her perspectives on missile defenses, strategic reductions, and the U.S.-Russian relationship. She is serving her sixth term representing the 10th district of California, and she really has been a leading proponent throughout her tenure for arms control, nonproliferation, and practical strategies for reducing global dangers. She’s recently urged the Bush administration to “bridge the gaps between the United States and Russia on missile defense.”

Next we’re going to hear from Edward Ifft, who is a retired Foreign Affairs Officer with the Department of State on the value and prospects of START. Dr. Ifft has been part of several arms control negotiations, including a stint as deputy U.S. negotiator on START. He’s currently an adjunct professor of the securities studies program at Georgetown.

Finally, we’ll hear from John Steinbruner, who is a director of the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. He’s going to explain what seems to be behind Moscow’s tougher posture toward the west. John is currently co-chair of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is also the chairman of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors.

First, we’ll start with Congresswoman Tauscher, who is only going to be able to be with us for half an hour, 45 minutes. We’ll go right to questions to her before we pick up with the other two panelists. Ellen, thanks for being here.

ELLEN TAUSCHER: I want to thank Daryl, John, and ACA for their leadership. It’s a great pleasure, always a great pleasure, to be here at Carnegie. And, it’s always nice to see Dr. Ifft, and thank you very much for your leadership, especially on this issue of START, which was kind of happening below us. I appreciated your Washington Post editorial where you lifted it up so we could all take a look at it and start to engage the administration on it. 

The announcement about today’s events calls on the panelists to discuss what steps Russia and the United States should take to put their relationship on a more stable footing and how they an effectively and verifiably reduce their still-massive nuclear weapons arsenal and the lingering distrust they engender. It’s a tall order, but it couldn’t be better timed.

Allow me to offer a few thoughts on the immediate crisis generated over the Bush administration’s proposal to deploy missile defense systems in Europe and the future of arms control agreements between both nations. Both of these issues could be addressed separately, but they are linked politically. I want to make it crystal clear: President Putin’s recent actions and rhetoric are exaggerated and inflammatory and unnecessary. The missile defense system that the Bush administration proposed, despite its many flaws and however poorly it may have been presented, is certainly not a threat to Russia. Ten missile interceptors and a radar are no match for thousands of Russian warheads and should not affect Russia’s strategic calculations. 

Even more importantly, both the House Defense Authorization Bill, which I helped author, and the Senate version, cut the funds for the proposed site in Europe and put strong restraints on moving forward. Despite the rhetorical war of words, the Bush administration’s proposal for a European missile defense site is not moving forward this year. I and my Democratic colleagues believe that a missile shield for our NATO allies to deal with the short-term threats from Iran is one that we want and one that works. We want it to cover all of our allies, and we eventually want NATO to help pay for it. But the shield proposed by the administration does none of this. Congress is committed to work to make a robust and practical system; one that meets these criteria, one that we can work for cooperatively, one that we can make sure deals with the current threats and not some major science project, one that is not only worked on cooperatively but is interoperable, and one that we all pay for. That is the system that we should put forward. 

We also believe that it is significant to deal with the issues that the Bush administration has proposed. The fact that the Bush administration has proposed a fixed site in Poland causes some of us pause. We have many mobile systems on the books; certainly the Aegis BMD system is one that if combined with the right kind of cuing radars could cover all of Europe. The site in Poland, as proposed, effectively is there to protect the United States against a long-term threat of long-range missiles from Iran that most people believe will develop between 2012 and 2015. If that is true, then the site in Poland is not there to protect Europe against its current threat, which is short- and medium- range missiles out of Iran. 

So that lack of congruency is what has caused Congress to pause. What we really want to do is to make sure that we have a commitment to work first and foremost inside of NATO, not bilaterally with either one or the other country. We want to be sure that we are dealing with current threats. That means short- and medium-range missiles out of Iran; not only those that would be deployed against our forward-operating troops and our assets in Europe, but our significant allies inside of NATO.

NATO is the premier defensive alliance in the world. That is the alliance that we should choose to negotiate with; not two members of NATO, which we have great affection and great relationships, but where we cause the people and the parliaments of Europe to be unsettled, and certainly one where we cause the Russians to have—I don’t think a long-term argument or even one that many people find to be grounded—an inflammatory argument to cause the parliaments and the publics inside of Europe to be unsettled. The Congress is committed to work to make a robust and practical system that meets the criteria that I just laid out. 

More significant than last week’s Russian ICBM test and Putin’s threats of unspecified retaliatory steps is how quickly the United States and Russian relations appear to have degenerated. Between Putin’s threats and Bush’s persistence, it is clear to me that there is a profound disconnect between both countries. Overblown rhetoric and threats from the Kremlin are not new. In 1999, Russia tried to blame the sinking of the Kursk submarine on the United States. Some of this renewed rhetoric may be aimed at domestic audiences inside of Russia in advance of the Russian elections next April. First Deputy Prime Minister Ivanov, who is a likely successor to Putin, boasted that Russian ICBMs could penetrate any defense system, and President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. missile defense plans would turn the region into a powder keg. 

Some of the rhetoric harkens back to historic fears of western encirclement. Referring to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, Putin said, “We have signed and ratified the CFE and are fully implementing it. We have pulled out all our heavy weapons from the European part of Russia to locations behind the Ural Mountains and cut our military by 300,000 men. And what about our partners? They are filling Eastern Europe with new weapons, a new base in Bulgaria, another one in Romania, a site in Poland, and a radar in the Czech Republic. What are we supposed to do? We can’t sit back and look at that.”

Even though Russia will never dictate how America defends its national security interest, it is critical that we look at the items that Putin has raised and decide what elements are worth engaging over. Right now, the Bush administration is crippled by the fact that it is a lame duck administration having pursued haphazard, bilateral, and short-term foreign policy goals with no thought for the future. Furthermore, it has consistently undermined the global norms and treaties that have successfully constrained the spread of weapons of mass destruction for decades. What we need is a strategic review of our nation’s objectives and defined roles for missile defense, nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, and nonproliferation programs. 

Included in this year’s defense authorization bill is a commission which would examine the role of deterrence in the 21st century, assess the role of U.S. nuclear weapons, and make recommendations for the most appropriate strategic posture. This commission would replace the administration’s nuclear posture review of 2002, which raised more questions about U.S. strategy than it answered. This new assessment does not mean we take any threats less seriously than we have in the past. In fact, the defense bill also extends the report on our capabilities to defeat hard and deeply buried targets. That ensures that we are developing the necessary capabilities to hold at risk an entire class of targets. Most critically, what this bill does this year is it ends the Republican Congress’s starving of our nation’s nonproliferation programs by accelerating them and expanding them to other nations. 

Putin’s comments are useful for providing a framework to assess our priorities. Putin first announced that Russia will suspend and potentially end its adherence to the 1990 CFE Treaty, which caps the amount of tanks, artillery, and other conventional weaponry that its 30 states-parties deploy in Europe. Then, later last week, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia would not leave it. Preserving the CFE Treaty is in the U.S. interest. We want Russia troops to leave the independent nations of Moldova and Georgia. We want to prevent destabilizing deployments of troops throughout Europe.

Putin had also threatened to withdraw from the INF Treaty, which prohibits possession of nuclear and conventional ground launched missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Leaving the INF Treaty would allow Russia to devote its resources to defeating intermediate threats posed by China. Russia has mentioned this desire previously to both Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld. We must work to preserve the INF Treaty, which set a standard for accountability and intrusive inspections. Let me repeat that: accountability and intrusive inspections. One of the many very wise things that ACA advocates, and what we are right now at the brink of losing, is this issue of having verifiability, including intrusive inspections and transparency and confidence-building measures that cause no one to quibble and for no one to be confused. 

What we have dealt with, unfortunately, for the last six and a half years is what the Bush administration chooses to call flexibility. I call it the absolute erosion of confidence-building measures. It is absolutely walking away from what we have known has worked for many, many years: the ability for both sides to understand what they’re seeing; for both sides to feel as if they’re seeing the same picture; for both sides to feel that they have confident interlocutors that cause them to be able to know that these agreements are not only working but they’re enhancing their ability to take weapons down confidently; and that they understand exactly what the real picture is. No one is being derelict in their duty to their own populations, to their own allies, and their own treaty commitments. But what we have to reassert, and I think Daryl has been very forceful in this kind of discussion, a commitment to verifiability, to confidence building, to transparency and to moving forward again on these frameworks which have worked so successfully for so long but which unfortunately have been abandoned by this administration. 

Because the INF Treaty is so important and because we know Russia’s motives are to turn their attention away to deal with China, we have to move forward these intrusive standards for accountability and inspections because we do not want a nuclear arms race to break out across Eurasia. Russia also is warning that a proposed U.S.-Russia clearinghouse to share information on missile launches worldwide would be shelved. This is an important early warning system that must be pursued. U.S. and Russian experts are currently discussing follow-on measures to the historic 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START, but neither side wants to extend the accord past its scheduled expiration on December 5, 2009. Russia recently claimed holdings under START of 4,162 deployed strategic warheads and the United States reported a total of 5,866 warheads. The two countries are supposed to further reduce their nuclear forces under the May 2002 SORT agreement to less than 2,200 “operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads” apiece by December 31, 2012. On that date, however, SORT expires, and neither country’s forces will be limited any longer. 

What’s really important about this and what has been my consistent gripe about this administration is that while we liked the numbers in SORT, we actually wanted SORT plus. There was always this kind of nagging sense that because we were not dismantling these weapons and actually destroying them, we were instead putting them on blocks in a garage. This was the flexibility that the administration has been advocating. Frankly, we don’t want flexibility in disarmament agreements. You want absolute precision in disarmament agreements. You want a sense that there is no ambiguity about what one’s intention is because you have verifiability.

Although SORT, also called the Moscow Treaty, was widely heralded, it is an agreement that falls very short of where we really want to be because there is not a significant amount of dismantlement going on. There is a lot of putting things on blocks in a garage. There is a sense of being able to resume what you have partially taken down. That does not build confidence. That does not give people a sense that these are real arms control agreements or that we are really doing what the American people thought we were doing when we made this agreement, which was to take these weapons down and take them down permanently.

I am deeply concerned that the Bush administration has put too strong a premium on flexibility rather than accountability and leadership. This does little to take us toward significant reductions in our nuclear arsenal. I believe it is critical that Putin and Bush formally agree when they meet in July to observe START until they can agree to new levels that achieve real and verifiable reductions beyond the numbers prescribed in SORT. I believe such a goal is achievable by both relaxing some of the notification requirements and on-site visits mandated under START while still achieving a legally binding treaty.

The intelligence community has expressed concern with losing the verification component provided by START. The head of Strategic Command (STRATCOM), General James Cartwright, who just this weekend was nominated to be vice-chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—it’s a very good nomination—has stated, “whatever the construct is that we do with a treaty-like activity, you are trying to make sure that you can build confidence, understand the intentions of your adversary, and have time to react appropriately to those intentions.” He added further that the attributes of a follow-on to START “that you seek are transparency, the ability to generate warning time, and confidence in what the intentions are of a counterpart.”

The United States made a commitment to verifiable and irreversible cuts at the 2000 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference. It is time again that we act as leaders. Our relationship with Russia is not an easy one, and the administration has paid too little attention to Russia and the arms control issues that Putin raises. But despite his aversion to treaties, if Bush does one thing in this regard before leaving office, it would be to state that the U.S. commitment to preserving START before a new agreement is reached by the next president.

I hope that we can all continue to work on these issues. I think that these are fundamentally some of the most important issues that we can work on. It’s been my pleasure to work with ACA, Daryl, and John, and I appreciate your attention. I’m happy to answer any questions that you have.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much. Please stay there. If audience members with a question could raise your hand and identify yourself. Here comes the microphone. Why don’t you begin?

QUESTION: Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times. One of the theses that’s put forth to explain Putin’s rhetoric recently is that the Russians are trying to do is extract a long-term concession, such as when they pull out of the INF treaty, America would not raise much of a stink. Do you agree with that? If not, what do you think the Russians are really trying to accomplish?

TAUSCHER: Well, I think that we, long ago, ceded the high road when we abrogated the ABM treaty, and I think that when a great nation like the United States rejects the currency of 2,000 years of civilization which are binding treaties which cause people to not only communicate but to have a set of expectations and an easy way to deal with whether one party or the other isn’t doing that. When you cede the high road the way we did when we abrogated the ABM treaty, which could have easily been either renegotiated or replaced with some other kind of treaty, we began a rush to the bottom, and the INF treaty is a perfect example. I think that certainly Russia has enormous internal political instability, and Putin has about nine months left. Sergei Ivanov has not been directly named as his successor but I think that people expect him to be; he certainly gives a lot of speeches in English to prove that he can do it.

The real question is whether Putin is speaking, because now we all hear everything everyone says, to an internal audience, whether he’s setting a case for some of the old guard still in the Russian military. I really don’t know what his motives are. I do know what the effect of what he has done. I sat literally where I am, and Putin sat literally where you are at the Munich conference in February, and I have to tell you that we were all, the American delegation, we were just stunned at his shoe-banging attitudes and taking us back to the Cold War. So this has been going on a very long time. He also made a speech like this about eight months ago. This has been a thread throughout Putin’s international conversations, and I think his motives certainly could be very directly about the INF treaty, that they want to redirect these capabilities toward China, that they think that if they create enough saber-rattling and they warn us enough and embarrass us enough that we’ll not say anything. 

But that, frankly, is the last thing we need to do. We need to be even bolder now. In fact, what I consider to be deleterious and significantly wrong policies of the Bush administration have caused us to be perhaps too shy and embarrassed to stand up when we see other things happening. I, frankly, can’t wait until we have a new president in 2009 to begin to remake some of these relationships. But until then, it’s going to take leadership, and that’s what many of us in the Democratic-controlled Congress are trying to do. None of us have names that many of you know, but we’re standing up because it is very important that we begin to try to identify the high ground, which is very different than it was six years ago. We need to begin to identify the high ground and begin to move to it and begin to once again take the leadership roles that we have and responsibilities that we have as the country that holds all of these weapons, the country that has all of this power, and to do it in a way that is responsible and also, I think, one that is going to create the opportunity for us to do the right thing when we have a new president.

QUESTION: I’m Jonathan Landay with McClatchy Newspapers. I’d like to ask that question but in another way. This isn’t the first year that the administration has put money in its proposed defense budget for these two sites, or at least money for the European leg of the American missile defense system. There was money last year. I think the Republicans themselves knocked it out for the interceptors, and yet there was no outcry, either from over here, really, or even from Russia. So why now? Why are we hearing this escalation in sharp language from both sides, and why is the administration making this part of its missile defense policy, putting the emphasis on it now, whereas last year barely said a word?

TAUSCHER: Well, I wasn’t Chairman last year. We were not only in the minority in both houses last year, but actually most of our efforts were in killing RNEP, the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. Only this administration could decide to name a nuclear earth penetrator robust because it wasn’t big enough before. So we were killing the RNEP last year. When you’re trying to persuade, you can’t do this by yourself and when we were trying to persuade our [Republican] colleagues to help, that took a lot of our energy and frankly took a lot of our chips. So we did successfully kill the RNEP.  

We knew that the money was going to come out for many reasons for the European site, and, by the way, it didn’t all come out. They were still doing things. In this case, I made a compromise to buy the interceptors, which we can use in Vandenberg, and to buy the radar, which is benign. I mean, the radar going into the Czech Republic is the least of our problems. We’ve got one in Fylingdales and one in Thule. We’ve got radars all over the place. That’s not the issue. Even Putin has said the Czech Republic radar is not the issue. 

If you’re talking about the politics of this, the politics of this are that we have gone from moribund to extremists because of what’s happened in the year. There has been a significant degradation of commitment by this administration to not only non-proliferation but to treaties with teeth and the ability to hold together these agreements, which have worked enormously successfully for us for decades. It is a big deal to have us in the majority. I’m blessed to have a fabulous staff. I’ve got two of my subcommittee staffers here, Rudy Barnes and Frank Rose, and I’ve got my own congressional staff here. But it’s very different when you’re sitting in the minority, trying to figure out what you can help somebody help kill than writing a bill and having a big agenda. That’s what we’ve done here. This is just a baby step. We hope to be in the majority for a long time, but also for our presidential candidates. This is the first time in 13 years that Democrats are writing bills. We have a chance to do things that give some advice and some ability to say this is what we’re doing to our presidential candidates. A lot of this is incremental because it needs to be. The American people put us in the majority but they didn’t, by the way, give us a veto-proof majority, and there’s a 49-49 stalemate in the Senate. We still don’t have the running room we would like to have, but I think that we’ve done a lot in this bill and we will continue to do that. But we’re way behind the curve and we have, frankly, lost our way and our reputation for the high ground and for being leaders in this, and for consistently speaking in innovative ways on ways to do the right thing. 

QUESTION: Farah Stockman with The Boston Globe. You’ve made it clear that you’re looking forward to a new president who’s going to take this in another direction, but what can President Bush do going forward? What would you like to see come out of the Kennebunkport meeting? What’s the best thing, the best outcome that could come from that meeting? 

TAUSCHER: I think it’s about START. I think it’s about making an agreement with Putin that START will not be allowed to lapse just because a new president hasn’t taken office. We have to have a bridge agreement that will extend START until a new president can begin to have some kind of negotiating ability.

Look, I think we’ve made a lot of progress in the short term. I made a speech at the Atlantic Council in March. It’s very unusual for a chairman or even a new chairman to telegraph what they’re going to do in a bill they’re not marking up until May, but I made it very clear in March that I was not going to support the European sites, that I was not going to support funding them, that I was not really interested in a non-NATO endorsed shield, that I wanted to deal with the short-term threats for Europe and cover all of Europe and that I believe that we needed to do that inside of NATO with a cooperative co-pay, so to speak, and that we had to deal with short-term threats, not long-term threats.  

People are starting now to understand that the Poland site is really to protect the United States against a future threat and it is not going to cover all of Europe and it doesn’t deal with the current threat that they have for short- and medium-range missiles. We think that Aegis BMD, certainly PAC-3 and the coming forward of that in a cooperative effort with NATO is a much better system. We do need, by the way, a downrange X-band radar so the Azerbaijani proposal that President Putin made is actually not a bad idea. But the current radar is old and it’s a VHF radar, so it’s not appropriate for the kind of cueing that we need to do. But he’s being creative. He’s coming to the table with, by the way, an idea that he already put forward in 2000 to the Clinton Administration. It’s not like this is all new, which is why it’s so disturbing and dissatisfying that the administration, which had previous Putin proposals sitting out there, just kind of ran right past it. 

What we want the president to do in Kennebunkport is to offer President Putin a bridging of START and to move START to a place where it gives a new president in 2009 a chance to assemble a negotiating team, put together what kind of congruent policy we should have, talk to allies, talk about the new science, talk about the new technologies out there, try to understand what does verifiability mean in the 21st century. How do you do it in a way that deals with intrusiveness in a new way of technology and gives us much more current, much more better information, and allows more people to understand it? Maybe you’re dealing with real time streaming. I think that’s what Putin and Bush should do when they’re in Kennebunkport; not just riding around on a boat, although that might be fun. 

QUESTION: Good morning, I’m Katya with Stern Magazine from Germany. 

TAUSCHER: How are you? 

QUESTION: Quite well, thank you very much. Great remarks, thank you. 

TAUSCHER: I love your chancellor, she’s really fabulous. 

QUESTION: Thank you, I’ll pass this on. At least she made a good image in Heiligendamm, didn’t she? General Obering, defending his program, cites a certain urgency of installing the interceptors in Poland. If the installations would be started next year, the missiles would be only ready in 2013, so it would be just in time to cover a threat from Iran to Europe and to the U.S. What’s your take on that? 

TAUSCHER: I don’t dispute the intelligence estimates of 2012 to 2015 and I do not dispute the threat from Iran. What I want to be sure is that when we provide coverage for the United States from these fixed sites in Poland that we’re actually getting the best defense that we can get. Fixed sites are very easy to defeat. That’s why I like the mobility of the Aegis BMD system, PAC-3, and THAAD. 

The other issue is that this is a two-stage rocket that’s never been tested. One of the things we did in the defense bill is to not only bring MDA into the real world and have OT&E—I’m sorry, I hate it when people do this—Missile Defense Agency actually have the Office of Testing and Evaluation watch their tests and be part of their testing regime. I wish for the SATs that I was able to develop a test, take the test, and grade the test, which is what MDA has been able to do for the six years in the Republican Congress. The Republican Congress and the president gave MDA every thing they asked for the last several years. We have a system that has not achieved credible deterrent status, has an embarrassing level of failures in testing, and [at a cost of] $75 to $80 billion. Keep in mind that we’ve got another system called “Star Wars” worth about $100 billion lying on the floor of a garage some place. 

This is not good enough for the American people. This doesn’t create a level of confidence or peace of mind. It doesn’t create the kind of credible deterrence that is necessary to cause people pause to say, well, maybe I shouldn’t go build that or try to defeat that, which is the point, I would think, of a significant amount of this. Because of that, I believe, they rushed to deploy it for the 2004 presidential election. So we’ve got these Hollywood facades sitting there and they turn the lights on every once in a while and all that stuff and they’re moving very aggressively toward having a system that’s operational, but we have not achieved credible deterrence. 

Now, they want to put at a third site a two-stage rocket, which has never been tested, with a system that has a scattered, at best, testing regime. They have been able to write the test, take the test, and grade the test. Meanwhile, we have current threats that are short- and medium-range missiles. We believe that our commitment in the defense bill is not only to the American people writ large, but specifically to our war fighters and what their threat currently is: short- and medium-range missiles. So we redirected the portfolio away from some of these massive science projects to delivering the investment portfolio to the kinds of things [addressing current threats], such as Aegis BMD, bought more; PAC-3, bought more; THAAD, spending more; and working cooperatively with Japan and working with Israel, both on David’s Sling and on Arrow. 

We’re trying to do what we think is the most important thing: deal with the current threats, deal with the war fighter, deal with the American people, put real accountability into MDA, make them test this thing, and make it work. But, clearly, with NATO being the premier defensive alliance that we have, if you’re going to do things in Europe, you need to do them cooperatively with Europe. I think that’s important. When I was in Europe 10 days ago for the NATO parliamentary assembly, I had a lot of my colleagues, especially from, not surprisingly Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania saying, “We’re not under your umbrella, why not? We’re downrange. We actually are within range of a short- and medium-range attack from Iran. Why are we the ones not protected?” I don’t think you treat people in an alliance that way, especially when you have an Article V commitment to protect them. 

I think that we’ve gotten this wrong all over the place. We’ve made it very clear that we think that it’s important to deal with the current threats. We have not [killed] anything in this bill; we actually left a door open. Should there be a cooperative agreement and framework inside of NATO and should the Russians and the United States actually come to, at a minimum, a rhetorical agreement to move forward against the current threat—a threat Russia shares, by the way, from Iran—that we could do some things to accelerate site preparation and all of that. But under the conditions that we have now, there’s no reason for us to consider it. 

QUESTION: One thing that came up when you were discussing INF was the Russian fear of China’s nuclear weaponry. Obviously, at least part of the U.S. nuclear posture review was also premised on the fear that China would start modernizing its arsenal and increasing it. How do we get China involved in this kind of dialogue so we don’t have these issues on both sides of the U.S.-Russian relationship? 

TAUSCHER: Well, I certainly don’t think you can do it racing to the bottom. I think you have to, once again, make a commitment to achieving higher ground. Part of that is renewing the optics of being a good player, of being consistent, of being predictable to some extent, and of keeping your word of, once again, investing in treaties which, I believe, are the point of the realm when it comes to dealing government to government. 

We have to want to understand that we have an enormously complicated relationship with China as we do with Russia. Russia is no longer a superpower, but it is an enormous power and certainly one now fueled with a huge windfall from gas and energy. So the idea that you could ignore Russia because it was on its knees and we won and they’re not doing so well, that went away pretty quickly. It’s been away, by the way, for about five years, at least. 

We need to be saying to Russia, look, we still have a big WMD threat from the fact that you have not done all you need to do internally to put fissile material and know-how and all of that in places that are well identifiable with better gates and guards with no guns. We need to work together. You need to spend some of your own money; we’ve spent a lot of American money. By the way, it’s the best nonproliferation money you could spend, but you need to be doing more yourself. Let’s figure out how we can have these cooperative relationships. Let’s decide what these new programs are. Let’s do it together. This administration has absolutely no commitment to that. 

The China issue is a very, very complicated one. We have to have a relationship with China that deals with the many different complications, whether it’s the currency issues, the trading issues, obviously the nuclear issue, and the weaponry issue. I saw in the paper today the reports of how much money they’re spending, not surprisingly. They are on a buying spree in Africa. They are doing a phenomenal job of ingratiating themselves very nicely all through Africa. Anybody in Africa that’s got any kind of energy, China’s there writing aid checks day in and day out, sending workers over, building bridges, doing all kinds of things, when we are absent. 

I think we need to look at our entire portfolio of soft power levers. That’s why I’m yearning for a new president, because apparently this president doesn’t like soft power at all. We need to find out what is in our soft power toolbox and that’s where Daryl and ACA and many of our other friends will be enormously helpful. We need a new toolbox of soft power levers and we need to understand how to implement them and bring them out. But part of it is a desire of the United States to, once again, stand up and take leadership on these issues, speak boldly, to be innovative, to be cooperative, and also to be able to take people to the woodshed quietly when we need to. Once again, we’ve got to get our own house in order and make our own commitments stick and be paying dues that we have in arrears to different organizations and things that we’re not doing well because you’re not very effective wagging your finger at somebody when they feel as if they’ve got a grievance that they can wag their finger at you about. This is about leadership and innovation and commitment and getting these soft power levers, once again, to be a primary investment strategy and a commitment of the United States. 

QUESTION: My impression from talking to the Russians is actually they’re very concerned about the radars and one of the reasons they want to have the radar in Azerbaijan—if they’re actually proposing that the U.S. put the X-band there as well as having the forward-based radar—is that it wouldn’t be looking at Russia, whereas the Czech Republic radar would be and it would be fixed. 

TAUSCHER: Right. Putin’s comments about the radar are a little bit everywhere. He basically has said both things. But he’s most recently said, it’s really not the issue, it’s really the Polish site, of course it would be. As I said earlier, the public and the parliaments [in those countries] are interesting. Sixty-three percent of Czechs don’t want the radar and 50-plus percent of Poles don’t want the interceptors. Part of that is the saber rattling from Russia which causes a little post-traumatic stress disorder, understandably. 

But it’s also because I think that they have a sneaking suspicion this isn’t meant to protect them and that they may be getting used a little bit. I think that the way for us to mitigate that would have been for us to say that is primarily for us, although it could deal in the future with a medium-range threat from Iran over Europe. It would be like Daryl and I going out to dinner and knowing it was going to rain and having John and Ed coming with us, but I brought an umbrella for two. That wouldn’t be a very nice dinner. I would also look like a jerk. And, I think we look like a jerk. We look pretty selfish. We’re taking care of ourselves. The truth is NATO needs a push, not a surprise. 

NATO does not procure systems; the countries do. NATO becomes capable of having command and control. We’ve got a command and control model for what we did for nuclear weapons. A lot of this is well toiled ground. We just didn’t make the commitment. We actually had a hearing in my subcommittee where a gentleman from the Defense Department basically said, well, it’s 26 countries, who’s got time for that? One just wanted to say, make the time. I mean, are you kidding me? Because if something happens to one of them, we still have to go. It’s maybe inconvenient to have to negotiate. They may be a little slow. Then, you’ll always have the French. But let’s go. Let’s make it happen. 

Either they don’t understand the threat, which is an interesting thing, because maybe they don’t trust our intelligence. That would be shocking. But maybe they don’t understand the threat; make sure they understand the short- and medium-range missile threat from Iran. They’ll get it. Make sure they know they’re going to get covered. I think people understanding that we’re going to get them covered for their threat are perfectly willing to cooperate with us about our threat. But we didn’t do that. We took care of ourselves.  We’ve made a mess of it and now we’ve got to try to fix it. I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. 

KIMBALL: I think after the congresswoman finishes her term as secretary of state, she might want to retire and go into a new line of national security comedy. If it weren’t so serious, I would laugh harder. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Tauscher. 

Well, our next speaker is Edward Ifft. Ed is going to be talking about why we’re so excited about START and what its future prospects are. Thank you. 

EDWARD IFFT: Thank you very much, Daryl, and thanks to the Arms Control Association for setting up this important event. It’s too bad that Congressman Tauscher had to leave, but I think she has touched all the important bases and given us a lot of things to think about. I would like to devote my time to what may be the next big thing in arms control and that is the future of the START Treaty. I feel strongly that people need to pay attention to the fact that one of the most important multilateral international security agreements of the past 30 or 40 years is set to expire in 2009. 

The U.S. and the Russian Federation have begun to discuss what to do about this. Yet, it has gotten almost no attention, even among the high priests of nuclear matters inside the Beltway. I think it’s ironic since a huge controversy and a spirited debate grew up around the fate of the ABM Treaty a few years ago. Of course, that debate had fundamental importance and involved deeply held views on all sides, but basically it dealt with what are largely theoretical considerations and with non-nuclear weapons that may not amount to much for many years to come, at least in terms of what gets deployed. Today, ballistic missile defense is back on the front page, as we’ve seen, probably only briefly, and people are trying to find Azerbaijan on the map. But the story seems to have a half-life shorter than the Paris Hilton story. 

In contrast, the START regime deals with thousands of real nuclear weapons that exist today. I need to make the usual disclaimer that I’m speaking personally and not for the U.S. government or Georgetown University. There’s a second disclaimer that may be less obvious: I need to certify that I am not nostalgic for the Cold War nor, although many years of my life were devoted to negotiating and implementing it, am I obsessed with START. On the contrary, I fully recognize that the START Treaty has already met many of its goals. Its ambitious reductions in the world’s most dangerous weapons were successfully completed in 2001. It has increased mutual trust and understanding in both the political and military spheres and opened the door to valuable programs to eliminate or make more secure weapons systems; programs not actually required by the treaty itself. 

I also recognize that the treaty, as it stands, reflects suspicions on both sides that are no longer in existence and it imposes on both sides certain sometimes burdensome requirements that may no longer be necessary. As an aside, I thought that was the case even when we were negotiating the treaty, but no one could slow down the verification juggernaut that seemed somewhat out of control at times. Nevertheless, the START regime has enduring values that benefit both the U.S. and the Russian Federation and those they would jettison at their peril. 

I should add that I am not slighting Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, who are, of course, also parties to the START Treaty and should be consulted, but the general assumption is that whatever replaces START will be bilateral, just as the Moscow Treaty, or SORT. The START regime has several major features that people should consider carefully, regardless of the levels of strategic offensive weapons that might be agreed in the future or the form that a follow-on agreement might take. For example, it created a high level of transparency and confidence in nuclear weapon deployments, technical characteristics, and activities. An elaborate system of notifications provides an accurate picture of the numbers and locations of each side’s strategic nuclear forces. This leads to a memorandum of understanding over 100 pages long that is updated every six months and here it is: a thing of beauty, everything you would want to know about U.S. and Russian nuclear forces right here. 

The sides are forbidden from interfering with each other’s national technical means, operating in a manner consistent with the recognized principles of international law. They’re also forbidden from using concealment measures that impede verification by national technical means.  Furthermore, national technical means is buttressed by a system of cooperative measures which make it easier for satellites to monitor the numbers and locations of strategic forces. A ban on most forms of telemetry encryption during flight tests of ICBMs and SLBMs provides additional confidence that such tests are not being used for illegal purposes. A system of on-site inspections provides assurance that treaty-limited items are in their proper places and the allowed numbers of missiles, heavy bombers, and warheads are not exceeded. These are currently proceeding at the rate of two or three inspections per month. The U.S. also has monitors at the missile plant in the Russian Federation where the newest ICMB, the RS-24, was assembled. 

There are agreed procedures for the conversion or elimination of systems, which provides assurance that such reductions are genuine and cannot be easily reversed. A special system of notifications in numerical and geographical constraints controls the numbers and locations of mobile ICBMs, formidable weapons only possessed by the Russians who have about 250 deployed. Finally, the sides are prohibited from basing strategic offensive arms outside their national territories or from transferring such arms to third countries, with an exception for the existing U.S. pattern of cooperation with the U.K. 

It should be obvious that these sorts of regulations should continue to control the world’s most dangerous weapons. It does not follow, however, that they need to retain all the complexity and expense of their current form. We hear that neither side has simply renewing the treaty in its present form as its preferred option. For example, both sides could probably live quite happily with fewer notifications and fewer inspections. Some of the more burdensome requirements for eliminating systems could probably be relaxed, especially in view of the fact that the U.S. has been involved in many of these elimination programs in the Russian Federation. It might be possible to relax the rules regarding changing the number of warheads on ICBMS and SLBMs and to allow the replacement of nuclear warheads by conventional warheads as envisioned in the U.S. prompt global strike program. These are all technical details that obviously we don’t have time to go into right now. 

There’s also the first order question of whether the levels of the Moscow Treaty should be lowered further now and, indeed, the rather fundamental question of whether we are constraining launchers, missiles, warheads, or all three. In my judgment, we should pay attention to all three, but if one must choose, warheads are the most important.

Further, are we only dealing with deployed systems? Or do we need to do something about the large numbers of non-deployed warheads which are piling up as reductions in deployed systems proceed. 

Negotiating these matters might not be simple or quick, but neither are lots of other negotiations we engage in and which I would think are far less important to the future of humanity. The basic point is that it would be a monumental blunder to allow the START regime to disappear and both sides appear to recognize this. However, what we need is a serious and well considered set of obligations and rules that involve more than handshakes and hand waving. 

Allow me to make a few points of a broader political nature. We are now trying to solve very difficult problems related to the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea. The solutions, if they are to be successful, will certainly involve some strict verification, including intrusive onsite inspection. How could we expect our friends and allies to support such measures and indeed get these two countries to accept them if we ourselves are simultaneously shedding the verification regime which governs nuclear weapons in the U.S. and the Russian Federation? 

Again, looking at the big picture, we all know that the NPT is under great stress. Anyone who follows the five-year review conferences, including the Preparatory Commission meeting held in Geneva earlier this year, knows that the U.S. is under constant criticism for its alleged failure to do more in regard to Article VI. Whether or not such criticism is justified, it is certainly damaging to our cause and would only get worse if the wrong decisions are made about the START Treaty. 

The Russian Federation is hinting that it may withdraw from the INF Treaty. President Putin also has threatened to suspend compliance with the CFE Treaty and called for an emergency meeting on the subject this week in Vienna. Countries are properly alarmed about this. However, how can we be upset about the possible loss of a treaty that regulates tanks, armored combat vehicles, et cetera and yet not be concerned about the possible loss of a historic document that regulates nuclear weapons? Even if START disappears entirely, of course, there is still the Moscow Treaty which lowers the level of strategic nuclear warheads. However, the Moscow Treaty was never intended to replace START. As you know, the Moscow Treaty, or SORT, contains no verification at all or even any agreed definitions or counting rules. Indeed, it was sold partly on the basis that the START verification regime would be there to at least partially verify its provisions. 

My assumption is that both sides will want to replace START with something that retains at least some of the benefits I have just outlined. The situation is rather awkward because START is set to expire in December 2009 while a peculiar feature of the Moscow Treaty is that it has practical effect for just one day in December 2012. This creates a three-year gap along with the question of what happens after 2012. The most likely solution would seem to be to create something that replaces START and at the same time provides some implementation and verification support for the Moscow Treaty and beyond. An obvious issue is whether this something should be legally binding or not. 

If we take our clues from negotiation of the Moscow Treaty in 2002, we could assume the Bush Administration will frequently use the words transparency and confidence-building, but try to achieve these worthwhile goals through informal arrangements that are not legally binding. The Russians, on the other hand, will argue for a more formal, legally binding agreement. These assumptions have basically been confirmed in the last few weeks. 

In theory, I could envision a regime based entirely on, say, parallel unilateral statements that could be successful if—and it’s a big if—if the content were sensible. However, it is difficult to see any compelling reasons why we would not want something this important which will transcend presidencies on both sides to be legally binding, especially if that’s the approach preferred by our negotiating partner. Now, I can think of two reasons why some might argue for an informal gentlemen’s agreement, but neither is compelling. The first reason would be to avoid a bruising ratification battle. However, this would not seem to be a big problem for any sensible agreement given that the Senate gave its consent to ratification of the Moscow Treaty 95 to 0, and that the Russian Duma is much less hostile, to put it mildly, to the Russian president than it was a few years ago. The second argument would be that the future is uncertain and so we should not tie our hands in case we change our minds in a few years. My response to that would be to consider what our reaction would be if North Korea would say the outcome of the Six-Party Talks should be informal and non-binding since it might wish to change its mind in the future. 

There are, of course, many creative ways to solve these problems. If a treaty is not desirable for some reason, maybe an executive agreement would be the answer. If people are worried about possible long-term developments, an agreement could have a short duration with long-term solutions left to new administrations on the two sides. Another option if decisions seem too difficult now would be to allow the treaty to expire but voluntarily continue to observe it for a certain period of time. Still another possibility would be to keep the treaty legally in force, but voluntarily reduce some activities where rights, as opposed to obligations, are concerned. For example, if they are permitted to do something X times a year, the countries could voluntarily agree to do it Y times a year where Y is less than X. There are precedents for all these possibilities. Thus, we do not need to agonize now over trying to find a single best answer for many years into the future. A final first order issue is whether further reductions should be verifiable and irreversible. 

It is clear that the rest of the world wants this to be the case: recall the 13 steps unanimously agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. However, although these two words are usually used together, they really are two different concepts. It is possible, if desired in specific cases, to have one without the other. Perhaps not all actions need to be irreversible, nor do all obligations need to be effectively verifiable. But one should think carefully about such cases. Consider the 50 Peacekeeper ICBMS, for example. The U.S. has reduced these systems. They will not count under the Moscow Treaty, but they are still in the books for the START Treaty. This is because the 50 silos are still sitting empty in Wyoming and there are more than 50 Peacekeeper missiles in storage in Utah. Thus, these reductions, though real, are not irreversible. However, one could easily devise a system to verify that the silos are really empty and that there’s no capability to reload them rapidly. 

I’m coming to the end here, Daryl, you’ll be glad to know. In the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union dissolved, broke up, it seemed to me that we faced two possible paths regarding the future of our relations in this area, given the dramatic improvement in U.S.-Russian relations and the greater openness and trust that accompanied it. One path was to say, good, now we can achieve much more in arms control, deeper reductions, more interest of verification, solutions to the problems posed by non-deployed nuclear warheads, and their dangerous fissile material and so on. The second path was to say, good, now we don’t need all this arms control and its intrusive verification. 

The Clinton Administration was following the first path while the Bush Administration has chosen the second. Now, we face another fork in the road. Yogi Berra’s advice—if you come to a fork in the road, take it—is of no help. If we were starting over today, we certainly would not invent something as complex as the START Treaty. But it exists and we know it works. We can learn the lessons from living with it for 15 years and preserve its best features in a way that improves U.S.-Russian relations, supports our nonproliferation and counter terrorism objectives, and makes further progress toward a better, safer world with diminishing reliance on nuclear weapons. I will stop there and not impinge further on John’s time. Thank you. 

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Ed. That was extremely helpful and substantive, and that’s the stuff for a memo to a number of member’s of Congress. 

John, please. Onto the subject of why the Russians are so bearish. 

JOHN STEINBRUNER: I think my role at this point is to be brief, so what I’m going to do is ask forgiveness in advance for whatever sins of compression I’m about to commit. Let me suggest two main themes I’d like to introduce to you. First of all, the security problem with Russia is quite serious and it has more to do with offense than defense, so this is really the occasion of trying to surface very deep, underlying problems and we better recognize it. Secondly, the United States has a serious security problem with the rest of the world—almost the entire rest of the world—in conveying reassurance about the responsible management of our primary military power. For the world, that has a lot to do with the issues of legal restraint. More is going on here than just the immediate features of the issue. 

Let me just note that both the U.S. and the Russian military planning systems inside professionally use standard contingency planning principles to assess threat. They look at capability, not intention. They try to program against plausible threats in terms of capability, regardless of assessed probability. Those are their deep traditions. That’s what we use and that’s what they do as well. Application of those principles within the Russian planning system generates very legitimate concern, hard to recognize from this distance, but very important inside their system. Russian deterrent forces are seriously and continuously vulnerable to the forms of preemptive attack that the United States, in principle, could undertake. They do not have commensurate capability of that sort against us and that degree of vulnerability will increase under the projected deployment conditions. 

Air defense forces could not protect against incursion from the NATO area and they realize that. The integration of U.S. nuclear and conventional operations under STRATCOM and the projected development of prompt global strike missions combine and intensify these two vulnerabilities and they would consider themselves to be potential targets of this capability. Russian conventional forces are not capable of defeating the kind of combined armed offensive that China, in principle, could undertake in Siberia and, again, seems improbable, but that’s not the point from their point of view. If it happened, they could not handle it. They face political insurgencies along the southern border, imposing continuous strain on their existing forces. Even with recent increases in their defense budget, they cannot finance the military establishment that they inherited from the Soviet Union, let alone develop its capabilities so it could meet these contingency requirements. 

The bilateral stabilization measures, as we’ve noted, have been repudiated by the U.S.  The ABM Treaty, the Moscow Treaty really effectively removed any restraint from U.S. offensive capability against them. Fundamental political reassurances have been repudiated as well. They have a problem with the entire history of NATO expansion. At the time of German unification, they thought they were told that this would not happen, and it has. External alliance relationships provide either credible reassurance or meaningful assistance.

All of which is to say that it’s reasonable to assume that the process of accommodation in which Putin has engaged so far has not delivered any security benefit to the Russians, and that is an internal issue. He is undoubtedly getting pressure from the Russian military planning system. If the United States were in comparable capability, this would be a furor here; a comparable situation. So we ought to take it quite seriously. This issue is going to be with us for quite some time, whether it’s Putin or somebody else. This is not simply rhetoric, it is deeply serious. 

Let me just make a few practical observations about that. First of all, there is no serious prospect for regenerating the one feature of the Cold War which is the large-scale conventional force confrontation in Central Europe. That cannot happen, and so the tough talk about regenerating the Cold War from that point of view is silly. 

Secondly, though, the other main feature of the Cold War, which is the continuous daily deterrent confrontation between the two forces, has all along been there. It hasn’t gone away. In that sense, we’ve never gotten rid of the Cold War. By the way, it should be noticed that that is by far the greatest physical threat to the United States, to Russia, and to the rest of the world as well. The locked in coupling of these two forces could do the greatest amount of destruction. It’s really the only thing that could seriously hurt the United States.

The dominant interest in this situation, from the U.S. point of view, from Russia’s point of view and everybody else, is not the preservation of historical deterrence. We have plenty of deterrent capability. We can hardly avoid having it. The problem is managerial control. We have dispersed large numbers of forces. We only have a loose sense of, globally, how many [weapons] are out there; a lot of explosive material. We need to establish higher standards of managerial control over the forces and the material. That is our dominant interest. Pursuing that interest will require fundamental security accommodation among the U.S., Russia, and China at a minimum. We’re not going to establish higher standards of managerial control without transforming the security relationships among these three parties. That, in turn, will require initiative from the stronger party, the United States. That is not yet officially conceived or discussed.

Although the current fuss provides an actual occasion for trying to reach down and develop this underlying agenda, it’s difficult to be immediately optimistic that that will occur despite the very interesting and progressive notions Congressman Tauscher just gave us. The United States political system is very far from being able to take the initiative required under these conditions. Whether one is optimistic or pessimistic over the long-term, however, it’s prudent to recognize, I would say, that this situation poses a test of competence for the entire political system. Current policy simply does not meet fundamental standards of responsibility. Those standards will eventually impose themselves. We’re going to be forced by circumstance to pay attention. There’s a phrase—I don’t think Yogi Berra said it, but he should have—that if you have to bet between sentiment and circumstance, bet on circumstance over the longer term. 

KIMBALL: Thank you, John. We’ll now move to your turn, the audience’s turn, for questions on this very broad range of issues that we’ve presented here. I want to thank the audience for your patience through this discussion so far. If my microphone helpers are ready, we’re ready to take your questions on these subjects. Or have we exhausted the topic. The Cold War is not over and we’re just going to live with it. Ambassador Goodby?

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Could I ask you, Ed, if the two parties to the Treaty of Moscow accept that on that magic day in 2012 when they reach 1,700 to 2,200 warheads, each side gets to confirm that those numbers are there in accordance with how each side interprets that number? Or is there an assumption that they will simply say yes we did it and thanks very much and that’s the end? In other words, is there a possibility that since there is a reference to START in the Treaty of Moscow, that the only method of verifying those numbers would be that provided by the START Treaty, and, therefore, it’s a pretty good case to be made for keeping it on? 

IFFT: Well, that’s a good question. I don’t think we know yet what happens on December 31, 2012, because the Bilateral Implementation Commission, which is supposed to be seized with questions like that, hasn’t finished its work. I have pretty high confidence that both sides will get down to those levels. It would be nice if they did it according to the same counting rules, but that may or may not happen. 

I would be surprised if, by the time we get there, we don’t have some kind of, assuming that START goes away, I would be very surprised and very disappointed if there weren’t some kind of data exchange and some kind of verification procedures that would provide reasonable confidence that what they said was true. But we just don’t know yet. 

QUESTION: But technically speaking, there isn’t anything that is there to provide certainty that each side has reduced their operational strategic weapons?

IFFT: Not yet, no, not yet. Now the Moscow Treaty does say that it can be superseded by a subsequent agreement. Maybe that’s the bridging agreement that the congresswoman was talking about. Or maybe it’s sort of START lite, which gets negotiated. I just don’t know, but there are a number of ways to get to a satisfactory situation in 2012. But it’s not there yet. 

STEINBRUNER: Let me just point out the obvious, though, that even if you got there, completely verified, the level of deployment at 2,000 plus warheads provides basically annihilating capability. You can’t really rationally use more warheads than that. So we really have not reduced the destructive potential of the forces commensurate with the reduction of the arsenals. Basically what we’ve done here is eliminate excess capability. It still leaves in place the highly lethal programming of two forces against each other. 

KIMBALL: Peter, you had a question. 

QUESTION: Peter Potman with the Netherlands Embassy in this town. I would like to thank both gentlemen for very insightful remarks. I’ve got a question for John Steinbruner. You mentioned the necessity of a long-term security relationship between U.S., Russia, and China. That intrigued me. Could you elaborate a little bit on what kind of a shape such a thing could take, and whether NATO at any point would play a role in these matters? Is it something that the U.S. has to start doing, as you were saying, as the stronger partner in all of this? Doesn’t it get too complicated because India will have to get in there as well? So could you shed some light on how you see this?

STEINBRUNER: There are quite a few complications. Again, having to speak very quickly, it’s overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States to get all these weapons off of alert. Unless we do it, the others will not do it. The biggest danger to the United States is a breakdown of the daily deterrent operations. So, sort of imposing, if you will, higher standards of daily control on all sides are much more important in terms of physical security reality than reducing the numbers. China, of course, does not conduct alert operations, so they set the standards that the other two forces might agree to on that. You could do something with that presumably in this dialogue. 

That would be a necessary basis for doing the second thing that you want to do which is upgrade the accounting and physical security arrangements for all weapons and material, particularly in Russia. Russia inherited a system of control from the Soviet Union that was fractured. They’ve done awfully well, actually, in preserving control so far, but we shouldn’t leave that situation indefinitely. Again, the whole problem is basically providing reassurance. Nobody thinks that deliberate attack is a problem. The problem is reassurance about responsible management and you need to upgrade the standards. 

