Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy – Paul K. Kerr, Analyst in Nonproliferation – Mary Beth D. Nikitin, Specialist in Nonproliferation

May 11, 2015, Congressional Research Service 

 

Summary

Arms control and nπυρηνικά κράτηonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to implement U.S. national security strategy. Although some believe these tools do little to restrain the behavior of U.S. adversaries, while doing too much to restrain U.S. military forces and operations, many other analysts see them as an effective means to promote transparency, ease military planning, limit forces, and protect against uncertainty and surprise. Arms control and nonproliferation efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements, informal arrangements, and cooperative threat reduction and monitoring mechanisms. The pace of implementation for many of these agreements slowed during the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration usually preferred unilateral or ad hoc measures to formal treaties and agreements to address U.S. security concerns. But the Obama Administration resumed bilateral negotiations with Russia and pledged its support for a number of multilateral arms control and nonproliferation efforts. The United States and Soviet Union began to sign agreements limiting their strategic offensive nuclear weapons in the early 1970s. Progress in negotiating and implementing these agreements was often slow, and subject to the tenor of the broader U.S.-Soviet relationship. As the Cold War drew to a close in the late 1980s, the pace of negotiations quickened, with the two sides signing treaties limiting intermediate range and long-range weapons. But progress again slowed in the 1990s, as U.S. missile defense plans and a range of other policy conflicts intervened in the U.S.- Russian relationship. At the same time, however, the two sides began to cooperate on securing and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Through these efforts, the United States has allocated more than $1 billion each year to threat reduction programs in the former Soviet Union. These programs have recently reached their conclusion. The United States is also a prominent actor in an international regime that attempts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. This regime, although suffering from some setbacks in recent years in Iran and North Korea, includes formal treaties, export control coordination and enforcemΠυρηνική βόμβαent, U.N. resolutions, and organizational controls. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) serves as the cornerstone of this regime, with all but four nations participating in it. The International Atomic Energy Agency not only monitors nuclear programs to make sure they remain peaceful, but also helps nations develop and advance those programs. Other measures, such as sanctions, interdiction efforts, and informal cooperative endeavors, also seek to slow or stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons. The international community has also adopted a number of agreements that address non-nuclear weapons. The CFE Treaty and Open Skies Treaty sought to stabilize the conventional balance in Europe in the waning years of the Cold War. Other arrangements seek to slow the spread of technologies that nations could use to develop advanced conventional weapons. The Chemical Weapons and Biological Weapons Conventions sought to eliminate both of these types of weapons completely. This report will be updated annually or as needed.

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service

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Contents

Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1

National Security, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation …………………………………………………… 1

The Aπυρηνικοί πύραυλοι1rms Control Agenda …………………………………………………………………………………………… 3

Arms Control Between the United States and States of the Former Soviet Union …………………….. 4

The Early Years: SALT I and SALT II …………………………………………………………………………… 4

The Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms ……………………………………………………………… 5

The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II) ………………………………………………………. 5

The ABM Treaty…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

The Reagan and Bush Years: INF and START ……………………………………………………………….. 6

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty ………………………………………………. 7

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) ………………………………………………………… 8

START II …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10

The Clinton and Bush Years: Moving Past START and the ABM Treaty …………………………. 12

START III Framework for Strategic Offensive Forces …………………………………………….. 12

Ballistic Missile Defenses and the ABM Treaty ……………………………………………………… 13

The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty …………………………………………………………….. 16

The Obama Administration: New START ……………………………………………………………………. 17

Pursuing an Agreement ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 17

Treaty Provisions ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 18

Threat Reduction and Nonproliferation Assistance …………………………………………………………….. 20

DOD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR) …………………………………………………. 21

CTR Implementation …………………………………………………………………………………………… 21

Weapons Elimination in the Former Soviet Union …………………………………………………… 21

Chemical Weapons Destruction ……………………………………………………………………………. 22

Cooperative Biological Engagement ……………………………………………………………………… 22

Scope and Priorities for CTR Projects …………………………………………………………………… 22

Future of the CTR Program ………………………………………………………………………………….. 23

Department of Energy Nonproliferation Cooperation Programs ……………………………………… 23

Highly Enriched Uranium ……………………………………………………………………………………. 23

Plutonium Disposition …………………………………………………………………………………………. 23

Materials Protection, Control, and Accounting ……………………………………………………….. 24

Global Threat Reduction Initiative ………………………………………………………………………… 24

State Department Programs ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 25

G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of

Mass Destruction …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26

Multilateral Nuclear Nonproliferation Activities ………………………………………………………………… 28

The International Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime ……………………………………………………… 28

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty …………………………………………………………………….. 28

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) …………………………………………………… 29

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones ……………………………………………………………………………………… 30

Nuclear Suppliers Group ……………………………………………………………………………………… 31

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material …………………………………………… 32

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism …………………….. 33

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty …………………………………………………………………………………. 34

Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) ……………………………………………………….. 35

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 ………………………………………………………… 36

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Informal Cooperative Endeavors ………………………………………………………………………………… 37

Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)…………………………………………………………………….. 37

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism ……………………………………………………….. 37

Ad Hoc Sanctions and Incentives ………………………………………………………………………….. 38

Non-Nuclear Multilateral Endeavors ………………………………………………………………………………… 39

European Conventional Arms Control ………………………………………………………………………… 39

Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) ………………………………………………. 39

Treaty on Open Skies ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 43

The Missile Technology Control Regime ……………………………………………………………….. 45

Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) …………………… 47

The Wassenaar Arrangement ………………………………………………………………………………… 47

Weapons Control and Elimination Conventions ……………………………………………………………. 49

Chemical Weapons Convention ……………………………………………………………………………. 49

Biological Weapons Convention …………………………………………………………………………… 56

The Arms Trade Treaty ………………………………………………………………………………………… 59

Controlling the Use of Anti-Personnel Landmines ………………………………………………….. 60

Cluster Munitions ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 62

Tables

Table 1. U.S. Adherence to Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Protocols ……………………………………….. 31

Appendixes

Appendix A. List of Treaties and Agreements ……………………………………………………………………. 64

Appendix B. The U.S. Treaty Ratification Process……………………………………………………………… 68

Appendix C. Arms Control Organizations …………………………………………………………………………. 73

Contacts

Author Contact Information…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 74