In the long-term, or not so very long-term, the dominant problem here is likely to be the role that nuclear power generation has to play in a response to global warming. To put it mildly, it would be suicidal to think of expanding nuclear power generation worldwide under current arrangements. If we have to do it, we will have to first of all have different reactor designs, but we will also have to have different fuel cycle management practices, ie. very strict international control. In order to set that up, it’s clear that deterrent operations would have to be terminated. That’s a very big deal. That’s a very big deal in India and China, the principal venues for this. That dialogue is not very far out in front of us. We’re going to have to recognize that. 

That issue has the potential for really raising itself to the heads-of-state level and making heads-of-state pay attention. It’s sort of there in the background right now, but I think it is coming. I think it will energize everything we’ve been talking about here. 

QUESTION: Richard Weitz, Hudson Institute. A question for the two panelists about the Azerbaijani radar proposal. We heard what the representative thought about the idea. I wasn’t sure whether the two panelists thought that would be useful either for averting the immediate European missile crisis or perhaps in some other capacity? I know we’ve had problems in the past with the proposed joint missile monitoring site in Moscow. I wasn’t sure if this one would work any better. 

IFFT: The Azerbaijan radar is an early warning radar, not a battle management radar. I think it could be quite good in providing early warning data if you’re concerned about Iran. This is a technical matter that needs to be analyzed, but I would think that that’s too close to put your interceptors. I would think if the interceptors were there they would have to be boost phase. Once an ICBM gets behind you, you’re not going to catch it. I think the good thing about this proposal is that it sort of moves us away from confrontation to discussing cooperation. 

KIMBALL: I would add that the proposal has to be looked at, first of all, with a view towards the technical matters and, second, operational issues. We’re still not exactly clear—unless anyone here has been talking to Vladimir Putin—what the exact nature of the proposal was. But from a technical standpoint, there is value in terms of putting a new U.S. radar, battle management radar, in that location. It’s valuable in terms of politics, in terms of moderating the heated discussion. In terms of the operation procedures, it’s not clear exactly how the transfer of information from a site at Gabala would be integrated with the U.S. system, but one of the things that I think is interesting to note is that one of the reasons why the United States and Russia have not moved forward on the joint early warning center, which has been in the plans for quite some time, is the Russians have been hesitant to give up the detailed information from their own radars. It’s kind of an interesting proposal that the Russians have put forward. We have to see what the details of the proposal are before we really judge it, accept it, dismiss it, whatever. But it’s a helpful step forward that the two sides really ought to evaluate. 

IFFT: Another point is that people have made the point about why aren’t we using NATO more. There is another part to that, and that is that the NATO-Russia Council actually has a pretty good record of cooperation in theater missile defense. So, the question that one might ask is why not make some use of that form and the experience that it has already produced?

STEINBRUNER: Let me just also note, I think it’s likely that Russian military planners are more concerned about the Czech radar than was alluded to here, primarily in terms of its upgrade potential. An upgraded radar at the Czech location connected with large-scale deployment of THAAD downstream would give the Russians some problem over the long-term, and, again, they are looking at that problem. 

KIMBALL: As we look at the missile defense issue as a whole, one of the things that’s important to remember is that the proposal for the Polish and the Czech sites would theoretically defend two-thirds of Europe in a rudimentary fashion. The United States does not need a missile interceptor site in Poland to defend the continental United States from theoretical Iranian missiles in the future. The Alaska site could do that. In some ways, it’s a question of what kind of early warning radar and battle management radar might be useful to deal with a Middle Eastern-origin missile. In some ways, this whole discussion, in my view, is a moot discussion. I think Congressman Tauscher mentioned that one of the driving forces is not the threat so much as the departure date for President Bush. They want to have the concrete poured in Poland so that the next administration can’t back out of this particular plan.

QUESTION: Phil Fleming, Lawyers Alliance. The congresswoman mentioned the possibility of a bridge amendment as a way to maintain the verification protocol or certain elements of START. Would the panel comment on whether there’s any precedent for that, and is there another way to maintain the verification and provisions of START without having to extend the entire treaty?

IFFT: Well, I mentioned in my remarks several possibilities for doing that. There are some legal complications, of course. To oversimplify, I would say the two sides can pretty much do whatever they want. Now, the U.S. Senate, of course, would have its own views about how that was done, but I suppose you could pick and choose the provisions that you liked. That’s sort of what I was suggesting, and I think that’s what the congresswoman was suggesting as well. The details of that could be messy because the parts that the U.S. would like to retain may not be the same as the parts the Russian Federation would like to retain. So you have a complex negotiation perhaps. 

STEINBRUNER: I think it’s probable that the Russians recognize that an element of leverage they have in this situation is simply the agreement to provide us information. The U.S. intelligence community would not enjoy having to set the order of battle entirely in terms of their own resources as they once had to do. That book is very important. It saves us a lot of money and effort, actually. We are going to be very interested in preserving the reporting requirements. You can imagine a memorandum of understanding in which people balance their various concerns in order to do that. That is an extremely important thing to do. Again, our intelligence community, I think recognizes that. And the Russians recognize the importance to them so there’s a bargain that needs to be struck here.

KIMBALL: The method may be unclear, as Ed outlined. There are many different options. But I think one thing we agree on, and I think Congresswoman Tauscher was also expressing this, is that the goal needs to be to agree to extend some elements of START—streamline START—at least until such time as, I would argue, a legally binding agreement that requires each side to more deeply reduce, more quickly reduce, and irreversibly reduce their deployed and their reserved stockpiles comes into effect. I think that is the general goal that we’re arguing for here. There are many paths toward that goal. It’s important that this administration, the Bush administration, does not pursue a policy that takes the United States and Russia far off from achieving that goal while they are still in office. 

QUESTION: Dean Rust, retired from the State Department. Both of you have spoken one way or another about the lack of salience of START extension in the public domain. Mr. Steinbruner talked about the failure of the political system to be able to deal with a lot of this stuff. I wonder if, apart from Congresswoman Tauscher’s interest in this and the extent to which she’s raised concerns about START extension, not missile defense is any of that sort of spreading throughout the Congress at all. What about the other side of the aisle? What about the Republicans? Are there some Republicans who are concerned about this? And are there any of the presidential candidates, in either Republican or Democratic camps, that are speaking to some of these issues?

KIMBALL: Well, I might be able to answer a little bit of that question. One reason why we’re here is to bring this to their attention. It has only recently been said by the United States and Russia that they don’t plan to extend START in the current form. This is relatively recent news. So, word has not spread like wildfire quite yet. There are, however, some members who are aware of this and who are concerned about this. Senator Biden made statements in a Reuters story not long ago. I’m aware of Senator Lugar having concerns about the current situation. I hope that there will be others like Tauscher who bring their concerns forward and try to advance a set of views that helps shape the administration’s policies. But, you’re right. This is at the bottom of the list of concerns that Congress has at the moment about the U.S.-Russian relationship. It’s one reason why we’re asking you to sit here today. 

QUESTION: Nate Hughes with Stratfor. I actually wanted to trace back and follow up a little bit. You mentioned that the Alaska site would be sufficient to defend against an Iranian missile launch. My understanding of the engagement, although it is limited, puts that way outside of Alaska. Our assessment of the Poland site is if your goal as the U.S. is to defend against an Iranian missile launch that’s the only justification for Poland. If you can push off to 2015 or 2020, then the follow-on technologies of BMD will be more than sufficient to be mobile and flexible.

KIMBALL: What I should have said is that the Alaska site, in combination with ship-based AEGIS systems, possibly could deal with any potential Iranian threat. My point is that this is not the only way to deal with this theoretical Iranian threat; this Polish missile defense site.

QUESTION: While we’re on the subject, could you help us understand a little bit more about how the Aegis SM-3 interceptor is enough? The SM-3 has a much better track record than the GMD interceptors were spending so much money on. But if we’re looking at 2012, could you flesh that out a little bit for us? How we can do this without Poland and the Czech Republic?

KIMBALL: Well, I would refer you back to a talk that Ellen Tauscher gave that’s based on information from MDA about this option in which she outlined, as I recall, the utilization of two to four AEGIS ships in the Mediterranean-North Atlantic combined with THAAD capabilities, dealing with this kind of missile threat. This is, as I understand it, an option that the Missile Defense Agency evaluated some three to four years ago. They decided not to pursue this path. They decided to go with the ground-based fixed site in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Those discussions began with the Eastern European countries back in late 2003 and our own Wade Boese at Arms Control Today was the first to report on those discussions in a piece he did in 2004. That’s about as much as I can tell you at the moment about that particular option. 

QUESTION: Stephen Young with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Just a question basically about how exactly does START expire? When exactly does this happen? Does the Bush administration have to do anything? If they do nothing at all, can the next administration in some form save the treaty if the Bush administration lets it linger away?

IFFT: Yes, if you do nothing, the START Treaty expires on December 5, 2009. I think one of the problems that we face is that people say that’s more than two years away, why are you getting excited now about it? One reason is that if the two presidents who are coming into their final months in office want to solve this problem before they leave, then this whole thing is accelerating. If you do nothing, it expires. But you can extend it without getting Senate approval for five years. The treaty provides for that as well. The assumption was always that it would be replaced by something else. START III, in fact, was where the Clinton administration was going in the Helsinki framework in 1997. 

Could I just make an arms-control point here? If you think about it, the Americans are trying to build a system to counter an Iranian ICBM which does not exist. The Russians are developing systems to penetrate a U.S. ABM system which does not exist. There’s a certain parallel there. The point is that this is one of the great virtues of legally binding arms control agreements is that people then do not have to make worst-case assumptions about what the world will look like ten or fifteen years in the future.

KIMBALL: A very good point, perhaps one to end on. I want to thank everyone for being here today. We will have transcript available thanks to Federal News Service in three or four days. Stay tuned with the Arms Control Association. I want to thank John Steinbruner and Edward Ifft, and please join me in giving them a round of applause. 


Country Resources:

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








Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.


DARYL KIMBALL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to one of the best restaurants in Washington and sometimes the location for Arms Control Association press briefings. I think the last time I was here was in 1998. It’s as cozy and small as ever, so thanks for squeezing in.

Good morning. My name is Daryl Kimball. I’m the executive director of the Arms Control Association. Many of you are very familiar with ACA, but for those of you who may not be, we’re a non-profit, non-partisan research and public education organization devoted to reducing the threats of nuclear, chemical, biological, and conventional weapons and to promoting practical strategies to deal with these weapons dangers. We also publish the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

This morning’s briefing is going to focus on two key issues facing U.S. nuclear weapons policy: one, the future of the nuclear weapons complex, and two, the proposal for designing and producing the first new nuclear warhead design in some two decades, the so-called reliable replacement warhead or RRW as you’ll hear us say.

Earlier this year, the Bush Administration requested $88.8 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and $30 million for the Department of Defense mainly for design related work for the RRW for fiscal year 2008. According to the managers at NNSA, the program is supposed to lead to safer warheads that are more reliable and easier and less expensive to maintain than the existing stockpile warheads. They also assert that the new warheads will facilitate reductions in the United States non-deployed reserve nuclear stockpile. 

Within the next month or so, the new Congress will act on the administration’s request. Already there have been several hearings in the appropriations and authorizing committees. As they continue to look at this issue, we believe that they must very carefully and critically examine the NNSA’s claims about the new warhead program because as you’ll hear from our two panelists this morning, their rationale does not seem to add up.

I’m just going to outline some of the key issues and then I’ll turn to our speakers who are going to provide greater detail on each of these questions. The first fundamental issue is:  Are new replacement warheads even needed? For more than a decade, the multi-billion dollar Stockpile Stewardship Program has successfully maintained the existing U.S. arsenal in the absence of testing and recent findings regarding the aging of plutonium in warheads cores—I should say the primaries—suggest that U.S. nuclear weapons will have minimum lifetimes of 85 years; about twice as long as previous estimates. So if the reliability of the United States’ nuclear stockpile can be maintained without testing indefinitely by avoiding unnecessary alterations during refurbishments, new replacement warheads are clearly a solution in search of a problem.

Second, would new warheads and the associated weapons complex requirements be more or less costly? If the National Nuclear Security Administration continues to need to refurbish existing warhead types until their replacements are built, which won’t be apparently until the year 2020 or so, the pursuit of RRW could produce higher, not lower, costs, than the NNSA’s current $6.5 billion annual budget.

Third, could new warheads be built without nuclear explosive proof testing? Maybe not. As our panelists will explain, confidence in the reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile could erode if warhead designs are changed to those that are not validated by past testing. I would note that in a hearing yesterday in the Senate, acting NNSA director Tom D’Agostino was asked what would happen if doubts about new design warheads emerged. He said—I’m paraphrasing, I haven’t seen the transcript—that he would not recommend going forward with the RRW if it could not be certified without nuclear explosive testing; but he said he could not guarantee that testing would not be needed when the RRW is several decades old. 

Fourth, how would new warhead designs and production affect U.S. nonproliferation goals in other areas? Already the failure of the United States and the other declared nuclear-weapon states to fulfill their nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) commitments have already made it more difficult to win support for the necessary changes and reforms to the nonproliferation system that are necessary to deal with today’s difficult challenges. If Congress gives a green light to the administration’s new warhead proposal, I and our panelists would find it difficult to imagine how our work to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons worldwide would not be more complicated.

So looking at the answers to these fundamental questions, we think Congress also needs to reexamine the role of nuclear weapons in the decades ahead and consider how U.S. nuclear weapons policies will affect the urgent need to reduce global nonproliferation threats and risks around the world. One of our panelists, Dr. Sid Drell, and one of his colleagues, Jim Goodby, put together an excellent report that the Arms Control Association published in 2005. Also, as you all know, in January, several leading national security figures published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that calls for specific steps to move toward fulfillment of the NPT Article VI obligations on disarmament.

Now, to address these questions and provide what I hope are some very good answers, as well as present some alternative proposals, we have two of the leading figures in the field today. First, we’re going to hear from Dr. Sidney Drell who is professor of physics emeritus at Stanford University’s Linear Accelerator Center and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He’s been a long time technical advisor to the U.S. government. He previously served on the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and Science Advisory Committee and has recently published his collected works in a nice volume which I would recommend to you.

We’ll also hear from Dr. Steve Fetter who is dean of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. He’s a fellow at the American Physical Society and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He’s previously served as special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. He’s served on several National Academy of Sciences’ committees. He’s also a board member of the Arms Control Association. 

After we hear from them, we’ll take questions from the floor from you and have a robust question and answer session. Thank you for being here.

SIDNEY DRELL: Thank you for inviting me. I’m glad to be here this morning and talk about these issues. Let me just start by going right straight to the RRW program which has two parts, as Daryl said. One is to refurbish or replenish—transform is the word—the stockpile of warheads. The other is to replenish or refurbish the infrastructure of [U.S. nuclear] plants and facilities. Let me start with that one first; I think that’s not controversial.

The infrastructure of our weapons program is old. Parts of it date back to World War II and parts of it, when you go through it, make you think you’re somewhere in the middle of Siberia, quite frankly, when you look at the condition. As long as we have nuclear weapons, I think it is quite important for this country to be able to say that it can maintain them economically, environmentally-friendly safe and reliable. There are things we have to do to bring the older parts of the infrastructure up to snuff. 

The point I want to make on this is that what complex we need for the future really depends very much upon what is our nuclear weapons policy for the future. Under the [May 2002] Treaty of Moscow [or SORT], we will have in 2012 between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads deployed. We now have approximately—the number is never given precisely—about 5,000 with another 3,000 or so in the reserve force. And you have to ask yourself, what is the purpose? What are all these weapons for? If we have to maintain 5,000 warheads, the complex is going to be a very different structure than if, for example, we were to decide that our weapons requirements in the future are, say 500, not 5,000.

So in going ahead with the infrastructure or the complex updating, we have to have a clear policy of where we’re going. We don’t have that. I don’t know what our weapons are for, particularly at the level of 5,000. I remember when Presidents Putin and Bush met in Moscow five years ago; they said all sorts of good things. I have words here from their agreement: “The United States and Russia have overcome the legacy of the Cold War; neither country regards the other as an enemy or a threat.” 

They went on to emphasize that we are allies working together against the spread of nuclear weapons in what they call a new strategic relationship that is cooperative rather than adversarial. Clearly, those words are very welcome, but they have a grave implication. To the extent where we stand today and where we’re going, it’s not clear. But certainly before we can design the complex, we have to know what we’re designing it for.

If I tell you that the warheads have lives of 50 years—with our Stockpile Stewardship Program, we’re seeing that there are no significant signs of aging—and I tell you that I need a 5,000 warhead stockpile, that means on the average I’m going to have to make 5,000 over 50 years: that’s 100 a year.

On the other hand, if I tell you that we’re going to have a 500 warhead stockpile and they live 100 years—we now have indications of longer warhead lifetimes; one factor being what we know about the aging of plutonium and its impact on the pit—we may need to only make five weapons a year. 

So we have a very fundamental challenge that Congress has to address before we know how to go on with bringing up the complex, the infrastructure, up to modern standards of safety and efficiency. As I said, as long as we have weapons, we have an obligation to see that they are reliable and safe and effective. 

The more controversial part of the program has to do with the redesign of warheads. Here, the question and challenge have been can we make warheads that are safer, live longer, more reliable, and have better use control? Use control means can we make it more difficult for a bad guy who gets his hand on our warheads to use them against us. Now, these are valid questions to ask. But we should understand the answer, or crucial parts of the answer, before we go ahead with implementing something.

I don’t believe that we know the answer to those questions. The challenge is a very daunting one because the legislation in Congress, creating the RRW, says that if the program is to proceed that it’s supposed to save money, and it’s supposed to not develop new weapons for new military missions. This latter issue was argued out over the last few years in the bunker buster debate and the debate about new concepts, such as very low yield, more usable weapons, particularly to try and sanitize biological agents.

The legislation also says the RRW is to be done without testing. That obviously was put in there by a Congress concerned about the impact of renewed testing on our nonproliferation goals and the judgment that the security of the United States is better served by trying to preserve the nonproliferation regime and strengthen the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. So they want to address the new challenges coming from the spread of technology rather than resuming testing, as well as designing new weapons.

I think the question that has been put in the RRW is a question worth trying to answer. I don’t believe we know the answer yet. Therefore, that says to me how we should proceed as Congress debates the RRW is first of all develop a strong consensus on a technical basis with independent input coming from groups that have been used traditionally in the past: STRATCOM has its advisory group; the Defense Department has its advisory group; JASON has operated pretty well as an independent group. Can we achieve the goal of better use control, longer lifetime, et cetera, without resumption of testing? So the first step is to get a technical consensus on that and I think that is where the program stands right now; that’s where it should stand before we commit ourselves to go ahead with multiple designs cutting metal or whatnot. 

I think the second point to take into account in addressing the RRW weapons design program is to recognize that we have had now for over the last decade a very vigorous and multi-faceted science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program and life extension program. I believe it is fair to say—it’s accurate to say—that there are no significant signs of aging in the present stockpile. That doesn’t mean there will be no problems in the future. I certainly believe we must have a strong program that keeps us aware of what might develop that we don’t anticipate. If there are any warning bells ringing, we’ll hear them and be able to respond. 

But at the moment, I don’t believe there is any significant evidence of aging. This very valuable Stockpile Stewardship Program and life extension program has led to the annual certification of our weapons for the past 11 years. I think that program’s budget should not be savaged in order to go pushing ahead with RRW1 or RRW2 at this point. So I think this is important: get an answer to what we can do, a technical answer, without testing, and do not dismember or savage a program that has been very successful.

Of course, the third thing—to get into a more arms control realm—is how we proceed with what we’re trying to do—making the stockpile and the complex safer or if we find that we can make the warheads with better use control without testing—in a way that explains exactly what we’re doing and what we’re not doing because we do have a nonproliferation regime that is in trouble right now. 

We have to be worried about what we do. We have to work cooperatively with the other 180 plus nations who have signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to give it more verification teeth. There’s also the Proliferation Security Initiative, the additional protocols, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and now the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. We need the support of most of the countries in the world to try and protect a nonproliferation regime which is on the ropes right now, considering what’s going on and considering the spread of technology in the world.

This raises in the minds of some of us—this is what Daryl was referring to and I’ll close with this—the notion that we have to also be looking not just at what we do today to try and keep the nonproliferation regime viable and to strengthen it; we have to look down the road and say, given the spread of technology and the dangers, when are we going to tackle the problem, the real serious problem, of getting rid of these terrible weapons? When are we going to tackle the problem of trying to escape the nuclear deterrence trap—we’ll call it that—which Putin and Bush really said they wanted to escape in the statement of five years ago that I quoted? When do we start addressing that question?

Twenty years ago last October, Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev went to Reykjavik with a vision. By the way, it’s really instructive to read the transcript of what went on; it’s in the archives of Margaret Thatcher, the Ronald Reagan library, etc. They really tried sincerely to get rid of all nuclear weapons. Whatever people may like or dislike about Ronald Reagan, there’s one thing that’s indisputable: he was, I believe, the most profound, sincere nuclear abolitionist who ever lived in the White House. You should read statements that he read over the years before he was president, during and after. One that I like particularly on the abolishment of all nuclear weapons was when he said that he considered nuclear weapons “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.” And all of you should remember President Eisenhower in his Atoms for Peace speech in 1953 said, “the United States is determined to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma, to devote its entire heart and mind to finding the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.”

I think we have to perhaps reach back in a little history and ask ourselves in a deeper way: can we escape the nuclear deterrence trap? Can we work together to try and get the countries of the world to join in and recognize—as far-fetched as that idea may seem today—that the alternative of a world with proliferating nuclear weapons at the hands of terrorists and others is looming? We really have to be serious and not think this is just a fancy. 

We had a meeting out our way last October that led to a piece in The Wall Street Journal—I’m sure most of you people have read that letter—by Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Sam Nunn, and Bill Perry, A lot of people ranging from Admiral Crowe to Max Kampelman signed onto it. It said it’s time we take disarmament seriously. We laid out steps, practical steps, to try and get there. 

I hope that that problem begins to get a little more attention and the vision that Gorbachev and Reagan brought to Reykjavik 20 years ago will be rekindled in our thinking and will guide the more immediate actions like what we do and don’t do in the RRW. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you, sir.

STEVE FETTER: Well, I agree with every word that Sid said. I’m tempted to just leave it at that and sit down, but I think Daryl would not be happy with me if I did that. I guess that I would start by asking about the RRW: why now? What’s the rush? 

As Sid said, I think everyone agrees that the Stockpile Stewardship Program and the associated life extension programs have been very successful and that the current nuclear arsenal is reliable, safe, and secure. So RRW doesn’t really respond to a present need or problem.

It responds rather to a hypothetical problem that might occur in the distant future: that it might be difficult to rebuild and maintain the current generation of nuclear warheads. As I’ve heard it described by one NNSA official, LEPs, life extension programs, upon LEPs for warheads might introduce uncertainties that would be difficult to assess and to certify. But if a LEP lasts 25 years then, you see, we’re talking about a problem that might materialize far into the future, perhaps 30 or 50 years into the future.

Because it addresses a problem that might arise so far into the future, I don’t think we can decide whether RRW makes sense without having a correspondingly long-term vision for the future of U.S. nuclear weapons. I think RRW makes most sense if that long-term vision is continuing to maintain a large, highly reliable, highly alert nuclear force, say, 50 or more years in the future. In that case, RRW might be a good option to consider. 

But I think it’s also possible that over this timeframe, our nuclear arsenals might be—I hope would be—greatly reduced, to a few hundred. I believe over this timeframe, a timeframe of 50 years, that it is not unrealistic to seriously consider the prohibition of nuclear weapons all together. I think Sid made an excellent case for that, as well as the op-ed piece that he referred to. That might be in the best overall security interests of the United States, particularly as more and more countries around the world become capable of also building nuclear weapons.

In those scenarios of deep reduction or prohibition, RRW makes far less sense; maybe no sense at all. It would be far cheaper to simply maintain the most reliable of the existing warheads and dismantle the rest.

But I don’t think there is any long-term vision for the U.S. nuclear vision and without that, proceeding with RRW could prove to be, at best, a waste of money or, at worst, it could help to lock us into the option of maintaining a large and highly reliable and highly alert force through the end of this century. But even if that was our long-term vision, a large nuclear force beyond 50 years, it’s not clear to me at least that RRW is the best way to go about that because designing and building a new warhead will inevitably introduce certain risks. For example, questions might arise during the non-nuclear testing or production that could be resolved only with a nuclear test. Now, perhaps we have a statement that if that arose we wouldn’t do a nuclear test, but I’m not so confident.

KIMBALL: He said he wouldn’t recommend.

FETTER: He wouldn’t recommend a nuclear test, right. But that would be a difficult choice to make. You’d be faced with the choice of scrapping the program or breaking what would then be a long-standing nuclear test moratorium to resolve those issues.

Like most other warheads, RRW will have, or could be expected to have, birth defects or reliability problems that would be discovered and corrected soon after the warhead was deployed. No one can say whether the unreliabilities introduced by these birth defects would be greater or smaller than the unreliabilities that would crop up in the existing warheads due to their age.

As Sid said, advocates of the NNSA are also claiming that RRW will improve safety and security and reduce costs. I think these claims are greatly oversold, particularly the claim of saving money. The RRW might be cheaper to produce, but in the near and medium term, we would have to design and build this new warhead while at the same time maintaining the existing stockpile of weapons. We probably also have to do missile flight tests with the new RRW. So any savings that would occur would occur only in the very long term and I don’t know that many of us are very interested in savings that materialize 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years from now.

Proponents also claim that RRW would improve safety, for example, because it could use insensitive high explosives, IHE, [rather than conventional high explosive]. But the main risk today from the current arsenal comes from the Trident warheads, the W-76 and W-88, which don’t use IHE. But the Navy looked at this issue—I should have looked up when; it was over 10 years ago—and concluded that the use of IHE on Trident wouldn’t significantly improve safety because those warheads are arrayed around a third stage that uses a detonatable class 1.1 propellant. So if that blows up, it doesn’t matter whether the warheads have conventional or insensitive high explosive. 

Proponents also claim that RRW would improve security and save money because they could incorporate the most sophisticated permissive action link technology, safeguards technology. In this regard—I should have looked up the exact quote by him—General Cartwright said that the ideal warhead would be one that you could give to terrorists and they couldn’t do anything with it because these safeguards were so good. I find it very hard to believe that we would reduce our requirements for guns and gates and guards simply because the warheads once stolen would be somewhat less vulnerable to abuse.

Finally, and I think most importantly, RRW is likely to have a negative effect on U.S. and global nonproliferation efforts. I do think these could be minimized if properly handled. I think if RRW was accompanied by ironclad promises to reduce the nuclear stockpile and to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), if the materials from the dismantled warheads were placed under international safeguards, and if we supported a verified ban on the continued production of new weapons grade materials, I think all of these would have a greatly mitigating effect. It might even conceivably be an overall positive for U.S. nonproliferation efforts. But the administration isn’t promising this. Instead, at least in the briefings that I’ve heard—not in public statements, but in the briefings I’ve heard from NNSA officials—they have emphasized the need to exercise and maintain our ability to design and build new nuclear weapons and to catalyze the rebuilding of the nuclear weapon production infrastructure.

Other countries will see RRW in the context of our overall U.S. foreign policy and our nuclear policies, which include, for example, the right to use nuclear weapons for counter-proliferation purposes, including against countries that don’t have nuclear weapons (this appeared in leaked portions of the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review); the pursuit of a nuclear earth-penetrating warhead that was part of that doctrine; open hostility to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and the refusal to discuss at the 2005 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference any aspect of the 13 Step action plan on nuclear disarmament that had been adopted at the previous review conference. 

So in this overall policy context, I think it’s virtually certain that RRW and Complex 30 would be interpreted by most states with deep suspicion, if not outright hostility. That hostility would impede our efforts to strengthen the nonproliferation regime. Thank you very much. 

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Sid and Steve, for those very comprehensive remarks. It’s now your turn. We’ll take your questions. I just ask that you speak up. We don’t have a microphone right now. I’ll try to repeat your question so let us know who you are. Does anybody have a question, comment? Yes? Stan Norris.

QUESTION: This seems to be a kind of crucial time right now. The issue is before Congress; they’re in session today. Next week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s RRW report is due and there’s grassroots organizations coming. My question has to do with predicting whether Congress might kill RRW this term or perhaps reduce the funding for it. Yesterday, Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) complained that there was a lack of enthusiasm by the Defense Department and State Department for this and he sent letters to try and get their support. So I’d ask each of you to predict the near term: what’s going to happen in this session of Congress?

DRELL: I’ve never successfully predicted what Congress is going to do.

I think you have to give Congressman David Hobson (R-OH) a lot of credit for this. He helped create RRW after the rejection of both the bunker buster and the low-yield concepts. He really had in mind [improving] the complex and the infrastructure, and I think it was a very good approach. But I believe that’s not the way the program has now come out. I hear very little emphasis on that part of it and everything about RRW-1, which now the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is going to do, and people beginning to gin up for RRW-2. I have great respect for the savvy of people in Congress even if I don’t agree with what they do often; they’re no dopes. I think that they must feel that something is going on here that’s not what they intended. Therefore, if I was a betting man, I wouldn’t put money down that [RRW proponents] are going to have really much success.

I would hope that there will be some success on things that I really do think have to be done in the complex. I’m all in favor of making the weapons both with better use control and safer and doing things like that, but in a sensible way of being quite open in what we do. 

KIMBALL: As Sid said, it’s extremely difficult to predict what Congress is going to do. I can’t speak for Congress. You reporters who are here have got to go talk to the key people on the key committees. But my perception is that, as Sid said, there’s a lot of skepticism among the chairpersons of the key subcommittees about some of the claims made about RRW. I would say that the jury is still out in their minds. There are still questions about the program that NNSA has not yet fully answered: costs, what is the cost? Can this warhead be certified without testing? That’s not clear and may never be predictable. There may not be an answer on that. 

I think Congress also is starting to think more carefully about, well, what is wrong with the existing stockpile? There are a number of members of Congress who just haven’t thought about that issue very carefully. I think that it’s up in the air right now. There’s a lot of skepticism, but I’m not sure exactly where it will lead. 

QUESTION: If I could ask a bit of a follow-up to that. It seems, just from following the debates in the last few weeks on the Hill in the House Appropriations Committee, that Congressmen Hobson and Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) are really hung up specifically on this question of consolidating all the nuclear materials in the complex to one site. That really seems to be the sort deal-maker or deal-breaker for them. I was wondering, to whichever of the panelists care to respond, do you agree that this one particular issue is so important that it should be the deal-maker or deal-breaker? Do you think that right now it’s standing in for other bigger issues in the complex?

KIMBALL: The question is to what extent is the ability of the NNSA to modernize the complex in a more efficient way a key issue? I think there are several key issues. That’s the whole point of our presentation here. I don’t think that is the one. But what you can see from Hobson is that he has been seeking a weapons complex with a smaller footprint and lower costs. His statements and Visclosky’s statements make it clear that they’re a little disappointed, maybe very disappointed, by the plan that came out last fall, the so-called Complex 30 plan, which NNSA will say has a smaller footprint in terms of square footage. But it does not close any facilities. It still maintains the basic architecture of the weapons complex and it would require a new plutonium facility—a variation on the pit production facility that had been proposed before.

DRELL: It is a big money item, I believe, and therefore it has to be an important component. I go back to the example I gave: If you say you have to make 100 or 125 pits a year, that’s a big deal in terms of building a pit production facility. If you’re going to talk about one that’s going to make a dozen or two a year, you can do that at Los Alamos with money to bring the buildings there up to standard. The fact that it is a big money item also makes it big politically in the sense that it’s jobs in different districts. I would imagine that will be, actually, a large part of the debate even though it may not be the most important in real terms.

QUESTION: Hans-Peter Hinrichsen of the German Embassy. I would like to address the question of urgency. You mentioned that there is no urgency about the RRW, and I think DOE would go along with that. But they are saying there is urgency for the infrastructure: that it is decaying, that it needs new people, and that those people who actually build nuclear weapons are phasing out—we’ll lose their experience; if you want to do something for the future, you must do it now. Would you concur with that view that there is urgency to reconfigure the infrastructure?

DRELL: There certainly is urgency, in my mind, to fix up several key facilities for dealing with this material at the labs. Absolutely, yes.

FETTER: I would say there isn’t urgency to do some other things, for example, a pit production facility. I wouldn’t view a new pit production facility as a priority or, in fact, necessarily a good thing ever to build.

KIMBALL: There are other activities, particularly the very fundamental stockpile surveillance and maintenance efforts that NNSA is behind schedule on. That’s what’s necessary to provide the early warning of any potential problem in the stockpile. As I think you mentioned, Sid, one of the concerns that we have about a rush to pursue RRW is that it could come at the cost of some other essential efforts to maintain the existing stockpile, which could raise questions about the need to resume testing.

DRELL: I think we all agree that the part that’s not urgent is getting on and building a new warhead design. But for the infrastructure, there are parts which I think we’re way behind on and we should get on with.

QUESTION: There’s something that he mentioned that you all didn’t mention. You didn’t seem to answer the question on the need for experience on how to design a weapon. Say in 50 years, there is a new peer competitor that could threaten us and we have not had the people come into the pipelines; students coming in to nuclear engineering who can have the design skills. In 50 years, all the people who were able to design warheads have passed away. Wouldn’t that cost a lot more money to say, “oh shoot, we need to make up for 20 years of not maintaining design skill sets and personal expertise—not infrastructure, not buildings, not pit facilities—but the people to maintain it?”

KIMBALL: Could you just identify yourself please?

QUESTION: I’m Jennifer with SAIC, sorry.

DRELL: I will answer that one. We have put approximately $7 billion a year into the Stockpile Stewardship Program to maintain a healthy NNSA and well-run laboratories. Those laboratories have had work on very exciting new scientific devices. They’ve been building and have brought into fruition during the past decade very fast super computers and accompanying codes that allow them to do high fidelity, three-dimensional explosion codes. There is the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility, DARHT, down at Los Alamos that’s going to give us two angles and multiple pulses to steady the implosion. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is coming on. 

These are very exciting science tools and you can do a lot to try and understand weapons.  We still don’t understand a lot of the fundamentals of what’s going on in the science of nuclear explosions. There are materials under extraordinarily extreme conditions. We didn’t have to worry about that for 50 years while we were designing new warheads. We have made great progress. That’s why I have greater confidence in the stockpile now than 10 years ago, even though we haven’t tested now for 15 years, because we understand these weapons better.

So there are very exciting scientific challenges. I think it’s very good while we have the mentors around to teach the young people and to have them think about new designs like they did for RRW-1. So, thinking about warheads, trying to understand them, challenging minds, giving them exciting things to do with new simulations and above ground experiments, that’s all part of this program. When the Stockpile Stewardship Program went in 13 or 14 years ago when the moratorium started there was great concern. That’s why the program has had the science-based stewardship, the life extension program, et cetera. There are some very smart people doing very good work.

I reject the notion that I have to blow out the side of a mountain to do good science, however.

QUESTION: So you believe that those programs are maintaining the skill set, the –


QUESTION:  – the nuclear deterrent skill sets that we would need in the future; not just to understand explosions, but to understand if we need a new weapon to deal with new targets? We would be able to develop that when we needed it?

DRELL: I think that is the obligation of the laboratories and Congress to fund to do that because we had nuclear weapons and we’re going to have them for a while. We have to better understand them and be able to see danger signals coming and how to respond. But that does not mean, in my mind, deploying a new weapon.

QUESTION: Jan Lodal, Atlantic Council. Sid, I would like to encourage you to talk a little bit more about the technical side of the uncertainty, if you will. Steve pointed out that there are birth defects, potentially, of the new weapons and whether you really know that they’ll be less uncertain than the old ones? What can go wrong with older warheads other than perhaps a little bit lower yield or maybe a little bit lower reliability? How significant would that be in that kind of a strategic environment where reliability drops 10 percent from where it is or yields drop 20 percent from where they are? Are there situations with the older warheads that are actually understood or known which the new warhead could deal with that are more serious than that?

DRELL: You want me to do that? The case is often made that we are near cliffs in the performance. In order to get the present arsenal to deliver the maximum megatonage in a warhead of the minimum weight—so we could put as many MIRVs on one missile as we could; this was our Cold War strategy—we went near performance cliffs. One that one could talk about quite openly is that during the boost phase you boost the primary to get big yield out of a little primary to drive the secondary. We know that you have to have a certain amount of energy in the primary explosion to make the secondary go off, which is where most of the energy comes from. So how close are we because of a shortage of tritium way back to being near the cliff where if you go a little bit below that energy, you don’t drive the secondary? The argument is that a new weapon would move away from those performance cliffs. So one has to look for those performance cliffs and see if there are any that bother you. 

It’s been talked about openly and it was made a big point of in the study in 1995 that was done actually by JASON. The unclassified portion talks about it in congressional testimony of making the boosting system more robust so you get further away from that performance cliff. They’ve been doing that. That’s an example of things you can do which don’t require testing or any kind of change.

There are, in a system like this, aspects where one looks at whether you are near a performance cliff. That’s what the stewardship program is doing; it’s looking. It’s been making improvements in various ways as it goes along.

QUESTION: So you’re saying that can happen inside the stewardship program and you don’t need the RRW. 

DRELL: That’s right.

QUESTION: What I’m looking for is something that you need the RRW. Isn’t it also true, though, that even in that extreme case you get a Hiroshima-size bomb?

DRELL: Oh, sure.

QUESTION: So it’s not that you don’t get any explosion out of this thing, even if all of these things went wrong that we’re proposing might go wrong. So my point being that it’s quite important, it seems to me, to understand the strategic context of what the mission is that you’re looking for with these weapons and not just saying, “well, they might not quite work,” when “work” is not very well defined.

DRELL: I’m answering the easier question as a technical man and saying that we have to have our eyes out for performance cliffs and stay away from them. Now, what would matter if we didn’t get the full yield? If we got 70 percent or 80 percent? That’s a deeper part of the question. That is a political decision and a strategic decision the government people are going to make. 

If you ask me, do I worry that our weapon will give us only 80 percent of the yield, I worry. I worry that it will give us 80 percent of the yield if we use it. 

So I’d like to stay away from many fundamental issues of what our strategic policy is. Where the juncture here is even consistent with our present strategic policy, what do we have to do? A longer term question is as we bring the arsenal down. If I saw us reducing the number so we were only dealing with military targets in Russia and we didn’t have 5,000 but maybe a couple hundred, how many warheads does it take to destroy a society? Yours is really a very deep question and it should be addressed in our nuclear policy. What is our nuclear policy and how much confidence do we need?

But for an outsider to come in and say, “well, if our weapons only have a 60 percent chance of working, that’s good enough.” You were in government; you know that doesn’t win any arguments about what decision to make. But maybe Steve has another aspect on that.

FETTER: I just want to add to that a little bit to say it’s very difficult to evaluate the value of RRW over the present approach because in the present approach of life extension programs and stockpile stewardship, if there were a problem in a current warhead, we would detect that and then we would attempt to rebuild the warhead so that those problems were corrected. Now, the assertion is that in that process of rebuilding and extending the life of an existing warhead, that unforeseen problems might arise and uncertainties might be introduced that would make it difficult to certify that rebuild.

But it’s just so hypothetical. It’s difficult to say how likely that is and what would be the impact of it. You also would have to weigh that against the equally unknown problems that an RRW might have as a result of its manufacture. So I don’t think that you can really say with confidence that in this hypothetical situation, one approach or the other would definitely be better.

KIMBALL: Anyone else? Or have we covered all the territory? Yes, sir, Mr. Rust.

QUESTION: Dean Rust, retired State Department. This administration supports this approach and they say that if you adopt it, you won’t have to test and you’re not likely to have to test and you could actually reduce your stockpile and so on. That’s actually good from a nonproliferation standpoint. So if you oppose that approach and you’re stuck then with the notion that the stockpile stewardship and life extension programs don’t give you the same degree of protection against those things that a reliable replacement warhead would, then you’re going to face increased pressure in the future to test from the people who currently support the RRW program. 

Let’s face it, you’ve got this administration which hates the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty but has maintained the moratorium on nuclear testing and in part they’re arguing that the RRW will allow us to continue that moratorium. Okay. So I mean if you’ve got that program in place eight or 10 years from now when there’s renewed pressure for testing, you could easily argue that the administration that hated the Comprehensive Test Ban was completely comfortable with this program. From a political standpoint, it seems to me this is actually positive for this administration to propose a program that they suggest will allow the stockpile to go down and reduce the likelihood of new testing.

KIMBALL: Let’s take the suggestion that RRW will facilitate deeper reductions and will reduce the likelihood of testing. Can we tell, Sid, whether an RRW warhead will make us less likely to resume testing than we would be under current plans?

DRELL: My technical approach is that it’s a wrong assumption this will make us less likely to test. Steve made a very good point which is that you worry about birth defects. When you have a new design, the most important problem is to get those birth defects out of the design. If you look at the significant findings which are published of our arsenal, you’ll find out that in the beginning there are more significant findings of things you didn’t think about, such as different materials being compatible working in the same environment or something like that. These are very complex devices and they grew slowly with the test program. We have more than 1,000 tests that give a pedigree to our present arsenal. 

We’ve seen birth defects and we haven’t seen the other half, as far as I know, of the bathtub curve where age means that the findings are going up in any significant way, which is why I said there are no significant aging defects that I see. So you have to answer the question first of all with what you know technically because is it true that if you have an RRW, you’re going to have greater confidence in that weapon 10 or 20 years down the line? You’re introducing birth defects that you have to worry about. Meanwhile, the life extension program is giving us the expertise and the knowledge to know whether a problem arises. 

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty allows you if there’s a problem, either technical or political, to abrogate the treaty and go back to testing. It’s in there for a good reason. But, in my mind, the technical risk, unless further studies, which I said we should do, convince me otherwise, would rely in putting a new warhead in there.

Now, put yourself in the head not of this administration, but the chairman of the joint chiefs or the president 15 years down the road and somebody comes to you and says, “you know what, things are not looking very good in the world and I’ve got an arsenal out there and I’ve never tested a warhead in it.” Do you think you feel secure? Ask yourself whether you ever could answer that question positively.

FETTER: This argument that RRW will make it easier for us to maintain the stockpile without testing would be far more convincing to me if it were accompanied by a commitment to ratify or push for the ratification of the CTBT by the administration and also if proponents of RRW in the Senate said that if they got RRW they would vote for the ratification of the CTBT. Well, then I have to say, I would look a little differently at this program. But I don’t see that that’s the politics of it. I see this as just another argument thrown in there to make the program seem more appealing.

KIMBALL: One other thing that I think is important to consider is back in October of 1999—a month I remember very well—when the CTBT was being debated in the Senate, the three nuclear weapons lab directors testified on October 7th that the Stockpile Stewardship Program will not be fully completed until the middle of the next decade and therefore they implied that the success of the program could not be guaranteed. Well, isn’t this exactly the same thing that D’Agostino said yesterday to the Senate Energy Appropriations Committee which is that if doubts about the confidence of a new warhead were to emerge, he could not guarantee that testing would not be needed when the RRW warhead ages.

I mean, essentially, there are no guarantees that you will never test. The question is: are we sufficiently confident that we don’t have to resume testing? The lab directors also said in 1999 that they were confident that the Stockpile Stewardship Program could maintain the stockpile indefinitely without nuclear testing so long as the program is fully supported and sustained. Again, we think the assumption that underlies the argument that RRW will reduce the possibility of resuming testing more than the current approach is wrong or is just impossible to justify. 

The other argument that has been made about RRW is that it might facilitate deeper reductions. That is based upon the idea that RRW warheads would be more reliable than existing warheads and therefore the number of non-deployed reserve warheads could be reduced. 

There are a couple of important things to consider. When are RRW warheads going to be produced and inducted into the arsenal? Last month, administration officials testified that they estimated that at best about 250 RRW warheads might be produced by the year 2020. Any deeper reductions in the reserve stockpile might not then be realized until the 2020s. Again, if we go back to the previous discussion, if the existing stockpile warheads are sufficiently reliable and if the deployed stockpile could be reduced because the United States and Russia are no longer sworn enemies, then deeper reductions in the deployed and reserve stockpile can be achievable much sooner on a much more rapid basis than waiting for RRW and waiting for the 2020s.

DRELL: These uncertainties that Daryl’s emphasizing are why I don’t say we shouldn’t do the RRW program. I said what we should do, though, should be technically sound. You’ve got to look carefully, which was my first point about how to do it, into whether you can build a technically sound consensus that there are some changes that would improve one of the goals that the program seeks, particularly use control, without requiring testing. 

I think one should be looking for these things. It’s the way you challenge your designers, too. But you shouldn’t make claims that are not founded. My position is, very simply, at the moment, we don’t know. We have no answer to the question: can you design a new warhead that would be safer, more reliable, live longer, have better use control, and that we’d have more confidence in without testing? That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be inquiring. That’s very different, though, from what they’re proposing in the budget as I see it.

QUESTION: Hugh Gusterson, George Mason University. I have a question for Sid Drell. What do we know about the Livermore RRW design and how close it is to the nuclear testing experience? There are rumors that it’s basically a small tweak of a design that once was tested?

DRELL: I really can’t go into any details on that except to say that the Livermore design was judged to have a better base and pedigree in past tests than was the Los Alamos one. Whether that is close enough or not to something that we know is something that’s being looked at. There is legislation that before money is released to do this, there has to be an independent review of that design that’s going to go back to Congress. So, we’ll see.

QUESTION: Diane Perlman. I’m on the Global Council of Abolition 2000. It seems to me that RRW sort of gives very mixed messages about NPT Article VI and that it sends the signal that there’s no intention to negotiate toward disarmament. Certainly, reductions give one message but the other strategies give the opposite message and it seems to be from my experience at NPT conferences and the dynamics of proliferation that this would drive proliferation. Would this provoke more proliferation in other countries who are observing?

KIMBALL: Well, we did cover that. Steve talked about the context in which this might be seen by other countries and that this would complicate efforts to convince other countries that the United States was interested in fulfilling Article VI and therefore it would make it more difficult. We could ask some of our embassy officials here.

It will complicate efforts to win support for the efforts that are necessary, the new measures that are necessary to strengthen the nonproliferation regime. We mentioned a few: safeguards, also trying to limit the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technology worldwide would be much, much more difficult if we don’t communicate through actions that the United States is holding up its end of the NPT bargain.

DRELL: If we were really cutting down on the number of warheads in an active way, if we were ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and we did adopt a vision that we said we’re really trying to get rid of these weapons, but if along the way someone comes along and says, I can make the weapons safer, I don’t see how you can say that’s a bad thing to do.

FETTER: I think the RRW program could be framed in a way that would be consistent with Article VI, but it’s not being framed that way. 

DRELL: That’s exactly right.

QUESTION: George Lobsenz from the Energy Daily. I wondered if you could just give us your best insight, maybe even speculation, that if you assume that the stated reasons that the administration is pursuing aren’t the real reasons—maybe that’s a little cynical—what other motivations they may have in putting this program forward. There’s been some speculation that this is just what the weapons complex is putting forward so they can develop other new types of bombs, such as the earth penetrator. 

FETTER: This phrase keeps coming to mind that I think that was coined in the Strategic Defense Initiative days, the self-licking ice cream cone. The idea is a self-licking ice cream cone is a program whose only benefit is for the people who are responsible for the program; it has no external benefit. I think that mainly this is a program by the weapons labs for the benefit of the weapons labs and it’s very hard to see what real tangible benefits it has for the larger national security of the United States. That may be a bit harsher than Sid would like to say.

DRELL: The RRW started out, as I said, as a very different program when Congressman Hobson first described it as a way of trying to coalesce the plants; not the weapons labs, the plants. That’s really what they were talking about: a lot of plants. Some people saw it as an opportunity to be good for their lab or somebody else’s.

I would just hope someone— since I know there are people in the media here—would make clear that there is an issue under this of what it is good to do and what the RRW could make as a real contribution, as well as what are the problems if it doesn’t do it right. People are cynical about our motives.

This is going to be much longer than this administration. It’s going to be next summer before even one has a judgment from the independent community whether RRW is going down the right track or not. So this is 10, 20 years down the road. So it shouldn’t be tied to just what some people in one administration think. It’s a question of what’s the direction you go to maintain a healthy arsenal and, at the same time, seriously, politically working through your actions to show that you really want to reduce the nuclear danger by reducing the arsenal and trying to get rid of these things. I think that’s a long term issue, and it’s going to take the media a lot of hard work to explain this to people.

QUESTION: So you don’t think it’s a totally self-serving program?

DRELL: Well, for some people it is, but there are a lot of people. The weapons labs are not monoliths. There are many people in the weapons labs who have very many different ideas on this, just as there are in academia. Sometimes we seem like monoliths also.

QUESTION: If I could just follow-up one more time. If there was a new Democratic administration to be elected in 2008, would you recommend that they continue with the RRW?

DRELL: I don’t care who’s elected, I would recommend that the RRW that’s been described so far figure out what it really wants to do because it hasn’t done that yet. You see, I don’t know what to do with the infrastructure; I don’t know whether I want 500 or 5,000 weapons and I don’t know whether I want to go ahead with a new warhead until there’s been enough work done and I can understand that it makes sense to make changes A, B, and C, and say I’m going to have more confidence without testing and they’re going to do me some good. They don’t have answers to those questions. So I don’t know what RRW’s doing yet. That’s my message. Let’s make clear what it has to do to be a contribution.

KIMBALL: One other observation, George, is that when we talk about the RRW program, what has been proposed so far is work on a single design to replace a single warhead type in the arsenal, the W-76. There has been testimony from the NNSA about the RRW approach that this RRW will be followed by RRW-2 and RRW-3 and so on, replacing the entire nuclear weapons stockpile with these new replacement warheads. There may be other approaches that are pursued: no RRW or a mix of RRWs and existing warheads. 

My point here is that there are going to be many different decision points in the years ahead and it would be extremely unwise for this Congress or this administration to make any judgment or choice that sets us on a course to go in just one direction, particularly if it is in an entirely new direction with new warheads replacing well-proven, well-tested warheads that have been validated by a long history of testing. That risks complicating our already complicated nonproliferation efforts. 

Any other final questions, ladies and gentlemen? If not, we’ll be here to answer any follow-up questions. We appreciate you being here. Please join me in thanking Sid Drell and Steve Fetter for being with us. (Applause.)

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Regulating Global Arms Sales and Cluster Munitions


Friday, February 9, 2007
9:30 A.M.–11:00 A.M.
National Press Building,
Washington, D.C.







Transcript by
Federal News Service,
Washington , D.C.

DARYL G. KIMBALL: Good morning everyone.

Welcome to this morning’s Arms Control Association briefing on regulating global arms sales and cluster munitions. My name is Daryl Kimball, and I’m the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. For those of you who don’t know us, ACA is a U.S.-based public education policy and research organization. We publish a monthly journal, Arms Control Today, and for 35 years, ACA has been promoting what we think of as practical and effective strategies to control, reduce, and eliminate the world’s most dangerous weapons.

Now, what are the world’s most dangerous weapons? The answer really depends on who you are and where you live. In many people’s minds, “the most dangerous weapons” mean unconventional weapons: biological, chemical and, of course, nuclear weapons. Indeed, future use of such types of weapons would produce catastrophic and far-reaching consequences.

But for countless others across the world in conflict-ridden regions, the greatest threats emanate from so-called conventional weapons. On a daily basis around the world, thousands of people face the very real threat of being the victims of rifles, mortars, tanks, grenades, bazookas, attack helicopters, and other weapons of war. All told, these types of weapons produce more suffering on a day-to-day basis than so-called weapons of mass destruction.

Yet, unlike chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, there are no international norms against the possession or trade of conventional arms. Countries have the right to protect themselves, and it’s widely accepted that conventional arms are legitimate to use for that purpose. Arms sales also are, of course, often seen as a way to win allies or simply to make profits.

The result, unfortunately, is a global arms bazaar that exceeded about $44 billion in 2005, according to the Congressional Research Service. Top suppliers have typically included the United States—which has been usually far ahead—Russia, France, and the United Kingdom. In 2005, about 68 percent, or $30 billion, of those arms sales went to developing nations, many with subpar human rights records and democracy records.

At times, the international community has imposed arms embargos to deal with the most egregious abusers of the global arms trade. The international community also has sought to shed some light on global weapons exports through the voluntary Wassenaar Arrangement and the U.N. Register on Conventional Arms. 

Nonetheless, exporting countries and arms manufacturers are still largely free of constraints. Currently there are no international standards to determine what constitutes an acceptable, appropriate arms sale or who is a legitimate or responsible recipient. In the view of the Arms Control Association and many of our NGO colleagues and our panelists here today, tough new controls on international arms sales are overdue.

Governments and nongovernmental organizations also have tried to deal with another arms problem: the use of certain armaments that produce the most inhumane and indiscriminate types of effects, especially on civilians. This traditionally has been pursued through the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the CCW, and the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines. There has been some progress, but it’s been slow progress.

In the United States, the three most recent CCW protocols on regulating the use of blinding lasers, incendiary weapons, and the remediation and clean up of explosive remnants of war are before the Senate awaiting hearings and ratification. In Geneva, CCW states recently sought but failed to begin negotiations on a protocol to deal with cluster munitions.

Today, the Arms Control Association is working with our colleague NGOs and some of the leading governments on this subject to highlight these critical humanitarian and arms control challenges and, hopefully, to raise the profile of two key and very important initiatives that seek to impose some practical, common sense guidelines limiting the global trade in conventional arms and the use of cluster munitions. 

First, we’re going to examine the so-called arms trade treaty concept, which Ambassador Duncan from the United Kingdom will focus on. I would just note, as many of you know, the U.N. General Assembly agreed in December by a vote of 153-1 to begin exploring the parameters of such a treaty. While some states including Russia and China abstained, only the United States actually voted ‘no’ on that resolution. This year governments are to begin the process of providing views about what that treaty might entail, and the U.N. will convene a group of experts in 2008 to examine the parameters of such an agreement. 

We have with us today one of the key leaders of this initiative, Ambassador Duncan, who is the British Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament. Ambassador Duncan will explain his government’s views and what it hopes to accomplish in this process. I would also note that the United Kingdom has been one of the foremost supporters of this concept, going back to 2004. It was one of the seven original co-sponsors of the U.N. resolution. We’re glad to have Ambassador Duncan here, all the way from snowy London, to discuss this issue.

We are also pleased to have from Oslo Ambassador Roald Naess, who also had to go through snowy London, to talk about his government’s recent initiative to ban the use of cluster munitions that have “unacceptable humanitarian consequences.” Norway launched this initiative last November after states-parties to the CCW, as I said, failed to achieve consensus on a mandate to move ahead with negotiations on this type of weapon.

The international community, of course, has had a recent glimpse of the terrible effects of cluster munitions in the recent conflict in Lebanon. Israel claims to have employed these weapons in a way to avoid causing civilian casualties. And, it says these arms were employed properly. But recent U.S. news reports stated that the U.S. government made a preliminary finding that Israel used American-origin cluster munitions in violation of U.S. export control guidelines.

Our third panelist, Steve Goose, may speak further on this, but I’d add here that it’s my personal view that the U.S. government has an obligation to respond to this violation by reconsidering further cluster munitions sales to Israel. This is the second time that such a violation has occurred; the other back in 1982.

Of course, Israel’s not alone in using cluster munitions in ways that may be harmful to civilians. According to the United Nations Development Programme, these weapons have been used in 23 countries. Over 50 countries have substantial stockpiles of cluster munitions. This is a problem that will continue for many years to come.

In response to growing NGO pressure, many governments, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and, of course, Norway, are reconsidering their use of cluster munitions. I would just take a moment here to note that Senators Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy are announcing today in a statement, which is out on the press table, that they’re reintroducing legislation that would restrict the acquisition, use, transfer, or sale of cluster munitions unless it was clear that the munitions would not be used in or near any concentrated population of civilians, whether permanent or temporary. 

Steve Goose will talk further about this. He is our third panelist today. The Arms Control Association will be working with our colleague NGOs to move this and other similar initiatives forward. Steve Goose is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch Arms Division. Human Rights Watch is one of the founders of the nongovernmental Cluster Munition Coalition. He’s also the co-chair of that group’s steering committee. Steve, who is one of the world’s leading experts on this topic, is going to outline the ideas that his organization and others have for what Norway, the United States, and other countries can do individually and collectively to deal with the cluster munitions problem.

Finally, I would note that each speaker is speaking on his own behalf, in his own capacity. They’re not speaking for the panel as a whole. We’ve brought together different views here. I think, in general, we’re all focused on similar problems, but you may find that there are some slightly different approaches to how we should deal with these issues. With that, I’m going to turn the podium over to Ambassador Duncan. Thank you for being with us.

AMBASSADOR JOHN S. DUNCAN: Thank you, Daryl. Good morning, everybody. I’m very grateful to ACA for allowing me to speak for a few minutes today about the arms trade treaty, which would establish a set of legally binding global principles to ensure that countries operate their export control systems in line with an agreed set of high standards.

As Daryl has commented, the United Kingdom, together with a group of six other countries, which were Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, and Kenya, have led calls for work on a legally binding treaty to be taken forward in the United Nations. However, the idea of a globally binding treaty is not new. We can trace its beginnings back to 1925 to the League of Nations, which had a discussion at an international conference on the international trade in arms, munitions, and implements of war, of which the only surviving part is the 1925 Geneva Protocol on chemical weapons. So we’ve been here before.

More recently, in 1991, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Russia—signed a joint declaration reaffirming their commitment to seek effective measures to promote arms control on a global and regional basis in a fair, reasonable, comprehensive, and balanced manner, as well as their determination to adopt a serious, responsible, and prudent attitude of restraint regarding arms transfers.

This latest initiative for an arms trade treaty grew out of suggestions by a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in the 1990s, led by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, and later advanced by civil society, NGOs, and a range of different countries. Support has also come from the world’s spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama and Pope Benedict. 
British support for this initiative was confirmed in March 2005, almost exactly two years ago, when then-British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw set out our intention to support this initiative in a speech in the United Kingdom. As Daryl commented, the United Nations process was agreed in the UN General Assembly in December last year. The resolution which launches this process under UN auspices was supported by 153 countries, including many traditional arms manufacturers, such as France, Spain and, of course, the United Kingdom, but also, emerging suppliers, such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, Brazil, and South Africa.

This year, all countries will have the opportunity to feed in their views on the initiative to the UN Secretary General. This will lead, hopefully, next year in 2008 to a group of government experts, which is a form of committee, which will consider the initiative further. If that group produces a positive report, the next step will be to start negotiation of a treaty.

The treaty is still some way off, but work is now beginning in a serious manner. We hope that export control practitioners, civil society, and the public will get involved and start a debate on what they would like to see in the treaty and urge their governments to feed into the process. The official deadline for views to the Secretary General of the United Nations is this April 30. That’s a very short deadline.

So, you may ask, why is a treaty needed? In our view, in an increasingly global economy, the idea that export controls can be based on the notion of national manufacturing is simply unsustainable. The phenomena of outsourcing and the rapid growth in technical expertise amongst emerging suppliers are trends that we have to recognize and address. 

Despite our collective efforts over many years to develop export control regimes—both for weapons of mass destruction and for conventional weapons—many countries still have weak export controls; either because the standards are too low or because they do not properly implement the standards that they do have. This means that arms continue to flow into conflict zones and into the hands of human rights abusers, even when the negative impact of the human cost, which I think from NGO sources is about a third of a million people per year, is all too evident. This will continue unless all countries adopt and implement proper controls. 

Traditionally, export controls, such as those established during the Cold War, have, at their heart, been concerned with preventing our adversaries obtaining equipment and technology that would give them an advantage or erode our own. Hence, we have tended to focus our attention on lists of equipment. Our vision of the arms trade treaty is not a replacement but a complement to these existing regimes; an effective mechanism dealing with 21st century challenges, where business is not the target for control but the partner.

Very briefly, what do we see a treaty doing?

First, we see the treaty controlling the availability of arms to conflict regions in order to help countries build stable economies. It’s worth noting that, on average, it takes a country 20 years to recover from armed conflict, attract foreign investment and tourism, lessen armed violence, and achieve sustainable development. Just to give a figure of the costs: treating victims and supporting disabled families caused by firearms totals roughly 14 percent of the GDP in Latin America.

The second item would be covering the international trade in all conventional arms, meaning both small arms and light weapons and larger weapons and weapon systems. If one sees on one’s television screen what is going on in Africa today, it’s not simply the AK-47 which is a matter of concern. 

Third, a treaty should make clear when a transaction would not be allowed because of existing prohibitions, such as those set out in UN arms embargos. 

Fourth, a treaty should set out clearly the issues countries must take into consideration before deciding whether to allow an export to go ahead. For example, what is the risk that the item in question could be used to exacerbate an existing conflict or carry out human rights abuse.

Fifth and finally, we need to make sure that a treaty makes a difference. A treaty should include an effective mechanism for enforcement and monitoring, including an appropriate transparency mechanism.

What we do not see the arms trade treaty doing is ending the arms trade. The United Kingdom is a major arms exporter and plans to continue to be so. In the United Kingdom, some 65,000 jobs are based in the defense industry, and the average export earnings are about 4.5 billion pounds per year.

We do not see the treaty ending the arms trade, but a treaty should be about making sure the arms trade is conducted responsibly and to make sure it is carried out with due regard to the impact that it has. As a result, we have found that the U.K. arms industry very much supports the idea of the arms trade treaty. They see it as an initiative that would make it easier for them to trade, as they will know from the outset the overreaching standards that countries they are working with are bound to follow. This will make international trade flow more smoothly for the responsible exporter.

Similarly, if potential partner companies are working within the framework of good export control systems, arms manufacturers are better placed to enter into collaborative projects with them, confident that the end products will be properly controlled. This is increasingly important in the global marketplace, as I explained in the beginning.

It is our hope that the arms trade treaty will not only help to create more uniform standards, but might act as a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for the arms trade; much in the same way as the lumber and coffee industry have turned an obligation into a marketing device, such as sustainable forestry and fair trade in coffee. You might say that perhaps the arms industry is not so concerned by consumer demand, but it is concerned and subject to the same shareholder pressure as other parts of the economy. Competition for capital to support new projects, mergers, and acquisitions, is becoming increasingly tough. There is a driver there that industry is interested in and that we can harness.

Nor, in this audience, should I have to point out, do we see the arms trade treaty controlling civilian possession. That is a matter for national governments to decide. As I said, this latest initiative has garnered the support of over 153 governments, both traditional arms manufacturers and emerging suppliers. The moral, economic, and commercial arguments for making a serious and sustained effort to developing better global measures to ensure that the arms trade in the 21st century is a responsible one are, in our view, compelling. This is why the United Kingdom has taken such a high profile role in advocating the needs for an arms trade treaty.

I will be pleased to answer any questions and, of course, look forward to taking part in the panel discussion. But I hope I can end with a request: that this initiative not be seen as a threat. It is not. It is an opportunity to put the arms trade on a more secure and responsible footing, where we can be more confident that legitimate needs are met and that arms do not fall into the wrong hands. Thank you very much. 

KIMBALL: Thank you. Ambassador Naess.

AMBASSADOR ROALD NAESS: Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to this meeting to present the Norwegian view on the issue of cluster munitions. 

The first recorded use of cluster munitions was in connection with a German air raid on Grimsby in England in 1943. The bombs were not particularly effective against military targets but they killed and maimed civilians for a long time after their attack. The first large-scale use of cluster munitions was in Southeast Asia. According to United Nations Development Programme, cluster munitions have been used in 23 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Serbia, Sudan, and Vietnam. More than 50 countries have large stockpiles of cluster munitions. 

Many countries and organizations have expressed deep concern about the suffering caused by the use of cluster munitions. The conflicts in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and the Middle East during recent years have made the world aware of the humanitarian consequences resulting from the use of cluster munitions, both initially and long after a conflict has ended. Countries in Southeast Asia are still deeply affected by cluster munitions from the late 1960s and early 1970s. There have been calls from many quarters for the introduction of an international agreement to put a stop to the use of these weapons. 

The Norwegian government’s initiative to promote an international ban on certain types of cluster munitions is based on the knowledge of the humanitarian and socio-economic consequences of the use of such munitions. Norway has a very long tradition for humanitarian engagement, and the human suffering caused by the use of cluster munitions has influenced our public debate. This debate has resulted in a political commitment to take some actions. 

Since 2001, Norway has been working actively at the international level to promote effective measures against cluster munitions. In November 2006, this was conducted within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the CCW, which has been ratified by some 100 countries. At the third review conference of the CCW in November 2006, it became clear that it would not be possible to agree to move on from general discussions to a more targeted process aimed at introducing a ban on cluster munitions that have unacceptable humanitarian consequences.

Let me say that Norway will continue to work within the CCW. I would also like to add that our initiative is not to compete with or replace the discussions within the CCW. To the contrary, we are looking forward to a more focused and action-oriented discussions also within the CCW.

But we noted during the CCW process that many countries, institutions, and organizations shared our humanitarian approach to the problem of cluster munitions, and we are grateful and encouraged by the support and partnership by all of them. Norway, therefore, decided to invite the countries that had shown interest in the issue, as well as relevant UN institutions, the Red Cross, and other humanitarian organizations, to a conference in Oslo, which will take place next week on February 22 and 23.

The purpose of the Oslo Conference is to lay a foundation for a diplomatic process aimed at reaching a binding international agreement prohibiting the use of cluster munitions that have unacceptable humanitarian consequences, preventing the proliferation of such weapons, and supporting victims and affected countries. We also think that the agreement should be developed within a reasonable time. Countries that have not been invited are welcome to participate at the conference if they wish to do so. 

Perhaps I should say a few words about what cluster munitions are. It’s a general term for a variety of weapons that disperse a large number submunitions or bomblets over a large area. The submunitions are placed in a container that can be dropped from aircraft or delivered by means of artillery shells or missiles. The container breaks open in mid-air and the submunitions are dispersed and armed to explode on impact. The size of the area they cover ranges from a few hundred square meters to about 20 hectares, depending on the type of munition. 

Most types of cluster munitions currently in use have serious negative consequences for particularly two reasons. Number one, they are area weapons that do not discriminate sufficiently between combatants and civilians. Secondly, submunitions that fail to explode on impact are left as duds. Duds are often highly unstable, armed explosive devices that, in practice, function virtually as anti-personnel mines. Because the proportion of duds is generally high, 25 to 40 percent is not unusual, and because these weapons are often employed in large numbers, the number of duds can be extremely high.

The resulting casualties and injuries suffered by civilians can continue for years after a war has ended. So the purpose of the Norwegian government’s initiative is to eliminate humanitarian suffering caused by these weapons. Cluster munitions that are capable of discriminating between combatants and civilians and that do not have a large number of duds are not covered by the initiative. 

In case you have questions about the Norwegian stockpiles on cluster munitions, I should say that, yes, we have them. Norway has cluster munitions in the form of 155 millimeter artillery shells. In spite of the fact that recent tests have shown that these munitions have a low dud rate, the government has decided to introduce a moratorium on their use, pending an international agreement that clarifies well that this type of munition is acceptable from a humanitarian point of view.

To the conference in Oslo, more than 40 countries, several UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other humanitarian and human rights organizations have so far been invited. All said they will participate. Of the invited countries, the original group consists of the 25 countries that signed the joint declaration at the conclusion of the CCW Review Conference in Geneva in November. They’re all invited. We also have invited some other countries outside the CCW signatories, countries that are affected by cluster munitions, and countries that have asked to receive an invitation to the conference, thereby including themselves in the group of countries that are prepared to develop a new instrument. As I said, the conference is also open for other countries that wish to be associated with this initiative, and even countries that would be opposed to it. They are most welcome. If they would like to have an invitation, we will send them an invitation because we think it’s important to meet and to discuss this important issue.

If journalists have an interest to get in touch with our foreign minister before the conference or during the conference, please let our colleague from the Norwegian embassy here in Washington know and we can make arrangements. I was told before I left for Washington that he will set aside time to be available for interviews. Thank you very much.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much. We now will turn to our third panelist, Steve Goose. 

STEPHEN GOOSE: Thank you, Daryl. I’ll stay here, if only just to be different. Plus, it gives me a chance to rub elbow with ambassadors, which, of course, I like to do. Thanks very much to the Arms Control Association for highlighting these two very important issues. We appreciate you bringing us together.

I have told ACA that I will focus my remarks on the cluster munitions issue, which I will do. But I’ll also note that there are other NGOs in the room who are expert on the arms trade treaty and on arms trade issues. Rachel Stohl from the Center for Defense Information is sitting over there and there are others as well, so for the journalists who may want an NGO perspective in more detail on the arms trade treaty, I wanted to let you know that there are others available here who can do that in addition to the Arms Control Association.

There may be nothing that the international community can do that will offer greater protection for civilians during armed conflict and after armed conflict than to enact a prohibition on inaccurate and unreliable cluster munitions. Cluster munitions caused more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003, during the invasion, than any other weapons system besides small arms fire. The same was true in Kosovo in 1999. There were more civilian casualties due to cluster munitions than any other weapon. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and maimed by cluster munitions since the end of fighting in Lebanon in August, more on almost a daily basis. 

This is clearly the weapons system that is most in need of new international law and national regulation in countries throughout the world. It’s certainly theoretically possible to use cluster munitions in a responsible way. However, what we have seen in conflict after conflict where they have been used is that they’ve been used in a way that runs afoul of international humanitarian law, regardless of whether they’re being used by responsible forces, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Israeli forces, or others who consider themselves the upholders of international humanitarian law. When it comes to cluster munitions, the weapons have been used in ways that certainly, at the very least, raise questions about illegality of their employment. They certainly have caused unnecessary and avoidable civilian casualties in virtually every instance in which they have been used.

You had a nice rundown from the ambassador about how clusters function. Indeed, they are a double whammy for civilians. If they don’t get you at the time of attack, they’ll get you long afterwards. At the time of attack, they are prone to indiscriminate effect because they spread out over such a wide area. The ambassador referred to hectares, which may have been lost on many in this audience. Several football fields are covered by most types of cluster munitions that are used; whether they’re dropped out of aircraft or shot out of artillery or ground rocket systems. They have this wide area effect that has military utility but also creates humanitarian problems, almost inevitably, if they are used in populated areas. So we have said they should never be used in populated areas. Any use in a populated area should be presumed to be a violation of international humanitarian law, unless proven otherwise.

But if they don’t kill or injure civilians at the time of attack, they are almost guaranteed to do so afterwards because each use of a cluster munition leaves behind large numbers of what are usually called duds. It’s a misnomer because the duds are hazardous. The duds function as anti-personnel landmines. The submunitions that fall out of cluster munitions are supposed to explode on impact. But they have a failure rate, like all weapons. Sometimes, they have a very high failure rate. We have seen, in Lebanon, failure rates of 25 to 40 percent, as well as some catastrophic failures of 100 percent. But even if it has a small failure rate, these things are used in such numbers that you essentially have lots of landmines left behind after employment. One of the things used most often in Lebanon, and in Iraq before that, were multiple launch rocket systems; ground rockets that typically shoot out a volley of six rockets. Each rocket contains 644 submunitions in a single volley. You have thousands of submunitions being used and you are going to end up with thousands of duds over the course of employment.

Hence, it is not so much the failure rate that matters, although that does count; it is how many duds are inevitably left behind by this weapons system. These duds last a long time. They’re still taking victims in Laos and Cambodia and Vietnam from U.S. use in the 1960s and the 1970s. In fact, the problem in those countries today is more due to leftover cluster munitions than it is to landmines. 

Clearly, this is the weapon we need to get a handle on. One of the appealing things about the effort to deal with this weapon, though, is that it is not just cleaning up an existing mess. They have been used in about two dozen countries or so; we are still trying to get the best list. There have been allegations of use in a handful more than the two dozen that have been identified. But the real danger is the potential future catastrophe. We count more than 70 governments that stockpile cluster munitions. Those governments collectively have cluster munitions that contain billions—not just millions or hundreds of millions—billions of submunitions. If these arsenals of old, unreliable, inaccurate cluster munitions get used, we are going to have a disaster on our hands that far surpasses that of anti-personnel landmines.

Yes, where they have been used, it has been a disaster. But the future is what we really are concerned about and why we have to take action urgently now to deal with it. We hear the arms trade treaty is going to take time to develop. We understand that. We can’t afford to do that with cluster munitions. We can’t let the effort to try to handle this weapon percolate along for year after year after year, as it has been doing in the CCW for the past several years. This is the beauty of the Norwegian announcement. It emphasizes the urgency of dealing with these now. NGOs have said that through this Norwegian initiative, we should develop, negotiate, and conclude a treaty within two years time, by the end of 2008, at the latest. We did it in half that time with landmines.

There is no current treaty that deals with clusters. Sometimes, people get confused and think that the landmine treaty—the Ottawa Convention or Mine Ban Treaty of 1997— deals with cluster munitions. It helps with the cleanup of clusters, but it does not deal with the use, production, stockpiling, or trade of the weapon at all. Clusters are only subject to existing customary international humanitarian law (IHL), like any other weapon. But they have rarely been used in compliance with IHL. While inaccurate and unreliable, cluster munitions are not yet banned under international law. They should be. That is what the Norwegian initiative is aimed at.

People may be saying, what do you mean by an inaccurate and unreliable cluster munition? What do you mean by a cluster munition that does not cause unacceptable humanitarian harm, that doesn’t have unacceptable humanitarian consequences? Well, we don’t really know the answer to that yet. As the ambassador pointed out, there are lots of different kinds of cluster munitions. We believe it’s up to governments to prove conclusively that there is such a thing as a cluster munition that doesn’t cause unacceptable humanitarian harm, that is not unreliable, that is not inaccurate, and that does not pose unacceptable risks to civilian populations. There are things like non-explosive cluster munitions. On the other hand, there are nuclear cluster munitions. We are probably not talking about either of those with this treaty.

There are also some very high technology weapons that have emerged in recent years that technically would be cluster munitions but that may not have the same wide-area effect and may not leave behind so many duds. There are cluster munitions being developed that only have two, or five, or ten submunitions, each of which is individually targetable and hones in on armored vehicles. There are ones that have self-destruct and self-deactivating devices. These are probably not dangerous weapons. It’s up to governments to prove that, but these are probably not dangerous weapons. It will be part of the negotiation process that will determine what the definition of a cluster munition is and what should and shouldn’t be prohibited.

What is clear is that after years of working against these weapons—Human Rights Watch was the first NGO to call for a moratorium on all use of clusters in 1999—there is now tremendous momentum and political will to deal urgently with this issue. Indeed, some three dozen governments are now on record, most of them during the CCW meeting that the ambassador talked about, in favor of a new international instrument on cluster munitions.

We viewed the Norwegian announcement back in November as a true watershed in the effort to deal with this. It showed tremendous leadership, bold international leadership, in moving this away from the doldrums of the CCW and into a process that has some prospect for rapid success. The CCW has already talked about this issue for five years, and the best they came up with was a weak and vague mandate to continue talking. Not to begin negotiations, but to continue talking about cluster munitions within the context of the broader issue of explosive remnants of war. We see that as an inadequate response to the cluster munitions problem and think that this new process that will begin in Oslo later this month will be the only way to move forward in a fashion that meets the urgency of the situation. Those countries who want to deal urgently will be part of that process. Those who want to go slow, with little hopes of progress, will count on the CCW. That’s what history has shown.

We have had many United Nations agencies, as well as now-former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, call for an international instrument. Annan also called for a freeze on the use of cluster munitions and the destruction of stockpiles of unreliable and inaccurate cluster munitions. Belgium has become the first country to ban cluster munitions outright. Norway has a moratorium in place. Germany has stopped production. There are parliamentary initiatives in more than a dozen countries around the world to prohibit or restrict the weapon. We have seen many countries already remove older cluster munitions from their stockpiles and begin destroying them. We’ve seen a number of countries take the policy of no use in populated areas. We’ve seen many countries trying to set limits on their failure rates. These are all positive steps forward that we think can give momentum to what we hope will be a treaty that prohibits those cluster munitions that do cause unacceptable harm to civilian populations.

The United States has been opposed to this outside process. On the last day of the CCW, it spoke quite harshly about Norway’s announcement. To my knowledge, the United States has not yet said whether or not they’re going to Oslo. If there is an update on that, I would be happy to hear it. I would like to see the United States be part of this process. It made a big mistake by staying outside of the Mine Ban Treaty process in 1996 and 1997 and it needs to be part of this process that will deal with cluster munitions most effectively.

Very encouragingly, as Daryl pointed out, the Senate has begun to take things into their hands. Senators Feinstein and Leahy will introduce next week very far reaching legislation that would prohibit the use of cluster munitions in or near populated areas, and would also prohibit the use and transfer of cluster munitions whose submunitions have a failure rate of one percent or greater. In practice, this would eliminate almost every existing cluster munition in the U.S. arsenal. The United States has, depending on what you count, somewhere between 700 million and one billion submunitions in its arsenal. There may be some 30,000 of those submunitions that would have a failure rate of less than one percent, so-called sensor-fused weapons, and others that have a self-destruct device on them that may get the failure rate down that low. So this legislation would have a huge impact on the U.S. stockpile, and would only allow the United States to go forward with production, acquisition, and use of cluster munitions that are highly advanced. In fact, such weapons probably would not really meet the concept of what we consider to be a cluster munition. They would not have a wide-area affect and they would not leave behind lots of duds.

This legislation is not intended to be anti-Israel. An earlier version of it was presented in September, shortly after the end of the fighting in Lebanon. It was characterized by many as a reaction to Israel’s quite appalling use of clusters during fighting in Lebanon. In fact, this is aimed at the United States. It is not an anti-Pentagon bill; it is a pro-humanitarian bill that is designed to remove the most dangerous weapons from the U.S. arsenal that are most likely to pose the greatest dangers to civilians in the future. It would have the effect of not allowing the United States to transfer its existing stockpile of cluster munitions to Israel. The same would be true for every other country. So, it is not an anti-Israel bill or an anti-Defense Department bill. It does have a waiver that would allow, in extraordinary circumstances, the president to authorize the use of some cluster munitions with a failure rate of more than one percent. It does not allow waiver of the no use in populated areas provision. I think the waiver is going to be very hard to invoke because it is going to be really difficult to make the case that it is going to be vital to U.S. national security to use cluster munitions with high dud rates. We think it is a very strong bill that deserves full support from the Senate and the administration.
There are going to be many challenges to success on this issue, both here in the United States and elsewhere. But in the NGO community we are very, very pleased with the direction that things are going in and the degree to which countries are coming on board at a very rapid pace. We think that the meeting in Oslo later this month will be a crucial one. In Oslo, we expect an action plan to be developed that will lead the way to a new treaty in a very short time frame and that will be come the new international standard—for those who not only have signed it, but for those who have not signed it as well. Such a treaty will have an impact on countries like the United States, even if they are not part of it, because the new standard for behavior will have been set by the rest of the world.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Steve, and also Ambassador Duncan and Ambassador Naess, for very thorough and excellent presentations. As Steve said, the Arms Control Association commends Norway and the United Kingdom on their efforts and their leadership on these issues. Now it is your turn to ask the panelists your questions and for us to discuss these issues further. 

QUESTION: Hi, good morning. Thank you all very much. My name is Laura Lumpe. I am an independent researcher and writer. My question is for whoever can answer it and it has to do with cluster munitions. When cluster munitions are used is there a map of artillery fire that in any way helps you figure out how to clean up the cluster munitions/landmine mess left behind or is that a completely implausible proposition?

GOOSE: When modern armies use clusters, they have very precise records of where they have been used. This is a particular issue in regard to Israel and Lebanon right now. The United Nations and others who are trying to clean up the mess in South Lebanon have said that the greatest obstacle to rapid progress for them is the fact that Israel has not turned over the details of their use of cluster munitions. They need to know the locations and the types and the numbers that were used. Israel has not made that information available yet. 

When either the ground rocket systems or the artillery systems, or, to a slightly lesser extent, the air-dropped bombs are used, there are precise coordinates for where they are used and those are all recorded. We have been told by the artillery and rocket units that used cluster munitions in South Lebanon that they have both computer and hand-written records of the coordinates. They are there. They just have not yet been turned over. 

KIMBALL: If I might ask a question that occurred to me. This is for Ambassador Duncan. One of the key issues with the arms trade treaty that the United Kingdom has raised is the importance of monitoring and enforcement. I am wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more on what your government’s thoughts are about how that might, on the conceptual level, be pursued? And, while we are still in the process of collecting ideas from governments and NGOs, how might the treaty compliment the existing national and UN efforts to monitor and enforce export controls?

DUNCAN: Thanks, Daryl. It is actually a question that I can not answer because at this stage the way the United Kingdom is taking this forward is to set up the process and then debate it. It is not our intention to draw out a list of how these things would be done. What we are looking at is the parameters, the scope, what is going to be in the treaty, etc. We would like to see monitoring and enforcement as part of the treaty. The exact form of how that will work is something that we need to discuss. There are many models out there in the existing voluntary export control regimes. There is the U.N. arms register. There are all sorts of different models. It would be an adaptation, I imagine, of one of those.

I should, perhaps, point out, since we are covering both cluster munitions and arms trade treaty, that the arms trade treaty is, as it says, about trade. I would probably defer a little from Steve in saying that there is no international treaty on cluster munitions. In our view, there is. It is the one that is rather bizarrely known as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the CCW. That is about use. It is aimed at controlling the use of certain weapons, whereas the arms trade treaty is dealing with the trade in certain weapons. There are two distinct parts of how we deal with the issue of weapons in modern society.


QUESTION: I am Miles Pomper from Arms Control Today. I have one question for Steve Goose and one for Ambassador Duncan. I’m just playing devil’s advocate, here, for a minute. Could you explain, why do militaries use cluster munitions? What is the military utility of these weapons? I assume that one of the issues when you look at Lebanon was that the problem was that the enemy intermingled with the civilian population. Is that the fault of the weapons, or the fault of the enemy, in that sense? For Ambassador Duncan, one of the issues you talked about is implementing existing commitments on arms. How much of this is a problem of governments simply not having the capacity to implement any of these regulations, especially, in developing countries? What would the arms trade treaty do about that?

GOOSE: Militaries talk about clusters as being forced multipliers. Unfortunately, one of the things that makes cluster munitions most appealing to the military, the wide-area effect, is what creates the humanitarian problem, particularly if you are using them in or near populated areas. The military talks about clusters being particular useful against widely dispersed targets or against an enemy who might be on the move. You have a better chance of hitting the enemy and his equipment, if you have this wide-area effect. 

In truth, cluster munitions were designed primarily as a Cold War weapon. The most typical versions now were designed to attack Soviet tanks on the move across the plains of Europe. That’s not a target now. In most of the conflicts where we are seeing clusters being used, they are indeed inappropriate to that kind of use, in large part, because of the populated areas that are involved. You still have a responsibility, under international humanitarian law, to minimize the dangers to civilians, even if your enemy is violating law by co-mingling amongst the civilian population. There couldn’t possibly be a worse weapon choice for attacking an area where your enemy is co-mingling with civilians than cluster munitions. You still have your obligations to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties and to make the right weapons choices to minimize civilian casualties within your effort to achieve your military objective.

DUNCAN: I might actually answer both questions from a different perspective.

The answer on implementation and capacity building: yes, this is a problem. It is being dealt with currently with a focus on small arms and light weapons under what is known as the UN Program of Action. But capacity building is an issue. What is striking in the arms trade treaty is the desire of the emerging suppliers to engage. There is a willingness to learn and be part of a responsible exercise. I don’t see this as a problem. I see it as an opportunity and a way of building on what exists already, and providing more focus.

On the force protection side of it; the military use of cluster munitions question. As you may have seen, I was for a time NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark’s political advisor during the Kosovo war. So I have had to see this at first hand. The real issue, building on what Steve has said, is that it’s force protection. Cluster munitions are not an offensive weapon in many cases, they are a defensive weapon. 

Many of us may have friends and family in the current areas of conflict, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. If you are a soldier facing an enemy hoard coming over the hill, you’re going to want something that stops that in its tracks and cluster munitions are one of the most effective ways of doing it. But, as Steve says, there are problems with the less effective cluster munitions—those which do not, in the U.K. government’s view, have guidance or self-destruct mechanisms—causing havoc, because they end up being a problem for post-conflict resolution. That problem lies equally with the military, who have to clear the things up, and NGOs. There is a very clear military need for these things. What would you use as an alternative? Is that alternative going to be any better than the existing one? I think that where we join forces is that there is a view, pretty widespread, in the international community, and I think it includes both the users and producers of cluster munitions, that the old-style cluster munition is very problematic. Its failure rate is far too high and something needs to be done about it.

KIMBALL: As Steve said, I think that last problem that you mentioned, Ambassador, is one of the reasons why this Feinstein and Leahy legislation is important because it would help address, at least, the U.S. stockpile of munitions that have this higher failure rate. Also as Steve said, this is not just a current problem with current use, but there is enormous potential for harm in future years, as those huge stockpiles are possibly traded, sold, and may be resold, to various areas around the world, to governments, and nonstate actors that are not as responsible and careful as they need to be. 
QUESTION: Hi. I was previously a sustainability consultant in South Africa, but now a student at American University. My question is for Ambassador Duncan. I think that I heard you say that the arms trade treaty would be seen as sort of CSR initiative, am I correct? How do you see this being done? Can you clarify, please?

DUNCAN: Sure, very briefly. What is CSR? We can see it as an attempt by society to impose a more responsible trade on, for example, the lumber industry, and the coffee industry, and those are ones that we will see very much in our shops as we go out on the weekend. Why have companies bought into that? Well, it’s not simply because they want to be responsible and moral. It’s actually because one of the biggest sources of investment finance are unit trusts, which have decided that they are not going to invest or provide financing for companies that do not act responsibly in those areas. There’s a whole side of CSR which is driven by economics. The arms trade, traditionally, has not been affected by that problem of raising finance, but it is becoming affected by that. Therefore, we can actually capture that economic commercial dynamic, in terms of the arms trade treaty, if a company is seen as being an arms trade treaty supporter and a responsible exporter. That’s not just applying to our own economies. I’m really talking about the emerging countries. For example, you’re in South Africa, and I think the companies in South Africa want to be seen as responsible companies. The arms trade treaty will try to get industry as a partner. The arms trade is not going to go away. Indeed, it’s a legitimate thing to have arms to defend your country. It’s the first task of any government to defend your country. We want that trade to be responsible, and there is an aspect of that process, which is about getting the buy-in from the trade itself. That has been very striking in the emerging supply countries. There’s a real willingness to be seen as responsible so that’s what I meant by the CSR process. It’s capturing that economic commercial dynamic.

KIMBALL: Yes, please.
QUESTION: Thank you. I am from the embassy of Pakistan. I am basically interested in learning about the scope and process of negotiations on the Norwegian initiative on cluster munitions. It appears that there is, so far, no international consensus to bring this process into the United Nations. How are you, Norway, that is, going to integrate countries that are outside this process? Is there any stage when you are envisioning bringing it back to the United Nations so that the process has more international support? Thank you.

NAESS: Thank you very much. Well, we have tried for the last five years to discuss this issue within the CCW. The problem is that every time we raise the issue or there is a proposal to adopt a negotiating mandate, there are some countries objecting to it. Consequently, there are no real discussions in the CCW, as I see it. Actually, this is a general problem with the UN disarmament machinery. There is not much that happens. I don’t want to expand on that. But that is a reason why we are now taking this initiative to at least have a process that could discuss the issue, to start discussing definitions, to start discussing the scope of a treaty, and so on. We will be more than happy to have as many countries as possible join us on this. We have no problem if a future agreement has more states-parties than the CCW, which has only 102.

By taking this initiative, we are also trying to engage states that are not parties to the CCW. There are many affected countries that are not party to the CCW. I also stated that this is not a competition or an effort to replace the CCW discussions. But we are a little impatient that something has to happen. There is an urgent need to do something. That’s the reason why we have taken this initiative.

GOOSE: The ambassador had a very good answer to that, but I would just point out that this is really being taken outside of the CCW more than it’s being taken outside of the United Nations. Like the landmine process, I think this process is going to have strong support from the UN agencies. It had strong support from the previous Secretary General. Hopefully, it will have strong support from the current Secretary General, and certainly from the various agencies that are involved. I would suspect that, like the land mine treaty, it will end up being back in the United Nations. The Secretary General is the depository of the Mine Ban Treaty, and it would be surprising if that were not to be the case with this as well. You do have the big advantage of being able to draw in the non-CCW states into this kind of process, which, given the low level of participation in the CCW in the developing world, is an appealing aspect of a free-standing process. But it’s not meant in any way to be anti-UN; we just won’t necessarily have the benefit of some of the UN support that can be helpful in trying to move the negotiating process forward.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Hello. I’m an intern at the Center for International Trade and Security. This question is for anyone who can answer it. The NGO where I’m interning promotes proper export controls in countries. I note that the Wassenaar arrangement is an export control regime that regulates dual-use items and conventional weapons. Are there any dual-use items that could be used in the production of cluster weapons, and does the Wassenaar Arrangement, or any other international regime, control the trade of these items? Is my question clear?

GOOSE: I’m not sure. If by dual-use, you mean both military and civilian applications, yes, there are dual-use components to cluster munitions; the same way there are for landmines and other types of weapons. But since there are no specific regulations to cluster munitions, I would say no, they’re not covered by any existing law. It would be one of the things that would need to be captured in a new treaty. You would want to make sure that your prohibition on the production and transfer is broad enough that it would capture production or trade of dual-use items that are specifically intended for use in cluster munitions. I think that would be for the future, not for existing arrangements.

NAESS: Very briefly, I don’t think that the Wassenaar Arrangement is sufficient to regulate this problem with the cluster munitions. Of course, it has a [control] list. I am not fully aware of the content of that list, but it does not solve the problem. 

DUNCAN: Just so we have a balanced view for our audience, I don’t think Steve would dispute the fact that there is a difference of view on the necessity for a new cluster munitions treaty. There are a number of states that consider that existing international law is sufficient to cover the use of cluster munitions. It’s not the fact that there isn’t sufficient law; it’s how it’s being implemented that’s causing the problem, in the view of many states, particularly the users and producers of cluster munitions. That does raise a question as to whether it is useful to have a treaty which does not include all the users and producers of cluster munitions since the purpose of international law, for those who are students around the room, is quite fundamentally different to domestic law. International law is a reflection of an international consensus. A consensus that does not include the users and producers has arguably less utility.

NAESS: Just another point on the Wassenaar Arrangement. I just want to mention that this is a limited group of countries (40) in the arrangement so it is not a universal arrangement.

KIMBALL: Ambassador Duncan, one thing I noticed is that the United Kingdom will be represented in Oslo and will participate in this discussion. I wanted to throw in one more question, Ambassador Duncan, on one of the issues that was debated at the United Nations when the resolution on the arms trade treaty was there. I wanted to give you a chance just to reiterate your government’s response to the criticism that came from some countries, including the United States, that this effort might produce simply more meetings, less action, and lead to a lowest common denominator set of criteria and standards. It’s an argument that I find uncompelling, to put it mildly. I was wondering if you could describe a little further the United Kingdom’s views on why those arguments might not wash or what the response would be to those arguments.

DUNCAN: Sure. Clearly, I’m not here to defend the position of the U.S. administration. 

KIMBALL: No, I’m asking you to give your response to the arguments against the treaty articulated by the United States and others at the United Nations.
DUNCAN: Let me put it in a tactful manner. There are two ways of looking at the problem of export controls. They are not mutually exclusive, and who is to say which is the right way? One way is to have the best export controls in the world nationally and to insist that everybody else applies the same level. This is a perfectly legitimate way of looking at it. From the United Kingdom’s perspective, it is equally valid to say to everybody else—taking into consideration questions of capacity and other matters—what we want to do is raise up from a very low base that is currently existing, and bring it up to a standard, which is a high standard. It may not be the perfect standard, it may not be the gold-plated standard, but it would be worth doing because currently the situation is not as good as it should be. It’s a long way from being as good as it should be. Our view is that the gold-plated version is what we should all be aspiring too, but, nevertheless, it’s worth going down to the emerging suppliers. If you look at the Control Arms book, Arms Without Borders, that gives you some quite interesting information. Now, I wouldn’t agree with all that’s in there in terms of its recommendations, but its analysis of the global arms trade is certainly very valid, and worth looking at. Our view is industry wants this. The countries concerned want this. We should harness that interest and help everybody to raise those standards up to an acceptable level, perhaps not the gold-plated one, but certainly a lot better than we currently have.

KIMBALL: Thanks. I think we have got time for maybe one more question. Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Hi. I wanted to ask actually two questions. I’m with a local nonprofit company that works for the government. I had two questions. About the legislation that’s going to be released next week, I was wondering whether Human Rights Watch or Arms Control Association had any input into that legislation? The second question is on the treaty. Specifically, you mentioned embargoes, but are there any other aspects of the arms trade which anyone on the panel would envision as being prohibited or transfers that should not take place. I would like to hear a little more specific detail on that.

GOOSE: Sure. We have for many years been talking with congressional offices, including the offices of the two senators involved here, about the need for the U.S. Congress to get involved in this issue. We’ve consulted very extensively with those offices about this type of legislation and the need for it, and we’re very supportive of it.

If I also could just make a comment about the producers and users issues: yes, of course, you want the producers and users to be part of any international agreement. It’s equally not surprising that the big producers and users, like the United States and the United Kingdom, that have cluster munitions are going to be the ones who are going to be the slowest to come along. They may have the most at stake. But both of those countries have taken very positive steps on cluster munitions as well. There have been good developments in policy and in practice in both cases and we would hope that they would come along. The United Kingdom stayed outside of the landmine process until the very last minute, then came along, and has been a leader on helping to eradicate this weapon. Government policies and practices do evolve. At this very early stage, we already have a lot of producers and users on board. Of the 30 to 36 countries who have already said they would like to see a treaty, about two thirds of those are stockpilers of the weapons and about a dozen of them are producers. We’ve already got on board a lot of the important players who will have to make sacrifices in order to become part of a treaty that prohibits inaccurate and unreliable cluster munitions. We look forward to seeing other producers and users come on board as well.

KIMBALL: The Arms Control Association cannot, I’m sorry to say, take credit for providing input on this particular piece of legislation. It’s something that we have been tracking and supporting our NGO colleagues who have been working more on the Feinstein and Leahy legislation.

You asked a question about what are their criteria that might be employed in an arms trade treaty. There are various proposals that have been put forward. Ambassador Duncan outlined some of the criteria that the United Kingdom has annunciated in the last couple of years. There’s also a very important October 24, 2006 letter from a set of Nobel Peace Prize winners that outlined several key criteria, and a number of NGOs have come together to outline some basic criteria for how the arms trade should be better regulated. I would add that one of the criteria that is not among those, but that I think is worth consideration, is that the recipient country is complying with applicable arms treaties in all fields. We don’t want to be supplying certain kinds of weapons to countries if they are not complying with nuclear, biological, chemical, or other conventional arms norms and obligations. There are some other issues that need to come into play here, but at this stage there are several different ideas that are going to have to be worked through. There’s a lot of overlap between each of these lists of criteria.

DUNCAN: I would look at the resolution that just passed in October at the United Nations. If you look in the preamble paragraphs, it says that recognizing the absence of common international standards on the import and export of conventional weapons is a contributory factor to conflict, displacement of people, crime, terrorism, and, thereby, undermines peaceful reconciliation, safety, security, stability, and sustainable development. You have got there, if you work it the other way around, some of the criteria that we are looking at. Now, of course, all those criteria have to be discussed. Another paragraph just above it talks about human rights law and international humanitarian law. Those first three paragraphs on the top of the resolution give you the basic criteria which everybody agreed to in October as the ones which should be looked at.