Acknowledgments …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 74

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Introduction

National Security, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation

For much of the past century, U.S. national security strategy focused on several core, interrelated objectives. These include enhancing U.S. security at home and abroad; promoting U.S. economic prosperity; and promoting free markets and democracy around the world. The United States has used both unilateral and multilateral mechanisms to achieve these objectives, with varying amounts of emphasis at different times. These mechanisms have included a range of military, diplomatic, and economic tools. One of these core objectives—enhancing U.S. security—generally is interpreted as the effort to protect the nation’s interests and includes, for instance, protecting the lives and safety of Americans; maintaining U.S. sovereignty over its values, territory, and institutions; and promoting the nation’s well-being. The United States has wielded a deep and wide range of military, diplomatic, and economic tools to protect and advance its security interests. These include, for instance, the deployment of military forces to deter, dissuade, persuade, or compel others; the formation of alliances and coalitions to advance U.S. interests and counter aggression;

and the use of U.S. economic power to advance its agenda or promote democratization, or to impose sanctions or withhold U.S. economic support to condemn or punish states hostile to U.S. interests. In this context, arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to implement the U.S. national security strategy. They generally are not pursued as ends in and of themselves, and many argue that they should not become more important than the strategy behind them. But many believe their effective employment can be critical to the success of that broader strategy. Many analysts see them as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, military or economic efforts. Effective arms control measures are thought to enhance U.S. national security in a number of ways. For example, arms control measures that promote transparency might increase U.S. knowledge about and understanding of the size, make-up, and operations of an opposing military force. This might not only ease U.S. military planning, but it might also reduce an opponent’s incentives for and opportunities to attack U.S. forces, or the forces of its friends and allies. Transparency measures can also build confidence among wary adversaries. Effective arms control measures can also be designed to complement U.S. force structure objectives by limiting or restraining U.S. and other nations’ forces. In an era of declining defense budget resources, arms control measures may also help ensure reciprocity in force reductions. Indeed, some analysts

consider such arms control measures essential to the success of our national military objectives. Similarly, U.S. officials from several Administrations have identified efforts to prevent the further spread of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to be an essential element of U.S. national security. For one reason, proliferation can exacerbate regional tensions that might escalate to conflict and involve or threaten U.S. forces or those of its friends and allies. Proliferation might also introduce new and unexpected threats to U.S. allies or the U.S. homeland. Furthermore, proliferation can greatly complicate U.S. national military strategy, force

structure design, and conduct of operations. And these weapons could pose a threat to the U.S. homeland if they were acquired by terrorists or subnational groups. Hence, the United States employs diplomatic, economic, and military tools to restrain these threats and enhance its national security. During the Cold War, arms control played a key role in the relationship between the United States and Soviet Union. Although the agreements rarely forced either side to accept significant changes in its planned nuclear forces, the arms control process, and the formal negotiations, were often one of the few channels for communication between the United States and Soviet Union. Further, the United States participated in many multilateral regimes that sought to limit the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their means of delivery. Since the 1990s, it has also extended assistance to Russia and other former Soviet states in an effort to reduce the threat that these weapons might fall into the hands of hostile states or non-state actors. It is now exploring the possible use of these tools to provide other nations with assistance in containing and controlling weapons and weapons-grade materials. During the George W. Bush Administration, the President and many in his Administration questioned the degree to which arms control negotiations and formal treaties could enhance U.S. security objectives. They argued that the United States did not need formal treaties to reduce or restrain its strategic nuclear forces. As a result, President Bush initially intended to reduce U.S. nuclear forces without signing a treaty that would require Russia to do the same. The Bush Administration only incorporated these reductions into a formal treaty after Russia insisted on such a document. Similarly, some in the Bush Administration argued that some formal, multilateral arms control regimes went too far in restraining U.S. options without limiting the forces of potential adversaries. Instead, the Administration preferred, when necessary, that the United States take unilateral military action or join in ad hoc coalitions to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Obama Administration altered this approach, and sought to enhance the role of arms control and nonproliferation agreements in U.S. national security policy. In a speech in Prague in April 2009, the President outlined an agenda that included the pursuit of a new strategic arms control treaty with Russia, efforts to secure the ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the eventual negotiation of a Fissile Material Control Treaty. President Obama also convened an international nuclear security summit, in April 2010, in an effort to win global cooperation in efforts to contain and eliminate vulnerable nuclear materials. The President also pledged to take a number of steps to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in conjunction with its review conference in May 2010.

1 The absence of confidence in arms control during the George W. Bush Administration extended to the State Department, where the Administration removed the phrase “arms control” from all bureaus that were responsible for this policy area. The focus remained on nonproliferation, but it was seen as a policy area that no longer required formal treaties to meet its objectives. This, too, changed with the Obama Administration. The State Department has restored the phrase “arms control” to some bureau titles, and “arms control” is again listed as a central issue on the State Department website.

2 President Obama’s embrace of arms control and nonproliferation tools to address U.S. national security needs led many to expect wide-ranging agreements and activities in pursuit of these 1 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-By-President-Barack-Obama-In-Prague-As-Delivered/. 2 http://www.state.gov/.

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consent on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, while the Fissile Material Control Treaty remains stalled in the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. Moreover, critics note that the Administration has yet to find a formula to stop either North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and is still seeking an agreement to stop Iran’s nuclear program, which leaves key nonproliferation goals unmet. As a result, many have questioned how well these tools will serve U.S. national security interests over the next few years.

 

The Arms Control Agenda

The United States has participated in numerous arms control and nonproliferation efforts over the

past 40 years. These efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements that impose restrictions

on U.S. military forces and activities, informal arrangements and guidelines that the United States

has agreed to observe, and unilateral restraints on military forces and activities that the United

States has adopted either on its own, or in conjunction with reciprocal restraints on other nations’

forces and activities. Because these arms control arrangements affect U.S. national security,

military programs, force levels, and defense spending, Congress has shown a continuing interest

in the implementation of existing agreements and ongoing negotiations.

The changing international environment in the 1990s led many analysts to believe that the United

States and other nations could enter a new era of restraint in weapons deployments, weapons

transfers, and military operations. These hopes were codified in several treaties signed between

1991 and 1996, such as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START I and START II), the

Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Yet, for many,

hopes for a new era were clouded by the slow pace of ratification and implementation for many

agreements. The 1991 START I Treaty did not enter into force until late 1994; the 1993 START II

Treaty never entered into force and was replaced by a new, less detailed Strategic Offensive

Reductions Treaty in 2002. The 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), in spite of

widespread international support, failed to win approval from the U.S. Senate in October 1999.

Furthermore, India, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea raised new questions about the viability of

the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and its role in stemming nuclear proliferation.

Some progress did occur in the latter years of the decade. In 1997, the United States and Russia,

the two nations with the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, both ratified the Chemical

Weapons Convention. In December 1997, more than 120 nations signed an international

agreement banning the use of anti-personnel land mines; however, a number of major nations,

including the United States, have so far declined to sign. However, the U.S. Senate’s rejection of

the CTBT, the Bush Administration’s withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002, and the U.S.

rejection of a verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention led many nations to

question the U.S. commitment to the arms control process.

During the Bush Administration, the United States outlined new initiatives in nonproliferation

policy that took a far less formal approach, with voluntary guidelines and voluntary participation

replacing treaties and multilateral conventions. The Bush Administration also signaled a change

in the focus of U.S. nonproliferation policy. Instead of offering its support to international

regimes that sought to establish nonproliferation norms that apply to all nations, the Bush

Administration turned to arrangements that sought, instead, to prevent proliferation only to those

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nations and groups that the United States believed could threaten U.S. or international security. In

essence, nonproliferation became a tool of anti-terrorism policy.