The issue of sustainable development is one that, I know, in the United States causes some confusion. It’s not about the environment. It’s about the economy. If you have a look at this Arms Without Borders, you will see that there are some 36 states in the world who spend more on their military than on health and education. That’s the sort of the thing that we’re talking about in terms of sustainable development. If the balance in some country’s economy is purchasing very large amounts of weaponry, is that the right thing to support? Even people like the Chinese, who have often been accused of indiscriminate sales, are recognizing that it makes much better sense not to sell vast quantities of small arms and light weapons to third world countries because you need to stabilize your markets. That’s what the issue of sustainable development is about.

I would say the best way is to have a look at that resolution. You will see on the second page some of the factors, which will be discussed over the next two years, as to how we actually could articulate that in a treaty. What would it mean? That’s the discussion of our parameters and scope. I hope that helps.

KIMBALL: Thank you. With that, we are going to conclude. I want to ask you to join me in thanking Ambassador John Duncan, Ambassador Roald Naess, and Stephen Goose from Human Rights Watch, for their comments and thoughts. The Arms Control Association is going to be continuing to follow this set of issues. We wish Norway and the other countries in Oslo the best of success and we also wish the same to the United Kingdom and the other countries in the arms trade treaty initiative. Thanks, everyone. (Applause.)

The Future of Nuclear Arms Control



Friday, January 19, 2007
9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, D.C.







Transcript by
Federal News Service,
Washington , D.C.

DARYL G. KIMBALL: Good morning, everyone. Please settle in. We’re going to get started. Good morning friends and welcome this morning to our Arms Control Association annual event. I’m Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. This morning we have a panel discussion on the topic of the future of nuclear arms control. Later today at our luncheon event, our speaker Congressman Howard Berman will deliver a keynote address on strengthening U.S. nonproliferation policy.

I’m going to provide a little introduction for this panel this morning and then we’re going to get rolling. We have another room back there. I want to welcome the people in the back bench. We’ll get questions from you at the end. Don’t worry. For 35 years, the Arms Control Association has focused primarily on the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous and devastating weapons: nuclear weapons. ACA was formed to widen support for and to strengthen the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and to push for reductions in nuclear arsenals, to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons-related technology, and to better secure nuclear bomb material. Over this 40-year period, this arms control nonproliferation strategy has largely worked.

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has made the world safer by significantly raising the political cost for states to pursue nuclear weapons. It’s raised the technical barriers to the development of nuclear weapons. It’s established global norms against the acquisition, trade, testing, modernization and use of nuclear weapons. But despite all these very significant accomplishments, the NPT, indeed the entire nonproliferation system, is in trouble as the people in this room know very well, and the readers of Arms Control Today know very well. We’re here this morning—the Arms Control Association, two of my board members, and important colleagues of the Arms Control Association—to issue something of a call for renewed American commitment at the highest levels to strengthen the nonproliferation system through more effective U.S. diplomacy and leadership on nuclear arms control.

Just in this decade alone—since the year 2000 that is—we’ve seen new and more deadly forms of terrorism, a Pakistan-based nuclear black market network, violations of IAEA safeguards by Iran, the unfreezing of North Korea’s bomb-making effort, and, of course, North Korea’s nuclear test explosion last year on October 9th. Perhaps today’s most dangerous and greatest threat stems from the existing global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, and those stockpiles are still growing. At least three countries (India, Pakistan, and North Korea) continue to produce fissile materials for weapons. In the former Soviet republics and other countries, nuclear materials of various types are not sufficiently safeguarded and protected against the threat of theft or sale to third parties.

Another significant problem, of course, is that additional countries, such as Iran, could acquire the capacity to produce fissile materials for weapons purposes under the guise of peaceful nuclear endeavors. This is the so-called loophole in the NPT in Article IV which protects the right of non-nuclear-weapon states to pursue peaceful nuclear technology. At the same time, the United States and other nuclear suppliers are seeking to relax the existing controls on the spread of nuclear technology to states such as India that don’t accept full scope IAEA safeguards. During the congressional debate last year, the Arms Control Association and our luncheon speaker Congressman Howard Berman argued that absent a commitment from India to stop fissile material production for bomb purposes that such trade with India could allow it to accelerate its nuclear bomb production program and encourage other countries to ignore the nonproliferation rules.

Finally, one of the other challenges out there that we’re going to address this morning is the lack-luster progress on nuclear disarmament. As we’ve discussed at Arms Control Association events before, the United States and Russia now are not engaged in further strategic nuclear arms reductions or tactical nuclear arms reductions talks. France, the United Kingdom, and China are modernizing their arsenals, and China is increasing the size of its arsenal. The United States, Russia, and China are at loggerheads about negotiating priorities at the Conference on Disarmament and, as a result, talks on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) have been blocked. Despite the fact that the United States can maintain its nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing, the Bush administration has refused to reconsider the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

So as a result of all of this and other factors, many countries doubt the intention of the five original nuclear armed states to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations under the NPT. That shrinking faith clearly erodes their willingness to fulfill their own treaty obligations much less agree to strengthen the regime as the current situation really demands. It’s no wonder that just this week our colleagues at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the atomic clock two minutes closer to midnight. I think everyone in this room would agree that the adjustment is appropriate. I would say it’s perhaps overdue, because for some time already the people on this stage and in the Arms Control Association have been ringing the alarm bell.

In fact, way back in 2004, the UN secretary-general’s high level panel report, A More Secure World warned, “we are approaching a point at which the erosion of the nuclear nonproliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation.” Partly in response to that situation, Joe Cirincione, then at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Arms Control Association put together a campaign to strengthen the NPT that was something of success in raising awareness about these dangers. We put forward a program of action that was endorsed by several leading former U.S. government policy makers. But, unfortunately, the NPT Review Conference in 2005 was a bust, and U.S. policies at that conference were a major factor leading to its breakdown.

But our focus today is not just on the problems. This is just sort of a preface to lead into what our speakers are going to talk about. What we want to do is outline some of the practical steps in several of these areas—not all of them—that we think can and must be taken to reverse these negative nuclear proliferation trends. As you will hear, we will be calling upon this government, the next administration, and the Congress to renew the U.S. commitment to strengthening the nonproliferation regime in all of its aspects. I think it’s also clear given the last few years that we can’t afford to squander further opportunities to build consensus here in the United States and internationally to move forward to deal with these problems. As you will hear, we think the effective strategies exist and there may be a new political consensus emerging around many of the ideas that we’re talking about today; in fact that we’ve been talking about for some time.

Our panel today includes Matt Bunn who’s here on my right. All these people are to my right I suppose. That’s just geographically speaking. (Laughter.) Matt Bunn is senior research associate at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He’s also a member of our board. Matt is going to outline the steps that can be taken to better secure nuclear material worldwide in order to help prevent catastrophic nuclear terrorism, to strengthen export controls, to address the risk associated with the further spread of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies, and maybe a couple of other things in between.

Matt will be followed by Joe Cirincione, who is senior vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress. For those of you who paid careful attention to your programs when we sent out our announcement, you noticed that Joe Cirincione is not Ambassador Gallucci, although they both are of Italian origin. We learned unfortunately just a couple of days ago that Ambassador Gallucci had a family emergency he had to deal with in New York. That takes him away from us this morning. Joe has been very gracious to fill in for the ambassador to speak about what Joe sees as more effective strategies to deal with the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.

We also have with us today Jack Mendelsohn, ACA’s former deputy director and a member of the U.S. SALT II and START I delegations. Jack, who’s been in this business for a long time and who’s been with the Arms Control Association for a long time, is going to outline his views about the need for and the opportunities ahead for further U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions and adjustments to their respective nuclear postures.

While we may have lost Ambassador Gallucci, we’ve gained Steve Andreasen this morning. He also agreed to join us on short notice. Steve, among other things, served as director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council for the Clinton administration. He is going to provide us with some further background and perspective on a very important op-ed that was published on January 4 in The Wall Street Journal that was written by George Shultz, Bill Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn. They were joined by others. Steve was one of the others whose name was attached to that op-ed. He was a participant at the Hoover Institution meeting in October that helped catalyze and lead to that op-ed.

Following all of their remarks, we’re going to take your questions as we usually do. We will hold off on those questions until all of them are finished. Starting off this morning will be Matt Bunn.

MATT BUNN: Thanks very much, Daryl, for that very gracious introduction. It’s a pleasure to be here. I just want to emphasize what Daryl said about how successful the nonproliferation effort has been. Twenty years ago there were nine states that had nuclear weapons. Today there are nine states that have nuclear weapons. South Africa dropped off, but North Korea added itself. The fact that we have managed to weather the collapse of an empire armed with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and 20 years of the A. Q. Khan network marketing the world’s most dangerous nuclear technologies to everyone without any net increase in the number of states with nuclear weapons is quite amazing.

There are more states today that started nuclear weapons programs and gave them up than there are states that have nuclear weapons. So we have been successful more often than not. I think if we change our policies now and take some effective actions today, there’s at least a chance that 20 years from now we will still have no more than nine states with nuclear weapons, and maybe even be set on a path toward reducing that number. I think we, as a community, shouldn’t be about managing a slow defeat. We should be about trying to achieve victory. It is not yet out of our grasp. The nonproliferation regime has taken a lot of severe blows, but there’s a lot that we can do and we need to do now.

Now, I’m going to talk mainly about technology controls. But I just want to make the point that technology controls largely buy time. Unless you use that time with effective political engagement to convince states that they don’t need nuclear weapons, you’re not going to achieve victory in the end. It’s not that I don’t think that political engagement is important, that simply wasn’t my assigned job on this particular panel.

The first thing we need to do absolutely is keep nuclear weapons and the materials needed to make them out of the hands of terrorists who have been actively attempting to get them. A great deal is being done already. There are dozens of programs in place in several agencies of the U.S. government that are making important progress.

In Russia, I would say the most egregious problems of the 1990s have been fixed. I think it’s very unlikely that there’s any place in Russia today where the kinds of things that did happen in the 1990s still occur: say a single guy walking through a gaping hole in a fence and walking up to a shed and taking highly enriched uranium and walking off without anybody noticing for several hours. That wouldn’t happen today. But the threats in Russia are so big from organized conspiracies of insiders, who are stealing practically everything that’s not nailed down, and substantial outsider attacks of scores of heavily armed people with machineguns that there’s still reason to be worried. There are still upgrades yet to be done in Russia. There is a major problem—as we have in the United States as well but even more severely in Russia—with security culture, guards patrolling with no ammo in their guns, and propping open security doors. There is also the issue of whether the upgrades that we’ve achieved will be sustained as U.S. assistance phases down.

This is not a Russia problem, but a global problem. There are weapons and bomb material in dozens of countries around the world. I am particularly concerned also about Pakistan. They have a relatively small stockpile that’s believed to be heavily guarded, but they have immense threats from nuclear insiders with a demonstrated willingness to sell practically anything to practically anybody and from large remnants of al Qaeda still operating in the country and other Jihadi groups closely connected to the Pakistani security forces. Research reactors fueled with highly enriched uranium are another problem that exists in dozens of countries around the world. Many of them have only the most minor security measures in place.

We need to forge effective global standards that will ensure that all stockpiles and nuclear weapons and the materials to make them are protected against the kinds of threats that terrorists and criminals have shown that they can pose. This needs to be a top national security priority that’s addressed at every opportunity and at every level with every state that has either stockpiles to secure or resources to help secure them. While there is a lot of good work underway, we haven’t got sustained top level priority.

One key thing we need to do is put a single leader in the White House at a level with direct access to the president to get presidential decisions when they’re needed. This person should have the responsibility for leading and coordinating this whole panoply of disparate efforts and keeping them on the front burner at the White House every day.

Secondly, we need much stronger controls on the nuclear technologies that can be used to make the highly enriched uranium or plutonium that could be used to make a nuclear bomb. It is quite remarkable that the A. Q. Khan network was able to operate for decades in dozens of countries around the world, some of them allegedly with strong export controls, or so we thought before the network was finally exposed and at least pieces of it brought down. They were marketing the technology of choice for the determined nuclear proliferators, the uranium enrichment centrifuge, and actual bomb designs.

As Mohamed ElBaradei, the head the International Atomic Energy Agency has said, this shows that the global nuclear export control system is, in his words, broken. We need to move quickly to improve enforcement and intelligence in countries that do have export controls in place, and to put controls in place in countries without them. No one had ever worried about exports controls in Malaysia or in Dubai because they didn’t have nuclear technologies. But they turned out to be key nodes of the A. Q. Khan network. The next time it might me Thailand or Nigeria for all we know.

Unfortunately, we still have today an export control assistance program that’s targeted on 20 or 30 particularly important key countries whereas we have pushed through a very useful UN Security Council measure, Resolution 1540, which legally requires more than 190 countries to put in place effective export controls. That needs to change. We need to actually make use of that Security Council resolution. At the same time, we need to reduce the incentives that countries have to get enrichment or reprocessing technologies as part of their civil nuclear program. If they do get those technologies then that brings those countries much closer to the edge of a nuclear weapons capability and makes it much more probable that they might decide at some point to cross over that line.

The key thing that needs to be done there is to set up a web of reliable fuel supply assurances with fuel banks and guarantees from major suppliers that will give countries confidence that if there’s ever an interruption that they will have the fuel that they need even if they don’t establish their own enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. This is important, but I don’t want to exaggerate how important it is. There are some people in the foreign policy realm who see that there’s a nonproliferation problem and say we’ll give countries these assurances and that will solve the problem. That’s just not the case. It will help some in a few cases and is therefore worth doing. But it is by no means a panacea for nonproliferation.

I should say in that respect that for the United States to reverse course and begin reprocessing its own spent nuclear fuel isn’t going to help. For decades, our message has been to other countries, “we, the country with the most nuclear reactors in the world aren’t reprocessing, and you don’t need to either.” That message has had some effect. It didn’t solve all reprocessing problems around the world, but it had some effect. As that message changes to “reprocessing is essential to the future of nuclear energy, but we’re not going to let you have the technology,” that’s going to be very much more difficult to sustain with non-nuclear-weapon states around the world. It’s going to be much more difficult to convince South Korea and Taiwan not to pursue reprocessing if we move that direction.

We need stronger inspections. The International Atomic Energy Agency needs more resources. It needs more authority. People often don’t realize for example that the IAEA currently doesn’t really have any legal authority to inspect for nuclear weaponization activities. Their authority is about nuclear material. They need more access to information. We are now tasking them to try to figure out what’s going on with nuclear issues generally in a state rather than just what’s going on at the declared facilities. For example, when countries deny a state an export, say North Korea’s shopping for aluminum tubes or something, and Germany stops a shipment of a couple of thousand of aluminum tubes to North Korea that in this case, by the way, really were the right size and shape for centrifuges unlike the Iraqi aluminum tubes, the IAEA ends up reading about it in the newspaper. That’s foolish. We need to create a system where the IAEA has the resources, the authority, and the information it needs.

We need better enforcement when countries violate the regime. Fundamentally, if we’re going to take all these measures we’re going to have tougher security. If we’re going to have more stringent export controls, if we’re going to have stronger inspections, if we’re going to have tougher enforcement, those all involve costs, constraints, and inconveniences for everybody else. We’re not going to get the votes and the political support needed to get those measures put in place that are urgently needed to strengthen the regime unless we, the United States, are willing to accept some constraints on our own nuclear forces and behavior and we’re willing to live up to our NPT Article VI commitment to negotiate in good faith toward nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, that has been very much weakened in this administration. I think that has got to change if we’re going to continue to have nonproliferation victories in the future. I’ll stop there.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE: Thank you very much. That was terrific. It’s a pleasure to follow you, Matt. And let me just underscore the first points you made about the strategic imperative of a campaign to end nuclear terrorism. I believe this is a winning issue in the presidential campaign of 2008 and the first candidate who takes this up is going to enjoy a significant boost in popularity. The first candidate who says that he or she will make it a priority to eliminate the possibility of nuclear terrorism in their first four years in office will immediately jump to the front of public attention. This is a doable mission, it’s a necessary mission, and we have the resources to do it. We simply have lacked the political will to do so.

But let me turn now to the two more difficult problems. Stopping nuclear terrorism is a relatively easy problem to solve in the panoply of problems we have. The two more difficult ones are stopping new states from acquiring nuclear materials and weapons. I want to talk about North Korea and Iran. I’ll take the easier one first and that’s North Korea.

North Korea remains a deal waiting to be made. It has been there for us for the last 10 years. The Clinton administration made tremendous progress in this regard, but failed to seal the deal before they left office. They teed it up for the Bush administration and I believe if Secretary of State Colin Powell had been allowed to do what he wanted to do, which was “to continue the negotiation process begun by the Clinton administration,” we would not have a nuclear North Korea to worry about right now.

But the administration took a dramatically different approach. The day after Secretary of State Colin Powell made that statement, President Bush undercut him and said that negotiations would have a decidedly different tone in his administration. He proved to be correct. He had no interest in negotiating a deal with North Korea. He thought we could achieve regime change instead. Rather than change regime behavior, we would simply change the regimes. This policy has been a demonstrable failure. We invaded the one country that didn’t have nuclear weapons and we caused the acceleration of nuclear programs in two countries that either had or wanted to have them, North Korea and Iran. Every single member of the axis of evil is a far greater threat to the United States today than it was six years ago.

Still, there’s a real possibility of getting a deal with North Korea. I am virtually alone in this prediction. I believe we will get a breakthrough in North Korea in 2007. I am encouraged by the talks of recent days, but I understand that it’s simply incremental progress. I’m guided in this regard by the wisdom of former State Department official Mitchell Reiss, who said that you can do business with North Korea, but it’s not going to be easy. We have to understand that we can make a deal with North Korea, but there’s nothing easy about it. Here is why I have optimism. I believe there are six trends that are all pointing toward a deal with North Korea.

One, the situation of North Korea itself. It is a poor, isolated country with nothing to export except fear and tyranny. It is in a weak strategic situation.

Two, there is unanimity among the other five nations involved in the six-party talks that North Korea should not proceed on this nuclear program. They differ in tactics about how to achieve that aim, but they are unified in efforts to stop North Korea. That unity recently extended to the Security Council, which passed a unanimous declaration condemning North Korea and then imposing sanctions on the regime for its October 9th nuclear test.

Three, China has played an increasingly helpful role in these negotiations. The October 9th test surprised and humiliated China and upset its greater strategic plans. It does not want North Korea destabilizing its border regions. It does not want North Korea provoking Japan. You may have noticed that after the October 9th test, Japan has started a public debate about whether Japan should get nuclear weapons. That’s the last thing China wants to see. It was because of these factors that China sent its state counselor, its third highest ranking official, to Pyongyang to read the riot act to the North Korean leaders. I don’t want to exaggerate the role that China can play here, but it is still a very strong role. I believe it is Chinese pressure that convinced North Korea to stop its testing of nuclear weapons. One test is not enough to validate a design, or to produce a usable nuclear weapon. Simply in that regard the pressure was helpful. I also believe it was Chinese pressure that brought North Korea back to the bargaining table and was useful in bringing the United States back to the bargaining table. The key breakthrough negotiations happened in Beijing. China is playing an increasingly constructive role here and we’re starting to see the result of it.

Four, the change in Congress. The Democratic control of Congress flips the pressures on the administration from what had existed. I believe it was the week after the election the House International Relations Committee held a hearing still under Republican rule, but it was dominated by members of Congress, led by Congressman Tom Lantos, criticizing the State Department witness, Undersecretary Nicholas Burns, about the negotiating posture toward North Korea and urging the United States to engage in direct talks with North Korea. So that’s a positive pressure point that’s changed.

Five, the change in the Department of Defense leadership. An opponent of direct negotiations with North Korea, Donald Rumsfeld, is now gone and we have in place a more pragmatic secretary, Robert Gates, who seems inclined to engage in the kinds of negotiations that had been verboten in the administration up until this point.

Six, the final indicator is the bleak political force of the president of the United States. In the end, it’s the president that has to decide whether he’s willing to make a deal or not. I cannot see another foreign policy victory that the president can pull out of the hat in 2007. It’s not going to happen in the Middle East and it’s not going to happen in Iraq. It could happen in North Korea. This could give his political fortunes a boost and be used to underscore the wisdom of the policies he’s been pursuing for the last six years whether that’s true or not.

I see all of these trends converging towards an agreement with North Korea despite the difficulty of dealing with that regime. The longer we wait to make the deal, the greater the price of that deal and the greater the risk that we won’t get any deal at all.

I would advise the administration to make an immediate tactical move to help convince North Korea that a deal is in its interest and that we are willing to do that. I suggest to the administration that it release some of the bank funds that it helped freeze in the Bank of Macau. This is a matter of just $24 million. This is a rather piddling sum to be holding up a nuclear deal, but it was the freezing of those assets that caused North Korea to walk away from the September 2005 deal that the United States had successfully negotiated. Our own auditors seem to have determined that somewhere between $8 million and $11 million of those funds are not connected to illicit activities, the alleged reason for the freeze. By releasing some of those funds, you could be making a small, but still significant gesture toward North Korea and expect to see North Korea reciprocate. It’s those kinds of baby steps that we have to take at this point, which if properly sequenced, could lead to a larger deal.

Iran is far more difficult. There are competing strategies out there on how to negotiate a deal. I would say there are currently four major contenders. The first strategy is muddling through. It’s the traditional default option in U.S. foreign policy. It’s particularly the policy option in a period of divided government as we are now. The Congress is held by one party, the administration held by another, and we have a doubly divided government. The administration itself is divided between pragmatists, who have been trying to negotiate deals with Iran and North Korea, and the hardliners, who have no interest in negotiating a deal and are still pushing for regime change through one means or the other.

Muddling through sometimes does work. Germany was united despite the absence of any coherent U.S. policy on how to unite Germany. Sometimes the fates do smile favorably in U.S. foreign policy. I think it would be a disaster in this regard. Muddling through will make the situation worse. Iran would perceive that it is growing stronger while the United States is growing weaker. They are probably right. Our allies will increase their distrust and lower their confidence in U.S. foreign policy. We cannot leave U.S. national security up to the fates.

The second option that’s being pursued is regime change either by aiding Democratic groups in Iran or by the squeeze strategy favored by the vice president’s office and some in the administration. What they’re trying to do with North Korea, they’re trying to do with Iran. Squeeze it, make it harder and harder for that regime to stay in business, and hope that that will cause an internal revolt of some kind that will change the regime. I believe that these mechanisms will take far too long to be implemented in order to bring about the kind of change we want to see in Iran. Democracy in Iran could take years to develop. A nuclear bomb program could be done in a much shorter time. Even if there is a democratic change in Iran, there’s no guarantee that that democratic government would abandon a program that actually enjoys fairly wide support among the Iranian populous.

The third option is military strikes on Iran. This is favored by the neo-conservative press. The same people who brought us the war in Iraq, now want to bring us the war in Iran. If you liked what they did before, get ready for what they want to do next. The Iraq war will seem like a warm-up act compared to the conflagration that will undoubtedly breakout if the United States or one of its allies should be so foolish as to launch military strikes against Iran.

But it’s not just the reaction of Iran that you have to worry about with regard to military strikes. The strikes will unlikely accomplish the objective. They’re almost certain to accelerate the program, not retard it. Whatever short term delay you could get by destroying one, five, a dozen nuclear installations would be more than made up by an end of any debate inside Iran about whether it should be pursuing a nuclear weapons program. There also would be a unifying of the population around an otherwise odious and unpopular regime and the determination by the Iranian leadership to get a nuclear weapon as quickly as possible by whatever means necessary, including some of the means that Matt Bunn has just outlined. There’s no rule that says that Iran has to make its own enriched uranium to get a bomb. It just has chosen so far to pursue that route for other reasons. It could accelerate those efforts. You could produce a nuclear bomb more quickly in Iran if you try to strike it.

Four, the exact opposite of the previous strategy, is a grand bargain where we resolve all the U.S.-Iranian issues in one grand package. This has a lot of attraction to it. It’s been articulated by a number of very knowledgeable individuals including former State Department and National Security Council official Flynt Leverett. I believe that it’s strategically correct that that is the way you have to solve the problem: put all these issues together. I just don’t think it is politically doable at this point. Neither the administration in Washington or in Teheran is interested in such a bargain.

So I am left with a more difficult, but ultimately workable solution that I call contain and engage. You have to increase the cost to Iran for pursuing that program, at the same time offering them a clearer path to greater security and, in fact, regional prominence, if Iran was to turn away from that path. You have to address some of the other issues at the same time, such as Iran’s regional ambitions, its relation to Israel, and its internal human right situation. But you don’t have to resolve all of those in order to get the fundamental national security objective we agree on, which is an end to the Iranian program.

In containing Iran, I would be following basically many of the steps the administration has been doing now: pursuing resolutions at the IAEA board of governors and bringing the matter to the UN Security Council. These resolutions have an impact. They’re derided by some for the relatively weak sanctions, but we’re seeing already the powerful political and financial impact these sanctions have. Stories in the press are now recounting the opposition that’s growing inside Iran to Ahmadinejad’s wild and reckless leadership in this regard. There is a political price that Iran in now paying for following the Ahmadinejad line. The UN sanctions help clarify that price and show the Iranian public and political leadership that this is not a winning strategy for them. I would also support the kind of unilateral sanctions the U.S. Treasury Department’s doing right now. Recently it cut off a leading state-owned Iranian bank from the U.S. financial system. This makes it much more difficult to do financial investment in Iran. It’s a cost to Iran that you want to increase. These are good things.

The key is not to depend on those sanctions to either stop the program or bring about political change. Iran is not in a pre-revolutionary situation. There is not going to be a repeated Iranian revolution. For any of those in the public who were thinking about that, they just have to look over the border to Iraq and see the chaos that can result from a regime transformation scenario. Instead, you have to be engaging simultaneously those parts of the Iranian elite and public that can make a difference. We should now be reaching out to the reformists and the pragmatists in the Iranian government, whether that’s through a private meeting with the UN ambassador in New York, Mr. Zarif, who’s a skilled negotiator and articulator of the Iranian position, entreats to Ali Larijani, the Iranian nuclear negotiator, or public appeals to the Iranian people to let them know that there is a path that could lead to increased security for Iran if it will just forgo nuclear weapons.

I would recommend at this point that members of Congress undertake such liaison directly. Now is the time for contact between members of the U.S. Congress and members of the Iranian parliament. Now is the time to be engaging in increased track two negotiations of all kinds to open up these channels to increase communication, increase our own understanding of what’s going on in Iran, and increase the Iranian understanding of the political forces now operating in the United States. By having a contain and engage strategy, you can adjust your mechanism. The more Iran engages, the less the containment operations have to be. The less it engages, the more the containment operations can be.

By having this kind of flexibility, you can prepare for the eventuality that negotiations don’t work or that Iran is simply not interested in negotiating at this point, which may be the case. You would then have to fall back to another level of containment of seeking to contain the overall program itself and constructing a regime that delays this program as long as possible or makes it as difficult as possible for Iran to get the materials that it needs for the program and to get the investment it needs to move its economy forward. I’ll leave it there and hand it over to Jack.

JACK MENDELSOHN: I thought that I would cast my presentation in the form of a letter to the next president about the sorts of options or moves that he or she—and I’ll try to remember to say he or she—might take during their administration. The letter is divided into two sections. The first part is going to talk a little bit about the area of declaratory policies of the United States. The second part will talk about classical arms control and force structure policies that the next president, whoever he or she might be, could consider. Some of these will be easier than others obviously, but let me just give you a shopping list of things that I think should be done and many of which I think are not that difficult to do.

First of all, to Mr. or Ms. President, declaratory policies. The network of policy statements designed over the last few decades to reassure other states about the obligations and intentions of the United States has been seriously frayed by the past administration. That’s an understatement, but the president will understand. The intent of these policy statements had been to reassure other nations that the United States is serious about restraining vertical and horizontal proliferation, as well as blocking the potential use of nuclear weapons as instruments of war or intimidation. If, as even this administration admits, nuclear weapons are the gravest threat that this nation faces, then it behooves us, Mr. President, to delegitimize nuclear weapons as instruments of war and to reassure nations they do not have to fear attack by the United States.

To this end, a new president should declare at the outset of his or her administration that, comparable to the international consensus on banning the use of chemical weapons and biological weapons, the United States does not consider nuclear weapons to be legitimate weapons of war and will not use them in combat except under a very special and a very narrow set of conditions.

Now, you can get your pencils and paper together. As a part of this delegitimization process, which I think is important to put up front in the next administration, the president should, one, recommit the United States as it is in the NPT to the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons—simple declaratory policy, a goal which the current administration has not addressed, but which all previous ones had.

Two, move the United States away from a preemption and preventive war policy or as explicit policy. By adopting this policy, the current administration has heightened concern among foe and friend alike that the United States will use nuclear weapons hastily, unjustifiably, or irrationally in a crisis or pre-crisis situation. As a result, the policy, Mr. President, has been much more provocative than protective and should be disavowed explicitly. This connection some of you may have seen in the sense of the House resolution recently submitted by Representative Lee, “disavowing the doctrine of preemption.” A somewhat larger leap that you might consider, which I think is important, however, is to abandon the policy of threatening the use of nuclear weapons against any potential threat, be it conventional, terrorist, chemical, or biological.

Following up on your basic statement on the delegitimization of nuclear weapons, you, as president, should announce that the United States is retaining nuclear weapons as deterrent forces and will consider them for use only in retaliation for a nuclear attack or as a last resort if the survival of the nation is at risk. The president could invite other nations to join in this declaration; perhaps in connection with the NPT Review Conference in 2010. In other words, as the current U.S. policy is nuclear weapons are fair to use against any threat, not just in response to a nuclear threat, Mr. President, you should restate the existing negative security assurances and perhaps put them into a legal treaty form in connection with the NPT Review Conference.

The assurances are virtually worthless as they now stand because the United States and other nuclear nations have taken so many exceptions to them: use against chemical weapons, use against biological weapons, all options on the table, vis-à-vis terrorists, et cetera. The president should make it clear that the United States would use nukes only against other nuclear possessors. You should also make explicit as early as possible that the United States does not intend to resume nuclear tests. If the Congress seems politically amenable, the next administration or your administration should resubmit the CTBT for ratification. This no testing declaration could help—this is a footnote to the letter to the president—constrain the replacement warhead program to within design parameters that have a pedigree. This was actually a statement that occurred in an earlier ACA conference. But it will not eliminate the pressures for testing in the future if the new warhead program goes ahead.

To recap very quickly on the declaratory side, your administration should make explicit early in your term that the United States does not consider nuclear weapons to be legitimate instruments of war. Your policy should further reaffirm U.S. commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons as called for under the NPT and the withdrawal or disavowal of preventative or preemptive attacks on states, nations or territories. You should also state that you do not reserve the right to use nuclear weapons first, that you do not intend to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon members of the NPT, and that you do not intend to resume nuclear testing. It seems to me, Mr. President, that this would be a very straightforward, a very quick, and a very direct way of setting a new tone to your administration.

Turning now to the question of force structure policies in terms of strategic nuclear arms control. In addition to jumpstarting U.S. security policy with the set of basic declaratory policy statements on U.S. obligations and intentions as regards nuclear weapons, the next president will have to deal with some specific arms controls issues early in his or her administration. Two obvious ones that come to mind, the START Treaty expires on December 5, 2009 and the SORT, or Moscow, Treaty expires on December 31, 2012. Both fall within the next presidential term and raise a number of issues. Let me just mention what they are quickly and then go back and talk about them for a moment.

This is not the way the letter would go. It’s easier to present it that way. What warheads are actually to be counted under the Moscow Treaty? How is the warhead count to be verified? How quickly can the treaty levels be reached and what will the follow on to the Moscow Treaty look like? What warheads are actually to be counted under the treaty? The treaty says that strategic nuclear warheads are to be limited to 1,700-2,100, but the U.S. position, however, is that only “operationally deployed” warheads are included. So that has not been formally settled. In other words, there is a difference between the U.S. statement of operationally deployed and the classic way of counting warheads as demonstrated by START.

If you use the operationally deployed definition this means that four converted submarines, two submarines in overhaul, empty MX ICBM silos, nuclear-capable heavy bombers assigned to conventional units, spares and trainers, as well as empty downloaded space on MIRV missile platforms are not accountable. Given the current U.S. interpretation, U.S. force levels are currently 3,800 warheads. It’s quite low. It seems surprising to me, but this is using a new way of counting warheads under the Moscow Treaty. Basically, that’s the target figure that was indicated in the administration’s first Nuclear Posture Review. If the Russians agree to this definition, then force reconstitution—or flexibility as this administration likes to refer to it—becomes a problem.

On the other hand, this may not be insurmountable. It’s certainly an issue and in classic arms control vision it is a problem. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be one. First of all, it’s hard to see the circumstances that would lead to a justification for force increases even though you have the spaces and/or the platforms available. There are of course measures that can be taken to eliminate the possibility of this flexibility including actually agreeing to de-wire heavy bombers, and or agreeing to change the platforms on missiles so they no longer have a large number of empty spaces.

Second, how is the warhead count to be verified? The administration will have to address this. Until the end of 2009, the United States and Russia will rely on the START verification provisions to monitor the Moscow Treaty. After the year 2009, which is when START ends and the first year of your administration, the sides can agree to extend its verification provisions and or design new or additional ones for the Moscow Treaty. It is possible the sides could agree to the formulation of operationally deployed if there’s a mutually satisfactory way of verifying compliance. It’s quite conceivable that the Russians will not object to some of the U.S. position on operationally deployed. For example, submarine in dry dock without missiles could easily be not counted and the Russians probably would not be concerned about that. In any case, what is counted and how it is verified are related issues that need to be resolved in the first year of your term.

How quickly can or should the treaty levels of the Moscow Treaty be reached? If, as the U.S. intends, the low levels of warheads established by the Moscow Treaty are to be obtained primarily by downloading missiles and bombers and not by destroying launch vehicles, there’s little reason why the 1,700-2,200 limit can’t be reached prior to the 2012 date, say by the 2010 NPT Review Conference. A useful indication of U.S. commitment to strategic nuclear arms control would be an announcement by you that the United States intended to reach the 2,200 level well ahead of midnight on December 31, 2012.

What will the follow on agreement to the Moscow Treaty look like? The Moscow Treaty expires before you leave office, so some provision needs to be made for a follow on. The simplest arrangement would be to extend the treaty for a number of years. But that presents two problems, Mr. President. The general expectation is that the nuclear warhead reduction process will continue. After all, even your predecessor who banned the term arms control from his political vocabulary agreed to some reductions. Your administration may not have left any other mark on the arms control process other than in the strategic nuclear area. We do not know the outcome of the ratification process, if there is one, for the CTBT or the negotiation process for biological weapons monitoring, a fissile material cutoff treaty, and a space weapons treaty. They’re all unknown and of uncertain outcome.

A simple quick fix would be for you to announce that the United States intends to consider 1,700 warheads, the lower end of the permitted ban under the Moscow Treaty, as a ceiling, not a floor. We don’t intend at the present time to come under 2,200. Of course, 1,700 will not satisfy members of ACA, who will consider it still way too high. Incidentally, that figure coincides almost exactly with the number of ICBM silos and SLBM launch tubes limited in SALT I in 1972. That number was 1710. After 40 years, we’re right back to 1972, a nice point to make in 2012. The Russians would almost certainly agree to an even lower number—1,500 is the one that they most frequently use— and if you had a cooperative Congress that might be a good minimum target for you.

Another issue that you might address that treats in another fashion with the unnecessarily large U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals is the question of non-deployed nuclear weapons. The public is generally unaware of the large numbers of nuclear weapons around the world. About 27,000 are believed to exist in nine countries. Most of these weapons, 26,000, are in the U.S. or Russian arsenals. It would be in U.S. security interests to begin to deal with the non-deployed warhead overhang. In other words, limiting the residual number permitted and destroying the excess. This too could be considered a continuation in the reduction process as well as a significant increase in national security. Paradoxically, weapons that are deployed are generally secure from theft or diversion, but security problems, particularly in Russia, continue to exist with those weapons that are kept in storage or reserve. Reducing their numbers and continuing to assist Russia in securing the remainder works to the advantage of both parties.

Final point, non-strategic nuclear arms control. Mr. President, or Madame President, you should move briskly and forthrightly to withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons from abroad, i.e. those deployed under NATO, and engage Russia on limiting non-strategic nuclear weapons. In the early years of the Clinton administration, the Pentagon concluded that there was no longer any military requirement for these weapons in Europe. That was under the Clinton administration. The allies, however, were loath to break the nuclear umbilical cord and the weapons remain as a symbol in the European mind of U.S. commitment to continental security.

The European allies of the United States can be helpful in this regard. We need to convince them to abandon their attachment to European-based U.S. tactical nuclear weapons—the 200 to 400 bombs deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. These constitute the last remnants of the Cold War flexible response policy. If you can wean the Europeans from this perverse sign of solidarity, which might have been made easier by the erratic and bellicose U.S. behavior in this decade, a half dozen NATO allies might finally be cleared of nuclear weaponry. In turn, this move might just encourage Russia to reciprocate by agreeing to reduce and or constrain its tactical nuclear weapons stockpile. Well, Mr. President, or Madame President, you may not be able to do all this as rapidly as Nancy Pelosi did in her first 100 hours, but there’s little reason it can’t be done in the 48 months you’ve been allotted. Cheers.

STEVE ANDREASEN: Well, that’s a hard act to follow. The focus of our discussion is the future of nuclear arms control. Today, that question is obviously linked to one of the most important national security issues in the United States and the international community, which is how to prevent the use of nuclear weapons in the 21st century. Earlier this month, as Daryl mentioned, there was an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal. It was signed by two former secretaries of state, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of defense, Bill Perry, and a former senator and chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sam Nunn. They were joined by 17 other signatories, all of whom had extensive experience in government and working on this set of issues.

Since the article was published, a lot of folks have held it up to the light and asked the question, what does it mean? What I thought that I would do today is simply give you my own interpretation as one of the signatories as to what’s the news here.

The first point that I would underline for this group is that the authors have clearly drawn the conclusion that we are on the precipice of a new and dangerous nuclear era and that the strategy of nuclear deterrence, while still relevant, is becoming increasingly hazardous and increasingly ineffective. The likelihood that non-state terrorist groups will get their hands on nuclear weapons is increasing, a problem made worse by the issues that Matt Bunn was discussing; that is the spread of nuclear weapons related technology and illicit supplier networks. These terrorist groups are unlikely to be deterred from using a nuclear weapon by the threat of nuclear retaliation by the United States or any other nuclear-weapon state.

Also, as more nations acquire nuclear weapons in volatile regions, such as the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and Southwest Asia, nuclear deterrence is more likely to break down, as is stated in the piece. We were lucky during the Cold War that nuclear deterrence held the United States and the Soviet Union. There’s no guarantee that that situation will hold over the next 50 years.

The second point I would underline is that the authors are well aware of and supportive of the many efforts currently underway to deal with the issue of nuclear terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons. Indeed, many of the signatories to The Wall Street Journal op-ed have worked on these programs both in and outside of government. However, the authors of The Wall Street Journal piece also clearly state that “by themselves none of these steps are adequate to the danger.” In other words, given the threat and consequences of nuclear use, we are simply not doing enough now.

The third point I would underline is that the authors have concluded that in order to deal effectively with this new and dangerous era, the United States and international community must embrace both the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and pursue a balance program of practical measures toward achieving that goal. If you were to ask me to highlight what I thought was the most important two sentences of The Wall Street Journal op-ed they would be “Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair or urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible.”

The fourth point I would underline without going through each of the specific steps highlighted in The Wall Street Journal piece is that the program of actions is balanced. It requires actions by the five NPT nuclear-weapon states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States). It requires actions by those states with nuclear weapons outside the NPT (India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan) and it requires actions by nations who have the capability, although not the intent today to produce nuclear material or nuclear bombs.

The fifth point I would make is that the signatories are not a partisan group. They include Republicans, Democrats, and some whose politics I don’t know. This is not a partisan vision or a partisan agenda. That said, proceeding down the road outlined in The Wall Street Journal piece will require some rethinking of positions by some both in the United States and overseas.

The sixth point I would make is that the authors and signatories clearly understand that there are a number of important issues facing our nation and the world today, including the war in Iraq that is about to enter its fifth year. Indeed, one of the four principal signatories to the piece was a member of the Iraq Study Group. That said, all of the signatories thought it essential to underscore the urgent need for U.S. leadership for making progress on nuclear issues, and to make the case for moving the issue of nuclear weapons once again to the policy front burner. Few, if any, of the steps that were outlined in the op-ed can be realized without U.S. leadership. Since everything nuclear in the United States is inherently presidential, the president will have to personally lead the charge. I agree with Matt that we need somebody in the west wing of the White House to focus on this. My experience and judgment tells me that that person has to be the president of the United States. In the absence of both U.S. leadership and focus, we will continue to drift toward the day when we will have to deal again with the consequences of nuclear use.

Finally, I would simply say what everyone here knows: accomplishing the actions required to achieve the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons will not be easy. Among other things, it will require an unprecedented degree of international cooperation, including progress on resolving regional confrontations and conflicts that breed nuclear weapons programs. The signatories of The Wall Street Journal piece, many of whom have dealt with many of these conflicts and confrontations, well understand the magnitude of the challenge. But they also believe we can and indeed we must in the words of Max Kampelman, a former arms control negotiator, distinguished statesmen, and one of the signatories. In his words, we need to take urgent steps to move from what is today a world with increasing nuclear risks to what ought to be a world free of the nuclear threat. With that, I will turn it back over to Daryl.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, all of you for your presentations. I think we’ve covered an enormous range of issues. We’ve got plenty here to discuss and I wanted to again express my appreciation to Joe and Steve for stepping into this on late notice.

CIRINCIONE: You notice that there are two of us to replace Gallucci.

KIMBALL: Well, we’ll have to tell him that. We have quite a bit of time for questions and answers. There are microphones, so please raise your hand.
QUESTION: Jonathan Medalia from Congressional Research Service. A question for Steve Andreasen. I was quite surprised to see in The Wall Street Journal piece a call for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Could you explain how that came about? Thanks.

ANDREASEN: Well, you can assume that all of the signatories to the piece including the four on the byline and the 17 other signatories had a conversation. I should step back and say that this was a piece that was at least months in the works and many of the principle signatories have been talking about this whole set of nuclear issues for quite some time. The issue of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty actually received a great deal of treatment at the Reykjavik conference that was hosted by Secretary of State Shultz and Sid Drell in October where a number of these issues were discussed. In the context of a broad agenda to reduce nuclear risks and delegitimize nuclear use, it actually was agreed by consensus that progress on the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and it’s entry into force were an important part of that agenda.

KIMBALL: I think we have to leave it at that. Next, Norm, please.

QUESTION: Hi, Norman Wulf. A question for Joe Cirincione if I could. We’ve been down this path before with this administration about seeing hopeful signs in the North Korea negotiations. What gives you confidence that we’re going to make it this time? Related to that is my concern that North Korea, as it becomes increasingly isolated and becomes even more poverty prone than it has been for the last several decades, now has something that’s a very valuable commodity that it could sell. Now, it has some separated plutonium and perhaps even after their test something even more troublesome. How can we do what Matt is saying we need to do? And how can we do it in the North Korean context assuming we are in fact in a real negotiation?

CIRINCIONE: First, we have to recognize that it’s far easier to deal with the problem if we can negotiate an end to the program than it is to try to contain that program. I share your concerns about the possibility that the North Korean regime could sell or otherwise transfer some of this material to other states or terrorist groups. I don’t actually believe that that’s as likely as some others do. I don’t think the principal danger from North Korea developing a nuclear weapon is that it’s going to attack the United States or any other states in the region with it or that it would transfer it to a terrorist group. I think the gravest risk is what happens in the region itself, the reaction of the other states.

If North Korea consolidates as a nuclear-weapon state, if it tests two or three more times, I fear there is likely to be an Asian nuclear reaction chain that will ripple out to South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and perhaps other states. That’s the real danger. That’s why we have to contain it. I have some confidence that we can get a breakthrough this year because the political correlation of forces. It’s something that I believe could force the hand of this administration. I believe left to its own devices it would prefer to either muddle through the North Korean crisis or pursue the strategy championed by the vice president and articulated by the former adviser to the vice president: the squeeze strategy. This is the idea that you just tighten the financial constraints on North Korea to such an extent that there’s sort of a mafia coup where the capos overthrow the don because they’re not getting the money that they need to continue their operations. I think this is a complete fantasy, but it is the preferred strategy of the administration.

I think the political correlation of forces has changed both within the administration and within the Congress to push the administration more toward the negotiated solution. There’s also the increased presence of China and the role it’s playing. I don’t want to make too direct an analogy, but China could play somewhat the role that Tony Blair played in convincing the president to get a deal with Libya.

That deal too was opposed by the then secretary of defense and the vice president. They didn’t want to make a deal with a Libya. They wanted to overthrow that regime. The president was convinced at the highest level that he could make a deal and it would be politically beneficial. I think we’re not in quite the same position with China, but those same forces are operating. So I see those arrows all converging toward a possibility of a deal. Finally, we’re blessed with an extremely skilled negotiator at this point, Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill. If you would just let the diplomats do their job, we could get a deal.

KIMBALL: I would agree with what you said. Just in the last couple of days there was a first direct meeting between the chief U.S. negotiator and his North Korean counterpart. This morning’ story on the wires was that the North Koreans said that there was a breakthrough. Christopher Hill said he wasn’t exactly sure what they’re talking about but we’ve had positive discussions.

Now, I think one of the things that also has to be pointed out is that the serious negotiations that many of us have been calling for over some time have in some ways not yet been tried by this administration. The six-party talks as Bob Gallucci has pointed out to me several times are really about one hundred-party talks because you got the six countries and all their people. There’s not a lot of time for that quiet back and forth. This meeting just in the last couple of days in Berlin—I’m not quite sure what came out of it really—is a good sign that the administration, whether it admits it or not, has allowed for these kinds of quiet, direct discussions to help lay the groundwork for perhaps the next round of six-party talks. The key, again as you said, is dealing with this financial sanctions dispute, getting that out of the way. Then they can get to the real issue which is figuring out the sequencing of the actions that were outlined in the September 2005 joint statement.

CIRINCIONE: Just let me ad that it’s unfortunate that the Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) test could put a stick in the spokes. This comes at a particularly bad time.

KIMBALL: I want to get to the folks here in the front, but I also want to give the people in the backroom an opportunity. If you’re in the back and you would like to ask a question, please come to the door so the microphone can come to you and I can see who you are. Please do that if you want to ask a question. We have several questions here. I’ll try to get to all of you.

QUESTION: Avis Bohlen. I have sort of a double question, which maybe is cheating. First, one for Joe on Iran. It seems to me that what you’re suggesting—and I don’t disagree with your analysis that led up to it—contain on the one hand and seek to talk to reformers and good guys on the other, is just regime change light? It seems to me that we have to deal with the people who are in power in Iran if we’re going to have any serious discussions. Related to that, what is our objective at this point with regard to Iran? Of course, we would like them to give up any pretensions to enrichment of uranium, but is that really a realistic goal given the national attachment to this idea? It’s become a symbol for all parts of the political spectrum in Iran. Maybe it’s too soon, but maybe we should be looking at something like a suspension with conditions and so on in return for some goodies.

My second question nobody has mentioned and this is mainly for Steve and Jack Mendelsohn. Nobody has mentioned the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation deal. What do you do with the Indian deal in this brave new world that you are outlining? Thank you.