The Obama Administration also views nonproliferation policy as a tool of anti-terrorism policy,

and has highlighted the importance of keeping nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons away

from non-state actors who might threaten the United States or its allies. But it also views

nonproliferation as a more general tool of U.S. national security policy. And, where the Bush

Administration focused its efforts on denying these weapons to specific nations or groups who

might threaten the United States, the Obama Administration has adopted the more general goals

of establishing and supporting international norms and regimes to control these weapons,

regardless of which nations might seek them. For example, in a speech in Moscow in July 2009,

President Obama noted that “the notion that prestige comes from holding these weapons, or that

we can protect ourselves by picking and choosing which nations can have these weapons, is an

illusion.” He went on to state that stopping the spread of nuclear weapons “is not about singling

out individual nations—it’s about the responsibilities of all nations.”3

This report provides an overview of many of the key arms control and nonproliferation

agreements and endeavors of the past 40 years. It is divided into three sections. The first describes

arms control efforts between the United States and the states of the former Soviet Union, covering

both formal, bilateral treaties, and the cooperative threat reduction process. The second section

describes multilateral nuclear nonproliferation efforts, covering both formal treaties and less

formal accommodations that have been initiated in recent years. The final section reviews treaties

and agreements that address chemical, biological, and conventional weapons.

The report concludes with several appendices. These provide a list of treaties and agreements that

the United States is a party to, a description of the treaty ratification process, and a list of the

bilateral and international organizations tasked with implementation of arms control efforts.

Arms Control Between the United States and States

of the Former Soviet Union

The Early Years: SALT I and SALT II

The United States and Soviet Union signed their first formal agreements limiting nuclear

offensive and defensive weapons in May 1972. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, known as

SALT, produced two agreements—the Interim Agreement … on Certain Measures with Respect to

the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms and the Treaty … on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic

Missile Systems. These were followed, in 1979, by the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, known

as SALT II, which sought to codify equal limits on U.S. and Soviet strategic offensive nuclear

forces.

3 http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2009/July/20090707062839abretnuh3.549922e-02.html&distid=ucs.

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The Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms

The Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms imposed a freeze on the number of launchers for

intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)

that the United States and Soviet Union could deploy. The parties agreed that they would not

begin construction of new ICBM launchers after July 1, 1972; at the time the United States had

1,054 ICBM launchers and the Soviet Union had 1,618 ICBM launchers. They also agreed to

freeze their number of SLBM launchers and modern ballistic missile submarines, although they

could add SLBM launchers if they retired old ICBM launchers. A protocol to the Treaty indicated

that the United States could deploy up to 710 SLBM launchers on 44 submarines, and the Soviet

Union could deploy up to 950 SLBM launchers on 62 submarines.

The inequality in these numbers raised serious concerns both in Congress and in the policy

community in Washington. When approving the agreement, Congress adopted a provision, known

as the Jackson amendment, that mandated that all future arms control agreements would have to

contain equal limits for the United States and Soviet Union.

The Interim Agreement was to remain in force for five years, unless the parties replaced it with a

more comprehensive agreement limiting strategic offensive weapons. In 1977, both nations

agreed to observe the agreement until the completed the SALT II Treaty.

The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II)

The United States and Soviet Union completed the SALT II Treaty in June 1979, after seven years

of negotiations. During these negotiations, the United States sought limits on quantitative and

qualitative changes in Soviet forces. The U.S. negotiating position also reflected the

congressional mandate for numerically equal limits on both nations’ forces. As a result, the treaty

limited each nation to a total of 2,400 ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and heavy bombers,

with this number declining to 2,250 by January 1, 1981. Within this total, the Treaty contained

sublimits for the numbers launchers that could be deployed for ICBMs with multiple independent

reentry vehicles (MIRVed ICBMs); MIRVed ICBMs and MIRVed SLBMs; and MIRVed ICBMs,

MIRVed SLBMs, MIRVed air-to-surface ballistic missiles (ASBMs) and heavy bombers. The

Treaty would not have limited the total number of warheads that could be carried on these

delivery vehicles, which was a growing concern with the deployment of large numbers of

multiple warhead missiles, but the nations did agree that they would not increase the numbers of

warheads on existing types of missiles and would not test new types of ICBMs with more than 10

warheads and new types of SLBMs with more than 14 warheads. They also agreed to provisions

that were designed to limit missile modernization programs, in an effort to restrain qualitative

improvements in their strategic forces.

Although it contained equal limits on U.S. and Soviet forces, the SALT II Treaty still proved to be

highly controversial. Some analysts argued that the Treaty would fail to curb the arms race

because the limits on forces were equal to the numbers already deployed by the United States and

Soviet Union; they argued for lower limits and actual reductions. Other analysts argued that the

Treaty would allow the Soviet Union to maintain strategic superiority over the United States

because the Soviet force of large, land-based ballistic missiles would be able to carry far greater

numbers of warheads, even within the equal limits on delivery vehicles, than U.S. ballistic

missiles. Some argued that, with this advantage, the Soviet Union would be able to target all U.S.

land-based ICBMs in a first strike, which created a “window of vulnerability” for the United

States. The Treaty’s supporters argued that the Soviet advantage in large MIRVed ICBMs was

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more than offset by the U.S. advantage in SLBM warheads, which could not be destroyed in a

first strike and could retaliate against Soviet targets, and the U.S. advantage in heavy bombers.

The continuing Soviet build-up of strategic nuclear forces, along with the taking of U.S. hostages

in Iran and other challenges to the U.S. international position in the late 1970s, combined with the

perceived weaknesses to the Treaty to raise questions about whether the Senate would muster the

votes needed to consent to the Treaty’s ratification. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan

in December 1979, President Carter withdrew the Treaty from the Senate’s consideration.

The ABM Treaty

The 1972 ABM Treaty permitted the United States and Soviet Union to deploy ABM interceptors

at two sites, one centered on the nation’s capital and one containing ICBM silo launchers. Each

site could contain up to 100 ground-based launchers for ABM interceptor missiles, along with

specified radars and sensors. The ABM Treaty also obligated each nation not to develop, test, or

deploy ABM systems for the “defense of the territory of its country” and not to provide a base for

such a defense. It forbade testing and deployment of space-based, sea-based, or air-based ABM

systems or components and it imposed a number of qualitative limits on missile defense

programs. The Treaty, however, imposed no restrictions on defenses against aircraft, cruise

missiles, or theater ballistic missiles.

In a Protocol signed in 1974, each side agreed that it would deploy an ABM system at only one

site, either around the nation’s capital or around an ICBM deployment area. The Soviet Union

deployed its site around Moscow; this system has been maintained and upgraded over the years,

and remains operational today. The United States deployed its ABM system around ICBM silo

launchers located near Grand Forks, ND; it operated this facility briefly in 1974 before closing it

down when it proved to be not cost effective.

The ABM Treaty was the source of considerable controversy and debate for most of its history.

Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton all wrestled with the conflicting goals of

defending the United States against ballistic missile attack while living within the confines of the

ABM Treaty. President George W. Bush resolved this conflict in 2002, when he announced that

the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty so that it could deploy ballistic missile

defenses. The substance of this debate during the Clinton and Bush years is described in more

detail below.