CIRINCIONE: I’ll start with the Iran. I need all the help I can get on Iran. Please if there are any people who are Iran experts in the room, please weigh in on this. No, I don’t think we can bank on regime change as a policy for ending the nuclear program whatever its character may be. It would be too late to even wait for the next election for Ahmadinejad. The program might be consolidated by then. What I’m suggesting is we take advantage of the fact that the president of Iran is actually a very constrained post. He technically doesn’t have any control whatsoever over the nuclear program or foreign policy. We should start dealing with other people in the Iran government structure who do, for example Larijani. We should also make openings directly to the supreme leader.

I’m saying we should use those conduits and treat them as the conduits they are. We should not believe that by somehow making a concession to Iran, that is by opening a dialogue with Iran, is somehow strengthening the hand of Ahmadinejad. I specifically don’t want to do that. I don’t want to validate Ahmadinejad’s theory that the only way to deal with the United States is to be tough with the United States, to be hostile to the United States, and that and only that will work. We want to prove the exact opposite. We have to find them the mechanisms to do that. Part of that is to engage more with the EU-3 in the negotiations that they are trying to restart. It’s a very tricky business, but a possible path to that was outlined by the Italians last year.

As you know, the issue is the Europeans want the Iranians to suspend operations before they start talks, while the Iranians want to start the talks without any preconditions. There’s a possible way to finesse this which is that the talks begin without any formal suspension, but with the understanding that once they do begin, the United States joins them, and the Iranians temporarily suspend. If both sides knew that there was something that was going to flow from that, I believe you could negotiate that kind of beginning to the talks. You would have to have these kinds of conduits open already in order to convince both sides that there’s a point of entering into these discussions. But the suspension is going to be a short term suspension. Iran is not going to agree to an indefinite suspension at this point. It just isn’t. No politician, reformist, pragmatist, or hard-liner, is going to do that.

You have to then be ready for the next step which is the possibility that you would agree to a temporary restart of some enrichment activities, but with the understanding that that would only be a temporary restart. I am against the permanent operation of enrichment facilities in Iran. We cannot agree to that for a whole variety of reasons. But we have to find a way that’s neither indefinite suspension, nor permanent operation. I believe our diplomats are good enough to find those kinds of formula if both sides believe that by engaging in this they are going to reach a resolution of their issues that don’t involve either side losing and that it’s a win-win scenario out there for both Iran and the United States. Matt?

BUNN: I agree with what Joe just said. I think that we have to understand that Iran is a very complicated policy at this point. Who is in charge is an ever shifting situation that frankly the U.S. government doesn’t understand very well, and the Europeans don’t understand very well either. We are undertaking policies the point of which is to convince a foreign government to take certain actions when we don’t actually know what the key issues are from the point of view or the perspectives of the players inside that foreign government and what things are likely to cause them to take one action versus another. I see it as putting our foot to the accelerator of a car that we’re driving in a heavy fog with little idea of whether there’s a brick wall in front of us or not.

In particular, I think that some of the sanctions approaches that people are focusing on may be more likely to foment the Iranian national culture of resistance to foreign pressure than to lead to a positive result. We have allowed Ahmadinejad to frame the issue as colonial powers are trying to take away our god given right to technology. In that frame, we would lose for sure. One of the key lessons that President Kennedy took away from the Cuban missile crisis is you have to give your opponent a face saving way to back down. I think that’s going to be true in Iran.

We’re not going to get zero enrichment forever in Iran as Joe said. But I think there are a variety of options. I can imagine that if the political engagement was sufficient and the Iranians really felt that we were going to shift on our long term efforts to overthrow their regime, the sanctions, and so on, that we might very well be able to get essentially more or less a freeze where we are of about 300 centrifuges + at Natanz that perhaps would operate without any UF6, uranium hexafluoride, being put into them. I’ve written a paper describing that as a warm standby option for those centrifuges. But I think we need to engage, as Joe was saying, with a lot of the different factions, and come to understand what the heck is driving Iranian decision making better than we do in order to have a better chance of influencing that decision making. People talk a lot about how we need better intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program. I want better intelligence on who the heck is making the decisions and what causes them to make one decision rather than another. That’s much more interesting to me than which components they still have to get from abroad rather than indigenously. Of course, that’s an interesting question as well.

KIMBALL: We had another question on India. Jack or Steve on that, or on Iran?

ANDREASEN: The question on the India deal, what next? First of all, I should make clear that the issue wasn’t addressed specifically in The Wall Street Journal piece, so I’m answering you in my personal capacity so to speak. We do have a new framework agreed to by the Congress and signed by the president. Time will tell whether the Indians accept the framework and whether the associated agreements that need to be worked out can be worked out so that the deal goes forward. I think if your objective is to limit or control the production of fissile material for weapons and strengthen the NPT, and if you believe those should be high national priorities, which I do, you can conclude that the India deal was not a high-water mark. I would say at a minimum, we should not encourage others to believe that a similar deal is possible, and, in effect, as a matter of policy, we should state that this is not going to be repeated.

BUNN: I should add that some of my Iranian colleagues—I’ve been making an effort to try to understand what is going on in Teheran, although with limited success—have told me that in Teheran the nuclear hardliners are pointing to India and saying basically, look what happened to them, they tested, everybody in the whole world sanctioned them, and then six months later Clinton was crawling back and saying, please be our friend, et cetera. Now, they’re getting this nuclear deal. The hardliners are using that as an argument that while there may be sanctions now, if we just move forward, eventually the world will roll over and acquiesce to what we’re doing. That’s a plausible argument. That’s not obvious to me that they’re wrong given the huge pool of oil and gas that Iran is sitting on.

KIMBALL: Let me just put a little more detail into what Steve said about the next steps. We held a press conference here in this room in November on the eve of the congressional votes. One of the successes of the arms control communities lobbying effort of Congress was that Congress did reinforce and include in the legislation a couple of things that are important. They passed the overall package, but the legislation requires that the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has to agree by consensus to the necessary rule changes to allow India to receive civil trade from the United States and others.

The Indians and the International Atomic Energy Agency have to negotiate a safeguards agreement on the civil facilities that India has put on their civil list. I was just in Vienna, Austria in December for a meeting on the fissile material cutoff treaty issue. I also visited the IAEA offices and it’s clear that there are differences between the Indians and the IAEA about the nature of that safeguards agreement. There are questions about who’s going to pay for those safeguards. The IAEA officials I talked to only said it would cost a lot, which I was told to interpret as tens of millions of dollars a year. The other issue that has to be resolved is of course the formal U.S.-Indian agreement for nuclear cooperation.

Since the congressional legislation there have been no talks between the U.S. side and the Indian side. Steve alluded to the fact that the Indian atomic energy establishment is not happy with some of the other provisions in the congressional legislation, so this is not a done deal. One of the things that the Arms Control Association and others are doing is we’re talking to some of the other countries that have a stake in this. They will have a vote at the NSG, so to speak, to look at this deal closely and to evaluate whether and how the deal should be conditioned at the NSG to deal with some of the problems that Congress did not address. We will have another press conference about that one at some other time.

QUESTION: Thank you. During the discussion on the North Korean nuclear program there was a passing reference made regarding the ongoing debate in Japan about the possibility of developing nuclear weapons. Recently there have been some press reports regarding the preparation of another possible test by North Korea. I would like some of the distinguished panelists to probably comment on the significance and popularity of this concern in Japan, and also whether the risk or the probability of another such test by North Korea will translate into the weaponization of Japan? Unlike North Korea or Iran, where most of the efforts are aimed at denying them the capability in terms of technological expertise rather than focusing on political will, in terms of Japan it’s probably the other way around. How serious is this probability of the weaponization?

KIMBALL: Before you jump in Joe, let’s take one other question.

QUESTION: I just wanted to go back to the topic of Iran and confirm the statements from Mr. Cirincione and Mr. Bunn. Having lived in Iran myself for more that 10 years, I can certainly support that it’s a very difficult political landscape and certainly the last person calling the shots is the president, even the current one. You have to go back to the people surrounding Ayatollah Khomeini, who is the supreme religious leader in the country and also the head of the armed forces. My question actually is concerned with Pakistan. I just wanted to imagine the following situation. CNN Breaking News, General Musharraf assassinated and a country 140, 150 million people with the Secret Service and the Army with close ties to radical elements; some people sympathetic to al Qaeda. What will be the next steps from the West to try to contain this situation?

KIMBALL: That’s an interesting question, one that I think we have thought about at two in the morning in our nightmares. Joe, why don’t you take the first one on North Korea and Japan and then maybe we ask Matt to answer the Pakistan question.

CIRINCIONE: Right after the North Korean test, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went to Japan to consult. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times ran these very reassuring stories that showed the secretary sitting down with the foreign minister and other dignitaries and the headlines to the stories were that Japan assures the United States that it has no nuclear intent. I don’t think the editors actually read the story. They were headlining. The very first paragraph of The New York Times story says that Prime Minister Abe said that there should be a debate in the parliament about whether Japan should have nuclear weapons.

The last time a senior official suggested that was in 1999. It was the deputy defense minister and he was forced to resign for making that suggestion. Not only do we have Abe saying that, but the fourth highest ranking official, Mr. Nakagawa, made a similar statement that there should be a debate; that this was the right of a democracy to debate whether we should have a nuclear option or not. The former prime minister Mr. Nakagomi also suggested that there be this discussion, and this discussion is now happening. I don’t know about you, but this worries me.

There are some in this administration for whom this does not worry because they have a different proliferation view. They believe that there is good proliferation and bad proliferation. There are good guys and bad guys. It’s okay that India has nuclear weapons. In fact, one of my former colleagues in this very building made the comment a while back that the problem is not that India has nuclear weapons, it is that it doesn’t have enough nuclear weapons. The idea is to build up a nuclear alliance against China for what some see as the inevitable war between the United States and China in the middle of the next century. Japan fits into that. So from their view it’s not bad that Japan has it.

In my view it is terrible. It would be a disaster for Japan to conclude that the threat from North Korea and the example of India indicates that the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is dead, this 60-year-old effort to control nuclear weapons is over, and it’s off to the races and they’d better join. That is a huge challenge for the current administration that seems relatively complacent about all this. It’s certainly going to be a tremendous challenge for the next administration. We cannot allow that to happen.

BUNN: First, on the Japan front. I again agree with Joe, but I think the balance in Japan is still heavily weighted against going nuclear.

CIRINCIONE: Yes. I agree.

BUNN: What we need in the case of both North Korea and Iran are policies focused on trying to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons, but at the same time already implementing a plan B that focuses on reassuring their neighbors and containing their programs in the sense of making sure that they don’t lead to the cascade of proliferation that people have been worried about. With respect to Pakistan, fortunately or unfortunately, Musharraf is not the only thing holding the place together. He is very important, but I think that Pakistan is a deeply dysfunctional society. But the military, corrupt as it is, is one of the only functioning institutions in Pakistan and the people guarding the nuclear weapons will still be guarding the nuclear weapons if Musharraf steps on a landmine tomorrow.

I think that the risk of an actual sort of takeover by the sort of Jihadi-leaning parties in Pakistan is real but modest. Unfortunately, if one of those awful things does happen, I think our options are very limited. We don’t know where all the nuclear weapons are in Pakistan and actually going in there and getting them if in a situation of state failure in Pakistan would be very difficult. I’m confident that people have made contingency plans thinking about that situation.

The only way that that kind of thing would work is if the situation had become so dire within Pakistan in terms of collapse and state failure, that those actually controlling the nuclear weapons agreed that is was time to get them out of their country and were sort of cooperating with us to help make that happen. But I don’t see that likelihood as being very substantial in the next five years or something like that. In the longer term, Pakistan, in terms of proliferation and in terms of terrorism, is clearly one of the most dangerous and difficult problems that we have to deal with. I don’t have brilliant answers on that subject.

ANDREASEN: I would just briefly go even further than that and say you could make a strong case that Pakistan is the most dangerous country on the planet today. One of the reasons to oppose the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal is that you’re introducing a dangerous dynamic into the subcontinent security arrangements. What that means is that we really do need to, in the words of The Wall Street Journal signatories, redouble our efforts. It’s incumbent upon the United States having struck that deal to deal with the regional conflict and confrontation on the subcontinent to see if we can’t stabilize that situation. That is a tall order, but we need to make a greater effort than we’ve made to date on that.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I am Naeem Salik from Brookings. From the comments by the panelists and the question which was asked by my friend, you said just now that Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world. But the world thinks otherwise. It thinks the United States is the most dangerous country in the world. These are just questions of perception, you see? It only comes from which you come from and from what angle you are looking at things.

Let me clarify here that Pakistan is not a one-man-show. The general prevailing perception in the United States is that if Musharraf goes, everything will crash. Pakistan, let me tell you, is not Somalia. There are government institutions which are functioning. There is a parliament, whatever its credentials. I don’t say it’s a democratic parliament or whatever, but there are institutions which are there. There’s a command and control structure. The national command authority consists of ten of the top policymakers in the country. Even if Musharraf or anyone else goes, there are people who handle these things.

Matt said that no one knows where those weapons are and that only the Jihadis know they’re there. If we don’t know with all your research and technical and human intelligence, how would they know where those weapons are and how are they going to grab those? I think these are all fantasies which are being peddled along by the media and, unfortunately, some of the experts. But I would request you, my friend, Mr. Bunn, to go on a visit to Pakistan, read some briefings, and see the things for yourself. Probably most of these misconceptions will be clarified. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thanks for your perspectives and the only thing I would just add and I think this is what was driving these comments was that Somalia doesn’t have nuclear weapons. We worry when anybody has nuclear weapons. I think that’s one distinction here.

BUNN: I think actually that most of what I said was actually in your direction. There are institutions handling this thing.

KIMBALL: Right over here. Larry Weiler.

QUESTION: Larry Weiler. I’d like to comment briefly on the question of our policy on nuclear weapons use. It seems to me that this is the elephant that’s been in the closet or in the room for a long time. It makes our entire nonproliferation policy illegitimate, and that was recognized when the NPT was drafted. It’s the thing that if we change that one item, it has ramifications throughout the entire arms control spectrum. Everything that everyone else has talked about is affected by this policy.

Actually, if we were negotiating the NPT today with the present situation in Europe, the effort that Matt Bunn’s dad made on the shores of Lake Geneva in the Sunday afternoon picnic sessions with their Soviet counterparts, would have had a very real chance of putting in place a negative assurance clause in the NPT. But the situation there was such that no one could figure out a framework of words that met the NPT. Now, we have a completely different situation in Europe and that makes the major barrier to a nonproliferation statement or a no-first-use statement much easier today. What also makes it easier is that most Americans think that is our policy, which is something that people tend to forget.

I would add one other thing and that is it seems to me this is the kind of a thing that has got to come from the top not from the bottom up through the bureaucracy. It never will work going upward. The reaction you’ll get is traitor, I know. I also want to refer again to the little exchange I had with President Bush. When I made the point that there was a bargain and that we needed to consider no first use. The transcript doesn’t relate this, but he stood there, he thought a bit, and he said, “I will take your words to heart and I’ll think about that.”

Okay, if I had suggested we withdraw from NATO and he’d said, “I take your words to heart and I’ll think about it.” That would have been something. My point being, I don’t think he had the slightest idea what our nuclear weapons policy really, really was. I think that we make a mistake in assuming that leaders are very familiar with what things are. The point being that you have to get to these people before they assume office to have a better chance. That means our effort really ought to be on the key people before the election that comes up. We will have chance maybe of getting a dynamic statement of the kind that Jack was stalking about. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thanks a lot, Larry. Larry, for those of you who didn’t know, had an amazing exchange at a press conference the president did about a year and a half ago and he had the chance to ask this question. Larry, of course, was with George Bunn in the early days when the NPT was being negotiated.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Masa Ota. I’m a Japanese journalist with Kyodo News. I have just a quick question to Mr. Mendelsohn. I think it’s a great idea to delegitimize the use of nuclear weapons, but my concern is the discussion noted by Mr. Cirincione. Some conservative politicians in my country are talking about the possibility of going nuclear after the North Korean nuclear test. What would be the consequences for deterrence, of the nuclear umbrella, after the United States made a declaratory policy to not be the first to use nuclear weapons? What’s going to be the impact on extended deterrence? Also, how we can balance between the conservative argument in Japan and also a delegitimization of nuclear weapons?

MENDELSOHN: That’s a good question. I felt constrained in the formulation of the no-first-use idea in this letter to add that there will be certain narrow and specialized circumstances. The ones I had in mind were mentioned there and that is in connection with the use of a nuclear weapon or if the survival of the state is in genuine jeopardy. I think that’s actually the only really extended deterrence that we have in mind. During the Cold War we did indeed argue that we would use nuclear weapons in other less, if you will, high threat situations.

But I think we’re unlikely to use a nuclear weapon unless another one has been used or threatened to be used. So extended deterrence from the national survival point of view of a country like Japan I don’t think would be affected by this. You could argue that its security might actually be enhanced by the fact that the United States had reduced, if you will, the level of threat that existed around the world. Referring to the statement earlier, there are some points of view that the United States is the most dangerous country in the world.

ANDREASEN: Just a brief comment on what was asked previously in terms of the comment made about our target audience, leaders and presidential candidates. I think it’s not a coincidence that The Wall Street Journal piece appeared in January of 2007. There are two years to go before the next president assumes office and that really provides the opportunity to focus on our current and future leadership. Remember the Reykjavik Summit meeting that we consider in retrospect last October happened in the seventh year of the Reagan administration with less time to go than President Bush currently has in office. A lot of progress was made after Reykjavik on specific instruments across the board on nuclear weapons. On presidential candidates, I think you’re exactly right that candidates need to be thinking about these issues before they become president. This Wall Street Journal piece and the broader efforts of the Arms Control Association and the arms control community are very important in this stage we’re in now with two years to go before the inauguration of the next president.

BUNN: Let me cite a specific anecdote that Steve may remember differently. He can correct me if he does. During the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton said he was in favor of a Comprehensive Test Ban. When he was in office there was quite an internal debate about whether we were in favor of a real Comprehensive Test Ban or whether we were in favor of a Comprehensive Test Ban that would still allow one-kiloton nuclear tests. That was a petty hard fought discussion inside the Clinton administration. It’s my view at least that had Clinton not publicly endorsed the CTBT already during the campaign, if he wasn’t already on record that way, that that debate might have come out another way than it did. Making people make their views clearer during the course of a campaign can be quite important.

ANDREASEN: Well, I’ll just add to that. I remember going to a lot of meetings in 1993 and reading what the president had said in 1992 so that definitely is a factor. But a piece like the recent piece provides a broad tent, so to speak. In some way it’s the proverbial big tent where there’s a lot of room for candidates to get underneath that tent. It will be interesting to see if that happens in the next six, 12, or 18 months.

KIMBALL: Great. Ed, please.

QUESTION: Edward Ifft. I’d like to go back to the India deal for a moment if I may. I was at a nonproliferation conference in the United Kingdom last month and I talked to several people there who worked very closely with the Nuclear Suppliers Group trying to get a clear answer to the question, does the NSG have a veto over the deal or not? Yes or no? I was not able to get a clear answer. Now, it appears that there’s a veto via the congressional bill that was passed which was mentioned earlier. However, the president in a signing statement said he wasn’t bound by that, so even that is muddled. Now, one of these NSG people finally said to me, look, you don’t understand how we operate. The NSG is unlikely to say either yes or no. What they will probably do is issue a Delphic policy statement which the United States can interpret as a green light and others may interpret differently. Can you shed any further light on this? Thank you.

CIRINCIONE: I think you have just stated it about as clearly as it can be stated. I know there were many members of Congress and their staffs who believed that if the NSG does not approve this deal, it will not go through. Many members of Congress, including people who were moving the legislation, believed this to be the case that the NSG has to approve this before the Congress will then continue the approval process. I also believe that the president’s signing statements are unconstitutional. I don’t believe they’re valid. I don’t believe the president can pick and choose the component of the laws that he signs. We’ve allowed this practice to continue for the last six years. I don’t believe it could hold up, and I don’t believe Congress believes that those statements are valid.

BUNN: This is an amendment to Atomic Energy Act, right? If he does something that is not permitted by the Atomic Energy Act – I can’t imagine even this president actually consciously violating the Atomic Energy Act. This is law that has constrained all of us in this room for so long we sort of feel as though it’s almost holy writ in a certain sense.

I had a fascinating discussion with a senior nonproliferation official at the Department of Energy a couple of months ago about this issue of multilateral fuel assurances. The United States has taken 17 tons of highly enriched uranium to blend down and offer it as a reserve that states could draw upon if they had a problem with their supplies. But they’re going to have it sitting in the United States under all the constraints of the Atomic Energy Act. That means that none of the countries that we would be most nervous about if they were doing enrichment or reprocessing will see it as any assurance at all because they won’t be able to get access to it because they don’t have agreements with us under the Atomic Energy Act. I said to him, well, what you ought to do is take some of this material and sell it to the French and have the French or somebody like that take some of their material and put it into a reserve. Then, it’s not under all the constraints of the Atomic Energy Act. He said that it may surprise you to learn that I do not conceive my job as figuring out ways to violate the Atomic Energy Act. Despite the signing statement, I think the NSG has to approve it. It’s not going to happen if that doesn’t happen.

KIMBALL: Yes, I’m not a constitutional law expert, but I think another reality, Ed, is that if the NSG does not reach consensus, they could theoretically decide to vote on this by majority, which would be highly unusual. In that event, I would say the NSG is dead, okay, because you have the founding country basically saying, if you don’t agree with us, we’re going to do whatever we want. Signing statements aside, I think there’s a global nonproliferation reality that the United States has to face. And it’s not just this president, it is still the next one and the next one.

As to what the NSG will do, I still have my questions about that too. There are some people here in this room I could point you out to. You should discuss with them what the NSG might do because they represent NSG countries. But the other thing to remember is that the NSG may come up with a different formulation for granting India this unrestricted trade. Some countries may want a criteria-based approach rather than a country-specific approach. That could create another layer of difficulties because different countries might have different ideas about which criteria should be included. Some people might want other countries included in addition to India, while others like the United States do not. There are a lot of questions that are still out there about the NSG and I don’t think the Indians, the Bush administration, or the Arms Control Association have the answers yet. In the back, Michael Klare, please.

QUESTION: Yes. I apologize if this question was asked in some form earlier, but I wonder if the panelists could tell me whether they have reason to believe that a clock is now ticking on Iran? What I mean by that is it was very obvious to knowledgeable observers in July 2002 that a plan was in motion for an attack on Iraq. I spoke to some senior military people at a meeting at the Naval War College in July 2002 and objections were raised and they said, well, you make good arguments, but the decision has been made already. I don’t know if it was March 16, 2003 in particular, but there were clear signs that a time period had been set. I feel in my bones that there is now a clock ticking on Iran. I don’t know if it’s May 15, 2007 or something like that, but I wonder if you gentlemen believe that there is a clock ticking?

CIRINCIONE: Let me start. I think there’s a clock ticking in two senses. I think within Iran the nuclear hardliners are trying to establish facts on the ground as quickly as possible to make their program irreversible. I believe that we have about two years to stop that effort before it may become unstoppable. I also believe that in this administration there are some who have their own clock ticking on planning strikes for Iran. We know that a plan to strike Iran has been drawn up and is in the White House. It exists and it is different in kind than the other plans that exist for all kinds of options. This is ready to be implemented. We see pieces of what would be required to implement that plan being put in motion.

What we don’t know is whether there are innocent explanations for moving the second carrier battle group into the Gulf or appointing a naval aviator to be the head of Central Command or whether these in fact are part of setting the table for military strikes. Moving Patriot anti-missile systems into Iraq strikes me as a less ambiguous signal. There’s no purpose for Patriot missiles except to defend against Scuds. The Iraqi militias and insurgents do not have Scuds. Only Iran and Syria have Scuds. Why exactly are we moving those Patriot batteries in there? I don’t know what exactly the odds are of this administration launching a military strike, but it is not zero.

Before the election I thought the chances were 60 percent that this president will extend and expand the war into military action against Iran. After the election I thought personally it sort of dropped to around 30 percent. It just went back up. My personal guess is it’s 50-50, that there are some people in this administration who want to do it and do not want to leave office with the Iranian regime still in place. My only question is whether cooler heads will prevail.

BUNN: It’s been publicly reported—I don’t know whether it’s true or not—that the president has said to France that he would consider it a personal and national humiliation if the Iranian nuclear problem hadn’t been solved by the time he left office. I am a little bit less pessimistic than Joe. I’m still in the 20 or 30 percent range for my estimate of the probability of military action before this presidential term is out. But that’s a big enough probability given what I believe would be very catastrophic consequences or set of actions to be worried about it. We should try to do everything we can to make the case as to what the consequences of military actions are and what the risks of other options are and the potential costs and benefits of the different options. I think one of the things that this community ought to be doing that hasn’t been done to my satisfaction yet is a really detailed analysis of the likely impact and consequences of limited military strikes against Iran.

The one thing I would add to what Joe said is the Israeli factor. I was at a meeting recently where a senior neo-con with very good connections to the White House and in Israel made the following set of points. He said, number one, there isn’t any major leader of any party in Israel who is willing to just sit back and deter a nuclear armed Iran. That’s just unacceptable to all of them. Number two, the Israelis see the Iranian program moving much faster than the international sanctions are having any effect. Therefore, number three, eventually the Israelis may get to the point where they feel that they have no choice, but to take military action. And number four, that the perception in at least some quarters of the Bush administration, possibly correctly, is that the Israeli military action would be the worst of all possible worlds because we would suffer essentially all of the costs that we would suffer if we had done it ourselves. In addition, the Israelis don’t have the military capability to do it as effectively as we would be able to do it. He didn’t go on to draw the conclusion, but my conclusion from his remarks was that under those circumstances there might well be people in the government who would say to the Israelis, don’t you do it, we’ll do it ourselves. I think it’s a genuine factor that has to be considered. I do think the odds are better given all the other things going on in that region and in our situation militarily and politically that it won’t happen. But I don’t think it’s a non-trivial risk that it will happen.

MENDELSOHN: I agree very much to what Matt has just said. If the clock is ticking, it is ticking faster in Tel Aviv than it is here. If that’s not a violation of relativity; actually it’s a demonstration of relativity. We need to be concerned because if it does happen, we will indeed be implicated and assumed to have in fact sponsored it. If not sponsored, certainly, tacitly approved it.

KIMBALL: We’re closing in on the time for this session this morning. In fact, we’re a little bit over. I want to take the three last questions in quick succession and we’re going to try to answer them quickly because such good questions have been asked. I have this gentleman right here, I have Mr. Paulsen, and then this gentleman in the back row. We’ll go one, two, and then three.

QUESTION: Thank you. Erik Paulsen from the Norwegian Embassy. I just would like to ask the panel for reactions to the Chinese ASAT test that was reported a couple of days ago. As I can tell, the Chinese have sent a strong message through this test to the United States. In Congress, people like Congressman Ed Markey has said something to the effect, point taken, now let’s try to work to avoid an arms race. But, as far as the Congress is concerned, do you think this Chinese message will prove counter productive? Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi. Mark Goodman. What do you expect this new Congress to do and what do you think they should do in the coming two years?

QUESTION: Herbert Levin. You’ve discussed that the justification for the Indian agreement is that it will help contain China by increasing India’s nuclear capabilities and we have the smiles from the U.S. government on that vocal minority within Japan who like to see them move toward nuclear weapons. The Chinese in their customary manner have been rather quiet and not publicly discussing this. What reaction do you anticipate from the Chinese when they decide to react against the American effort to have nuclear containment around the edges of China?

KIMBALL: ASAT test, did you want to address that quickly?

BUNN: I’ve practically found it a little bit amusing that the National Security Council issued a statement saying, this is inconsistent with the kind of civil cooperation we’ve been looking for given how absolutely dedicated the Bush administration has been to promoting a space weapons agenda and stomping on any suggestion of international, negotiated controls over space weapons. At the same time, the tests created a mound of space debris that’s going to be a hazard to satellites in similar orbits to the one that was destroyed. I think that is a symbol of one the reasons why we do need to figure out some way to move forward to constrain testing of weapons that are going to create that kind of debris and constraints on space weapons.

No space weapons regime is going to be perfect. As with all arms control, you’re talking about reducing risks and having one tool in your toolbox for protecting your satellites. But I think we need to move forward on space arms control. The test will actually make it a little more difficult to move forward on space arms control because now everybody will be saying that the Chinese already have the capability, et cetera, et cetera.

On what the Congress should do, I think there is a great deal of opportunity for more vigorous oversight of a lot of nonproliferation policies and more pressure on the administration to take sensible actions on nonproliferation. I would like to see authorizations and appropriations related to a lot of the steps I outlined related to strengthening security for nuclear material around the world, strengthening export controls around the world, strengthening the IAEA, and so on. Some of those measures are included in some of the legislation now being discussed, such as implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendation, but by no means all. Ultimately, the reality is more than 90 percent of nonproliferation is something the executive branch has to do and therefore the key is figuring out ways that the Congress can influence the policies that the executive branch undertakes. It’s not always successful, but it’s not impossible.

KIMBALL: On that subject, there is a short and good piece by Arms Control Today editor Miles Pomper in the current issue of Arms Control Today about that very question. I suggest you read that. For those of you joining us at the luncheon upstairs in a few minutes, that’s a great question for Howard Berman. He is the second ranking Democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. So we’ll hear more from him about what Congress might be doing in this realm.

The last question was about what China’s reaction on the India deal is going to be. Clearly, we’re going to have to have some more discussions on the India deal because a lot of questions are still coming out about that. China has issued mixed signals publicly about this. Some have been deeply opposed, claiming this is an affront to the nonproliferation system. Others have been a little bit more open to the idea. From my contacts and my communications, it’s pretty clear that if China is going to accept anything, it’s going to seek a criteria-based rule at the NSG to give India access to civil trade. To what extent it seeks to include Pakistan in that criteria-based approach is not yet clear, but I think that’s probably the direction that China will probably go in. That may not be good news for India or the United States because, as I said before, a criteria- versus country-specific approach could be very difficult to work out at the NSG, which does not work very fast at all. But we need to wrap up quickly.

MENDELSOHN: Let me say one thing on Asia. Some of you may remember a very strange reaction by the Chinese, must be about five years ago now, in connection with the U.S. Missile Defense Program. The Chinese in Geneva and probably also in Beijing said that in response to the U.S. strategic system, they intended to consider interfering with any satellites that were connected to that system. They would not permit them to overfly China. You might go back and check. I actually can give you some sources for that. It’s interesting that at the time, of course, the reaction of the United States was, they can’t. Now they can.

KIMBALL: We’ve provided for you today a very broad ranging set of presentations. I would urge you to check back with us because we’re going to be dealing in much more detail in each of these areas through the course of the year at our briefings and in Arms Control Today. I want to ask you to join me in thanking our panelists this morning. (Applause.)

Finally, on each of your chairs is this slick little brochure from the Arms Control Association. If you’re not a member or a subscriber, think about becoming one. Our brochures are slick, but we still need your money and support to help produce them and the magazine, so please consider doing so or asking a friend to do so. For those of you joining us upstairs, let me just give you a couple of directions about logistics. The program hopefully will be starting at noon, but that means that we need to ask you to start moving upstairs to find your seats. Those of you who have these should keep them. There’s a coloring system which will tell us whether you’ve paid or not and where you sit. Please go ahead and move upstairs, find your seat, and thank you very much for joining us this morning.


Panelists: Steve Andreasen, Matthew Bunn, Joseph Cirincione, Jack Mendelsohn, Daryl Kimball

Country Resources:

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









Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Edited by the Arms Control Association

DARYL KIMBALL: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for coming at 9:00 a.m. instead of our usual 9:30 start time. I’m Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. Welcome to this briefing on the upcoming Senate debate about the proposal for increased nuclear trade between the United States and India.

The Arms Control Association is a public education and research organization. We have been around since 1971. This is our 35th year. We are committed to practical and effective strategies for reducing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons threats. We have been working with a broad coalition of experts and organizations for over a year now to urge U.S. policymakers to examine the proposal that was put forward by President [George W.] Bush and Prime Minster [Manmohan] Singh in July 2005 more carefully.  And we have been advising the Congress and others to address the many flaws that we see in this ill-advised deal. While the Congress has responded to these concerns by tightening some of the loopholes in the administration’s original legislative proposal, we believe that serious problems continue to persist. 

We are here today on the eve of the Senate’s likely consideration of the enabling legislation for this proposal to highlight what the most serious flaws of the proposal are and to explain what we believe can and must be done to address those flaws. We also want to clarify before this debate and vote what we believe will be the far-reaching and adverse ramifications of the deal if Congress fails to stand up for a more sensible approach. 

Before I turn the podium over to our expert speakers, I want to provide a little bit of an introduction about this issue and what they are going to say. I think it’s important just to note that for over three decades, the United States and the international community have been trying to engage the world’s nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) holdout states, especially India and Pakistan. They have acknowledged that they have nuclear weapons. And over time that effort has been substantial and it has been a significant factor in limiting India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. But now with this proposal, the Bush administration seeks to reverse this decades-long approach by making India-specific exceptions to U.S. laws and international guidelines that currently prohibit nuclear commerce with states like India that do not accept full-scope safeguards. That means safeguards over all of their nuclear facilities, whether they’re military or civilian.

The president has also pledged to seek changes to the guidelines of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which currently restrict trade with states like India that don’t accept full-scope safeguards. That policy of the NSG, by the way, was a policy adopted in 1992 under the leadership of President George Herbert Walker Bush. 

As our first speaker Norm Wulf is going to explain, this proposal would not, as proponents claim, bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream. Instead it would blow enormous holes in the nonproliferation barriers that have kept the proliferation floodwaters in check. 

Ambassador Wulf, who is recently retired, has spent nearly his entire career fighting in the international diplomatic trenches for U.S. nonproliferation security objectives. He will explain why he believes on balance that India’s commitments under the current terms of the proposal do not justify making far-reaching exceptions to U.S. nonproliferation laws and international standards.

Now, as many of you know by now who have been following this—I see many people in the audience who I met for the first time about two years ago when we started discussing this issue—the proposed deal would not put under safeguards India’s military reactors, its enrichment and reprocessing facilities, and weapons fabrication facilities. India has not agreed to halt the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.

Our second speaker, Zia Mian of Princeton University, is going to explain how the supply of nuclear fuel from other countries to India could help free up India’s existing and limited nuclear capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons. Zia’s presentation, by the way, is based largely on the findings of a report that is out on the table by the International Panel on Fissile Materials. The report is an excellent and very good technical analysis of this issue. I should say that I think it is probably the best technical assessment of this complicated issue that has been done to date.

Now, proponents of the deal have made much of India’s pledge to accept safeguards on additional nuclear facilities. However, as we have noted and you should know by now, India has pledged only to accept safeguards at eight additional civilian nuclear reactors by the year 2014, which leaves at least eight other reactors available for weapons purposes, not including the dedicated military reactors that are there already.
Just as troubling, India has not agreed to put those civilian reactors under permanent safeguards as the current congressional legislation would require. Both the Senate and the House legislation require this. India is also seeking in its negotiations with the United States on the [bilateral 123] agreement for nuclear cooperation, which has to be worked out, assurances that the United States will help supply India with nuclear fuel in the event that such supplies are interrupted; even if fuel supplies are interrupted because India resumes nuclear testing or violates its agreement for nuclear cooperation.

Our third and final speaker, Michael Krepon, president emeritus of the Henry L. Stimson Center, is going to explain what the potential ramifications of that scenario are and how the Senate might address it.

Finally, before Ambassador Wulf comes to the podium, I would like to bring to your attention a letter that has been sent to the Senate just last night from over a dozen leading U.S. nonproliferation experts. In this letter, we describe the shortcomings I just outlined, as well as some other shortcomings in the Senate legislation (S. 3709), as well as several fixes that we believe can and should be adopted in the form of amendments to the bill.

Now, we can talk a little bit further about the prospects for the legislation in the Q&A which will follow the speakers, but just for now let me note that I don’t think that any of us here doubt that the overall package will be voted on either this year in the lame duck session or at least next year. But what additional stipulations and conditions might be added to the legislation are yet to be determined. That is where the real debate on this legislation will be. Several senators are likely to introduce amendments to the Senate bill, including Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who offered a very good amendment in the Foreign Relations Committee that would address the nonproliferation flaws that we and others have identified in this legislation.

We agree that it is important to build upon the U.S.-Indian relationship, but we think that there are ways in which we can do this without undermining vital U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals and international standards that have protected the United States and other countries for decades.

So with that introduction, let me ask Ambassador Wulf to come to the podium. Each speaker will make their remarks and then we will take your questions and answers. Thanks.

NORMAN WULF: I have to start off by saying that I mentioned to Daryl that I hadn’t had a suit on for so long I had to practice tying my necktie last night. (Laughter.) He suggested I should have practiced a little more. Thanks, Daryl.

KIMBALL: You did a fine job.

WULF: For many of you—or at least for me, let’s put it this way—I’m a little nervous today because I’m doing something I don’t think I’ve done in, say, 38 years of my career. I started shortly after law school getting a notice from something called the Selective Service Board and ended up spending six and a half years in the Navy. There you followed orders and did not question them. Then I spent 30 years working for the U.S. government and representing the U.S. government in front of a lot of different foreign groups and, needless to say, ended up espousing the U.S. line of what it would do. I have refrained since retirement from entering into the public arena and publicly criticizing actions by the administration that I think are wrong. 

But this one I think is so wrong and does so much harm that I decided that I have to speak up. I’m not sure it is going to make any difference, as Daryl indicated, but nonetheless, I want to share with you briefly why I think it is so wrong and why I think it does so much damage.

I think all of you know that it was the United States that was the moving force for the creation of the NPT. After its creation, we worked assiduously to convince virtually all the countries in the world to become parties; all except three: Israel, India, and Pakistan. We had North Korea for a while, but as you know, they withdrew from the treaty in 2003. The United States has had a uniform policy that goes back to the Manhattan Project that all proliferation is bad. For the first time, this administration has now decided that some proliferation, if not good, at least is acceptable. That is going to have tremendous costs in the dealing with the variety of issues. Let me just give you one example.

When I first got into the nonproliferation field in the early 1980s, we had a tremendously difficult time convincing many of our European partners that they shouldn’t make a sale. Countries like to make sales. That’s what they exist for. What they want to do is keep their corporations happy and allow them to make sales. So export control regimes are very difficult things for countries to vigorously enforce. If you think of our government and think of their government, it’s basically the same. You have on one side a nonproliferation crowd that’s worried about proliferation (a national security crowd) and on the other side you have the Department of Commerce, or whatever the equivalent might be, the ministry of trade, and they want to promote sales. For the longest time, the nonproliferation crowd was not the predominant voice in many governments of suppliers of nuclear technology.

I would say in the last 10 years it has pretty well changed. The nonproliferation crowd has become a strong, dominant voice and nonproliferation was viewed as something that was in their interest and that denying their companies an opportunity to make a sale was a sensible policy to pursue. I very much fear that what we have taught the other ministries in other governments is that the general principle, all proliferation is bad, is no longer valid. Rather, the principle is, well, if it’s really important to you to have a good relationship with a country, or if it’s really important for you to make this one sale, it’s all right. 

So by departing from a general principle and making exceptions, we’re opening the door to others to make exceptions. 

I think all of you have sufficient imagination that it’s not impossible to foresee that should this deal finally go through, Pakistan and probably Israel will be seeking similar treatment in the not-too-distant future. I think it’s inevitable. And the Middle East context at least is one, as Ambassador Bob Grey recalls, we spent a lot of time dealing with the Israeli problem in the context of the NPT because the Arab states kept saying, there’s an exception. We were able to say to them, there’s no exception; we do not engage in any civil nuclear cooperation with Israel. As a result of opening this door for this one small exception for India, we now open the door so Israel also can follow. I can assure you that we will reap a very bitter harvest in the Middle East, even perhaps more bitter than what we have now.

There also obviously is the fact that for a lengthy part of my government service we were very much preoccupied with three governments who had unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and who we believed had the intention of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. They were South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil. Over time they gave up, primarily for their own internal reasons but also because I think of some external pressures, their weapons programs and they became parties to the NPT. 

All of them had been subject to U.S. sanctions. All of them had been deprived of the possibility of U.S. nuclear components, reactors, et cetera. All had been deprived of U.S. fuel. I think it was a factor in their decision to abandon their weapons program, become a party to the NPT, and to put their nuclear program under safeguards. You’ve got to wonder if we’re not breaking faith with those countries. 

I also recall very vividly when the Soviet Union dissolved and nuclear weapons were stationed on the territory of three former republics: Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus. The United States put a tremendous diplomatic effort into persuading those governments not to retain those weapons, to allow the Russians to take them back to Russian territory, and for them to become parties to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states. Again, it seems to me they can very well charge the United States with breaking faith with them for their commitment. 

One of the obligations in the NPT that the nuclear-weapon states undertake is not in any way to assist another country to acquire nuclear weapons. I think one of our speakers is going to go into this at some length with respect to whether U.S. assistance could assist India’s nuclear weapons program. I don’t want to be on record as saying that what the United States is doing is a violation of the NPT, but I can certainly say I believe it’s inconsistent with the spirit and the intent of the NPT. 

U.S. efforts were not limited to obtaining the NPT and obtaining universal adherence or near-universal adherence. In 1974, as many of you know, India first conducted a nuclear test and they did it by diverting supplies from another country. The reaction to that was for the United States to propose establishment of a suppliers group. There was already a suppliers group in existence as a result of the NPT, but in 1974, many countries were not parties to the NPT. Chief among them were China and France. They did not join until 1992. 

So to get those countries and other suppliers who were not parties into an export control regime, we helped bring about the creation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This group elaborated on technologies that were too sensitive to export to countries unless the exports were under international inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

Over time, we took into that forum, as a result of legislation passed by the Congress in 1979, a requirement that they would not sell to any country that had unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. Up to that time, the United States and others didn’t make sales of reactor components and other critical components for a nuclear energy program to countries that had unsafeguarded activities. There was no prohibition; it was probably imprudent in retrospect not to have done so, but it was not prohibited. But in 1978 the Congress said the United States will no longer make such exports. We then went to the NSG—and it took a number of years I’m going to quickly add—but we persuaded them to adopt a similar standard. So now the NSG rule is no exports to any country if they have any unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.

In the late 1990s, Russia decided—after having recently joined the NSG—that it had a real good chance to make some reactor sales to India so it would try to fit this under a grandfather clause that they had come up with. The United States led the effort against that, saying it violated the so-called full-scope safeguards rule.

Now what are we doing? Just the same thing basically that the Russians had done. However, unlike the Russians, we’re seeking to get the rules changed as opposed to just doing it regardless of the rules. But by sounding such an uncertain trumpet, we are again weakening the nonproliferation regime, we’re weakening U.S. leadership, and promoting proliferation. We’re saying to other countries that we came up with a good justification for making an exception and you probably can too. 

The last thing I want to touch on is the timing question. India argued to our negotiators that the litmus test of U.S.-Indian friendship was nuclear cooperation—an argument, I might add, they’ve been making for some 20 years. It hadn’t been bought previously but it was bought now. The real question in my mind is what evidence do we have that India is prepared to take the steps necessary to make this deal work? As I think will be explained later, there are basically four big steps that have got to be accomplished. First and foremost, the United States and India have to sit down and negotiate an agreement for cooperation. The Atomic Energy Act says you must have this congressionally mandated agreement for cooperation. My understanding is that serious [differences remain in the negotiations]. 

The second thing that has to occur is India must sit down and negotiate a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Here too my understanding—I’m no longer in government so I may not have this correct—is not much has happened there either. 

The third thing that must happen is that Congress must change U.S. law to basically remove the requirement that everything must be under safeguards before any cooperation can occur. 

The fourth thing is that the United Sates presumably must convince the Nuclear Suppliers Group to change the rules and make an exception for India. The question in my mind is why should the Congress be the one to take the first step? Let’s make sure of India’s bone fides. The Indian press is so free and so fulsome that you can find virtually anything in the Indian press, but the Indian press basically is very, very critical of some of the elements that would be required in an agreement for cooperation. 

So my suggestion is that you probably ought to have Congress wait until we see some evidence that the sacrifices will not be just one-sided; that there will be sacrifices by both sides. But right now the approach is the United States Congress should act and make this exception and then eventually presumably we’ll get the Nuclear Suppliers Group and then eventually India will negotiate a cooperation agreement with the United States.

I want to close by speculating that there are at least two scenarios under which the United States pays all the price and other countries get all the profits and get all the benefits.
Scenario one would have the Congress do what the administration is requesting it to do, which is to pass this exception now. India then sits down and says, “Well, we’re not too sure.  Let’s keep negotiating on this 123 Agreement. There are a lot of onerous conditions.” Meanwhile, the United States then persuades the Nuclear Suppliers Group to make an exception. At that point, India can get up and walk away from the table with the United States. They don’t need the United States. They can buy from France, they can buy from Russia, they can buy from other suppliers because the exception is now written into the NSG rules. Wouldn’t it be far better to make sure that some of these basic agreements that sort of define how cooperation is to occur are in place first and do the exceptions later if we have to go the exception route?

My own bias is that the United States ought to respond to India’s request to be treated just like China is that we ought to respond in the affirmative. By that I mean what India is saying is something slightly different. They say, well, you engage in nuclear cooperation with China and you ought to engage in nuclear cooperation with us. Indeed, the United States does have an agreement for cooperation with China, and because China is a nuclear-weapon state, and because the NPT allows cooperation with nuclear-weapon states without full-scope safeguards agreements in place, we have this agreement with China. 

But what I mean is that we should treat India the same way as we treat China is that there are many areas of cooperation between the United States and China that are off limits; off limits because of the differences over human rights, off limits because of security concerns. Often it’s for a variety of reasons. Yet it’s an extremely broad and encompassing relationship. I think we ought to do exactly the same thing with India: have an extremely broad and encompassing relationship but there should be one exception: no nuclear cooperation. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Ambassador Wulf. Zia Mian, if you would step up to the microphone. Thank you.

ZIA MIAN: Thank you. As Daryl mentioned in the introduction, what I’m going to talk about is the results of an assessment that a group of us who are physicists associated with the International Panel on Fissile Materials did over the last year on some of the implications of this deal if it goes ahead as presently structured for India’s capacity to make fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

An earlier version of this, looking at the larger scope of this issue, was in an article that was published in Arms Control Today earlier this year. I think there may be copies outside for those who want to have a look at that also. Let me just say a few words about the international panel and then I’ll talk about what our understanding is.

Earlier this year, a group of us who have been worried for a long time about a need to control the production of fissile materials and to improve the security of fissile materials for weapons and to find ways forward for eliminating the very large existing stockpiles of fissile materials in the world, got together and thought that we could try and improve the standard of the international debate about what to do with plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons around the world. Right now we have 15 independent technical people from around the world. We have members from the United States, Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Norway, Germany, et cetera. The whole list of them you can find on our website at fissilematerials.org. We’ve published our first report, which summarizes our best understanding of the global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons around the world, what are the challenges for doing something about it, and what are some of those ways forward that we think might be worth exploring by the international community.

Turning now to the U.S.-Indian deal, I first want to just add one thing to what Ambassador Wulf said by way of the implications of the deal regardless of the specific amounts of fissile material for weapons that India may be able to produce. I say “may” because we’re not saying that they will, but they would have the capacity to do so. In addition to the nonproliferation problems that he outlined, one thing that I would like to have people remember is that just after the North Korean nuclear test, the Security Council passed a unanimous resolution condemning North Korea for having conducted this nuclear test and imposing sanctions of various kinds on North Korea.

I think it’s very important that the international community, through the Security Council, make very clear that this is what we think about nuclear weapons testing; that we don’t think countries should be doing it. Now, the problem is that we’ve been here once before. After the 1998 nuclear tests by India and Pakistan—India tested on May 11 and 13, and Pakistan tested on May 28 and 30—the Security Council passed a unanimous resolution on June 6, 1998.  Resolution 1172 said that the Security Council was deeply concerned at the risk of a nuclear arms race in South Asia and was determined to prevent such a race. It outlined a series of demands on both countries, and I’ll just say what they were. 