The Reagan and Bush Years: INF and START

During the election campaign of 1980, and after taking office in January 1981, President Ronald

Reagan pledged to restore U.S. military capabilities, in general, and nuclear capabilities, in

particular. He planned to expand U.S. nuclear forces and capabilities in an effort to counter the

perceived Soviet advantages in nuclear weapons. Initially, at least, he rejected the use of arms

control agreements to contain the Soviet threat. However, in 1982, after Congress and many

analysts pressed for more diplomatic initiatives, the Reagan Administration outlined negotiating

positions to address intermediate-range missiles, long-range strategic weapons, and ballistic

missile defenses. These negotiations began to bear fruit in the latter half of President Reagan’s

second term, with the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987. President

George H. W. Bush continued to pursue the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), with

the United States and Soviet Union signing this Treaty in July 1991. The collapse of the Soviet

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Union later that year led to calls for deeper reductions in strategic offensive arms. As a result, the

United States and Russia signed START II in January 1993, weeks before the end of the Bush

Administration.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

In December 1979, NATO decided upon a “two track” approach to intermediate-range nuclear

forces (INF) in Europe: it would seek negotiations with the Soviets to eliminate such systems, and

at the same time schedule deployments as a spur to such negotiations. Negotiating sessions began

in the fall of 1980 and continued until November 1983, when the Soviets left the talks upon

deployment of the first U.S. INF systems in Europe. The negotiations resumed in January 1985.

At the negotiations, the Reagan Administration called for a “double zero” option, which would

eliminate all short- as well as long-range INF systems, a position at the time viewed by most

observers to be unattractive to the Soviets. Nevertheless, significant progress occurred during the

Gorbachev regime. At the Reykjavik summit in October 1986, Gorbachev agreed to include

reductions of Soviet INF systems in Asia. In June 1987, the Soviets proposed a global ban on

short- and long-range INF systems, which was similar to the U.S. proposal for a double zero.

Gorbachev also accepted the U.S. proposal for an intrusive verification regime.

The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces

(INF) on December 8, 1987. The INF Treaty was seen as a significant milestone in arms control

because it established an intrusive verification regime and because it eliminated entire classes of

weapons that both sides regarded as modern and effective. The United States and Soviet Union

agreed to destroy all intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and

ground-launched cruise missiles, which are those missiles with a range between 300 and 3,400

miles. The launchers associated with the controlled missiles were also to be destroyed. The

signatories agreed that the warheads and guidance systems of the missiles need not be destroyed;

they could be used or reconfigured for other systems not controlled by the Treaty.

The Soviets agreed to destroy approximately 1,750 missiles and the United States agreed to

destroy 846 missiles, establishing a principle that asymmetrical reductions were acceptable in

order to achieve a goal of greater stability. On the U.S. side, the principal systems destroyed were

the Pershing II ballistic missile and the ground launched cruise missile (GLCM), both singlewarhead

systems. On the Soviet side, the principal system was the SS-20 ballistic missile, which

carried three warheads. These systems, on both sides, were highly mobile and able to strike such

high-value targets as command-and-control centers, staging areas, airfields, depots, and ports.

The Soviets also agreed to destroy a range of older nuclear missiles, as well as the mobile, shortrange

SS-23, a system developed and deployed in the early 1980s. The parties had eliminated all

their weapons by May 1991.

The verification regime of the INF Treaty permitted on-site inspections of selected missile

assembly facilities and all storage centers, deployment zones, and repair, test, and elimination

facilities. Although it did not permit “anywhere, anytime” inspections, it did allow up to 20 shortnotice

inspections of sites designated in the Treaty. The two sides agreed to an extensive data

exchange, intended to account for all systems covered by the agreement. The Treaty also

established a continuous portal monitoring procedure at one assembly facility in each country.

Inspections under the INF Treaty continued until May 2001, however, the United States continues

to operate its site at Russia’s Votkinsk Missile Assembly facility under the terms of the 1991

START Treaty.

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The INF Treaty returned to the news in 2007. Russia, partly in response to U.S. plans to deploy a

missile defense radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland, stated that it

might withdraw from the INF Treaty. Some Russian officials have claimed this would allow

Russia to deploy missiles with the range needed to threaten the missile defense system, in case it

were capable of threatening Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. Analysts outside Russia have also

noted that Russia might be responding to concerns about the growing capabilities of China’s

missiles, or of those in other countries surrounding Russia.

In recent years, the United States has grown concerned about Russian activities that might be

inconsistent with the INF Treaty. It has raised these issues with Russia, but has not received a

satisfactory response. According to press reports, the United States has been monitoring the

development of a new Russian ground-launched cruise missile since 2008, and concluded in late

2010 that it might be inconsistent with the treaty. The Obama Administration formally accused

Russia of violating the INF Treaty with tests of this missile in the annual Compliance Report

released in July 2014. Russia has dismissed the allegation and responded with accusations of U.S.

noncompliance with the INF Treaty. The Administration plans to continue to address this issue

with Russia at the diplomatic level, in an effort to convince Russia to return to INF compliance.

Some have argued that the United States should begin to develop countervailing capabilities, both

to highlight the risks that Russia would face if the treaty collapsed and to offset any military

advantage that Russia might gain through its noncompliance.

For Further Reading

CRS Report R43832, Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues

for Congress, by Amy F. Woolf

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)

Like, INF, START negotiations began in 1982, but stopped between 1983 and 1985 after a Soviet

walk-out in response to the U.S. deployment of intermediate range missiles in Europe. They

resumed later in the Reagan Administration, and were concluded in the first Bush Administration.

The United States and Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on

July 31, 1991.

START After the Soviet Union

The demise of the Soviet Union in December 1991 immediately raised questions about the future

of the Treaty. At that time, about 70% of the strategic nuclear weapons covered by START were

deployed at bases in Russia; the other 30% were deployed in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.4

Russia initially sought to be the sole successor to the Soviet Union for the Treaty, but the other

three republics did not want to cede all responsibility for the Soviet Union’s nuclear status and

treaty obligations to Russia. In May 1992, the four republics and the United States signed a

Protocol that made all four republics parties to the Treaty. At the same time, the leaders of

Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan agreed to eliminate all of their nuclear weapons during the

4 Leaders in these the non-Russian republics did not have control over the use of the nuclear weapons on their territory.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and now Vladimir Putin, is the sole successor to the Soviet President in the command

and control structure for Soviet nuclear weapons and he, along with his Minister of Defense and Military Chief of Staff,

have the codes needed to launch Soviet nuclear weapons.

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seven-year reduction period outlined in START. They also agreed to sign the Nuclear Non-

Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapons states.

The U.S. Senate gave its consent to the ratification of START on October 1, 1992. The Russian

parliament consented to the ratification of START on November 4, 1992, but it stated that Russia

would not exchange the instruments of ratification for the Treaty until all three of the other

republics adhered to the NPT as non-nuclear states. Kazakhstan completed the ratification process

in June 1992 and joined the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state on February 14, 1994. Belarus

approved START and the NPT on February 4, 1993, and formally joined the NPT as a nonnuclear

weapon state on July 22, 1993. Ukraine’s parliament approved START in November

1993, but its approval was conditioned on Ukraine’s retention of some of the weapons based on

its territory and the provision of security guarantees by the other nuclear weapons states.

In early 1994, after the United States, Russia, and Ukraine agreed that Ukraine should receive

compensation and security assurances in exchange for the weapons based on its soil, the

parliament removed the conditions from its resolution of ratification. But it still did not approve

Ukraine’s accession to the NPT. The Ukrainian parliament took this final step on November 16,

1994, after insisting on and apparently receiving additional security assurances from the United

States, Russia, and Great Britain. START officially entered into force with the exchange of the

instruments of ratification on December 5, 1994.

START Provisions

START limited long-range nuclear forces—land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles

(ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers—in the United

States and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Each side could deploy up to

6,000 attributed warheads on 1,600 ballistic missiles and bombers. (Some weapons carried on

bombers do not count against the Treaty’s limits, so each side could deploy 8,000 or 9,000 actual

weapons.) Each side could deploy up to 4,900 warheads on ICBMs and SLBMs. Throughout the

START negotiations, the United States placed a high priority on reductions in heavy ICBMs

because they were thought to be able to threaten a first strike against U.S. ICBMs. Therefore,

START also limits each side to 1,540 warheads on “heavy” ICBMs, a 50% reduction in the

number of warheads deployed on the SS-18 ICBMs in the former Soviet republics.

START did not require the elimination of most of the missiles removed from service. The nations

had to eliminate launchers for missiles that exceeded the permitted totals, but, in most cases,

missiles could be placed in storage and warheads could either be stored or reused on missiles

remaining in the force.

START contained a complex verification regime. Both sides collect most of the information

needed to verify compliance with their own satellites and remote sensing equipment—the

National Technical Means of Verification (NTM). But the parties also used data exchanges,

notifications, and on-site inspections to gather information about forces and activities limited by

the Treaty. Taken together, these measures are designed to provide each nation with the ability to

deter and detect militarily significant violations. (No verification regime can ensure the detection

of all violations. A determined cheater could probably find a way to conceal some types of

violations.) Many also believe that the intrusiveness mandated by the START verification regime

and the cooperation needed to implement many of these measures built confidence and

encouraged openness among the signatories.

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The United States and Russia completed the reductions in their forces by the designated date of

December 5, 2001. All the warheads from 104 SS-18 ICBMs in Kazakhstan were removed and

returned to Russia and all the launchers in that nation have been destroyed. Ukraine has destroyed

all the SS-19 ICBM and SS-24 ICBM launchers on its territory and returned all the warheads

from those missiles to Russia. Belarus had also returned to Russia all 81 SS-25 missiles and

warheads based on its territory by late November 1996.

START Expiration

The START Treaty expired in December 2009. According to the terms of the Treaty, the parties

could allow START to lapse, extend it without modification for another five years, or seek to

modify the Treaty before extending it for five year intervals. The United States and Russia began,

in 2006, to hold a series of discussions about the future of START, but, through the latter years of

the Bush Administration, the two sides held sharply different views on what that future should be.

Russian officials believed that the two nations should replace START with a new Treaty that

would reduce the numbers of deployed warheads but contain many of the definitions, counting

rules, and monitoring provisions of START. The Bush Administration rejected that approach; it

noted that the new Moscow Treaty (described below) calls for further reductions in offensive

nuclear weapons and it argued that many of the detailed provisions in START were no longer

needed because the United States and Russia were no longer enemies. The United States

suggested that the two sides reaffirm their commitment to the Moscow Treaty, and add to it an

informal monitoring regime that would extend some of the monitoring and verification provisions

in START. Analysts outside government have also suggested that the nations extend the

monitoring provisions, at least through 2012, as the Moscow Treaty does not have its own

verification regime. Some in the United States, however, object to this approach because some of

the monitoring provisions have begun to impinge on U.S. strategic weapons and missile defense

programs.

The Obama Administration altered the U.S. approach and has decided to negotiate a new Treaty

that would replace START (this is discussed in more detail below). The United States and Russia

began these discussions in April 2009, but were unable to complete them before START expired

on December 5, 2009. As is noted, below, they did complete a New START Treaty in April 2010.

For Further Reading

CRS Report R40084, Strategic Arms Control After START: Issues and Options, by Amy F. Woolf.

CRS Report 91-492 F, Cooperative Measures in START Verification. (Out of print. For copies contact Amy Woolf,

7-2379.)

CRS Issue Brief IB98030, Nuclear Arms Control: The U.S.-Russian Agenda. (Out of print. For copies contact Amy Woolf,

7-2379.)

CRS Report 93-617 F, START I and START II Arms Control Treaties: Background and Issues. (Out of print. For copies

contact Amy Woolf, 7-2379.)

START II

The United States and Russia signed the second START Treaty, START II, on January 3, 1993,

after less than a year of negotiations. The Treaty never entered into force. Its consideration was

delayed for several years during the 1990s, but it eventually received approval from both the U.S.

Senate and Russian parliament. Nevertheless, it was overcome by events in 2002.

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START II Provisions

START II would have limited each side to between 3,000 and 3,500 warheads; reductions initially

were to occur by the year 2003 and would have been extended until 2007 if the nations had

approved a new Protocol. It would have banned all MIRVed ICBMs and would have limited each

side to 1,750 warheads on SLBMs.

To comply with these limits the United States would have removed two warheads (a process

known as “downloading”) from each of its 500 3-warhead Minuteman III missiles and eliminated

all launchers for its 50 10-warhead MX missiles. The United States also stated that it would

reduce its SLBM warheads by eliminating 4 Trident submarines and deploying the missiles on the

14 remaining Trident submarines with 5, rather than 8, warheads. Russia would have eliminated

all launchers for its 10-warhead SS-24 missiles and 10-warhead SS-18 missiles. It would also

have downloaded to a single warhead 105 6-warhead SS-19 missiles, if it retained those missiles.

It would also have eliminated a significant number of ballistic missile submarines, both for

budget reasons and to reduce to START II limits. These changes would have brought Russian

forces below the 3,500 limit because so many of Russia’s warheads are deployed on MIRVed

ICBMs. As a result, many Russian officials and Duma members insisted that the United States

and Russia negotiate a START III Treaty, with lower warhead numbers, so that Russia would not

have to produce hundreds of new missiles to maintain START II levels.

START II implementation would have accomplished the long-standing U.S. objective of

eliminating the Soviet SS-18 heavy ICBMs. The Soviet Union and Russia had resisted limits on

these missiles in the past. Russia would have achieved its long-standing objective of limiting U.S.

SLBM warheads, although the reductions would not have been as great as those for MIRVed

ICBMs. The United States had long resisted limits on these missiles, but apparently believed a

50% reduction was a fair trade for the complete elimination of Russia’s SS-18 heavy ICBMs.