One was that India and Pakistan should stop the further development of nuclear weapons, that they should not deploy their nuclear weapons, that they should stop developing ballistic missiles, and that they should stop producing fissile materials for nuclear weapons. There also were some others.

Now, since 1998 and this unanimous resolution from the Security Council, we have seen benign neglect—actually, I think “benign” is not the appropriate word—appalling irresponsibility by the Security Council and its members that they have basically forgotten that they ever passed this resolution because India and Pakistan have continued to do all the things they were told they should not do. With this deal, the United States is now saying that that resolution may as well never have been passed because no longer is it interested in saying that India and Pakistan must not produce fissile material for nuclear weapons; it’s saying if you do, that’s your business; it has nothing to do with us.

What does that mean now for future Security Council resolutions, unanimous or otherwise, that says you must do this? What it says is that as time passes, as interests change, who knows what the status of that resolution may be, that perhaps you shouldn’t take them very seriously at all in the future. I find that deeply troubling considering we’re dealing with nuclear weapons.

So, turning to the deal, one of the most important issues that this deal centers on is the fact that it would allow India to import uranium, which it is presently not allowed to do.  India has an important reason for wanting to import uranium: it’s going through an acute uranium crunch. Soon after the deal was announced, an Indian official actually told the BBC, “The truth is we were desperate. We have nuclear fuel to last only until the end of 2006. If this agreement had not come through, we might as well close down some of our nuclear reactors and our nuclear program.”

When we looked at India’s capacity to produce its own uranium for its nuclear reactors, both its power reactors and the uranium it uses for its weapons programs, there is good reason to believe that this was an honest assessment. India mines a lot less uranium than it actually needs every year because it’s built more reactors faster than it has been able to develop its uranium mining, in part because of substantial opposition from local communities to new uranium mining in India because of the terrible environmental legacy that they have seen accompanies this activity.

On September 23, the head of the Department of Atomic Energy of India, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, actually was interviewed and asked specifically about this question of a uranium shortage in India. He was asked, is it true that the capacity factor of our nuclear reactors—in other words, what proportion of their actual operating power that they’re supposed to run up—has it come down to 65 percent from 90 percent? That normally it was 90 percent until a few years ago; is it true that they’re now running at 65 percent of their capacity. He said, yes, and this is because there is a mismatch in the uranium, which means there isn’t enough uranium to run these reactors at the rates that they were supposed to be running and that they had been running until a few years ago. They’ve used up the stockpile of uranium that they had accumulated in the past. So they need this deal badly. Because of their ambitious plans they have to expand nuclear energy in India, and for their weapons program.

The details of how much uranium is mined in India and how it’s allocated to different parts of the program are in our report and you’re welcome to see the details, but India right now we estimate has about 500 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium already produced, and that’s about 100 weapons’ worth, roughly. There are reports that India has plans for an arsenal that is in the several-hundred-weapons range, comparable to the arsenals of Britain, France, and China in number if not in the destructive power of the weapons. India is far short of having the kind of stockpile of weapons material it needs for that kind of arsenal in the near future. It’s going to have this problem if it continues to have a uranium shortage. 

As part of the deal, India will continue to operate the plutonium production reactors it uses to make weapons material and the centrifuge facility that it has for making highly enriched uranium, which India has been using to produce fuel for its nuclear submarine reactor. India, like the other nuclear-weapon states, sees itself going down a fairly traditional route of having nuclear weapons and missiles on airplanes and at sea. They want the nuclear submarine. They’ve built a core for it. And the centrifuge plant is producing highly enriched uranium for fuel, but it could also be used to make highly enriched uranium for weapons. None of these are going to be immediately shut down as part of this deal. The smaller of the Indian military production reactors, CIRUS, India has offered to shut down in 2010. 

What the deal will do is that by allowing India to put eight of its civilian power reactors under international safeguards and then be able to import uranium to fuel those, the uranium that India does produce can then be allocated solely to its military reactors and the other parts of its weapons program. It means India basically frees up the uranium it would otherwise need for those eight reactors, which will be civilian and which you could get fuel for from abroad. 

If it uses just one of those reactors that it keeps out of safeguards for its military program, it could produce up to 200 kilograms a year of weapons plutonium. In other words, it dramatically increases India’s capacity to produce weapons material. It’s a roughly four-fold increase above its current capacity, and that’s a huge quantum leap in India’s capability to produce weapons material.

The other element of this deal that is deeply troubling is that India has a fast-breeder reactor. Fast-breeder reactors, as many of you know, are fueled by plutonium but they actually make more plutonium than they use in the fuel. But there is an important difference: that you can fuel them using reactor-grade plutonium, stuff that comes out of a power reactor, but the plutonium that is produced in these reactors can be weapons-grade plutonium. So what you can basically do is feed in reactor-grade plutonium and produce weapons plutonium. India’s breeder reactor we find could do this, and it would produce on the order of 130 kilograms a year of weapons plutonium, which India could then harvest for its weapons program. 

It may well be that the eight military reactors that India has kept out of safeguards will basically be used to produce the reactor-grade plutonium for this breeder. India wants to build four more of these breeders and they will all be out of safeguards. India has said—and I quote here again from Dr. Kakodkar, head of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy—that the reason for keeping the breeder reactor out of safeguards and away from international inspections is that, he says, “Both from the point of view of maintaining long-term energy security and for maintaining the minimum credible deterrent, the fast breeder reactor program just cannot be put on the civilian list.” In other words, this is a facility that has a military application as far as they’re concerned. The only military application will be to produce weapons plutonium. The U.S. did not insist on having this reactor put under safeguards. 

Now, I should say that regardless of this deal, India would have built this reactor and produced weapons plutonium in it, but the deal was an opportunity to try to and get this into the civilian sector; that if you want a deal, then those kinds of facilities that do expressly allow you to make weapons plutonium should not be allowed to do this, all right, that we want these facilities in the civilian sector. But the U.S. did not push on it and the Indians got what they wanted.

Let me end by saying that, going back to the Security Council resolution, that the fear of an arms race is becoming acute. The Pakistani response, as you can imagine, to this has been we want the same deal that you gave the Indians, and the U.S. said of course not. So the Pakistanis have been talking to the Chinese, which in the NSG are talking about a criteria-based exemption, which opens the door possibly one day they hope for Pakistan also to be exempt from these kinds of conditions on not having access to nuclear material and technology from the international market. But Pakistan’s nuclear command authority has said expressly that we will do whatever it takes to maintain our minimum credible deterrent, as they call it, given that this deal allows India to make more material for weapons. 

In other words, this deal, as far as Pakistan is concerned, is opening the door to a nuclear weapons race, or an acceleration of the nuclear weapons race in South Asia. They will stay in this race by building more centrifuges, perhaps building a second or third Kahuta facility, by getting the Chinese to help them upgrade the centrifuges they have, building another reactor for making weapons plutonium. There are many ways that they could respond to this and try and stay in this race. I think that is something that is deeply troubling to many of us. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you, Zia. Michael?

MICHAEL KREPON: You’ve been patient and I will be short.

How does the Bush administration make extremely consequential decisions? Decisions are top-down, and the riskier the decision, the more the degree of exclusion in making that decision. This is not unique to the Bush administration.

The second hallmark of decision-making is that expertise within the administration is excluded in making the decision. This is somewhat different. The intelligence community is not used, or is misused prior to making a consequential decision. 

The administration produces a fait accompli that has political appeal, or is hard to oppose on substantive grounds because of political reasons. The administration paints a very rosy picture of the upside potential of the deal, or the decision. The administration highlights only one downside risk. When you stop a train that has already left the station, it’s going to have terrible consequences for U.S. standing, for a bilateral relationship, for relationships with key friends and allies. You can’t stop a train that’s already left the station. 

The administration dismisses other significant downside risks by embracing very optimistic assumptions. Does this sound familiar? The same modus operandi that produced the Iraq mess has also produced the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal. This does not necessarily mean that the U.S.-Indian deal will do for proliferation what the invasion of Iraq has done for promoting democracy and stability in the Middle East. But it does mean that we have to look very, very hard at the underlying optimistic assumptions behind this deal. If these assumptions are indeed wildly optimistic, then we’re inviting a world of trouble with respect to proliferation.

So how solid are the underlying assumptions behind this deal? I will not place at the top of my list the assumption that this deal is good for nonproliferation. I will not insult your intelligence by repeating that argument. If this deal were good for nonproliferation, the administration would not be seeking a one-country-only exception. By seeking a one-country-only exception, the administration implicitly acknowledges what common sense would tell us, that this deal could have terrible downside risks if it were not limited to India, as Norm Wulf has said.

So what are the more credible underlying assumptions that are asserted for this deal? The first underlying assumption is that India will be a strong geo-strategic partner of the United States and this deal will solidify that. But this argument is less plausible the more one knows about India, and since there are a lot of people in this audience who know a lot about India, you know that India is a very proud country and it’s a very capable country, and it’s capable of determining its own national security interests. When those interests diverge from the United States of America’s security interests, India will go a separate way. There will be times that India will go a separate way on Iran, on China, and on other things because India can figure out what’s in its own best interests.

A second underlying assumption behind this deal is that U.S. firms will gain profits and U.S. workers will gain jobs in developing India’s nuclear power industry. I’m very doubtful of this, not only for the reasons that Norm Wulf has stated, but also for reasons of liability and liability insurance and liability waivers. Some of you in this room can recall back to 1984 when there was a terrible industrial accident at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal. The release of chemicals at this pesticide plant killed 20,000 Indians, and I am having a hard time seeing how any nuclear power company in the United States will get liability insurance or legislation from the government of India or waivers that will allow it to proceed with construction.

So the business, as Norm has indicated, will go to France. The business and the jobs will go to Russia. The profits will go there as well. I think what’s left of the U.S. nuclear power industry in the United States understands that.  (Audio break) – insurance, combat aircraft, what have you. But to argue that American workers will benefit, and American companies will benefit from building nuclear power plants in India, I think that is just far-fetched.

A third underlying assumption is that a special exception to the rules of nuclear commerce can be carved out for India and India alone. This is a huge assumption. I believe it to be false because in order to make this deal happen, the United States government is going to have to do side deals with other nuclear suppliers, and other nuclear suppliers are going to do their own deals without waiting for U.S. consent. You wait. Soon after the Congress passes this legislation, the government of India will do deals with France and Russia, and then the U.S. government will be left high and dry. This is a very optimistic assumption.

So what are the most significant downside risks, the risks that the Bush administration is glossing over? The first risk is that a good-guys versus bad-guys approach to nonproliferation will fundamentally disturb and weaken the global nonproliferation system. The global nonproliferation system is based on a unitary set of norms, that proliferation is bad. As Norm has said, it’s bad for everybody.

We determine who the good guys and the bad guys are against their behavior by checking their behavior against these norms that apply to everybody. A rules-based system will undermined by a bifurcation of norms in which one set of rules applies to good guys and another set of rules applies to bad guys. The system cannot be strengthened on this basis; it can only be weakened on this basis.

The second big downside risk is that the risk of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will become a dead letter. This is a huge risk. This is the most unusual cartel in the history of global commerce because its main purpose in life is to prevent profit making when profit making results in proliferation. There is no other cartel in the world like this, and if we bust it up for our friends, and if the Chinese bust it up for their friends, and if the Russians bust it up for their profits, we’re in a world of trouble.

If the P-5, which are supposed to be the principal stakeholders in the nonproliferation system, instead become the principal profit makers, we are in a world of trouble.

The fourth risk is that the provisions of the deal itself will make it easier for the government of India to resume nuclear testing. Nations resume testing, or they test nuclear weapons when they feel it’s in their national security interests to do so, but the government of India has had a very unusual profile in this regard because it took over two decades between its nuclear tests.

Serious students of the Indian nuclear program, of which there are some in this room, have concluded that economic factors have contributed greatly to this very unusual profile of nuclear testing.

In this deal, the Bush administration has included fuel supply in perpetuity for the government of India. We have promised a fuel bank for the government of India. We have placed no limits on that fuel bank. Under some scenarios, the government of India can acquire sufficient fuel and reserve to withstand whatever penalties the United States or the international community might choose to impose if India resumes testing. Now, this isn’t very smart if it is the goal of the United States government not to help India make the decision to resume nuclear testing.

So what do we do about these provisions of the agreement? The agreement will be a very net negative for nonproliferation, whatever we do, but there are a couple of things that make some sense, at least in my mind. Number one is to reaffirm the consensus rule in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. If one or another country in the Nuclear Suppliers Group goes off on its own, then this system, painstakingly constructed over the decades, will come apart.

We need the consensus rule. We need the consensus rule to apply across the board for every country, for Pakistan, for Israel, for India. We run the risk not only of outliers of the NPT gaining special privileges, but countries that are party to the NPT backing away from their commitments and still receiving the benefits of nuclear commerce. I think the full-scope safeguard provision of the NPT is at risk here. That is down the road. If outliers to the NPT can gain the benefits of nuclear commerce, why should countries that have joined the NPT face stringent requirements for nuclear transactions? We are looking at a world of nuclear hedging here, and the rules are going to be softened not just for India, not just for Pakistan, not just for Israel, but for NPT parties as well.

If we are going to try and hold the line against this serious deterioration of nuclear commerce, we have got to look very closely at this fuel supply assurance that the Bush administration has given. Fuel ought to be supplied to India, if the deal passes, but it should be provided on a contingency basis, on an as-needed basis, and we should not supply India with a fuel bank of sufficient size to make it easier for the government of India to resume nuclear testing. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Michael. I think we have given you a pretty thorough look at this proposal. It is now time for questions. We will try to respond to your questions as best we can. If you would raise your hand, identify yourself, we will get started. Tell us who you want to address your question to.

QUESTION: I guess this is for all three. Director of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, has been rather effusive in praising the agreement and characterizing it as bringing India into the mainstream of the nonproliferation international community. The consensus of the speakers here was the opposite. What explains your disagreement with Mr. ElBaradei?

KIMBALL: Well, let me start, and others might elaborate. Mohamed ElBaradei has two hats. Mohamed ElBaradei is responsible for enforcing safeguards. He is also responsible for promoting nuclear energy. In his cryptic statements—and he has not elaborated very much on his rationale behind his generally supportive comments—he has noted that he thinks that it would be useful to bring India into the nonproliferation system in some way or another. It is time that we try to do this.

I think our fundamental disagreement is that this is not the way to do so. India has not yet committed itself to the same kinds of standards and practices that are expected of the other acknowledged nuclear-weapon states, while it is getting exceptions from the rules that non-nuclear-weapon states are subject to. I think that ElBaradei’s statements about this deal contradict his very good and important statements about the need for the nuclear-weapon states to take further steps on disarmament, to end nuclear weapons testing permanently and in a legally binding fashion, and to stop the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.

So I think we have a strong disagreement with him. I think that it is partly because he has a dual mission. He thinks that this might be useful for nuclear safety within India. That may be a worthy cause, but there are ways to assist India with nuclear safety short of this kind of sweetheart deal. That is how I would explain it. I think he is dead long and there is a letter that a number of us wrote to him in July that is on the website of the Arms Control Association that I believe Norm and others signed along with me taking issue with his comments. Norm, did you want to add some thoughts?

WULF: I’ve known Mohamed for some 20-odd years even before he and his agency won the Nobel Peace Prize. I admire and respect him a great deal. I can remember a conversation with him shortly after the 1998 tests, in which he advocated and supported the concept of bringing India into the mainstream; making more of their facilities under safeguards.

I think the difference is that Mohamed has been an international civil servant all of his life. He has never worked in a government. He has never had to worry about commercial pressures that are brought to bear on governments. He has never had to worry about some of the, shall we say, the leadership issues that concern me. He does firmly believe this. I think he is wrong. When we had our discussion in 1998 I told him I thought he was wrong. I still think he is wrong, obviously. But I think he sees part of his job as nuclear energy promotion. Part of his job is more facilities under safeguards. He will get more under this deal.

KIMBALL: Well, to be clear, we have mentioned this in passing in our comments. India has agreed to put eight additional records under safeguards by 2014. From a nonproliferation standpoint, that is almost absolutely meaningless if the rest of India’s nuclear sector is not under safeguards and they continue to produce fissile material for weapons purposes. To say that this brings India into the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream is something of an insult to those who understand what safeguards are really about and what nonproliferation is supposed to be about. That is a factual point that I wish ElBaradei would acknowledge. Are there other questions? Yes, sir. The microphone is coming.

QUESTION: Thank you. I’m Luke Engan from Inside U.S. Trade. I wanted to ask you gentlemen about the prospect of Senate passage during the lame-duck session. Do you see that as a possibility? Why? Have the concerns of members like Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.) been addressed? Also, is there time for a conference passage?

KIMBALL: Well, let me start with that. Others may have some thoughts to add. The lame-duck session apparently is going to last some two to three weeks. I haven’t had a conversation with the majority leader or the minority leader, but I understand they are trying to work out some unanimous consent agreement that would bring this up during the lame duck session.

One obvious issue is that if the Senate does not find the time to debate and vote on the various amendments that are going to be offered to the base legislation, the conferees, the House and Senate conferees will have a difficult time finding the time to resolve their differences, and then to bring back the compromise bill to both the House and the Senate before they adjourn at the end of the year.

But my assumption, as I said at the beginning, is that at some point, this legislation will be voted on by the Senate, considered by the full Congress, either this November or December or some time next year. I would agree with Norm Wulf that it would be wise for this Congress to take its time in the sense that it must be very deliberate in understanding the implications. It also should look to see whether India is going to live up to some of the commitments that it should be living up to in the agreement for nuclear cooperation negotiations, and the Indian-IAEA safeguards discussions.

I’ll try to deal with the Ensign issue quickly. I think what you’re referring to is the controversy that lasted throughout August and September about Title II of the bill, which is the implementing legislation for the United States additional protocol agreement regarding safeguards. This is largely a symbolic agreement with the respect to the United States, but this is also something that India has said it would accept as part of this arrangement.

Ensign wanted to make changes and other Republican senators wanted to make changes to the criteria by which the United States might exclude IAEA inspectors from certain U.S. facilities. My understanding is that those concerns have been resolved in a manner that the Democrats and the Republicans agree. However, Ensign, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and other senators could raise objections to the compromised language, which has not formerly been adopted the Senate. That could remain a stumbling block. I would say that there is no reason why the Senate should reject the Title II implementing of legislation for the additional protocol.

QUESTION: So was that addressed in the Foreign Relations report or since that time?

KIMBALL: There is compromise language that has been circulated to offices. It has not been adopted formerly by the Senate. I don’t think the language has officially been filed with the clerk, but I understand that there is a compromise that has more or less been reached, but not yet formerly agreed upon. Norm?

WULF: This might sound like bragging, but I have a point to make. I was the guy that negotiated the additional protocol; first with about 70 other countries in the IAEA over about two years, and then negotiated the U.S. additional protocol with the IAEA. There is probably no one in the United States that would be happier to see that legislation pass than me. The Senate has given its advice and consent and it has been sort of languishing on the Hill ever since then. But it is, at the end of the day, as Daryl said, largely symbolic. I certainly would not support the passage of the implementing legislation for this protocol in exchange for passage of the Indian nuclear deal, particularly such a weak deal as the one that is presently before the Senate.


QUESTION: Hi, Dan Horner from McGraw-Hill Nuclear Publications. You alluded to the difficulties or the time limits on a conference, and given that there seems to be political sentiment now to try to get something passed, wouldn’t the tendency be in the Senate to try to make this bill not deviate too much from the House bill in the interest of having an easier conference. Most of the things that you are proposing here are not in the House bill. So, regardless of whatever merit there may be in the proposal, isn’t this sort of going against what the political indications are about how willing people might be to adopt some of these proposals since some of them go to the core of the deal?

KIMBALL: Well, let me try to address that. Michael, if you would also be prepared to talk about the point you were making about fuel assurances and the importance of this.

There are some things outlined in this letter of November 13 that I think you’re referring to, and some of the things we have discussed here that are not in the House legislation, okay. These are professionals on Capitol Hill. They can work out differences. But I think one thing that we need to understand is that Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate all have concerns in several of these areas. I don’t think there would be any United States senator today, no matter how much they support this deal, who would like to see India conduct a nuclear test explosion and then have this legislation require the United States to continue to supply nuclear fuel to India. 

So my point is that we think these are some very common sense proposals. If the House and Senate conferees and the senators take a close look at this and there is a thorough debate, I think that there will be broad support for some these provisions that we have outlined.

For instance, as I mentioned at the outset, Senator Feingold of Wisconsin offered an amendment in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that would require a determination from the president that U.S. civil nuclear trade does not in any way assist or encourage India’s nuclear weapons program. The United States is obligated under Article I of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty not to assist in any way India’s nuclear weapons program.

The president argues that this will not assist India’s nuclear weapons program. If that is true, then the Senate and the House should be able to adopt a provision that requires the president to determine that in order to improve the confidence of the international community that this deal is not otherwise undercutting the nonproliferation system.

My view is that these are some very common sense, rational provisions that put the onus on the United States government to clarify that this deal is not going to have severe proliferation impacts. I think many of these can and will be adopted. Speaking of Senator Feingold, out on the table is a brief statement from Senator Feingold that his staff has brought here, which I have not read yet, but that is on the table. I recommend you take a look at that as you depart.

KREPON: The Senate bill, if it is passed, like the House bill, will continue to have provisions that the Prime Minister of India has labeled as unacceptable. The administration might seek to further water down India’s obligations in conference. I suspect that the public law that emerges, if and when it emerges, will continue to have provisions that the government of India has declared to be unacceptable. Perhaps that language was mere rhetoric, or perhaps, as Norm Wulf has suggested, the government of India will pocket that legislation, say thank you to the Congress, but we continue to have problems, and meanwhile, we are going to do deals with France and Russia.

I personally believe that to be the most likely scenario. But the Congress of the United States will not completely abdicate its nonproliferation principles to do favors for the government of India. So there will be some friction after this bill makes its way through the House and the Senate unless the prime minister of India didn’t mean what he said.

KIMBALL: Spurgeon Keeny, former executive director and president of the Arms Control Association, and then we’ll go back to you, sir.

QUESTION: Spurgeon Keeny. I think the panel has made an overwhelming case that the only proper action for the Senate would be to just say no, and particularly when you take into account that we have demonstrated in the case of Israel that the United States can have very close productive relations with a country without engaging in circumventing the nonproliferation treaty.

Is there anyone in the Senate, or any group, that really is prepared to oppose this? If not, why not? Is there a large number of people following Krepon’s suggestion or are they hiding behind the hope that there will be enough baggage on the agreement that the Indians won’t accept it? Could you just say some more about why has the Senate been stampeded in this action for which there seems to be no logical justification?

WULF: I would like to try part of that. I think there is an event tomorrow hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. U.S. industry thinks this deal is extremely important to their access to that market, and I think that is perhaps the most significant factor. I think the other factor is the India lobby, if I can use that phrase, is, some have suggested, perhaps the second most powerful, shall we say, foreign lobby in the U.S. Congress. The first being Israel or AIPAC. 

I think there are a lot of those sorts of reasoning. As I said earlier, India essentially convinced this administration that without our meeting this litmus test of nuclear cooperation, U.S. corporations would not get the same access that others might. I think that is what’s driving it and it’s obviously an issue on which I disagree. I think we could have an extremely productive and profitable corporate relationship with India without selling out our nonproliferation principles.

MIAN: I agree with Ambassador Wulf about the commercial interests and the role of the Indian diaspora in particular. But there are two things that I’d like to add that I think are very important. The first of those is that this administration in particular has thought about India as part of a strategy of dealing with China from the very beginning. Condoleezza Rice wrote about this back in 2000 in a Foreign Affairs article that India is an important element in China’s strategic calculation and it should be part of ours. What we’ve seen now in this nuclear deal was actually flagged in 2004 as part of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by the United States and India, in which the United States said that as part of building a strategic partnership with India, we will help India with its civilian nuclear program, its space program, dual-use high technology and missile defense. This is the first deliverable that has come out of that. 

I would not be surprised, if this deal goes forward, to see progress on all those other issues also. In 2005, India and the United States actually signed a defense agreement which talked about joint military activities outside the United Nations system; that India would basically join future coalitions of the willing, the possibility of joint military production, military R&D, intelligence sharing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. If you read the debate that took place in the House on this deal, you had members of the House say, look, we had NATO to fight the Soviets; now we will have India against China.

So those people who aren’t swayed by the commercial interests have bought into this notion that the new Cold War that is coming will be with China. If you’re going to fight a billion Chinese, having a billion Indians on you side would help.

KREPON: Let me just say quickly that if the analysis on this side of the table is correct then we can expect the Congress to have severe second thoughts later.

I also want to say, speaking only for myself, that I am prepared to adjust the rules of nuclear commerce. I’m prepared to do that. I would not do it on a good-guys versus bad-guys basis; I would do it on a criteria-based basis.  I would ask the recipients of nuclear commerce, the beneficiaries of the loosening of the rules to pay back into the global nonproliferation system so that the net effect of changing the rules is to strengthen the system. 

So I’m not rigid about changing the rules of nuclear commerce. I’m willing to entertain that. But I would ask the beneficiary to put something back into the system, something more than eight power reactors that may or may not be safeguarded in perpetuity, whose fuel may or may not be reprocessed for either additional nuclear power or additional nuclear bombs. This is the deal that the Bush administration struck.

Now, the government of India and many of my Indian colleagues are offended when I say that this is the most benevolent deal an administration has struck since lend/lease because that presumes that India should be treated differently than the other states that have nuclear weapons that are recognized in the NPT. Why should we penalize India, treat it differently than the P-5? That’s a very legitimate argument. I acknowledge that. But we need India to be a stakeholder in this system. We really do. India is a responsible state. It can be part of the solution. But it’s an outlier. It’s one of very few states that hasn’t signed the test ban treaty. It has no obligations, unlike 170-plus other countries with respect to nuclear testing. It’s still producing fissile material for weapons. Very few countries are doing that. We need India to put back something into the system, and it’s not. 

KIMBALL: Thanks. That’s a good summary. Yes, sir.  Back here.

QUESTION: K.P. Nayar from The Telegraph. From accounts which have come out of the Brazilian meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the more recent one, only four or five countries are actually opposed to the rules of nuclear commerce being changed by the NSG. How do you account for this overwhelming support within the NSG for this deal, especially from countries like Brazil, which you mentioned at the beginning, or Japan, both of which are committed to supporting the deal in joint statements with the Indian government? 

KREPON: Let me take the first crack at that. The profit makers, we can understand their support for the deal. Those who chafe against a North/South discriminatory set of practices, we can understand that as well. But I’m not so sure, K.P. that your characterization of the current vote in the NSG is correct. There are some NSG country diplomats in the room. Maybe we could ask them. But, Norm, what’s your sense of this?

WULF: I don’t have any information with respect to the last meeting of the NSG, but I think Michael has said it pretty well as to why so many countries are going along with this. I would go back to my analogy and say they have ministries of trade as well. 

KIMBALL: Michael and I have been looking at this issue in detail. There is a very good news report in the current issue of Arms Control Today that Wade Boese, our research director, wrote, which I think is the best summary of what happened at the last NSG meeting. But in response to your assertion that many states are supportive or there are no states that object, remember what Hans Blix said when he was inspecting Iraq and looking for weapons? He reminded us that the absence of evidence that Iraq has dismantled its weapons does not constitute evidence that they have those weapons.

My point is that just because certain states in the NSG have not spoken up and said, we object; we do not like this, does not mean that they support the deal. I think that the view of most of the Nuclear Supplier Group states to date has been that we have not gotten answers to our questions about this arrangement. Norway’s ambassador last year went to India on a visit, delivered to the Indian government a set of questions that came from all the different NSG countries. My understanding is that that set of questions has not been fully answered.

So from the perspective of most NSG states, why should they develop a position, let alone state it publicly, before they have answers to the important questions that they have. What kinds of safeguards will India agree to with IAEA? What are India’s intentions with respect to fissile material production? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

So I think that when and if the Senate and the House work out their arrangement on this legislation, when and if the Indians and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna finally get to formal negotiations on a safeguards agreement for these additional civil facilities, and when and if U.S. and India negotiators on the agreement for nuclear cooperation finally work out their substantial differences—there are about six of them that exist today—then NSG states may begin to form clearer views about this. I guess I would hope that many of them would take the position that we’ve taken here today, which is that we believe that the nuclear rules of nuclear supply can be adjusted, but we would like to see India do what it has promised to do, which is to live up to the standards of other responsible nuclear states; that means restrictions on fissile production, binding restrictions on nuclear testing, and becoming a helpful part of the nonproliferation system rather than a continuing irritant in those respects.

We’ll see what the NSG ultimately will do, and also remember it must agree by consensus. That is one thing that is in the legislation in both the House and the Senate that is very important and very good. The president must determine that the NSG has agreed by consensus to necessary changes to its rules to allow the United States and other countries to engage in full civil nuclear commerce with India. We’ll see what happens and I think it could be quite some time.

The mood in this discussion has been somewhat somber, but I think we’ve got to remember that the legislation that’s now before the Senate, which is still not completed, is but the first of four significant hurdles on the way to implementing this deal. I think it is going to take months for all four of those hurdles to be addressed, and they may not be cleared in the final analysis. 

So in my view, this is not a slam dunk by any means. There are still a lot of questions, a lot of problems, and I think at the end of the day, many states will start to see the light and there will be changes to the nature of the arrangement.

Ambassador Wulf, and then I think we’ve got time for maybe one last question before we conclude.

WULF: I just wanted to bring up one additional problem as long as we’re talking about the NSG, and that’s the need for a level playing field. Right now the legislation that’s before the Congress has in it essentially a cut off of cooperation should India engage in a test in the future. The question is if we don’t have such a similar requirement in the NSG exception—if there is going to be an exception for India—this then means that the United States law will cut off any U.S. company from having an opportunity to continue trade, but these other NSG members would still be free to go ahead and engage in commerce.

It seems to me that it’s an extremely important part of the entire package. Things that we seek in the NSG are not only an exception but also criteria that must be met and must be applied uniformly by all members.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Yes, we have one last question, and then we will adjourn.

QUESTION: Regarding to the panel, how many more reactors should we put under safeguard or surveillance because India has already put about 67 percent of its reactors under safeguards. With all these apprehensions being sounded, how many do you recommend?

MIAN: There are a number of reactors that India has imported from abroad earlier, and they are required under the terms of the sale to be under safeguard, so India has no choice about those. That’s six taken care of. So out of the ones that India has any choice about as part of this deal, it is basically a 50-50 split. Half of them will go under safeguards; half of them will stay out. 

My own position on this—and I’m not speaking on behalf of the International Panel on Fissile Materials—but our recommendation is in the same direction, that like all the other nuclear-weapon states who are party to the NPT, India should stop the production of fissile materials pending the negotiation and entry into force of a fissile material cutoff treaty, which has been part of the U.N. General Assembly resolutions and so on. There is a negotiating mandate and there is machinery that exists for it.

So the question of having any unsafeguarded reactors would no longer apply. India should say, we will join the other nuclear-weapon states and stop the production of fissile material for weapons, and then we will negotiate this treaty, which India says it will support. They should do that. Then this question of how many reactors under safeguards becomes all reactors should be under safeguards because if you’re keeping it outside safeguards, it means that you always have this question of—even if you are not making nuclear weapons material—people thinking you are making nuclear weapons material, and the international community has made it very clear it does not want to see anymore production of nuclear weapons material.

WULF: I would agree 100 percent. The reactors should be under safeguards.

KIMBALL: We’re going to stop there. I want to thank everyone for your attention, and we look forward to speaking with you in the future days and weeks.


Country Resources:

UN Security Council Resolution 1718 on North Korea's Nuclear Text Explosion

The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1718 on October 14, 2006 following North Korea's nuclear test explosion on October 9, 2006.

Country Resources:

Press Briefing: Hans Blix Reports on WMD Dangers and Solutions










JUNE 7, 2006

Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Edited by the Arms Control Association

DARYL KIMBALL: Welcome to this morning's briefing sponsored by the nonpartisan Arms Control Association. For those of you who don't know who we are, the Association was established in 1971 and we are dedicated to public education about weapons dangers and to promoting effective arms control and international security strategies. We also publish the monthly journal Arms Control Today. Our session this morning is also sponsored by the Embassy of Sweden and the American Bar Association Section of International Law Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation.

Hans Blix is well known to many of us. He has been one of the most prominent members of the international committee dealing with the control of weapons of mass destruction. We're very pleased that Dr. Blix is speaking to an Arms Control Association audience for the second time this year; he spoke to our annual meeting in January. As International Atomic Energy Agency director general and later as head of UNMOVIC, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, he participated in a process that eradicated the Iraqi nuclear, chemical, and biological programs and provided us with what we now realize was an accurate account of the resulting situation.

In December 2003, the Swedish government established the independent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission and asked Dr. Blix to chair it. The WMD Commission includes 13 international weapons and security experts. You can see their names in the report that we've been distributing out front. That group includes former U.S. Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, and former UN Undersecretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala.

It was just last week that the commission released its report and presented it to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It was a unanimous report, and I must say it is a rather thorough survey of today's weapons problems and a very thorough menu of recommendations about how to address them. I think it is a very much-needed wake-up call that provides a practical and balanced menu that could get us back into the business of eliminating chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

I would just note a couple unique features about the report before I turn the podium over to Dr. Blix and we hear from three distinguished experts who are going to provide us with some very brief comments on their observations about the report.

I would note that the report says, "There has been a serious and dangerous loss of momentum and direction in disarmament and nonproliferation efforts." As I read the report, it attributes much of the situation, though not all, to the failure of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to seriously abide by their commitments to nuclear disarmament as enshrined in Article VI of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. To reverse that set of problems and the wider set of WMD challenges that faces the world today, the report contains 60 recommendations, and among them-I would note too that Dr. Blix highlights in the preface himself-are the bringing into force of the Comprehensive Test Band Treaty (CTBT) and concluding a verifiable global fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would ban the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for bombs. And if the United States does not exercise what Dr. Blix calls decisive leverage on these two issues, he writes, "there could be more nuclear tests and new nuclear arms races." On those points, I would certainly agree. So with that, I'll turn the podium over to Dr. Hans Blix. Thank you for being with us again.

HANS BLIX: Thank you. Thank you very much for your kind introduction. It's a pleasure to be here with the Arms Control Association, also being invited by the Bar Association. I'm a lawyer, although I spend much of my time in diplomacy. They say that diplomats are the only people who think twice before they say nothing. (Laughter.) However, I think both the report and I, myself, will be fairly frank.

The first question that we encounter about the report is why another report; there have been reports before. There was the Brandt Report [in 1980]; there was the [Swedish Prime Minister] Olof Palme report Common Security [in 1982]; and there was the 1996 Canberra Report, and there was a [August 1998] panel meeting in Tokyo. I think the answer to that is that while many of the problems remain-some have been solved, but many have remained in the field of weapons of mass destruction-the world around us changes. The Palme report came in the Cold War and the Canberra Report came when the Cold War was ended, and many people thought that was harvest time. Well, since then we have had also the Iraq war in 2003. We now have that behind us. Many people are focusing upon Iran and North Korea and we need an assessment as of today's situation.

The WMD Commission thinks and notes there is not only a stagnation in the arms control and disarmament field, but worse than that some arms races are actually going on. The stagnation we know from the UN world summit that took place last [September], which had no single line about disarmament or arms control, and from the failure of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference last May, which ended in acrimony and disarray.

The arms race, I think, is conspicuous, although not much discussed in the case of space, where huge sums are being spent on the preparations for possible conflicts and war in space. We have, on the one hand, armies of engineers who are linking us together with our mobile phones and our Internet and trillions of money invested in space. Then you have another army of engineers who are preparing how to shoot down each other's satellites. It would be an utter disaster if anything were to happen there because modern communications would break down; Global Positioning System, everything. It would really be a vast disaster. There has been very little public discussion and certainly no discussion in Geneva where, as you know, the talks at the [Conference on Disarmament] have not taken place for many years. They have not been able to agree on a work program.

We think the situation is worse. There is the discussion, as you know, in this country, about new types of nuclear weapons. The Congress has held back on the bunker busters and weapons of lower yield, but the missile [defense] development goes on.

Now, why is it that we are in this situation? During the Cold War there was important progress made in a number of areas. We had the Biological Weapons Convention, we had the partial test ban agreement, and we had a lot of bilateral U.S. and Russian agreements. The commission discusses that and also notes that public opinion is not so engaged in the questions of disarmament any longer. Perhaps the explanation is that at the end of the Cold War many people felt that the risk of obliteration of our civilization is gone; we can draw a sigh of relief; we can look at the global warming and other issues instead.

During the 1990s, I also think the important elements were the disillusionment and disappointment that the NPT, a global treaty, did not prevent Iraq from cheating. The [International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] safeguard system, for which I was responsible in the 1980s and the 1990s did not detect what was going on in Iraq. We have reasons to defend why we didn't find it-nor did the CIA, nor did the Israelis, although they destroyed the Iraq reactor in 1981. The safeguard system did not function. It was not built for this kind of situation; it was built in the 1970s for a different world. But the disappointment was there in the 1990s and the disappointment about the effect of global arrangements and global institutions. I think they all had a huge effect on the idea of counter-proliferation, which was something that was prominently discussed already in the 1990s.

At the same time, U.S. military power grew very much, especially in relation to the Russians, whose military power sank. There was an inclination to look at what can you do by the threat or by the use of big military power? That came then in the war of 2003. At present time, of course, we have to note that the military means certainly didn't bring about an eradication of weapons that didn't exist. But it also demonstrated the limitations of the use of military power. So if the conventions had their limitations, military power also had limitations. At the present time, I think no one is really suggesting that in the case of Iran there would be an attempt at a military solution.

Now, at the NPT review conference last year there was bitterness. There was an unwillingness on the side of the nuclear-weapon states to discuss their part of the double bargain of going to disarmament. There was bitterness by many of the non-nuclear-weapon states that they did not see a determined effort to move out of the nuclear weapons era. There was even the feeling of being cheated, being tricked into having accepted a prolongation without any end of the treaty in return for what they saw as promises in 1995 and reaffirmed in the year 2000 about the nuclear-weapon states doing more in the field of disarmament. So that ended in a great deal of bitterness.

I think the commission does point out a number of things to which the U.S. has taken initiative and supported warmly relevant to the field of arms control and disarmament. On the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), we discuss and support that it can be a valuable tool to enforce export restrictions and the interception [of WMD shipments] on the high seas or in airports, et cetera. We are simply asking the question, how much effect has it had? How effective has it been? I saw the other day that a naval training exercise that [PSI participants] were to have in the Sea of Japan that South Korea and China had withdrawn from it. Perhaps it looked less like an exercise than like a naval maneuver of the model of 1910. I was not surprised that they actually withdrew. There is a lot of ambivalence in the attitude to [PSI], but the commission feels that, no, there are some good things in this, and we say so. I think we have a balanced discussion about it.

Resolution 1540 of the Security Council is also an element which the U.S. supported warmly. As most of you here know, [the resolution] says that it's not enough that states and governments have obligations to stay away from biological or chemical or [nuclear weapons], but that you also need to have states obliged to implement and oblige their citizens to stay away from it. [Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist Abdul Qadeer] Khan was part of the background of this resolution.

We think that is a very significant step in the work of the Security Council. We applaud that the council is taking more seriously and making use of its powers to reduce and to restrain weapons of mass destruction. But there are things to note in this. It's welcome that it makes use of these in accordance with the UN Charter. Now, what is the power the council has? We know that the council, under Article 39 of the charter, has the duty to determine the existence of the threat to international peace and security. If they have determined that, they can then go on to Article 41 or 42, either an economic sanction or military sanction.

That is a judging position that they have; a right and authority to judge. They also have then the executive position. They can decide that now we have economic sanctions, and all members of the UN are then obliged to follow suit to enforce under Article 25 of the charter. What the council has decided under Chapter 7 is binding upon them. What we see in 1540 is a legislative power. They don't legislate themselves, but they order member states, under Chapter 7, to introduce this legislation. That's a new step. However, under Chapter 7, they say proliferation constitutes a threat to international peace and security and you are obliged under Article 25 to introduce legislation. But it is a generic threat; it is not an individual threat.

Compare this with the Iran case. Does Iran today constitute a threat to international peace and security? Does the enrichment of perhaps a milligram of uranium to 4 percent constitute today a threat to international peace and security, or is it a case of Chapter 6, which deals with situations which, if they continue, may develop into threats of international peace and security. Maybe I'm too much an international lawyer for your taste on this one, but in the terms of constitutional development of the UN, I think it is an important one. It may be that the august members of the council actually will say, what can we agree to do? Once we agree on that, then we decide how we'll characterize the situation. That may be the political reality.

Now, I may get back to the question of Iran, but here we see what I've said are two areas in which I think the United States, in particular, has been trying to move forward in the field of arms control and disarmament. The commission certainly pays attention to that.

The other side of the picture, however, is the bitterness about the stagnation that has taken place and the arms races that we can see. We are pointed to what could be done in this respect. You will see that we are not, as it were, participating in the sort of dialogue of what is to be done now. We are not looking for a compromise proposal between the non-nuclear-weapon states and the nuclear-weapon states. We are not looking at that. We are fully aware that some of the proposals we come with are not things that will fly today.

We propose that there should be another world summit on arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation and terrorism after very thorough preparations. We think that it was, as I said, a disgrace that last year's world summit did not succeed. We think there should be very thorough preparations, and at the end of those another world summit.

We're also raising the issue of the Conference on disarmament in Geneva, which has been without a work program for a long time. We suggest that the consensus rule they have about the work program is a relic of the Cold War. The General Assembly can adopt items on its agenda for the village councils of the world to discuss with a simple majority, and we are suggesting that the Conference on Disarmament should at least be able to put items on the agenda with a two-thirds majority. These are the only two procedural suggestions we have. All the rest of the 58 recommendations are of substantive character.

What I put on top, and the commission also says it should be on top, is ratification and bringing into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. That's not going to happen next week. We know that. The present U.S. administration is opposed to it. However, we think that no step would be more important to change the atmosphere in the world and to move into a different direction than such a ratification. If there was U.S. ratification, we feel pretty convinced that the Chinese would follow. If the Chinese did, the Indians would, et cetera. It would be a positive domino effect.

If one does not, well, then there is some risk. Although we have a [testing] moratorium for a long time, there is some risk that it might break down. Indeed, if there was testing anywhere then we can be assured that we would have another round in the spiraling race. So it's not without danger to be where we are.

The other big step we are pointing to is the FMCT, the cutoff of production of fissile material for weapons purposes. The report came out before the U.S. had tabled [May 18] a draft in Geneva, which was a quite recent thing, and, I think, welcome. The commission's view was that there should not be a precondition of verification or precondition that stocks be included. There are two big fighting points, but we suggest that there should be discussions and that these two things could be discussed in substance in the conference. However, we leave no doubt that the commission is of the view that a FMCT can be verified. It is verifiable, and the vast majority, certainly, of the world's countries are of that view. [Editor's Note: The U.S. position is that an FMCT is not verifiable.]

We know that enrichment plants are verified and inspected by the IAEA in Brazil and in Japan, two non-nuclear-weapon states. They're also verified in the UK and in France by the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). A big enrichment plant built with Russian technology in China was also sold to the Chinese on the condition that it will be under IAEA safeguards. So we have this practice. Would anyone contend that this verification is meaningless, that it doesn't give sufficient assurance?

If you look at the question in the light of the proposed agreement between the U.S. and India [on civilian nuclear cooperation], I think it takes on an even greater importance. We do discuss that agreement. We pointedly say that the agreement has many aspects, including one of energy, facilitating for India to make use of the most modern Western technology. But it also raises concern about proliferation. The commission takes the view, which I think is correct, that the NPT facilitates the transfer of nuclear technology to states which are parties. It does not prohibit a transfer of technology to states which are not parties, provided that it doesn't collide with the obligation of states to work for nonproliferation, which is in the Article I of the NPT.

Concerns have been raised in this regard, that such an agreement, which would facilitate for India to buy uranium from abroad, would allow India to make use of indigenous resources to increase enrichment and thereby have the freedom, if they so wished-they don't say they would wish to-to increase the amount of fissile material for weapons purposes. That would, of course, tend to foment and increase tension vis-à-vis Pakistan and vis-à-vis China. It has a risk, at any rate, of a race. By contrast, if there were to be a verified cutoff agreement then this risk would be gone. The U.S., in negotiating with India, is somewhat handicapped in proposing that they might ask India for a unilateral action, which seems very unlikely that the Indian government would go along with it. But if the U.S. were to also accept and move along with verification of the draft that they have submitted in Geneva, then the chances would be better.

The commission is very positive on the question of the [fissile material] cleanout, the Nunn-Lugar [cooperative threat reduction activities], and the taking of nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert. We are commenting upon all of these in a favorable way, including what the U.S. itself is doing.

We are discussing the specific cases of Iran and North Korea (DPRK). We think that they're a little apart from the general discussion about nonproliferation because these are acute cases and they have to be treated with diplomacy. We are pointing to security as an important element. In most cases in history where we have had proliferation, there has been a perceived security interest that has propelled the countries. That may well be true for both Iran and the DPRK. We note that so far generating these types of discussions with Iran, the question of security does not seem to have surfaced.

I don't know exactly what is in the package that they have handed over in Tehran the other day. But I saw that Robert Einhorn commenting in The Wall Street Journal today, said that prestige and security may be important. Prestige because if you see the discussions here, you have a matter of prestige that comes up about who goes first. Is the proposal that [Iran] suspends the enrichment research then we can sit down or is it to discuss suspension?

So it's a matter of who goes first in this discussion. There are some parallels in the North Korean case as well. Nevertheless, the commission points to security as an important element. We have one idea for a confidence-building measure that is new, which we haven't seen in any governmental discussions and that is taken from the Korean context. In South Korea there is a proposal that they should revive the contents of the [denuclearization] declaration of 1992, which also embraces no enrichment, no reprocessing, either in the North or in the South; they would have to have assurance of supply from some other place.

The commission asks could it not also be imitated in the case of the Middle East? Could one have commitments from all the countries in the Middle East, those who would be parties to the weapons of mass destruction free zone, including Iran and Israel, not to make any enriched uranium or plutonium? It will leave Israel with some 200 nuclear weapons that we generally think they have, but it would stop further activities for reprocessing. Unless I'm ill-informed, I think Israel has been positive to the idea of an FMCT. [Editor's Note: Israel has gone along with the notion of an FMCT being negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament, but has also expressed reservations.] In principle, it would seem to be a step that would be possible. But you could, by that token or by that means, also get Iran to commit themselves to non-enrichment, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and all the other countries. You could see this step as a confidence-building measure toward a zone arrangement, which is pretty far away and cannot really be imagined without further steps toward a peaceful settlement.

Before I leave the NPT and Iran and North Korea, the question is: is the NPT unraveling? I would say yes. We are saying, yes, there are these holes or these difficulties. It didn't work in the case of Libya, Iraq, and North Korea, but one should not forget that this treaty still has brought a tremendous amount of stability and clarity. We have Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus that joined. South Africa walked back and joined the NPT. We have Argentina and Brazil that long resisted [joining, but are now parties]. They've all come around. It's too much to say that the world is sort of milling with would-be proliferators. We are warning against an exaggerated attitude in this regard.

We do discuss the fuel cycle. There are perhaps two main proposals in the air. One is the one that [IAEA Director-General Mohamed] ElBaradei came up with: a nuclear fuel bank under which you would not have any obligation of states to stay away from enrichment, but it would be an arrangement that would make it economically interesting for states which have nonproliferation credentials to buy the fuel from the bank, and they would then not have to go for enrichment. We do raise, however, the question of who decides in the bank whether you have credentials or not? Is it my successor, ElBaradei, or it the board of the IAEA, or is it someone else? Is there a veto anywhere? So that's a problem that has not been clarified.

The other main avenue that we have comes from the U.S. It is the so-called Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP); a rather grandiose idea positive about nuclear power. I personally like that because I'm pro-nuclear; the commission is neutral on the question of nuclear power. But the Bush proposal is one that supports nuclear power. It says we will need it much more; developing countries will need simpler, safe reactors. But, under GNEP, they should not buy fuel. We should lease fuel to them and when it has been burnt out then it is sent back. Fuel cycle states would take back the fuel and they would reprocess it in a new process. It would come out not pure plutonium, which might be proliferation-risky, but it would be a mixture of plutonium-enriched uranium and neptunium. It could be burned in special breeder reactors. We would thereby take out about 80 times more of the energy contents of the uranium than you would otherwise.

However, that would be a few fuel cycle states in the world that would do this. We don't quite know which are in the category. The question we would raise is, of course, will this arrangement, which is far away, maybe 20 years away, be perceived as a cartel? Would it be another haves and have-nots? It is far away. We say this will be discussed and the IAEA is the proper place for a discussion of this proposal and other proposals. It is true that if the world will have a nuclear spring, if there were many more reactors coming up-it takes time to build these machines, after all-we have time to consider it. That is what we are proposing.

Lastly, on the question of verification, the area which I know much about, we are endorsing that the [IAEA] Additional Protocol should be accepted by all non-nuclear-weapon states to the NPT. It is legitimate for states exporting anything nuclear to say that we do it only on the condition that you join the Additional Protocol. There will be pressure in that direction. It's a vast difference between the tradition of safeguards that we have from the 1970s and the Additional Protocol.

We are not negative toward national intelligence. It's true that [international inspectors] came closer to the truth in the case of Iraq than national intelligence. That's evident. We did it because there was critical thinking; we had a mandate from the Security Council; there was no governmental pressure from one country that we were susceptible to. However, [national intelligence and international verification] have different functions and worked different sources. The national intelligence has a lot of listening of our telephone conversations and they have spies on the ground, et cetera, and they see the applications for import of nuclear equipment. They have many of these sources. The international verification, both of the IAEA and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), have the great advantage that they can go in on the ground and they can see the installations from the inside. They can see the papers, the accounts, and they can interview people as well. If they're turned away that's a sign; that's an interesting sign. It has its value.

In last resort, it is the governments who act. It's not the IEAE secretariat or the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons secretariat that acts; it's the governments that act in the last resort. They sit on these boards and they get their information from the international safeguard system and international verification. They also have information from their own national intelligence. They can weigh it together and they will draw conclusions. I see no contradiction between these two and I'm not personally at all averse to national intelligence, which I think is needed. Although, we would like to see them exercise critical thinking.

These two should be weighed together. National intelligence should help international verification by way of giving them tips as to we suspect this or that, we have heard this or that, go here or there. But it should be one-way traffic. International verification must not become a remote control arm of national intelligence because then they lose the confidence of the world and they also will find it much more difficult to operate in the countries in which they are. It would be much more difficult. One can sense sometimes disdain for international verification. I think that's misplaced. I think that the two are needed and should be put to good use by all.

I think I'll stop on that. I've talked enough. We are happy that the baby [the WMD Commission report] is born and that it was born by a unanimous group.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Dr. Blix, for your excellent overview. Part of the purpose of this session this morning is to bring forward the commission's recommendations and to foster a discussion about it. To start that discussion this morning, we've invited three distinguished experts to offer their thoughts and comments about the report. We'll hear from each of them for about 10 minutes each. Then, we'll open up the floor to your questions for Dr. Blix and our discussants.

First, we have Robert Einhorn, who is a senior advisor with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served for nearly 30 years in the U.S. government and was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. In 2001, he was awarded with the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award.

After Bob, we'll hear from Jonathan Tucker, who is now a senior fellow at the Monterrey Institute's Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Jonathan has served at the State Department and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He had a stint doing inspections in Iraq on biological weapons, and he is also the proud author of another book, War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to al Qaeda. He's also a member of the ACA board of directors.

Finally, we'll also hear from Dr. John Burroughs, who is executive director of the Lawyer's Committee on Nuclear Policy, based in New York. He is a specialist in international law and treaty regimes and served as the nongovernmental legal coordinator at the nuclear weapons hearings at the International Court of Justice back in the 1990s. He is the co-editor of the book Rule of Power or Rule of Law?

Bob, please come to the podium and let us know what your thoughts are. I should also just let everyone know that I have asked the discussants to provide to us what they think is one of the more significant aspects of the Blix Commission report, what is the most disappointing element or what is missing, and what are the most important recommendations upon which policymakers should act.

ROBERT EINHORN: Thank you, Daryl. I'm going to conform to Daryl's guidance that our comments fall in these three categories and I'll start with why this report is special and what distinguishes it from other reports.

One of the distinguishing features, it seems to me, is the very high caliber and diversity of the commissioners who contributed to this report. Along with that what is noteworthy is the ability of Dr. Blix to forge a consensus among these commissioners that doesn't simply reflect the lowest common denominator. The report actually says something, unlike lots of reports that are adopted by consensus.

A second feature that distinguishes this report is its comprehensive treatment of WMD issues. It integrates what's needed in terms of existing WMD arsenals as well as what's needed to prevent the proliferation of these capabilities, both to additional states as well as to non-state actors.

A third distinguishing feature is the balance that it strikes between the ideal and the practical. I'll give you one example of this, but there are many. The report maintains that the goal we should have in mind is to outlaw nuclear weapons. It suggests that states begin now to start preparing for a day when WMD would be outlawed. At the same time, the report discusses the possibility of the development of new nuclear weapons, but, in suggesting that, it doesn't call for a blanket prohibition on new developments of nuclear weapons. Instead, it says that states that are contemplating replacement or modernization of nuclear weapons systems should, at a minimum, refrain from developing nuclear weapons with new military capabilities; therefore, new missions. I don't know how the report would treat the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program of the U.S., but it seemed, perhaps, designed not to preclude such a development by the United States.

In the category of shortcomings or deficiencies, I would say that it places too much emphasis on carrots relative to sticks in persuading North Korea and Iran to abandon their nuclear ambitions. The solutions that the commission advocates for North Korea and Iran are good ones. I think they're the right ones. The report correctly identifies the kinds of incentives that should be offered to both North Korea and Iran. But, in my view, North Korea and Iran are unlikely to give up their nuclear options unless they believe that they will pay a high price for staying on their current course. The report, at least in my reading of it, gives very little attention to the pressures that the international community must apply to both countries in order to induce them to give up these nuclear options.

I think there's also an imbalance in favor of global agreements and institutions relative to less formal and more ad hoc measures. I think this is an understandable reaction to the Bush administration's tendency, especially in its first term, to disparage rule-based multilateral approaches and instead to rely on unilateral methods; methods outside existing agreements and institutions. But, in my view, the pendulum shouldn't swing back too far in the other direction. Multilateral agreements and institutions are clearly necessary but they're not sufficient. I think they have to be supplemented by more ad hoc measures. There's a synergy between the more formal and the less formal measures.

Formal measures, like the NPT, can give legitimacy to informal methods like the Proliferation Security Initiative or even coercive bilateral diplomacy. Tough ad hoc measures outside multilateral regimes may sometimes be necessary to reinforce existing institutions. For example-and it's an example that Dr. Blix knows well-without credible preparations for military action in the fall of 2002, it's highly unlikely that Saddam Hussein would have permitted Dr. Blix's UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) inspectors to pursue highly intrusive verification measures in Iraq under Security Council Resolution 1441.

Also, I personally see little value in the commission's recommendation for a world summit on disarmament, nonproliferation, and terrorist use of WMD. This is one of the two procedural recommendations that Dr. Blix mentioned. Clearly, the absence of political will in the world today is a real problem, but elevating the level of interaction is no guarantee that the important differences that exist today will be bridged. Holding yet another meeting at the summit level might simply polarize the issue further with countries breaking into blocks and adopting rigid positions. I think this was at the root of the failure at the NPT review conference in 2005 and the summit in September of 2005 to reach any consensus.

Let me turn to the recommendations of the commission's report that the United States government and perhaps other governments should act upon. I think there are many recommendations that are excellent that ought to be acted upon, but in light of time constraints, I'm going to only touch on three.

The key nuclear powers should adopt a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons pending completion of a formal fissile material cutoff treaty. In part, to deflect criticism of the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation deal, the administration recently tabled a draft fissile material cutoff treaty. As Dr. Blix pointed out, there has been criticism of the U.S.-India deal on the grounds that not only did it not cap fissile material production in India, but actually it could facilitate a buildup of fissile material in India.

I think, in part, to deflect this criticism of the deal, the U.S. tabled this draft treaty recently in the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament. But, given procedural wrangling over the Conference on Disarmament's work program, as well as disagreements as to whether an FMCT could be effectively verified, I think it's going to take a long time for the negotiations actually to get underway. But a moratorium among key countries- I would suggest a moratorium among the seven countries that have tested nuclear weapons and declared themselves to be nuclear-weapon states-would mitigate one of the major defects of the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation deal and head off what could be a new competition in fissile material production involving China, India, and Pakistan.

Second, policymakers should heed the commission's advice to strengthen the nonproliferation role of the UN Security Council. In particular, the Security Council should be prepared to mandate supplementary verification authority to the IAEA and the OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, when existing verification authorities are insufficient for those agencies to do their job. We have such a situation today with respect to Iran. The IAEA director-general has issued a report recently which says that he's unable to make any progress in determining whether or not Iran has undeclared nuclear facilities and activities. Essentially what he's saying is that he doesn't have the tools with existing authorities to achieve his mission. In such circumstances, the UN Security Council should act to give the director-general or the IAEA the authority to employ more intrusive verification measures; measures that go beyond even the Additional Protocol.

The Security Council should also press for a more robust implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 than we've seen today. As Dr. Blix has pointed out, 1540 requires under Chapter 7 all member states to put in place effective export controls and physical protection measures for nuclear installations and materials and for other dangerous substances. It also calls on them to enact legislation to criminalize proliferation-related activities by entities and individuals under their jurisdiction. It's a nonproliferation tool with vast potential, but it's been in effect now for about two years and two months, and that potential has not yet begun to be tapped. Members of the council should give 1540 some real teeth.

Finally, policymakers in the U.S. and elsewhere should follow the commission's advice to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the security policies of the nuclear powers. In recent years, several nuclear powers, including the U.S., Russia, and France, have talked about using nuclear weapons in a wider range of contingencies. For example, the U.S. and others, including India, have spoken about using nuclear weapons in response to a chemical or biological weapons attack. The U.S. has also suggested that nuclear weapons might be used first to destroy deeply buried WMD-related facilities. If the nuclear powers act as if nuclear weapons are becoming more and more useful and more and more indispensable to their national security strategies, then we can expect additional countries to want nuclear capabilities of their own.

For the U.S., which has unrivaled conventional military capabilities today, it makes little sense to give others a reason to acquire a nuclear capability that can neutralize that conventional military superiority. The commission is right that it's time to review U.S. doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons and even to consider the idea of pledging not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. No-first-use, I know, is heresy in Washington, and certainly within administrations of both Republicans and Democrats. But I think it's high time that we took another look at that and the commission points us in that direction.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Bob. Jonathan Tucker, please.

JONATHAN TUCKER: Thanks, Daryl. The findings and recommendations of the WMD Commission report on chemical and biological weapons have received quite a bit less attention than on the nuclear issues so I'm grateful to the Arms Control Association for including chemical and biological weapons (CBW) issues on the agenda today. CBW tend to be the Rodney Dangerfield of WMD. (Laughter.) They don't get as much respect as nuclear weapons.

Overall, the WMD Commission report is extremely timely in reaffirming the importance of multilateral treaties and institutions in combating the spread of WMD and in urging renewed emphasis on cooperative approaches to security which have languished in recent years. With respect to chemical and biological weapons, the report is comprehensive and identifies the major outstanding issues. Although many of the recommendations have been made before, the main problem in the field of CBW disarmament today is not a shortage of good ideas, but rather of the political will needed to implement them.

On biological weapons, the commission correctly observes that international cooperation to eliminate the threats posed by biological weapons is more urgent today than ever for a number of reasons, including the ongoing revolution in the life sciences, which has made it possible to manipulate fundamental life processes for hostile purposes and the global diffusion of dual-use biotechnology equipment and know-how, which are making these capabilities accessible to rogue states and terrorist organizations.

In confronting this challenge, the commission notes that the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) remains the central pillar of efforts to prevent the hostile use of biology because it provides, "an international standard by which biological activities can be judged." Although the BWC today has 155 states-parties, it is generally viewed as weak because of its lack of formal verification measures and institutional support. The key opportunity to strengthen the BWC will be come later this year at the sixth review conference of the treaty, which will convene in Geneva between November 20th and December 8th.

The WMD Commission notes the need for a multifaceted approach to the biological weapons threat that strengthens the multilateral and legal prohibition regime while linking it with other kinds of governmental and non-governmental national and international measures. I would support this approach. I think the idea is to create a web of mutually reinforcing measures to strengthen the convention, including internationally harmonized biosecurity measures, national laws and regulations that make the prohibitions of the treaty binding on individuals, and scientific codes of conduct. There can be synergistic relationships among these different levels and different types of measures.

Some of the commission's recommendations are highly ambitious, such as establishing a small BWC secretariat to handle organizational and administrative measures to address the institutional deficit of the convention; the fact that the BWC, unlike the NPT and the CWC, does not have an organization of its own to oversee implementation. The commission also recommends the creation of a standing biological verification unit that would report to the UN Security Council and would conduct investigations at the request of the council.

Both of these ideas are extremely worthwhile and have been suggested before. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to be supported by a consensus of state-parties at the review conference. I think a more realistic recommendation in the report is the proposal to revitalize an existing mechanism by which the UN secretary-general can launch field investigations of alleged use of chemical or biological weapons in violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol. This mechanism has been on the books since 1980. It has not been used, however, since 1992, and has fallen into disrepair. In order to revitalize this mechanism, it will be necessary to create an updated list or roster of experts who can be deployed when necessary, a dedicated store of inspection equipment, and a reliable source of funding for this field investigation mechanism.

An important biological weapons-related issue that is not addressed in the commission report is the huge expansion since Sept. 11 of the U.S. biodefense program, which now consumes about $5 billion a year. Some U.S. biodefense programs are troubling because they could be perceived either as undermining or even contravening the Biological Weapons Convention. Of particular concern is the Biological Threat Characterization Program, which involves the laboratory assessment of putative biological threat agents, including genetically engineered pathogens, to guide the development of medical countermeasures against them. Much of this work is classified and difficult for other countries to assess in terms of whether it is truly defensive. I believe that it is defensive but other countries may come to different conclusions. If other countries were to emulate this approach, these programs could easily become a cover for offensive developments. Thus, to the extent possible, countries should provide the maximum degree of transparency about their biodefense programs to avoid creating mutual suspicions and hedging strategies that could lead willy-nilly to a new biological arms race.

On chemical weapons, the commission notes that despite the successful implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which now has 178 states-parties, the treaty faces some major challenges. These include the failure of states with declared chemical weapons stockpiles to destroy them on schedule, the fact that several states believed to have chemical arms have not yet joined the treaty, uneven national implementation, and shortcomings in verification and inspection activities. It's been difficult to identify the most salient issues, but I will focus on two.

I think a very important issue identified by the commission is the fact that nearly all of the states with declared stockpiles of chemical weapons-the United States, Russia, Albania, Libya, India, and South Korea-will fail to meet the 2007 deadline for destroying their stocks and will have to apply for a five-year extension, as permitted by the treaty. Now, a one-time extension is permitted, but the U.S. and Russia have already suggested that they will be unable to meet even the extended 2012 destruction deadline.

In order to prevent this failure to meet the treaty commitment, which I think can be explained for a number of reasons, it will be necessary to address not only the funding issue, which is discussed in the report, but also the political dimension. How can we address the reality that countries will be unable to meet the destruction deadlines without undermining the convention itself? I would argue that instead of amending the treaty to establish a new deadline, which could open up the treaty to undesirable amendments, it should be incumbent on both the U.S. and Russia to make a political commitment to a new timetable and for the treaty organization, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to pass a resolution approving the new schedule and holding the two countries accountable.

The other highly salient issue relevant to the CWC discussed in the commission report is the problem of non-lethal chemical weapons. Although the CWC bans the use of incapacitating and riot-control agents as a method of warfare, it contains an exemption-some have called it a loophole-for "law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes." As the commission report points out, the term "non-lethal" is in fact misleading because all incapacitating gases can be lethal if the concentration is high enough or the time of exposure is sufficiently long. We saw an example of this in 2002 during the siege of a Moscow theater at which hostages were being held by Chechen rebels. Russian security forces pumped an incapacitating gas into the theater and ended up killing not only the hostage takers but about a fifth of the hostages, over 100 people.

Unfortunately, some governments, including both Russia and the United States, wish to adopt a more flexible interpretation of the Chemical Weapons Convention rules on the use of incapacitating chemical agents. Some analysts contend that the use of an incapacitating gas by Russia in the Moscow theater incident was legal because it was a case of domestic law enforcement. However, paramilitary and counterterrorist operations, such as the Moscow theater incident, go beyond domestic law enforcement because they're an extension of an armed conflict; in this case the war on Chechnya. I think one could make the same argument about the global war on terror.

The use of incapacitating agents in paramilitary operations, in my view, undermines Article I of the CWC, and permitting such use would constitute a dangerous erosion of the fundamental ban on chemical weapons intended by the authors of the CWC. One recommendation that is not contained in the report is that the next review conference of the CWC, which will convene in 2008, should define the law enforcement exemption more narrowly to rule out the use of non-lethal incapacitating agents in paramilitary counterterrorist operations.

In conclusion, there are lot more things I could say about the report, which is full of useful suggestions, but I think the main shortcoming of the report is that although it identifies a number of worthy goals, it does not assess their political feasibility in the current political environment, or provide a roadmap or strategy for achieving them.

I also think the commission report misses an opportunity to seek out some common ground with the United States and the current administration. Multilateral treaties and ad hoc initiatives among groups of like-minded states, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative or the Australia Group, are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, I think, as Bob Einhorn mentioned earlier, these approaches may be reinforcing under certain circumstances.

To make a distinction between selective multilateralism and traditional multilateralism is, to some extent, a false dichotomy. I think there are also some mildly encouraging signs that the Bush administration may be moving away from the hard unilateralism of its first term, which has had so many unfortunate results for American interests, and toward a more pragmatic and cooperative approach to nonproliferation, as reflected in the U.S. initiative toward Iran. It is to be hoped that this new approach will eventually include a rethinking of the value of multilateral arms control treaties and institutions.

KIMBALL: Thank you, Jonathan. John Burroughs, you're up.

JOHN BURROUGHS: Good morning. Thanks Daryl for inviting me here and, as I've said to Dr. Blix before, thanks for doing this report. The Lawyer's Committee on Nuclear Policy together with the Western States Legal Foundation, and Reaching Critical Will, and in consultation with the Arms Control Association, has a program of assessment and outreach regarding the Blix report. We're planning to do an in-depth analysis, probably available by the fall, but you can see our preliminary responses at www.wmdreport.org.

One of the things we like about this report is it reflects, to some degree, what civil society groups like ours have been saying for the past decade or 15 years. At least some of our ideas have crept into the report. I'm not saying they're given a lot of emphasis, but for example, on page 109 there is a reference to a nuclear disarmament treaty. Well, in fact, in the mid-1990s, my organization and other drafted a model nuclear weapons convention to outlaw and prohibit nuclear weapons, just as the Chemical Weapons Convention does for chemical weapons. Also on page 109 there is a reference to the holding of the International Court of Justice that there is an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects. Well, that was a campaign in the 1990s that had a lot of civil society, NGO involvement. It was one of the best things that occurred in the 1990s, at least in sort of setting the goals for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Now, I'm going to turn to what Daryl asked us all to do. What is, in my opinion, one of the greatest strengths of this report? It's that it explains very clearly how nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons can be and are being controlled through treaty regimes. It explains that treaty regimes bring stability. It explains that they involve implementing agencies and review processes. It explains that states around the world buy into these regimes and buy into the rules on non-use, non-possession of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons.

This may all seem rather basic, but it needs to be understood. It needs to be understood, especially in this country, that there are functioning, effective treaty regimes, and that there is a system of international law which applies to NBC weapons. The report also very effectively gets across that regimes work when there is reciprocity and cooperation. I'm not sure the report says this explicitly, but certainly what I've learned at the UN and the NPT is that for states to accept the Additional Protocol as the standard for compliance with their obligations under the NPT and the safeguards agreements, they need to see some action on the disarmament side of the regime. That's an example of how reciprocity and cooperation works.

The report, I am glad to say, is written very diplomatic. Well, not diplomatic but it's written in a very impartial way. It's honest, too. On page 94, for example, it says quite clearly, "It's easy to see that the nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT have largely failed to implement this commitment" to systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally; a commitment they agreed to in 1995 in connection with the indefinite extension of the NPT. At other places, too, this report is quite clear that the nuclear-weapon states are falling down on their side of the Nonproliferation Treaty.

That's something that is well known in international circles, but it's something that the public needs to understand in this country. For example, the principles of verification and irreversibility affirmed by the 2000 NPT review conference were not applied in the Moscow Treaty of 2002. There has not been a diminishing role of nuclear weapons in security policies-another of the commitments made in 2000.

I hope you have heard that the Department of Energy was planning on blowing up 700 tons of ammonium nitrate fuel oil at the Nevada test site on June 2nd in order to model the effects of a low-yield nuclear attack on underground structures. That's an example of how the role of nuclear weapons has not diminished in U.S. security policy. Fortunately, local opposition from Western Shoshones and anti-nuclear activists and down-winders has led to the indefinite delay of that test, but it's certainly illustrative.

Another strength of the report is that it describes UN institutions very well. The Security Council is talked about in the report. The report says the Security Council should become a focal point for implementation of actions regarding NBC weapons. But the report also acknowledges the need for the Security Council to build legitimacy by wide consultations and that eventually there will need to be reform of the Security Council to make it a more legitimate institution.

I certainly want to underline those points very strongly that the Security Council just cannot function as sort of the ultimate authority in NBC weapons unless it has much more legitimacy than it now has. I don't think the report intends to do this, but if you read their discussion of the Security Council, you might think they're saying, well, we need to go away from multilateral agreements. I don't really think they intend to say that, but perhaps they should have said more clearly, we need both more multilateral agreements and an effective Security Council.

What's the greatest weakness of this report? I think it's sort of a corollary to the strength of its discussion of international regimes and UN institutions. It's lacking in dimensions of vision and values, all of which I think are assumed by the report, but they're not really articulated very well. This is more a how-to kind of report than a visionary kind of statement. We need to find a way in this country to translate this sort of international policy speak into language that makes sense to Americans. That's our job; it's not necessarily the commission's job.

What are the most important recommendations? The recommendations come as a whole package, so it's hard to single them out. Also, it's a little bit difficult to see which recommendations have a chance of being seized upon in the short term, so I didn't really think about that. What I thought about is which of the recommendations will really make a difference in changing the situation on nuclear weapons.

I think two are just really important. They have been important for a long time and I'm glad the commission talked about them. One is Recommendation #17. It calls for de-alerting of nuclear forces, and it spells it out rather nicely. I'm not going to go through it now because we're running a little bit short of time. It does talk about a commission being established between the United States and Russia to make recommendations about this. One thing that should be considered in these U.S.-Russian relationships is how do we get the international community involved as well? Perhaps there should be a representative of the NPT or the UN involved.

The second recommendation that's very important is #18, which is on the need for a new strategic nuclear weapons reductions treaty, this time applying the principles agreed at the 2000 review conference on verification, transparency, and irreversibility. The core of nuclear arms control is having verified reductions. We're never going to get to low levels of nuclear weapons, let alone a nuclear-weapons-free world if there isn't verification and transparency along the way.

KIMBALL: Thank you, John, our other discussants, and Dr. Blix. You've been a very patient audience. I'm sure by this time you've read the entire report from beginning to end and you have your own opinions and you have your own questions, so I would invite you to speak up, give us your questions. Please tell us who you are and who you would like to answer the question. Norman Wulf.

QUESTION: Norman Wulf, formerly with the State Department. My question is for Hans. First, if I could, I would commend him for his demonstration of what an active retirement looks like. (Laughter.) Bob Einhorn, in his remarks, suggested that perhaps in a WMD-free world, the United States really comes out quite well because of our advanced conventional capability. I'm putting a few words into his mouth. But, given your experience, Hans, both in the IAEA with the Additional Protocol and then with the verification requirements that the UN Security Council imposed upon Iraq, what kind of additional authority should the IAEA have, particularly if their countries are going to voluntarily accept these verification mechanisms? In other words, how would you improve the Additional Protocol, based upon the experience you've had with UNSCOM and with the vision that you have at some point of a WMD-free world?

BLIX: Thanks everybody, especially the commentators for their constructive and well-taken views. We are delighted to come out and to listen because we think we need to provoke a discussion in the international community.

Let me say simply first that on the imbalance between the visionary on the one hand and the need to be realistic of what you can achieve at the present time-that is a balance that is difficult to strike-but our ambition has not been to strike a sort of compromise between the attitude of the current U.S. administration and others. We have tried to be more long-term looking without being "blue-eyed" because we have three constituencies we address: there are the governmental negotiators, and they're hard-headed; we have the think tanks and the NGOs; and we have the general public. The members of the commission are people who are experienced in practicing diplomatic life. We've tried to come out with something that we think can be doable, perhaps not tomorrow; not a number of things will be acceptable in the current climate. We realize that, though, they may germinate. We think that this little chunk will be on the table in many places and hopefully will germinate.

Now to your question, Norm Wulf. I think the world stands in gratitude to the U.S. [for being] the chief negotiator in the IAEA for the Additional Protocol. It was a very, very tough thing. I think the IAEA did the right thing. In 1991, when we had discovered the calutrons in Iraq and discovered that the safeguards system of the 1970s was not sufficient, I went to the IAEA Board of Governors and I said that we need to have access to more information, we need to have access to more sites, and we need to have access to the Security Council if need be. That then started the work on what was called "93 plus 2," an effort to develop a new, stronger type of safeguards system. Norm Wulf was the American negotiator on the board who brought this to fruition and I was happy to see that the Additional Protocols was accepted during my last general conference in 1997.

Now, there are things in this that I'm not pleased with and I'm sure there are things that Norm is not pleased with. It doesn't go far enough on a number of points. States are reluctant to have international inspectors milling around in their installations, and more so in the big states than in the small states. However, this is what could be achieved after that calamity. As you know, humanity usually moves forward after calamities, regrettably, after them. The Additional Protocol [falls] far from the intrusive inspection regimes we had in the Security Council in the case of Iraq. We have seen how Iran has accepted the Additional Protocol on a voluntary basis. They have also gone beyond that. They have not ratified the Additional Protocol yet and they have withdrawn their voluntary acceptance of it after the West brought the issue into the Security Council. I'll leave it up to their own threat in this regard and the condition that they accept that protocol as a part of accession, clearly.

How good are the additional protocols? Well, inspection techniques and methods have advanced very much and the Iraq affair was a great learning lesson. But one should be aware that we can never come down to zero risk. Cosmetic inspection is worse than none because it may lull you into false confidence with a rude awakening, but even very far-reaching inspections will not prove the negative. We had that problem in the case of Iraq and we will have that problem in the case of Iran even if the Security Council, as I think Bob suggested, would decide, under Chapter 7, that if they stay away from demanding military and economic sanctions, that they could demand that Iran should accept very far-reaching inspections, perhaps even going beyond the Additional Protocol. That would be reasonable. However, even if this were to happen, I think the IAEA could never say that there is the absolute assurance that there is nothing left; no documents, no computer programs, or no prototype centrifuge. We could not say it in Iraq. We could say that the more intrusive inspections they have and the more open they are, the less risk there is, but at the end there will be a small risk left, and that's a political assessment, whether you accept it or not.

In some ways I think I'm a little skeptical about the resolutions which say that Iran should prove that there is no intention. How can you prove an absence of an intention? Even if you could prove that the Ayatollah Khomeini had said on his deathbed that Iran never, never touches against their religion, et cetera, they could change their mind in a year or two. It is good that you have insurance. There will be less of fear and less of concern, less of suspicion, but proving the absolute negative will not be possible. One has to recognize that. But one can only do what is possible.

The Additional Protocol is an important step, and it may be, as Bob Einhorn says, that perhaps the Security Council should go beyond that.

KIMBALL: We have several hands now. Paul Walker, please.

QUESTION: Thank you, Daryl. My name is Paul Walker from Global Green USA. This question is to Hans Blix and to Jonathan Tucker. First of all, congratulations on a very excellent report, and also on three very good commentaries.

My question is with regard to chemical weapons. One of the concerns we have around chemical weapons is the slowness of destruction, which Jonathan referred to. We now know, although some of us have known actually for a number of years, since Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated a month ago that the destruction program in the United States will drag on potentially for another 10 to 15 years. We also know in Russia that it will likely drag on for at least the same amount of time. One of the concerns we have is the security of the stockpiles. It's less a concern in the United States because the specific bunkering of the stockpiles, but it's a major concern in Russia, given that the majority of the stockpiles there have not had security upgrades, to the best of our knowledge.

I'm wondering if this issue was raised in the commission. It's not mentioned, as far as I can see, in the report. There is no mention of security of stockpiles, the potential theft and diversion, and the lack of transparency in security, particularly in Russia, at the stockpiles, especially where there are major global partner funding efforts going on.

BLIX: I don't remember whether somewhere we talked about it. I do remember that we talk about the security of the chemical industry. There has been much talk about safety of the nuclear industry; that no terrorists be able to penetrate them and blow up swimming pools full of spent fuel. We reason the same way about the chemical industry. Both industries must be responsible in its way and cooperate with the government to be sure that nothing is trickled off, to protect their own installations, and that they not be blown up by terrorists and thereby contaminating. But, of course I would agree with you that, yes, the stockpiles of chemical weapons, they are as worthy of protection as nuclear ones are.

TUCKER: Paul, I would just agree with that concern, particularly with respect to stockpiles that have portable artillery shells that are filled with nerve agent which have probably posed the greatest risk of theft or diversion. In the interim period while Russia is destroying these weapons, it's really essential to secure the stockpiles and make sure that no diversion occurs and improve accounting systems so we know we can have some accountability.

KIMBALL: We had a question up front please.

QUESTION: Thank you. Edward Ifft, Georgetown University. Dr. Blix, thank you very much for this report, which I'm sure will be a major contribution. A question on Iraq, if I may. At the height of the Iraq crisis, you put forward the formulation that Iraq was cooperating on process but not on substance. That seemed like a useful way to understand the situation, although the U.S. administration immediately seized on those words as one of the justifications for the war. Knowing what we know now, it seems clear that the Iraqis were actually telling the truth to a much greater extent than they were given credit for.

My question is, knowing what you know now, would you change that formulation on process versus substance? What I'm really driving at is: are there lessons for the future in that experience? This will sound naïve, but in particular, shouldn't we be paying more careful attention to what these countries actually say? For example, the way in which the Iranian letter was just dismissed out of hand without even the ritual we'll-study-this-carefully response is troubling. Should we be thinking of more creative ways to test the veracity of what these suspect countries actually tell us? Thank you.

BLIX: Thanks very much. I remember in the early part of 2003 I was sometimes asked, how could you be so critical of Iraq in January and now you are more lenient in your comments? I said, well, you know, if you are an inspector or if you are a meteorologist and you report on the weather and the weather changes, your reports are not going to be identical.

We were critical and disappointed at the 12,000-page report that Iraq submitted in November 2002. It did not solve any of the problems of things that were unaccounted for. It did give us information on what has happened since the inspectors had left, especially in the biological and chemical fields, but it was disappointing. When I used those words, which actually were coined by Mohamed ElBaradei, about cooperation on process but not on substance, there was, we felt, a restriction on their cooperation.

They could have done more. We warned them that we are five minutes to midnight, and it was only toward the end of January/end of February that they became frantic. I've been told that Amir al-Saadi, who was our opposite number, had not met Saddam for a very long time. There were big constraints under which he operated. I think he tried his best.

In February, the Iraqis came with the idea that we should examine the areas where they had destroyed chemical and biological weapons in the past. They had been dug up and examined to some extent by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) in the 1990s. But the Iraqis suggested that with modern techniques and science, we could actually figure out how much had they destroyed. Had they destroyed as much as they said? I was somewhat skeptical about it, but I was not a scientist so I left it to our scientists. I felt that if you pour 100 liters of milk in the ground today and then you come 10 years later, can you really establish that it was 100 liters you did away with? That was my simple consideration. But they are a little better at this than I thought, and they did examine. They could actually verify and confirm that quite a number of chemical and bacteriological weapons had been destroyed in the sites where they were. As we made headway, we were disappointed in the increasing attention.

I agree with Bob Einhorn that you need also to have sticks in the background. Now, we would not have been allowed into Iraq if it had not been for the mobilization of the U.S. and the strengthening of the military. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also said that diplomatic language needs to be reinforced by a threat. But when Bob says that he thinks we perhaps paid too little attention to the sticks and too much to the carrots, I think everybody knows you have the sticks. You don't need to talk or wave them so much. There can also be something humiliating about them. If you say that you, Iran, must behave, or, you are international troublemaker, I think it might gain you votes in some parts of the world, but it's not going to make it easy to reach agreement in Vienna.

I hear these words from the Iranian letter were dismissed. Yes, I agree with you that we should always study what they say, and in the case of Iraq, perhaps we underestimated the defense they had; namely they were an underdeveloped country, accounting was not so easy. They had in fact destroyed them in 1991. Mr. Kamal, the son-in-law of Saddam, had said that in conversations with UNSCOM leader Rolf Ekeus and others when he defected to Jordan. That was not given much attention. Of course, as inspectors, you have to be a skeptic. That Mr. Kamal says something or that my opposite number says something, that's not enough. You have to go for proof. Even in March 2003, we did not say that there were no weapons of mass destruction. We said that we have carried out 700 inspections and we have gone to lots of sites suspected by intelligence. We have not found any. We also pointed to some of the evidence presented by the U.S. and said that we don't believe in this.

As things developed when we were in Iraq, we developed increasing skepticism about it. I think personally that if we had been there for another few months, we would have been able to go to all the sites which intelligence suspected, and there weren't any weapons of mass destruction. We would have told them and the Security Council. I think it would have been much more difficult to go to war.

Maybe we were too suspicious. On the other hand, I think that's the job of the inspectors, to be suspicious; not to say that a black cat walking across the room is evidence, but still be very critical of what you see and be credible. I think we did that. Scott Ritter has criticized that [we] could have stopped the war; [we] could have said there are no weapons of mass destruction. No, then we would have deviated on the other side of our task. We did not have a basis for excluding it. I think we did well. We have to see, when a statement is made, at which time is it done?

QUESTION: I'm David Isenberg with the British American Security Information Council. This question is to Dr. Blix. Sir, thank you very much for the work of you and your fellow commissioners on the report. You state in your Recommendation #16 on page 92, "States deploying their nuclear forces in triads consisting of submarine launch missiles, ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range bombers should abandon this practice in order to reduce nuclear weapons redundancy and avoid fueling nuclear arms races." My question is simply this: given states like that, would you tell them, reduce down to one delivery system, or would you say you're allowed two, or did you have any thoughts differentiating between that given that a few pages before that you said essentially the concept of deterrence is increasingly invalid if not totally defunct in this age, which is the rationale of course that all states today put forward for the use of a triad. It would seem that if you're going to permit them to have any delivery systems at all, one means should be enough. I'm just wondering what your thoughts were on that.

BLIX: I think our reasoning is that this leads to a temptation to have an unnecessary number of nuclear weapons. The military will say they need so many here and so many there. We have not said whether it would be enough to have one or two. The British are reduced only to subs. But the current system is an encouragement to have many, and therefore they can have their pick which one they will. There is a lot of redundancy at the present time.

KIMBALL: I would just note that if you look at the entire report one of the themes that comes out is that-you can correct me if I'm wrong-you're pointing out that over 15 years after the end of the Cold War there are still enormous arsenals, and so there needs to be a reexamination of why there are so many and not just why they are on certain launch systems.

Yes, we have a question right over here. Thank you.

QUESTION: I'm Larry Weiler. I'm an ancient arms controller. (Laughter.)

KIMBALL: And a famous one.

QUESTION: My comment and question has to do with priorities in the nuclear field. You recommend that nuclear weapons be outlawed. That's a rather long-term objective. But what do we need to change the situation from where it is today? I would make a reference to an exchange I had with President George W. Bush about five weeks ago. He was from me to you away from me. He didn't expect the question, but I said I hoped he would recognize that the NPT involved a basic agreement that non-nuclear-weapon states would give up nuclear weapons and nuclear-weapon states would engage in a program of nuclear disarmament. I said I was aware of all of the agreements that have taken place, including [the 2002 Moscow Treaty] with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that I hoped that he would consider what only one U.S. president, Lyndon Johnson, had been prepared to consider: a no-first-use policy to aid nonproliferation in the long run. He stood there for quite a while and thought about this as though it was a new idea.

UNKNOWN: It was.

QUESTION: No, I'm quite serious. Now, maybe he was just being nice but he didn't have to think a long time to be nice. He said, I'll take your words to heart, and without a commitment on the spot on the non-using, I'll think about it. Now, my question is, how do we get a change of policy except by having a president decide to change nuclear weapons policy? The bureaucracy is a hopeless case because you can't raise this in the bureaucracy without being accused of being a traitor. So how do we change it? Do we only get a president or do we create a public campaign for non-use policy, which they support when they're asked this in polls. What do we do, if we don't do this, to change things dramatically?

BLIX: I'm delighted to hear from an ancient arms controller. My first experience came as a legal advisor in 1962 at the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Conference started in Geneva, so I feel, sir, with you very much.

Now, as to how can you bring these problems home to the leaders. Well, Mr. Ronald Reagan, certainly, was someone who had it when he was Reykjavik once and talked to Mikhail Gorbachev. There was something that he knew and he felt about.

The commission does not recommend that one achieve disarmament, whether in Iraq or North Korea, by a regime change. We are against that. I think we will also not go into discussing regime change in the United States. We are not recommending that. That's for you to discuss. I think that we have a more modest role for putting on the table proposals. Some of them could be perceived as much too far-reaching for the climate and for the bureaucracy.

I think, on the whole, government will learn from their experience. The basic feeling that I carry with this report is that, yes, there has been some sort of disillusionment for the multilateral instruments. There is now disillusionment with the military means. We'll have to come back to see what are the values of treaties; a big country usually has less need for treaties and commitments than small countries do in the world. Frankly, we write a lot about treaties and value treaties. There are those in this country, and several international lawyer too, who have a distain for treaties and say they are not really binding unless they're in our interest. Now, treaties are the replacement of legislation for the international community. The vast majority are respected. They're less secure, less reliable in the field of security and disarmament maybe than in other fields, but that's what we have at the present time.

We must make use of them. We must not make fun of them. We must not ridicule them because the United States relies enormously upon treaties in the world. I'm sure that neither Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice nor your president could come out and say that treaties are not binding upon the United States. This is how we move forward. I see some shaking heads. I've seen American representatives say so, but, in fact, Condoleezza Rice went to the American Society of International Law and affirmed her support for the validity and the importance of treaties and international laws.

This is maybe visionary stuff in the views of some. I wrote my doctoral dissertation about treaties. I think that this is really important. But not everything is global treaties. We use the word plurilateral for approaches like the PSI. The effort of a joint global community working together is an important one.

I point to the fact that after Sept. 11 there was a tremendous solidarity with the U.S. from all around the world, and that has dissipated. What you see now is a tremendous amount of criticism in most parts of the world. It should not be mixed with anti-Americanism. It's not anti-Americanism; it's a criticism of this approach. We used to see the U.S. as a lead wolf, as it were, in the international sphere, and we've seen it lately often as a lone wolf. Many people out in the world would like to see the U.S. come back to the lead wolf position, leading development in formal treaties and in joint approaches.

KIMBALL: We have a question here and a question back there.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name's Jackie Cabasso. I'm with Western States Legal Foundation and we are working with the Lawyer's Committee on this civil society review. I've had the opportunity to read the whole report, and again, I want to congratulate Dr. Blix and the commission. It is something that we can definitely work with. As I had said to you at an earlier briefing, I'm delighted to have you as a spokesperson for nuclear disarmament.

I have a question that came to my mind based on Mr. Einhorn's comments on the Reliable Replacement Warhead, which I think we don't really know what that is; it's a black box. But on page 99 you say that if research on nuclear weapons is continued, modifications should only be for purposes of safety and security, and demonstrably so. First of all, it seems a bit inconsistent to me to even validate the idea of perpetuating, extending the lifetimes, if you will, of nuclear arsenals. But if you are saying demonstrably so, are you suggesting that perhaps the IAEA should have inspectors at the Lawrence Livermore and the Los Alamos labs to make sure that the Reliable Replacement Warhead program is only for safety and security modifications? (Laughter.)

BLIX: We would be delighted if the IAEA would inspect Los Alamos. I've been there once myself in giving a lecture and I found a very intelligent and surprisingly understanding audience, I thought at the time.

As Bob Einhorn said a while ago, the commission is in favor of outlawing [nuclear weapons] in the long term. We also point to what we see as an obligation, a duty on the part of the nuclear-weapon states to see how they can manage their defense problems in a world without nuclear weapons, as the rest of the world has to do. They must weigh all the circumstances before they prolong or retain their programs.

We are pointing to the fact that the U.K. will soon be in a situation when they'll have to weigh this. We talk about whether they will extend a program [the Trident nuclear system] that no longer has the purposes, the intention for which it was created and that has a very doubtful value to a situation of threats that they may now be facing, terrorism? That's for them to say. We are not going so far as to say that this is the decisions you take. That would be somewhat presumptuous.

We are also envisioning the reality that maybe they will continue. But in the view of the [acknowledged nuclear-weapon states] and the NPT, we think that the minimum you can require, with that obligation they have to move away from nuclear weapons, is that they do not move ahead with nuclear weapon, giving them new missions; bunker busters, I think, would be another mission. Lowering the threshold for nuclear weapons would also be moving away from their obligation under the NPT, which is to negotiate toward nuclear disarmament.

We are applying the same standard without the NPT to the other three (Israel, India, and Pakistan). We say that they too have obligations to help us to move out of the nuclear. But we are saying that it should start with the biggest ones: with the U.S. and Russia. There are, after all, about 27,000 nuclear warheads still in the world, and most of them in the U.S. and in Russia.

KIMBALL: I have a question right here.

QUESTION: John Liang with Inside Missile Defense. A question for Dr. Blix. Recommendation #44 says that, "States should not consider the deployment or further deployment of any kind of missile defense system without first attempting to negotiate the removal of missile threats. And if such negotiations fail, deployments of such systems should be accompanied by cooperative development programs and confidence-building measures." Could you flesh that out a little bit? What kind of cooperative programs do you think might work? And to Dr. Einhorn, how confident are you that any kind of measure like that would work?

BLIX: If you take the possibility of missile defense, say, in Eastern Europe with the stations there in various countries as possible defenses against possible Iranian missiles or missiles in Pakistan or elsewhere. The first line would mean then that they should see if you can remove these threats first. Can you have an agreement with Iran that they stay away from development of intercontinental missiles? If you cannot do that, then the second line of the approach is that you should discuss confidence building measures so that there will be information about the launch and such matters.

On missiles, I was asked yesterday the question about why are you so shy; why are you not proposing a treaty convention banning missiles altogether? I was somewhat taken aback because we hadn't really seen the possibility. It seems so hopelessly unrealistic to get to today. There have been discussions in the UN and they have said that's a very great problem but there is no agreement whatever about it. If one moves away from nuclear weapons, then there will also be a lesser need for missiles. It has to go along in a dynamic way toward disarmament. I think that that will also make the missile threat less. It is a big issue that I think we have not penetrated enough and certainly we have not come up with a viable proposal.

EINHORN: I think it's important that there be a relationship between missile threats and missile defenses. The problem is you may have a mismatch between the lead times for both. There's a very long lead time to be able to develop and deploy effective defenses, and if a country has already developed missiles and even flight tested missiles and has a certain confidence that they would work if deployed, that could be a very short timeframe for the threat to materialize.

I think it's hard. Can we count on a negotiation to stop North Korea's long-range missile capability, or Iran's? I don't think we can. I think we should try to do it. In the Clinton administration we got pretty far in negotiating a ban on North Korea's long-range missile capability, but that didn't materialize and now I've seen news reports that the North Koreans may be preparing to conduct a flight test of a Taepodong-II missile.

I think it would be hard to persuade proponents of missile defenses that we can rely on negotiations to suppress the threat indefinitely.

KIMBALL: I think we had another question back here.

QUESTION: Thank you. Sharon Squassoni from the Congressional Research Service. Thanks for your report, which I haven't read in-depth. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems your report calls for universal adherence to the BWC and CWC but not the NPT. If that's the case, if you could just explain why it didn't.

My other question is on the fissile cutoff. Your report probably was completed before the U.S. draft treaty was tabled, but I wonder if even in your capacity as a lawyer, you could comment on three aspects of the treaty which I find a little troubling. One is the duration for 15 years. The other is that entry into force is only dependant on the five nuclear-weapon states. The last is what looks to me like an exemption for production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for naval fuel, naval propulsion. Thank you.

BLIX: Right. On the three conventions, we call for universal adherence to the CWC and to the BWC. They do not make distinctions between any states so that is entirely natural. But the NPT does make a difference between the nuclear-weapon states and the others. The cases you are really asking about are India, Pakistan, and Israel. We are saying that we are seeing them as states which possess nuclear weapons. That's the reality. We are saying that they have obligations to move away from nuclear weapons along with the others, though it should start with the U.S. and Russia, which have the largest numbers.

There is no way in which [India, Israel, and Pakistan] can adhere to the NPT without doing away with their nuclear weapons. It is recognition of a fact that they have them and that none will move away from them. I don't think it helps us really to close our eyes to that fact. We must get back to reality. I gave a series of lectures once about recognition. There are many situations in the world which say that, well, we've tried to get rid of this by not saying that it exists. I don't think that's realistic and we have not gotten by that method. We would like to see them accept obligations, but I don't think it's realistic to say that they should come in the NPT. There could be other ways.

On the cutoff, you have perhaps more information and have seen the cutoff draft, which I have not. I was puzzled also by the idea that it should enter into force only with the ratification of five states. I would have thought that it was essential to have the three others coming in as well. In a way, the cutoff agreement would not really require to have more than the eight or nine members in it. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, too, in a way would not really require more than eight or nine members in it because all non-nuclear-weapon states-parties of the NPT are prohibited from testing nuclear weapons. But you have an espousal of it by the whole international community, which is good and I recognize that.

In the case of a cutoff, yes, again, it's the five plus the three plus North Korea. That would be essential to have. No [non-nuclear-weapon states] of the NPT is allowed to produce enriched uranium for weapon purposes anyway. But I would take the view that, yes, you would need all of those who have nuclear weapons.

The last point was about the exemption of highly enriched uranium? I think, for the time being at any rate, highly enriched uranium is needed for submarines and is also needed in some reactors, although the world is trying to convert these reactors to low enriched uranium. We are urging in the report a phase-out of the production of highly enriched uranium. The French use a low-enriched uranium in their submarines, so in the longer run it ought to be possible.

We are more lenient on plutonium. We are saying that they should consider what they can do to reduce plutonium because we have huge plutonium producers in the U.K. and France and in The Hague and so forth based upon an economic calculation that is probably not valid any longer: that it would be economically useful to go for reprocessing and breeder reactors. But it will take time to move us out of that.