START II would have relied on the verification regime established by START, with a few new

provisions. For example, U.S. inspectors would be allowed to watch Russia pour concrete into the

SS-18 silos and to measure the depth of the concrete when Russia converted the silos to hold

smaller missiles. In addition, Russian inspectors could have viewed the weapons carriage areas on

U.S. heavy bombers to confirm that the number of weapons the bombers are equipped to carry

did not exceed the number attributed to that type of bomber.

START II Ratification

Although START II was signed in early January 1993, its full consideration was delayed until

START entered into force at the end of 1994. The U.S. Senate further delayed its consideration

during a Senate dispute over the future of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The

Senate eventually approved ratification of START II, by a vote of 87-4, on January 26, 1996.

The Russian Duma also delayed its consideration of START II. Many members of the Duma

disapproved of the way the Treaty would affect Russian strategic offensive forces and many

objected to the economic costs Russia would bear when implementing the treaty. The United

States sought to address the Duma’s concerns during 1997, by negotiating a Protocol that would

extend the elimination deadlines in START II, and, therefore, reduce the annual costs of

implementation, and by agreeing to negotiate a START III Treaty after START II entered into

force. But this did not break the deadlock; the Duma again delayed its debate after the United

States and Great Britain launched air strikes against Iraq in December 1998. The Treaty’s future

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clouded again after the United States announced its plans in January 1999 to negotiate

amendments to the 1972 ABM Treaty, and after NATO forces began their air campaign in

Yugoslavia in April 1999.

President Putin offered his support to START II and pressed the Duma for action in early 2000.

He succeeded in winning approval for the treaty on April 14 after promising, among other things,

that Russia would withdraw from the Treaty if the United States withdrew from the 1972 ABM

Treaty. However, the Federal Law on Ratification said the Treaty could not enter into force until

the United States approved ratification of several 1997 agreements related to the 1972 ABM

Treaty. President Clinton never submitted these to the Senate, for fear they would be defeated.

The Bush Administration also never submitted these to the Senate, announcing, instead, in June

2002, that the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty. Russia responded by

announcing that it had withdrawn from START II and would not implement the Treaty’s

reductions.

For Further Reading

CRS Report 93-617 F, START I and START II Arms Control Treaties: Background and Issues. (Out of print. For copies

contact Amy Woolf, 7-2379.)

CRS Report 97-359, START II Debate in the Russian Duma: Issues and Prospects, by Amy F. Woolf.

The Clinton and Bush Years: Moving Past START

and the ABM Treaty

The arms control process between the United States and Russia essentially stalled during the

1990s, as efforts to ratify and implement START II dragged on. In 1997, in an effort to move the

agenda forward, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to a framework for a START III Treaty.

But these negotiations never produced a Treaty, as the U.S.-Russian arms control agenda came to

be dominated by U.S. plans for ballistic missile defenses and issues related to the ABM Treaty.

When President Bush took office in 2001, he had little interest in pursuing formal arms control

agreements with Russia. He signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (known as the

Moscow Treaty) in 2002, even though he would have preferred that the United States and Russia

each set their force levels without any formal limits.

START III Framework for Strategic Offensive Forces

Many in Russia argued the United States and Russia should bypass START II and negotiate

deeper reductions in nuclear warheads that were more consistent with the levels Russia was likely

to retain in the future. The Clinton Administration did not want to set START II aside, in part

because it wanted to be sure Russia eliminated its MIRVed ICBMS. However, many in the

Administration eventually concluded that Russia would not ratify START II without some

assurances that the warhead levels would decline further. So the United States agreed to proceed

to START III, but only after START II entered into force; Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to

this timeline in March 1997. The START III framework called for reductions to between 2,000

and 2,500 warheads for strategic offensive nuclear weapons on each side.

The United States and Russia held several rounds of discussions on START III, but they did not

resolve their differences before the end of the Clinton Administration. President Bush did not

pursue the negotiations after taking office in 2001. The demise of these discussions left many

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issues that had been central to the U.S.-Russian arms control process unresolved. For example,

Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin had agreed to explore possible measures for limiting long-range,

nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missiles and other tactical nuclear weapons in the START III

framework. These weapons systems are not limited by existing treaties. Many in Congress have

joined analysts outside the government in expressing concerns about the safety and security of

Russia’s stored nuclear weapons.

In addition, when establishing the START III framework, the United States and Russia agreed that

they would explore proposals to enhance transparency and promote the irreversibility of warhead

reductions. Many analysts viewed this step as critical to lasting, predictable reductions in nuclear

weapons. The Bush Administration has, however, rejected this approach. Although it has pledged

to eliminate some warheads removed from deployment, it will not offer any measures promoting

the transparency or reversibility of this process. It wants to retain U.S. flexibility and the ability to

restore warheads to deployed forces. Many critics of the Administration oppose this policy, in

part, because it will undermine U.S. efforts to encourage Russia to eliminate warheads that might

be at risk of loss or theft.

Ballistic Missile Defenses and the ABM Treaty

As was noted above, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and 1974 Protocol allowed

the United States and Soviet Union to deploy limited defenses against long-range ballistic

missiles. The United States completed, then quickly abandoned a treaty-compliant ABM system

near Grand Forks, ND, in 1974. The Soviet Union deployed, and Russia continues to operate, a

treaty-compliant system around Moscow.

Missile Defense Plans and Programs

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the United States conducted research on a variety of ballistic

missile defense technologies. In 1983 President Reagan collected and expanded these programs in

the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which sought to develop and deploy comprehensive

missile defenses that would defend the United States against a deliberate, massive attack from the

Soviet Union. The first Bush Administration changed this focus, seeking instead to provide a

defense against possible limited missile attacks that might arise from any number of countries

throughout the world.

After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, with Iraq’s attacks with Scud missiles alerting many to the

dangers of missile proliferation and the threats posed by short- and medium-range theater ballistic

missiles, the United States began developing several advanced theater missile defense (TMD)

systems. At the same time, the Clinton Administration pursued research and technology

development for national missile defenses (NMD). The Department of Defense concluded that

there was no military requirement for the deployment of such a system after intelligence estimates

found that no additional nations (beyond China, Russia, France, and Great Britain) were likely to

develop missiles that could threaten the continental United States for at least the next 10-15 years.

However, after a congressionally mandated commission raised concerns about the proliferation of

long-range missiles in July 1998 and North Korea tested a three-stage missile in August 1998, the

Clinton Administration began to consider the deployment of an NMD, with a program structured

to achieve that objective in 2005. On September 1, 2000, after disappointing test results, President

Clinton announced that he would not authorize construction needed to begin deployment of an

NMD.

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President George W. Bush altered U.S. policy on missile defenses. His Administration has sought

to develop a layered defense, with land-based, sea-based, and space-based components, that could

protect the United States, its allies, and its forces overseas from short, medium, and long-range

ballistic missiles. It has begun to deploy land-based missile interceptors for defense against longrange

missiles in Alaska and California, and has pursued the deployment of defenses against

shorter-range missiles on naval ships. The Administration declared the interceptors in Alaska to

be operational in late 2004, but their status and capabilities remain uncertain.

ABM Treaty Issues and Negotiations

The missile defense systems advocated by the Reagan and first Bush Administrations would not

have been permitted under the ABM Treaty. In 1985, the United States proposed, in negotiations

with the Soviet Union, that the two sides replace the ABM Treaty with an agreement that would

permit deployment of more extensive defenses. These negotiations failed, and, in 1993, the

Clinton Administration altered their focus. It sought a demarcation agreement to clarify the

difference between theater missile defenses and strategic missile defenses so the United States

could proceed with theater missile defense (TMD) programs without raising questions about

compliance with the Treaty.

The United States and Russia signed two joint statements on ABM/TMD Demarcation in

September 1997. As amendments to the ABM Treaty, these agreements required the advice and

consent of the Senate before they entered into force. But President Clinton never submitted them

to the Senate, knowing that the required 67 votes would prove elusive as many of the Senators in

the Republican majority believed the ABM Treaty, even if modified, would stand in the way of

the deployment of robust missile defenses.

In February 1999, the United States and Russia began to discuss ABM Treaty modifications that

would permit deployment of a U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system. The United States

sought to reassure Russia that the planned NMD would not interfere with Russia’s strategic

nuclear forces and that the United States still viewed the ABM Treaty as central to the U.S.-

Russian strategic balance. The Russians were reportedly unconvinced, noting that the United

States could expand its system so that it could intercept a significant portion of Russia’s forces.

They also argued that the United States had overstated the threat from rogue nations.

Furthermore, after Russia approved START II, President Putin noted that U.S. withdrawal from

the ABM Treaty would lead not only to Russian withdrawal from START II, but also Russian

withdrawal from a wider range of arms control agreements. Through the end of the Clinton

Administration, Russia refused to consider U.S. proposals for modifications to the ABM Treaty.

Some argued that Russia’s position reflected its belief that the United States would not withdraw

from the ABM Treaty and, therefore, if Russia refused to amend it, the United States would not

deploy national missile defenses.

Officials in the new Bush Administration referred to the ABM Treaty as a relic of the Cold War

and the President stated that the United States would need to move beyond the limits in the Treaty

to deploy robust missile defenses. In discussions that began in the middle of 2001, the Bush

Administration sought to convince Russia to accept a U.S. proposal for the nations to “set aside”

the Treaty together. The Administration also offered Russia extensive briefings to demonstrate

that its missile defense program would not threaten Russia but that the ABM Treaty would

interfere with the program. Russia would not agree to set the Treaty aside, and, instead, suggested

that the United States identify modifications to the Treaty that would allow it to pursue the more

robust testing program contained in its proposals. But, according to some reports, Russia would

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have insisted on the right to determine whether proposed tests were consistent with the Treaty.

The Bush Administration would not accept these conditions and President Bush announced, on

December 13, 2001, that the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty. This

withdrawal took effect on June 13, 2002. Russia’s President Putin stated that this action was

“mistaken.” Russia responded by withdrawing from the START II Treaty, but this action was

largely symbolic as the Treaty seemed likely to never enter into force.

In addition to deploying long-range missile defense interceptors in Alaska and California, the

Bush Administration proposed that the United States deploy a third missile defense site in Europe

to defend against a potential Iranian missile threat. The system was to include 10 interceptors

based in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Russia’s former President Putin and his

successor, Vladimir Medvedev, argued that the proposal would reignite the arms race and upset

U.S.-Russian-European security relations. U.S. officials disputed Russia’s objections, noting that

the interceptors would not be able to intercept Russian missiles or undermine Russia’s deterrent

capabilities. In mid-2007, Russia offered to cooperate on missile defense, proposing the use of a

Russian-leased radar in Azerbaijan, but urging that U.S. facilities not be built in Eastern Europe.

President Bush welcomed the idea in principle, but insisted upon the need for the European sites.

Despite ongoing discussions over the issue, sharp Russian criticism of the program continued.

Medvedev said that Russia might deploy Iskander tactical missiles to Kaliningrad, but later stated

that Moscow would not do so if the United States reversed its plan to emplace GMD facilities in

Poland and the Czech Republic.

Congress resisted the Bush Administration’s request for funding for this system. It withheld much

of the funding, pending at least two successful tests and the completion of agreements with the

Polish and Czech governments. It also requested further reports on the need for and capabilities of

the proposed system.

The Obama Administration reviewed and restructured U.S. plans for a missile defense site in

Europe. On September 17, 2009, the Administration announced it would cancel the system

proposed by the Bush Administration. Instead, Defense Secretary Gates announced U.S. plans to

develop and deploy a regional BMD capability that could be deployed around the world on

relatively short notice during crises or as the situation may demand. Gates argued this new

capability, based primarily around current BMD sensors and interceptors, would be more

responsive and adaptable to growing concern over the direction of Iranian short- and mediumrange

ballistic missile proliferation. This capability would continue to evolve and expand over the

next decade, as the United States moved forward with the concept known as the “Phased

Adaptive Approach.” As missile threats matured during the next decade, the missile defense

system would include interceptors that could respond against more numerous and more

sophisticated threats.

For Further Reading

CRS Report RL34051, Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe, by Steven A. Hildreth and Carl Ek.

CRS Report RL31111, Missile Defense: The Current Debate, by Steven A. Hildreth et al.

CRS Report 98-496, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty Demarcation and Succession Agreements: Background and Issues, by Amy F.

Woolf.

CRS Issue Brief IB98030, Nuclear Arms Control: The U.S. Russian Agenda. (Out of print. For copies contact Amy Woolf,

7-2379.)

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The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty

During a summit meeting with President Putin in November 2001, President Bush announced that

the United States would reduce its “operationally deployed” strategic nuclear warheads to a level

between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads during the next decade. He stated that the United States would

reduce its forces unilaterally, without signing a formal agreement. President Putin indicated that

Russia wanted to use the formal arms control process, emphasizing that the two sides should

focus on “reaching a reliable and verifiable agreement.” Russia sought a “legally binding

document” that would provide “predictability and transparency” and ensure for the “irreversibilty

of the reduction of nuclear forces.” The United States wanted to maintain the flexibility to size

and structure its nuclear forces in response to its own needs. It preferred a less formal process,

such as an exchange of letters and, possibly, new transparency measures that would allow each

side to understand the force structure plans of the other side.

Within the Bush Administration, Secretary of State Powell supported the conclusion of a “legally

binding” agreement because he believed it would help President Putin’s standing with his

domestic critics. He apparently prevailed over the objections of officials in the Pentagon.

Although the eventual outcome did differ from the initial approach of the Bush Administration,

most observers agree that it did not undermine the fundamental U.S. objectives in the negotiations

because the Treaty’s provisions would not impede the Bush Administration’s plans for U.S.

strategic nuclear forces.

The United States and Russia signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty on May 24, 2002.

The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the Treaty on March 6, 2003.

The Russian Duma approved the Federal Law on Ratification for the Treaty on May 14, 2003.