As GNEP demonstrates, breeder reactors may indeed come back in the world if we need more nuclear power. It's just not a subject that fills many people with enthusiasm in the U.S. If you look at the problem of energy in the world, well, it may take on a little different color. While we say that one should reduce it to what is needed, we are not saying that repossessing should be outlawed.

KIMBALL: Bob, you had another comment about this.

EINHORN: Yeah, just on the entry into force. I actually think that they came to the right conclusion that there should be five and no more. Why? Because those are the five NPT nuclear-weapon states so they have a responsibility to take such steps. If the five joined, I think that would put very substantial pressure on the others to come onboard. I think that would be effective, whereas if you made adherence by seven or eight or nine a necessary requirement, I think it could have an opposite effect. I think we had that opposite effect with India and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Also, if you decide more than five, where do you stop? Is it seven? Is it eight? The eighth, of course, is Israel. I know Israel's position on an FMCT. It's non-recognition; it's "head in the sand" because Israel doesn't want to have to defend to its public that we have enough and we don't need more because what's enough? Israel doesn't admit that it has a nuclear capability.

I think if you try to get seven or eight, you import into this issue all kinds of difficult political problems and you may hang up getting a treaty at all. I think five is the right number.

BLIX: I would disagree with you on this one. I think we talked about the Indian deal a little while ago and the risk that if they were to go on and import more uranium it could also cause Pakistan to move with it and China as well. I think it would be highly desirable to have them there.

In the case of Israel, yes, I agree that's a complication that they don't admit that they have nuclear weapons. However, I think that's something that would be finessed. Maybe, you can have commitments which are made to the Security Council. I'm glad that we have some disagreements too.

KIMBALL: Beyond the specifics here, let me draw us back to something that Bob said in his comments about the FMCT that I think is important to remember is that while there is this United States proposal that's been put forward, there are differences at the Conference on Disarmament about verification. There continue to be differences about whether other issues can be discussed or negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament.

The United States does not support the discussion of a treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. For all intents and purposes, this proposal is there, but it is not going anywhere soon, at least in our estimation. Therefore I think it is important to come back to what Bob has suggested, which is that it might be useful for there to be a similar agreement that is reached among the seven key countries that have acknowledged they have nuclear weapons to stop fissile material for weapons purposes.

I think we have run out of time. We have covered an enormous amount of ground. I want to thank the audience for your patience and your interest. I want to thank Dr. Blix for his time, once again, with the Arms Control Association, and to our discussants for reading the report, thinking about it, and providing us with their thoughtful remarks. We do have many copies out front, courtesy of the WMD Commission and the Swedish Embassy. I know you probably already have one, but I would encourage you to take one on the way out for a friend because my staff doesn't want to bring back loads of boxes to our office and we want people to use them.

We've covered a lot here, and let me just remind you about one theme that comes out of the report that I think is important for us to remember as we go away from this, which is something that Dr. Blix notes in his preface: all WMD are inherently dangerous in anybody's hands and so long as any state has such weapons, especially nuclear weapons, others will want them. This is a problem that exists. Whether the United States or other countries have them or don't have them, we all need to work together and try to move forward to make progress. Thank you very much. (Applause.)


Reliable Replacement Warhead: Does the United States Need a New Breed of Nuclear Weapon?








APRIL 25, 2006

Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL G. KIMBALL: Ladies and gentlemen, if you could please find your seats, we'll begin our program. I'm Daryl Kimball. I'm the executive director of the Arms Control Association, and I want to welcome you to the Henry L. Stimson Center. We're using this facility for the first time. It's a new office for the Stimson Center. We hope you didn't get lost finding your way here. There may be a few other people coming in a little late because we're at a location that we typically don't use for our events. We have many members and friends of the Arms Control Association here, but for those of you who are not familiar with us, we're a non-profit, non-partisan research and public education organization. We're devoted to work regarding the threats posed by nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and practical strategies to deal with those weapons dangers, and we publish the journal Arms Control Today.

This afternoon's session is but the latest of our ongoing efforts to encourage critical thinking and practical solutions about how to stymie global arms competition, nuclear arms competition in particular, and how to reduce the saliency of nuclear weapons. The Arms Control Association and many of our other colleague organizations have sought to strengthen the norm against nuclear testing to stop the development of new nuclear weapons for new military missions. And just as a backdrop for today's session on the Reliable Replacement Warhead program and whether the United States needs a new breed of nuclear weapons, let me just recount for you some of the recent developments that led to the initiation of this program.

As you are aware, there has been a debate over the last four years in Congress about the Bush administration's research and development proposal for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), as well as a proposal for research called the Advanced Concepts Initiative, which was, in part, intended to pursue new warheads with new capabilities designed to destroy chemical and biological targets. Now, due to the efforts of several members of Congress, Congress rejected those proposals, the RNEP program in particular, and the Bush administration proposed a new effort to develop a new family of so-called reliable replacement warheads: RRW. You'll hear that acronym over and again this afternoon.

The purpose, according to the [Department of Energy's] National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), is to sustain existing nuclear weapons capabilities at lower cost and without nuclear test explosions. Now, at first glance the program goals might seem appealing, but we-the Arms Control Association, other organizations, and experts-were skeptical and last year we called on Congress to take a harder look at the assumptions used to justify RRW. We suggested that RRW isn't necessary if the existing Stockpile Stewardship program to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing arsenal is working. We noted that if new RRW designs introduce new, untested concepts, it could increase doubts about the reliability, not decrease doubts about the reliability, of the enduring nuclear stockpile. We cautioned that RRW could, perhaps in future years, become a backdoor means to create new warheads with new military capabilities that the Bush administration continues to assert are needed for the United States national defense in the future. And of course, if the United States were to resume nuclear testing or to pursue new weapons for new missions, we believe that this could lead other states to pursue countermeasures and lead to increased nuclear competition and a decrease in global security.

So last year what Congress decided to do was to approve funding for the program, but it established in law a set of parameters to help ensure - and I'll quote here briefly from the Energy and Water Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2006. They stipulated that "Any design work done under the RRW program must stay within the military requirements of the existing deployed stockpile and any new weapon design must stay within the design parameters validated by past nuclear tests." So here we are a year after the RRW program was proposed. The weapons laboratories and the National Nuclear Security Administration have clearly expanded their vision for the program. And as outlined in recent congressional testimony and in an interim report to Congress, the NNSA states that it not only wants to build a replacement for the W-76 warhead, which is on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, by 2012, but it wants to replace each of the several types of warheads in the existing arsenal over the course of the next three decades with RRW warheads. The NNSA's interim report also asserts, without much explanation, that nuclear weapons lab directors have concerns about the continuing ability of the Stockpile Stewardship program to maintain the existing stockpile. It also suggests that new features should be introduced into RRW warheads, such as those relating to safety characteristics or use control.

Finally, officials at the National Nuclear Security Administration argue that RRW is "an enabler" for building a new and modernized nuclear weapons production complex. So as each of our speakers will explain in the next few minutes, we think there remains ample reason to continue to be wary and skeptical about the program. I also would argue that in the next year Congress needs to further clarify and limit the program to avoid mission creep. If program justifications continue to be inadequate, Congress should not hesitate to cut funding for RRW. Early next month the congressional committees that have jurisdiction are going to mark up their respective bills that relate to RRW, and later this year the NNSA is scheduled to select a candidate design for the first RRW weapon.

So with that, let me introduce our panelists. Each of them will speak for a few minutes and then we're going to take your questions.

First we have Richard Garwin, who is an IBM fellow emeritus at the Watson Research Center. Dr. Garwin has a long and extremely distinguished résumé and decades of experience dealing with nuclear weapons design and nuclear policy issues. He's going to describe possible technical options for RRW design, what types of changes could be done, which should not be done, and what the implications are for possible nuclear testing. Dr. Ivan Oelrich is vice president of the Strategic Security Project at the Federation of American Scientists. He is going to address why Congress has sought to restrict the RRW program, specifically with respect to changes that could lead to new military capabilities in the arsenal. Finally, Dr. Rob Nelson, who is a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, is going to discuss the status of current efforts to maintain the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile under the current Stockpile Stewardship program, and why, in his view, the RRW program is unnecessary. And Rob also has written an excellent article in this month's issue of Arms Control Today.

So with that, I'll turn the microphone over to Dick Garwin.

RICHARD L. GARWIN: Thank you. I have a lot of papers on my website, which is not listed here, but it is http://www.FAS.org/rlg/, and once you get there you'll find a number of background papers, including a 2001 paper "Maintaining Nuclear Weapons Safe and Reliable under a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty", which discusses this subject.

There also is a very thorough paper by Jonathan Medalia [of the Congressional Research Service], that you will find on the FAS website. This describes the arguments in favor and those against the RRW program, and also the budgetary actions which seem to be reducing efforts for stockpile life extension, which is predictable because there is an RRW program in the wings and people are paid to make it look more appealing. One way to make it look more appealing is to eliminate the alternatives. At the end of Jonathan's paper there is an appendix, "Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Weapons Complex."

That sets the general stage on what is a thermal nuclear weapon. All of the weapons that we're talking about have a primary nuclear explosive, which is boosted. It has gas that is put in at the last moment so that the fission explosion is boosted to a higher level and the soft x-rays come out captured by a radiation case, and they are held there so as to implode a secondary that has the fusion fuel. So we're talking about the primary, the secondary, the radiation case, and a lot of parts outside the so-called physics package.

Now, we do have replacement warheads. That's what this life extension program is all about. Rob will talk about this more. Nobody is suggesting that the weapons that we will use to replace the weapons, whose life has not been extended, are unreliable, but you wouldn't want to call this just a new fangled replacement warhead; you call it a reliable replacement warhead, which unfortunately has the implications that the other things are not reliable, but they are.

When you talk to the laboratory directors, which I have done for many years, their concern over the long-term effectiveness of the life-extension program, the Stockpile Stewardship program, is people. They don't have, or they fear they won't have, challenging jobs for people, for weapon designers. They're not advocating testing. But there are no new designs because what we're doing is to maintain the weapons of existing type in the stockpile for decades. The W-87 Life Extension Program makes that weapon survive at least until the year 2030. We've learned a lot; that is, the core of the primary nuclear weapons, according to the laboratories, will now last at least 60 years. And every year, with accelerated aging of plutonium, we get 14 years more of experience. So just wait three years and we'll know whether they will last 100 years or not. But luckily we have a good many decades to do something about it if they won't.

What's likely to happen? Well, because there is all this advertising to make [RRW] look more necessary and more desirable, a number of things may be different from the very conservative approach that we have now of simply maintaining in the stockpile weapons of existing type. For instance, you could have more emphasis on variable yields. If you have a 500-kiloton weapon, which is 40 times the explosive yield of the Hiroshima weapon, you might want to also, for a lesser target, to have a one-kiloton weapon or a five-kiloton weapon. Of course, the fact is that we do have those. Every weapon that we have now has the capability of being fired either with the boosted primary yield, which is in the range of some kilotons, or the unboosted primary yield without putting in the boost gas, which is substantially less. Some of them may not have the little switches that allow you to do that, but they can be put in with absolutely no prospect of unreliability.

It is argued that in the new environment of terrorism, people might capture one of our nuclear weapons and detonate it on the spot, which would be bad, or they might take it away and detonate it where there are even more important targets, such as those in cities. And our current nuclear weapons, although they are proofed against accidental detonation, are not proofed against being stolen and researched for months and months and then used as a nuclear explosive. It's very difficult to imagine how you would make a weapon which is proofed against that. I worked on the first permissive action links in the early 1960s, and Johnny Foster and others had all kinds of wonderful ideas, and now what they will try to do is to improve the current permissive action links, make them buried more in the explosive, but you can always take the pin out and put more explosive around it. There are other ways. When somebody is breaking into your nuclear weapon, you can arrange that it will render itself unusable - not just resistant but unusable, and we need to look to see what can be done with weapons of existing type rather than involve this in the RRW.

The RRW, though, in the tri-lab May 20, 2005 paper Sustaining the Nuclear Enterprise is supposed to be much more than that. It's supposed to lay the basis with a responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure for quickly responding to new needs for new kinds of nuclear weapons. You can bet that the designers will, and in my opinion should, look at designing new types of nuclear weapons. Without an RRW, they won't actually manufacture new nuclear weapons; they will design nuclear weapons, among them those that exist. They will test them by simulation in computers. The Stockpile Stewardship program and the Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative, or whatever it is now called, is what makes an RRW program possible, but it doesn't make it desirable.

My principle fear is that all the technical people, including me, will, at some time, five years from now, agree that the RRW design is sufficiently conservative that it can be put into the stockpile with a high reliability of working when it is called upon to work. But after we have a stockpile with [reliable replacement warheads] replacing a lot of the old tested weapons, how many in Congress does it take, or in the military, to say, "nobody has ever tested this design of nuclear weapon and I will not be responsible for managing the stockpile and assuring that it will work during wartime without at least one test."

So I worry not that it's necessary but that it's almost inevitable that a generation of replacement warheads that are not as identical as possible to the ones that we have in the inventory will sooner or later call forth a politically demanded nuclear test. And that will open the floodgates to the Russians testing and the Chinese testing. The Chinese can make real improvements in their nuclear weaponry with a few tests because they've had only 43 compared with our more than a thousand nuclear tests. Planning ahead, these folks (the Chinese and the Russians) are not going to wait, they will make the same calculation I do; they will prepare to test. We will see them preparing to test. We will not allow them to test first, and so we will have, for absolutely no good reason and much to our security detriment, an outbreak of nuclear testing that will then legitimize the acquisition of nuclear weapons by those people who don't have any.

I'll be glad later to answer questions.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Dr. Garwin. Let's turn this over to Ivan, if you would, please.

IVAN OELRICH: Daryl has asked me to talk about missions for nuclear weapons. The administration, as Daryl pointed out, sends some mixed signals about new nuclear missions and new nuclear capabilities. It's virtually axiomatic within the arms control community that we should not add any new nuclear missions, and the surrogate for new missions is new warheads, and so we oppose functionally new warheads. The administration realizes that this is at least an important political issue and sometimes says the right things, giving reassurance that regardless of whether the RRW turns out to be a variant of an existing warhead or a new design it will only fulfill existing nuclear missions. Congress seems to agree that this is a constraint, or at least it should be a constraint, but at other times statements from both the Departments of Defense and Energy point out that the legacy arsenal that we've inherited from the Cold War is not the most appropriate one for current conditions. Strategic Command's commander has implied that he no longer has a need for multi-hundred kiloton warheads in the war plan, suggesting that we need smaller, more tailored new weapons. Sometimes these capabilities are set forth in terms of countering WMD threats, typically chemical and biological weapons.

So depending on how you view our current and evolving U.S. nuclear doctrine, the combination of RRW, the Reliable Replacement Warhead, and talk of tailored weapons may or may not cause any additional worry. The development of new doctrine and a plan called global strike, laid out in great detail in a recent FAS report by Hans Kristensen, seems to shift significantly the emphasis toward nuclear preemption, even against non-nuclear-weapon powers. I think this comes about in part because of the profligate use of what I consider this unfortunate term of weapons of mass destruction, which includes at least chemical and biological weapons, as I said. But it's wrong because people realize that WMD is a way of getting the attention of the bureaucracy and of getting budget priorities, and so the definition has expanded, and I've seen briefings in the Pentagon that include cyber attacks and radiological weapons, and even large truck bombs in the definition of WMD.

So by using this overly broad term we conflate nuclear weapons with much less dangerous and devastating weapons. We obscure the fact that nuclear weapons are in a class all to themselves, and we're setting ourselves up to justify preemptive attack against a non-nuclear-weapon power because we think they might be thinking about using chemical weapons, for example. That's why I said before that RRW may cause no additional concern. We have enough to worry about already just with global strike.

In one sense, none of these suggested missions are new missions for nuclear weapons because how could there possibly be any new missions for nuclear weapons? Back in the 1960s and 1970s there were few missions for which nuclear weapons were not considered. Looking back on those years, we see that anything that we could put a nuclear warhead on, we did put a nuclear warhead on. We had nuclear-armed torpedoes and depth charges and nuclear artillery and nuclear anti-aircraft missiles, and even rockets.

One by one, nuclear weapons were displaced from each mission, and it wasn't because of arms control treaties, it wasn't because of political pressure or moral revulsion against nuclear weapons, but because advances in sensors and miniature electronic computers made precision-guided conventional weapons the militarily preferred solution. Nuclear weapons will always be efficient at blowing up large military installations and cities, and their enormous power is required to quickly and reliably destroy certain hard-point targets, for example, missile silos, but nuclear weapons have simply become obsolete for almost all tactical missions. That's why I said that these are not really technically new missions. But now with global strike I think we're seeing some reversal of this long-term trend away from nuclear weapons, and I believe the direction of RRW can't help but be affected by this continuing doctrinal evolution.

One of these new essential missions will be destroying chemical and biological weapons. Whenever this mission, or any other nuclear mission, for that matter, is suggested, I recommend that you just ask for the details. By running through the actual use, from targeting to consequences, you'll find that nuclear weapons are the weapon of choice only under the most contrived circumstances and often require a cooperative enemy. In general, a nuclear attack requires identifying a target with a fixed location that lies in this band where it's challenging enough that conventional weapons are not adequate, but it's not so challenging that even nuclear weapons are thwarted.

Justifying nuclear weapons for attack of chemical and biological weapons, for example, requires that they not be in bunkers or stored on the surface where conventional explosives and incendiary weapons could destroy them, but they're not so deep that they're out of range of the sterilizing effect of a nuclear fireball, which is a surprisingly short range in rock. Nuclear mission are often based on unrealistic tactical assumptions. As Michael Levi pointed out in a recent New York Times op-ed, the immense power of nuclear weapons is required only when the results have to be instantaneous, such as attacking a missile silo because the missile might be launched at any second. But the Iranians are years away from maturing a gas centrifuge plan. Why do we need to make it go away in the blink of an eye? If we decide to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, not something I'm recommending by the way, we could do so over a period of months with conventional weapons. There's no need for the instantaneous effect of nuclear weapons.

Finally, we have to consider consequences. In the short term these will be horrendous. Most of the nuclear missions being discussed require substantial nuclear yields, at least multi-kiloton if not tens of kilotons. We have to put these things in perspective. We have to remember that in definitions used in legislation, a so-called small nuclear weapon is one that's a third of the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, or 2,000 times more powerful than the Oklahoma City bomb. Small nuclear weapons are big bombs, so blast and fallout effects will be severe.

The long-term damage will be just as severe. Breaking the six-decade-long taboo against nuclear weapons will legitimize nuclear weapons, of course, and that can only work against the interests of the one nation with the clear-cut global conventional superiority. I believe this long transition away from nuclear missions is the right path and we should not let the RRW divert us from the path. We should not let arguments for new missions push the RRW. We need to step back and ask what the real mission of the RRW might be.

Last fall, I wrote a short piece on the RRW in the form of "if X, then Y" because I didn't really know what the RRW was. I'm still not sure. I don't think the program is very well defined. But as Dr. Garwin pointed out, everything I learned about the RRW suggests that at least part of the justification might be that it's really a means to an end rather than an end in itself. The end, the real mission of the RRW, is to focus a design effort and eventually a build effort as a part of the program to keep a warm standby nuclear production capability. If this is the primary mission, so to speak, of the RRW, then that should be our primary focus. But keeping a substantial nuclear production capability rests on some big assumptions about where we think we should be going with nuclear weapons and their salience and what we want the world's nuclear picture to look like decades in the future.

I said that RRW should not open up new nuclear missions, but I think in the long term we should be more ambitious. Rather than simply avoid new missions, we could design the RRW, if it comes to pass, to actually eliminate old missions. More generally, can we use the RRW as a focus of debate, specifically in Congress, about where we want to be heading with nuclear weapons? Just one specific example to illustrate how these requirements come out from just unquestioned assumptions is that virtually all of the concern about possible need for nuclear testing, the concerns about warhead aging, the need for a special standby weapons manufacture capability, and the need for a reliable replacement warhead-all the current warheads are reliable-come about because of the potential problems with the plutonium in the core of a two-stage thermal nuclear weapon. All of the weapons in the current nuclear stockpile are two-stage thermal nuclear weapons, but who says they have to be? Far simpler uranium bombs would put to rest forever any question about warhead aging and reliability. It's true that the simplest possible gun-assembled uranium bombs might not be one point safe, but who says they have to be stored assembled? We could keep half here and half there and the explosive charge someplace else.

We need plutonium-powered weapons only because we have to have multi-hundred kiloton weapons on constant alert, mounted atop land-based missiles and forward-deployed submarines. Simple uranium weapons with 1/20th the yield can't meet the current mission requirements. But rather than solve the problem of plutonium cores, we need to reexamine the mission requirements. If we limited nuclear weapons to one mission and one mission only-that is, threatening retaliation against military and economic targets of a nuclear power that might attack us with nuclear weapons-then uranium bombs are perfectly adequate for the job. Eventually, we might need new weapons, but we should do that only when we've decided that nuclear weapons are weapons of last resort and they only have this one mission remaining.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much. Rob, do we need to have RRW? What's the situation with the current Stockpile Stewardship program?

ROBERT W. NELSON: Well, I basically have one point to make, and that is that the current nuclear arsenal isn't broken. There is nothing unreliable about it. But the tremendous danger is that Congress, other policymakers, and the public will get the perception that there is something unreliable with our current stockpile and it will probably lead us to fiddle with the existing stockpile and lead us to the road to resume nuclear testing.

The Stockpile Stewardship program that we have today was designed to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal in an era without testing. It is working. That's not just me saying that; that's Linton Brooks, the director of the National Nuclear Security Administration. He repeatedly states that the Stockpile Stewardship program is working: "We are absolutely convinced the stockpile is safe and reliable."

Today we have an arsenal of almost 10,000 nuclear warheads based on 60 years of research and development. The U.S. conducted over 1,000 nuclear tests to design and certify these weapons, and we essentially froze that stockpile after the last testing ended in September of 1992.

The U.S. currently maintains its nuclear arsenal through a $6.7 billion Stockpile Stewardship program. As part of the program, each year 11 sample weapons are disassembled, taken apart, and looked at for any signs of aging and corrosion. If there are non-nuclear components that have to be replaced, they will be replaced. Even if eventually some of the nuclear components have to be replaced, we can manufacture them according to their original specifications. But as Dick said, the very name Reliable Replacement Warhead suggests that there is something unreliable about the current stockpile. Statements from the labs or from the NNSA seem to contribute to this perception that there is something wrong. At least they're always very unclear and equivocal. For example, "Over the longer term, we may face concerns about whether accumulated changes in age-affected weapons components, whose replacements might have to be manufactured by changed processes, could lead to inadequate performance margins and reduce confidence in the stockpile." In other words, there's nothing wrong now; we're just speculating that there might be, in the future, some uncertainty in the confidence of the stockpile.

That has led already committees in Congress to be concerned about the current status of the stockpile. In the House Appropriations Committee report accompanying the fiscal year 2006 Energy and Water appropriations bill, it was stated that, "Congressional testimony by NNSA officials is beginning to erode the confidence of the committee that the Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship program is performing as advertised." So, as you can already see, even though there is no public evidence that there is anything wrong with the current stockpile, it's simply the perception that something is not going well that will eventually lead us to resume testing.

At one time there was concern that the plutonium pits at the core of every nuclear weapon might be damaged over time due to the radiation caused by the plutonium in the pit itself. The self-irradiation, in principle, could have damaged the metal lattice that binds the material together, but as Dick mentioned briefly, there are currently so-called accelerated aging experiments going on at Livermore and, I believe, Los Alamos that have, at least in the press, been reported to predict pit lifetimes in excess of 90-plus years. Now, we haven't gotten an official number yet. Those data are supposed to be released at the end of this year, and I hope that the Department of Energy eventually does release an actual number. But, in any case, it appears as though the weapons we have already will last at least another 50 years before there are problems with pit aging. Even if there were problems, we could always manufacture those pits and replace them according to original specifications.

It seems absurd that given that we don't have any problems with the current stockpile-it ain't broke-why are we planning to try to fix it? The RRW program would reorient the primary post-Cold War mission in the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories from stockpile maintenance to the development of new replacement warhead designs. It seems implausible to me, and both Dick and Ivan have mentioned this, that if we start placing weapons into the stockpile that have never been tested, regardless of what the technical people at the labs and outside the labs say, invariably there will be political pressure by members of Congress, members of the military, to test those weapons, and inevitably then we end up in the cycle where our testing is responded to by both Russia and China.

The main point that I want to make that you should go away with is that there is no evidence, at least in the public domain, that has been put forward to suggest that there is anything wrong with the current U.S. nuclear stockpile. Before we start replacing it, we ought to ask hard questions about what are the fundamental reasons why. So I'll stop there.

KIMBALL: Thank you. I want to thank all the three panelists for their excellent presentations. We've presented you with a lot of information and now it's your turn to ask us some questions, clarifications, so the floor is yours. Raise your hand and identify yourself and tell us who you want to direct your question towards. Have we answered every question possibly imaginable about RRW? Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Ira Shorr, PSR. I would like to ask a question about what you believe - and this could be to anybody on the panel - the strategic and ideological underpinnings of this program might be? We've talked about - some have already spoken of the fact that we need different kinds of nukes, maybe smaller nukes, for different kind of target scenarios, but Dr. Garwin talked about the fact that we could change nuclear weapons without RRW to fit those scenarios if we wanted to. So, aside from the issue of jobs and scientists and keeping scientists fresh, what might be the ideological and strategic underpinnings of those that are sort of moving us in this direction?

GARWIN: Well, I think there are two questions and one is the creation of the program and the other is support for the program. Creation of the program I mentioned. The laboratory directors really worry where in 20 years they're going to find people who are interested in nuclear weapons. These are jobs in an old industry; you are not allowed to redesign the automobile. This lasts for a long time and they weren't used to that. But we have had the experience with the Stockpile Stewardship program. We've learned a vast amount about these things. The fact that plutonium does not swell because of the decay-induced dislocation and helium is really a very nice surprise. It's a finding from the program and it's something that we now take into account with these long lifetimes.

Now, some folks will support an RRW that is a program of new design, and to exercise the new production capabilities as well. That's what they would like to do. On the other hand, the weapon laboratories have no understanding, in my opinion, of the cost. Is this warranted on the basis of cost in many of the public pronouncements by Linton Brooks and others that the cost of maintaining the Stockpile Stewardship program with life extension is high and continues to increase? No, it doesn't have to increase. We know a lot more about it and we can use that knowledge to reduce the cost. Will [RRW] be cheaper? Well, it depends how many nuclear weapons you have in the stockpile. If you're going to reduce the number by a factor five or 10, then the number that you have to keep up to snuff is reduced by a factor five or 10. But the infrastructure that you have to lay in designing new ones and certifying them doesn't depend on the number of weapons of the given type that you're going to build.

This is all pie in the sky so far. When it comes down to selecting one of the competitive designs and getting a good cost and a comparative cost for the program, it may sort itself out. Now, the program manager's opportunity is to get the decision made before the facts are in, and so that's what you see happening. A lot of people are ideologically in favor of this program because they want something new; because they rely on simplistic arguments like the stockpile was built for the Cold War. It would be a miracle if it were optimum for the present situation. Of course, it's not optimum. But how much more does it cost us than if we were given the optimum stockpile and how much will it cost us to obtain the optimum stockpile, and what difference does it make anyhow?

So it's something new; everybody likes something new. It goes against the current program, which are legacy programs. The more you get rid of that, the better off you are in some people's minds. That's my judgment. I don't know; other people may differ on this.

NELSON: You asked about new military requirements. At the moment, the labs, the NNSA, and Congress, by legislation, requires that the RRW design does not have new military requirements; that is, not have new effects to attack new types of targets. What they do intend to do is to, "relax the military characteristics," and that essentially means allowing the size, the shape, the weight of the actual warhead to be somewhat larger in order to, in their mind, increase the so-called performance margins of the weapon. But there certainly will be cost associated with that. For example, if you start increasing the size and weight of the nuclear effects package inside the warhead, you have to recertify it to fly within its reentry body. So one issue related to cost is how expensive will it be to flight test and possibly recertify the reentry body that goes along with the warhead, and will the Navy and other departments in the Defense Department be willing to spend those funds ultimately if we deploy this weapon?

KIMBALL: Further questions? Yes, sir, in the back.

QUESTION: Yeah, Pete Stockton with POGO. Brooks has said a number of times that a rationale for going ahead with RRW is that there is a problem with the safety and surety of the weapons and that they could be upgraded in RRW. It's our understanding from talking to the people that actually certify the weapons and are involved in the [Lifetime Extension] program that they are upgrading the surety and safety of the weapons currently. So it's unclear to me, you know, what we're going to get from RRW, but tell me about this.

GARWIN: Well, if you look at the actual statements, it's not that there is a problem. It's that we now know how to make things even safer and surer. And then you engage in a dialogue and you say, "well, are they safe enough?," and then they say, "it's never safe enough." But how much does it cost to get that little increment of safety. Does that mean that we're going to eliminate perfectly good weapons that were otherwise being stockpiled with their life extension program already completed until 2030 in order to get this increase in safety and surety? Now, once you have the 10 to the minus 9 probability of accident during the weapon's lifetime, and I could reduce that by a factor of 10-it's never going to happen anyhow-so reducing by a factor 10, and then you get that and you'll say I can reduce it by another factor 10. What are we paying for this very minor improvement?

So that's what's involved and you have to go behind it and say, look, you want us to pay for it; what will be the benefit? What is the expected loss; the probability of loss times the number of deaths or the damage caused on a cost-benefit relationship? Does this pay? Then, if they have an answer to that, you ask them, what is the discounted present value of that? You know, benefits much later, costs upfront. We do that on every other program; we ought to be doing that here too.

KIMBALL: I would just note that one of the first issues that Congress wanted clarification from the Department of Energy and NNSA about-and this is in last year's fiscal 2006 Defense Authorization Act-"is to identify existing warheads recommended for replacement by 2035 with an assessment of the weapons' performance and safety characteristics of the replacement warheads." So this is one of the issues that Congress needs to get to the bottom of. Are these improvements necessary? How marginal are they? And are they ultimately worth the tremendous costs of going through this new kind of program?

QUESTION: Thank you. This question is for Mr. Nelson. You stated that if it turns out that there are serious problems with pits we can always remanufacture them to original specifications. At present I believe that's not exactly true because the original specifications called for wrought plutonium pits and today we only have the capability to build the cast ones. So I guess my question to you is there has been some debate which has not been resolved, as far as I know, for whether the properties of cast and wrought pits are exactly identical. My question to you is, in making that statement, are you coming down on one side or another on that debate? Do you believe that there is no difference, or are you supporting building a modern pit facility that will allow us to build wrought pits?

NELSON: Well, actually I think that I'm going to throw this one to Dick because he's much more of an expert on this than I am.

GARWIN: This was an early question when people at Los Alamos started manufacturing pits there. They had them made at Rocky Flats, but Rocky Flats was shut down and Los Alamos was made to bite the bullet and build new pits at TA-55 for the W-88 nuclear weapon. I was on the visiting committee that looked at this. We have made certifiable pits. They are made by cast and machine process. The decision was made and people have judged that cast and wrought perform equivalently. One can find minor differences in strength, and the more we know about it, the more they are equivalent within the range that you need.

There is not a significant difference in primary yield and you don't need to reopen that question. That decision has been made. Remanufacturing to original specification will allow the substitution of cast plutonium for wrought plutonium so long as the dimensions are correct.

KIMBALL: There was a gentleman back here that had a question.

QUESTION: My name is Michael Glenzer. I'm a reporter with Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor. With respect to the cost question, remanufacturing to existing capabilities, part of the cost considerations that have been brought up by NNSA with respect to that is that that requires the maintenance of a vast infrastructure that costs a lot, not only in terms of the physical maintenance but also security maintenance as security requirements increase. Is there a way to decrease those costs without going to an RRW, which is NNSA's case at this point, that it's necessary?

GARWIN: Well, again, that depends on the scale. If you look back at the 1995 era, the early days facing the no-test era, Sandia put out a remanufacturing schedule that assumed that every weapon would be remanufactured exactly 30 years after it was built. So it had enormous peaks, a couple thousand weapons per year. That means you needed a tremendous capital investment in people and facilities to be able to remanufacture at that rate.

Faced with that, any sensible person would have said, let's remanufacture a few years earlier; it can only be better, and we'll spend a lot less on the infrastructure and we'll have to pay the money a little bit earlier, but it's a clear win. Now that we know that we're going to have fewer nuclear weapons, and if people will really decide that we want only 2,000 weapons in the stockpile instead of 2,000 operationally deployed strategic weapons, which is a big difference, then we could decide what kind of structure we need. The Los Alamos pit manufacturing is a dozen or so weapons per year. It's not limited by the production rate; it's limited by some other things like little storage facility for the pits that you've made. In my opinion, if they really wanted to do it, they could improve that and make at least one pit a week there. So with green eyeshades, you know, cut down what you don't need.

A lot of decisions in the Department of Energy are made on workload leveling or need for work in this district versus some other. Let's start from a bottom-up approach. We could build new pits where it is cheaper on a one-for-one replacement, and that's what we ought to do. Whether one calls that a responsive infrastructure or whether one calls it simply rebuilding the system because of aging or routine replacement. It makes no difference.

KIMBALL: There is one other issue to consider with respect to cost comparisons, which is that the Department of Energy is suggesting that the life extension programs will continue for 30 or so years while RRW warheads replace the Lifetime Extension programs (LEPs), which means that in my view there is a strong possibility that RRW projects are going to be layered over existing LEP projects. In other words, you're not going to substitute one for the other until several decades down the road.

What that implies is that rather than spending $6.7 billion a year on the current program, you may be spending more than that in future years. The Department of Energy and NNSA have not yet answered Congress's question about that. That's another one of Congress's questions. The interim report that [the Departments of Energy and Defense] delivered in March does not address that issue, and they need to be pressed on that because if that is true, then the RRW program is a net addition to three or so decades rather than a substitution for the current approach. Yes, ma'am?

QUESTION: My name is Stacey from the Threat Reduction Support Center and I have a question for all the panelists, maybe if you're able to answer, how the Russians might react to the RRW program? But first I'd like to look back to what Dr. Garwin had mentioned about the RRW program leading to nuclear testing. Actually, I believe you had said that it's inevitable that it would lead to nuclear testing and then that would also open the floodgates to China and Russia to nuclear testing as well. But it's on the books of Congress isn't it that nuclear testing isn't part of the RRW program-

GARWIN: Well, neither was invading Iraq part of the response, and somehow it happened. (Laughter.)

KIMBALL: So your question is what will be the Russian reaction?

QUESTION: Yes, aside from the nuclear testing; because testing isn't part of the RRW program as the feasibility study is ongoing, and also taking into account that the Russians have an aggressive R&D program themselves.

GARWIN: That's right. The Russians have an active program at their test site. They spend a lot more money there than we spend at ours. They will of course look at this program. They will make their own judgment. They'll look beyond the words. They'll ask what will happen-as much as they can predict in American society-what will happen if the RRW program goes forward and they manufacture never-tested warheads? Particularly, with all of the statements on the record, including mine and weapon laboratories directors and others, that [we] would never put an untested weapon into a stockpile.

Well, these are old statements from 10 years ago and 20 years ago. We will know more, so it may be scientifically justifiable to put an untested weapon into a stockpile. But there will be people still with the old mindset who, after they are faced with this and are told to assume the responsibility to swear that the weapons will perform as required, they'll say, "I can't do that unless they're tested." There also will be others who [will push for testing] for their own reasons or concerns, or simply because they want to get rid of this stricture of a test moratorium; exactly what happened with the ABM Treaty and many other things. People who do not like treaties, who do not like any restraints on our activities will find common cause with people in other countries who don't want restraints on their activities and we will be back in a nuclear testing era.

KIMBALL: I think this person over here. You had a question and I couldn't see you.

QUESTION: Yes, my name is Erika Simpson and I'm an associate professor of international relations at the University of Western Ontario, which is in Canada. I actually work very closely with Senator Douglas Roche, who is the chair of the Middle Powers Initiative, and he's putting together this Article VI Forum, which is collecting together middle powers from all around the world, and they're trying to encourage support of Article VI [of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)], so my question relates to how RRW will affect the perception that people have that the United States is going to continue to rely on nuclear weapons forever. The bargain in the NPT surrounding Article VI was that the United States and other countries would move toward general and complete disarmament. So I wonder what the implications are going to be for the rest of the world if you do go ahead.

KIMBALL: Ivan, do you want to take a stab?

OELRICH: Well, I mean, I can't get the impression that the current administration takes Article VI terribly seriously. And despite all the discussion about RRW, I have to admit, I don't think the program is well defined yet and so we have to be a little bit cautious about it is this and it isn't that because different people [in Congress] have very different ideas about what "it" is as opposed to when you talk to people at NNSA. So presumably all this will eventually get worked out.

But with that caveat. From what I understand from people in the labs and NNSA is that one of the key missions of the RRW is to provide this mechanism for keeping a design capability fresh and keeping a warm standby production capability into the indefinite future. If you look at the sizes they're talking about, that only makes sense if we are going to continue to maintain an arsenal of a few thousand nuclear weapons, not many thousands, and have the ability to rapidly ramp that up in the future in response to some unforeseen, and by me unforeseeable, future event. It sends the message that we are looking into the indefinite future to having a heavy reliance on nuclear weapons.

GARWIN: As Ivan pointed out, a lot of the cases when you would think about using nuclear weapons require extreme assumptions. It has to be too hard for conventional weapons and just easy enough for nuclear weapons. That's when you would use the responsive infrastructure. It would take you several years to make any significant number of nuclear weapons. So now you have to imagine an event where you will have that much time in order to exercise your responsive infrastructure. But the administration is not deaf to the benefits of showing they know about Article VI, and in fact, in some of the speeches you will find justifications for the RRW that will allow us to reduce the number of weapons. That's one of the desired advantages because we will be able to respond more rapidly to a problem if it arises.

I think I'd rather read Max Kampelman's op-ed piece in the New York Times yesterday about the time President Reagan shocked the National Security Council by revealing that he had discussed with Gorbachev the prospect of eliminating U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons.

KIMBALL: Just to briefly answer your question in a slightly different way. So long as the United States continues to plan to maintain its stockpile for the indefinite future and does not proactively pursue diplomatic strategies that would help lead to the elimination of all nuclear weapons, this kind of activity is going to create concerns among other states. I'm sure that the United States is interested in perpetuating its nuclear arsenal and is not serious about ever doing Article VI. But I'm an American; maybe Canadians can answer the question of how others will react better than I can.

Mr. Ota, please.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Masa Ota, working for Japanese wire agency Kyodo News. My question is regarding a reentry vehicle. Mr. Nelson touched on this issue cursorily. NNSA said their RRW is going to be larger than the current W-76. So that means it doesn't fit to the United States current reentry vehicle Mk4. So do we need a new kind of a reentry vehicle? Does that mean we need much more money for creating a new delivery system in the future?

Also, another question regarding implication for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has not been ratified due to the opposition by this administration and the Congress. If this administration made a decision to go for RRW by the end of this current administration, 2008, even if the Democrats take Congress and the White House, will that preclude the possibility of a future ratification of CTBT? That's my second question. Thank you very much.

NELSON: I can only answer the first question based on what I know from reading unclassified reports and newspaper reports. My understanding is that the W-76 replacement in this current design competition is not required to fit in the Mark 4, which is the reentry body for the W-76 and the current weapon, but in the Mark 5, which is the reentry body for the W-88, the other, I believe, 400-kiloton modern thermonuclear warhead that's in the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Now, fitting inside the reentry body doesn't mean that everything is just fine because the size, the distribution of mass in the warhead itself may affect the flight characteristics of the reentry body. You've got to remember that these things are entering the atmosphere at many times the speed of sound. There are instabilities that can develop, and they all have to be tested to make sure that the reentry body can survive its impact, and that's an expensive flight-testing program, and presumably the Navy would have to pay for it. Beyond that, I don't know; it's just my own speculation.

KIMBALL: Presumably, they're going to want to avoid that, but that is not clear at this stage. Mr. Ota, I didn't understand your question on the test ban treaty. If you could just rephrase your question on the test ban treaty.

QUESTION: …Might RRW increase the rationale not to go to CTBT ratification.

NELSON: Part of the reason why the CTBT wasn't ratified in 1999 was because of influential testimony on the part of the lab directors that they couldn't be sure that they could be sure indefinitely under a permanent testing moratorium. You could flip this around and argue that if now claim that you can develop a weapon that has such high performance margins that we don't even have to test it in order to put it in the stockpile, then surely the labs, and other people involved in the program, could endorse a permanent treaty-based comprehensive test ban. I believe that the House Democrats tried that in the FY 2006 legislation, and of course it wasn't taken seriously. This administration has no intention to bring up the CTBT for ratification, but it's certainly a valid question to ask.

KIMBALL: That could be one scenario; that's the glass-half-full scenario. The glass-half-empty scenario would be that the lab directors, if coming up to testify once again on the test ban treaty, were asked, "are you confident that the RRW program will ensure the safety and reliability of the arsenal without testing?", they could very well say, "well, the RRW program is in process. It will not be another 20 years until we replace all the existing warheads with RRW warheads. We're not confident as of yet who would be in the same pickle we were in September and October of 1999."

Fundamentally, I think the point that you take away from our presentations is what Rob was saying, which is that there is no problem with the existing arsenal that should prevent the United States from entering into a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of unlimited duration. That was the finding of the National Academy of Sciences panel in 2002 and General Shalikashvili's study from 2001. Dick Garwin and others in the audience are very familiar with these subjects. Other questions? Yes, Diane.

QUESTION: Diane Perlman. I'm a political psychologist and I study dynamics of nuclear proliferation. First of all, thank you very much, and what you're all describing in many ways, just to name it, is psychological manipulation and manipulation of perception of a need, and sort of misrepresentation of reality and certain facts to make something look more appealing than what it's not.

I also want to ask you about Article VI. Linton Brooks says we are keeping it in spades, so there's a way of saying that we're doing something that we're not doing, maybe to get people complacent. I think it's obvious that our long-term, indefinite plans are provoking proliferation, so other countries desire to proliferate, which you've all said. So we increase their desire and then try to stop them from doing what we're provoking. So it's an impossible, untenable situation; psychologically impossible. Are you concerned about Congress being seduced by the manipulation of perceptions? Is anyone addressing it on that level? Also, what are your thoughts about the real motivation for why they're doing this?

KIMBALL: Well, I think, Dick, you addressed the question before about what the motivations were. So what does Congress think about this? Perhaps each of you has some observations about what Congress understands and what some of the concerns are.

My quick assessment is that they are still learning, as many of us are still learning, about what the program is actually supposed to be. To some it sounds appealing. The program is supposed to be cheaper, safer, more reliable. It does everything except toast bagels. It's quite appealing, but I think it will take some time for Congress to get the testimony and get the answers, and when it does, I think that some of the problems that we've been trying to identify will come to light and they are likely to take a much more skeptical look than they have so far. That's my quick assessment. Others may have different views based on their personal experiences and meetings.

GARWIN: I don't know enough about enough people in Congress and staffs and how these things are actually done at the moment to make a judgment, but what I try to do is to present exactly what I know without shading the arguments one way or another. If you have a great, big program, any organization is going to find the arguments in favor, the arguments against, and they will emphasize the ones in favor. That's what they're paid to do, and these people are very good at it and they're paid a lot of money to do it.

I will also try to explain to the Congress that this is a typical activity. That shouldn't be any shock to them because they are intelligent human beings. They will know that. But these are important decisions. They're costly decisions. They have implications for our own security and for international security. So that's what I can do. Maybe my colleagues know more about the Congress.

OELRICH: First, the staffers I talk to on the Hill are a very biased selection because I only talk to people who are willing to talk to me and a lot of people aren't willing to talk to me. People tend to be willing to talk to you if they're sympathetic to your view anyway. But even with that, I think that part of the issue here is that it's very, very difficult for Congress-and staffers on the Hill, which are really on the front lines-to make any kind of technical assessment. Even people who are very cautious about nuclear weapons recognize that this is, at least right now, the way the world is, this is kind of the ultimate backstop for our security. Since oftentimes they make a technical judgment based on credentials, and say this guy is saying one thing, this guy is saying another thing, and this guy seems to be more important than this other guy so he's probably going to believe what the important guy is going to say.

But the other thing is that in this situation where they recognize that there is this really fundamental importance on nuclear weapons, even people who are very skeptical about nuclear weapons will tend to be conservative. If one person is telling them that you need to worry about this and another person is saying, nah, don't worry, they're going to say, well, maybe I should worry about this.

The arguments that we're trying to make here are very, very difficult to sell on the Hill because of that sort of natural conservatism about this fundamental security backstop that nuclear weapons today represent, and the fact that the people on the Hill are just not geared up to make technical evaluations about scientific issues.

KIMBALL: Stephen?

QUESTION: Stephen Young with the Union of Concerned Scientists. It's been handed out in various ways, but I wonder if the panel can comment on basically the differences in what the Department of Energy wants and what the Department of Defense wants. My perception is there's big differences that are very important and that's hinted at in lots of ways, but the Pentagon doesn't have a big interest in a more reliable warhead because they already have reliable enough warheads to work-the delivery vehicle is much less reliable for them, so the reliability of the warhead is already so high it doesn't need to be improved that much. They want the ability to make more warheads if need be, and new kinds of warheads for new missions if down the road they decide they want that. The Energy Department's interest is a jobs program and lots of money and more warheads. The Defense Department wants to be able to make more warheads if they need them, and different kinds of warheads down the road possibly. In that sense they might support RRW to an extent, but it's not their priority by any means.

KIMBALL: Would you agree with that assessment, Dick Garwin?

GARWIN: The Department of Defense, that is Strategic Command, the only potential user of nuclear weapons, hasn't asked for new kinds of nuclear weapons. Last year and the year before we had this Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, and that was misguided and oversold and misunderstood to the extent that Linton Brooks apologized to the Congress for not clearing up the confusion sooner; the fact being that deep penetration of nuclear weapons, in that case for enhancing the ground shock, is achieved if the weapon would go to two or three meters' depth before exploding, not to 10, 20, or 100 meters' depth. Once that was cleared up, as it was through outside reports and then a definitive report by the National Academy of Sciences that had a lot of weapon people on the panel, you would think the problem had been solved. But, no, NNSA still wants to continue with a nuclear earth penetrator program. They want to penetrate that two or three meters into granite or reinforced concrete in order to be able to use a lower-yield nuclear warhead with reduced fallout, not because it's suppressed by the underground explosion but because the ground shock is 20 times bigger when it explodes a couple meters underground.

What they have not faced is that if that's what you want to do, then you can fit an existing nuclear weapon with a conventional one-time, high-explosive shaped charge that will make a hole in the reinforced concrete or the granite so that the existing nuclear weapon can go a couple of meters. It's a system whereby there is very little technical flexibility and understanding, and in that case the desire for a nuclear weapon of new performance characteristics would be quenched because you could use existing nuclear weapons and give them this new capability by the mode of employment by having a new nuclear weapon. The same thing is true with going to the primary-only yield, for instance, in case the accuracy of the delivery system against the particular target is good enough.

So Strategic Command has not asked for new kinds of nuclear weapons. They may ask in the future, but they're pretty much realists. They know they won't get an answer right away and the need may pass, or the desire may pass. Take two of these and call me in the morning. (Laughter.)


KIMBALL: Any further questions? I think we've got time for maybe one more. If not, we will conclude. I want to thank everyone for being here. I want to thank all three of our panelists for some excellent presentations. There is more information at the Arms Control Association website, http://www.armscontrol.org. There will be a transcript of today's briefing on our website in a couple of days. I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the fas.org website and the ucsusa.org website, both of which have excellent information on this topic. Thanks again. (Applause.) (END)


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