The Treaty entered into force on June 1, 2003. The Treaty was due to remain in force until

December 31, 2012, after which it could be extended or replaced by another agreement. It lapsed,

however, on February 5, 2011, when the New START Treaty (see below) entered into force.

Treaty Provisions

Article I contains the only limit in the Treaty, stating that the United States and Russia will reduce

their “strategic nuclear warheads” to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012.

The text does not define “strategic nuclear warheads” and, therefore, does not indicate whether

the parties will count only those warheads that are “operationally deployed,” all warheads that

would count under the START counting rules, or some other quantity of nuclear warheads. The

text does refer to statements made by Presidents Bush and Putin in November and December

2001, when each outlined their own reduction plans. This reference may indicate that the United

States and Russia could each use their own definition when counting strategic nuclear warheads.

The Treaty does not limit delivery vehicles or impose sublimits on specific types of weapons

systems. Each party shall determine its own “composition and structure of its strategic offensive

arms.”

Monitoring and Verification

The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty does not contain any monitoring or verification

provisions. The Bush Administration noted that the United States and Russia already collected

information about strategic nuclear forces under START I and during implementation of the

Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Some in Congress questioned, however,

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whether this information would be sufficient for the duration of the Treaty, since START I was

due to expire in 2009, three years before the end of implementation under the new Treaty.

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty also does not contain any limits or restrictions on

nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Yet, as was noted above, many Members of Congress have argued

that these weapons pose a greater threat to the United States and its allies than strategic nuclear

weapons. During hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of Defense

Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Powell both agreed that the disposition of nonstrategic nuclear

weapons should be on the agenda for future meetings between the United States and Russia,

although neither supported a formal arms control regime to limit or contain these weapons. These

discussions have not occurred, and many analysts outside government have renewed their calls

for reductions in nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

For Further Reading

CRS Report RL31448, Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, by Amy F. Woolf

CRS Report RL31222, Arms Control and Strategic Nuclear Weapons: Unilateral vs. Bilateral Reductions, by Amy F. Woolf

The Obama Administration: New START

The United States and Russia began to discuss their options for arms control after START in mid-

  1. During the Bush Administration, they were unable to agree on a path forward. Neither side

wanted to extend START in its original form, as some of the Treaty’s provisions had begun to

interfere with some military programs on both sides. Russia wanted to replace START with a new

Treaty that would further reduce deployed forces while using many of the same definitions and

counting rules in START. The United States initially did not want to negotiate a new treaty, but,

under the Bush Administration, would have been willing to extend, informally, some of START’s

monitoring provisions. In 2008, the Bush Administration agreed to conclude a new Treaty, with

monitoring provisions attached, but this Treaty would have resembled the far less formal Strategic

Offensive Reductions Treaty. In December 2008, the two sides agreed that they wanted to replace

START before it expired, but acknowledged that this task would have to be left to negotiations

between Russia and the Obama Administration.

Pursuing an Agreement

The United States and Russia began to hold talks on a new treaty during the first few months of

the Obama Administration. In early March 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russia’s

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed that the two nations would seek to reach an agreement

that would replace START by the end of 2009. In April, after their meeting in London prior to the

G-20 summit, Presidents Obama and Medvedev endorsed these negotiations and their goal of

reaching an agreement by the end of 2009. When Presidents Obama and Medvedev met in

Moscow on July 6-7, 2009, they signed a Joint Understanding for the START follow-on Treaty.

This statement contained a range for the numerical limits that would be in the Treaty—between

500 and 1,100 of strategic delivery vehicles and between 1,500 and 1,675 for their associated

warheads. It also included a list of other issues—such as provisions for calculating the limits,

provisions on definitions, and a provision on the relationship between strategic offensive and

strategic defensive weapons—that will be addressed in the Treaty.

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START expired on December 5, 2009. At the time, the negotiating teams continued to meet in

Geneva, but the negotiations concluded shortly before the end of 2009 without reaching a final

agreement. The formal talks resumed in late January 2010, and the parties concluded the New

START Treaty on early April 2010. Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed the Treaty in Prague

on April 8, 2010; it entered into force on February 5, 2011.

Treaty Provisions

Limits on Warheads and Launchers

The New START Treaty contains three central limits on U.S. and Russian strategic offensive

nuclear forces. First, it limits each side to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed ICBM

and SLBM launchers and deployed and nondeployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear

armaments. Second, within that total, it limits each side to no more than 700 deployed ICBMs,

deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. Third, the

treaty limits each side to no more than 1,550 deployed warheads. Deployed warheads include the

actual number of warheads carried by deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, and one warhead for each

deployed heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments.

According to New START’s Protocol, a deployed ICBM launcher is “an ICBM launcher that

contains an ICBM and is not an ICBM test launcher, an ICBM training launcher, or an ICBM

launcher located at a space launch facility.” A deployed SLBM launcher is a launcher installed on

an operational submarine that contains an SLBM and is not intended for testing or training. A

deployed mobile launcher of ICBMs is one that contains an ICBM and is not a mobile test

launcher or a mobile launcher of ICBMs located at a space launch facility. These deployed

launchers can be based only at ICBM bases. A deployed ICBM or SLBM is one that is contained

in a deployed launcher. A deployed heavy bomber is one that is equipped for nuclear armaments

but is not a “test heavy bomber or a heavy bomber located at a repair facility or at a production

facility.” Moreover, a heavy bomber is equipped for nuclear armaments if it is “equipped for

long-range nuclear ALCMs, nuclear air-to-surface missiles, or nuclear bombs.” Nondeployed

launchers are, therefore, those that are used for testing or training, those that are located at space

launch facilities, or those that are located at deployment areas or on submarines but do not

contain a deployed ICBM or SLBM.

The warhead limits in New START differ from those in the original START Treaty. First, the

original START Treaty contained several sublimits on warheads attributed to different types of

strategic weapons, in part because the United States wanted the treaty to impose specific limits on

elements of the Soviet force that were deemed to be “destabilizing.” New START, in contrast,

contains only a single limit on the aggregate number of deployed warheads. This provides each

nation with the freedom to mix their forces as they see fit. This change reflects, in part, a lesser

concern with Cold War models of strategic and crisis stability. It also derives from the U.S. desire

to maintain flexibility in determining the structure of its own nuclear forces.

Second, under START, to calculate the number of warheads that counted against the treaty limits,

the United States and Russia counted deployed launchers, assumed launcher contained an

operational missile, and assumed each missile carried an “attributed” number of warheads. The

number of warheads attributed to each missile or bomber was the same for all missiles and

bombers of that type. The parties then multiplied these warhead numbers by the number of

deployed ballistic missiles and heavy bombers to determine the number of warheads that counted

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Congressional Research Service 19

under the treaty’s limits. Under New START, the United States and Russia will also count the

number of deployed launchers. But they will not calculate the number of deployed warheads by

multiplying the number of launchers by a warhead attribution number. Instead, each side will

simply declare the total number of warheads deployed across their force. This counting method

will provide the United States with the flexibility to reduce its forces without eliminating

launchers and to structure its deployed forces to meet evolving operational needs.

Monitoring and Verification

The New START Treaty contains a monitoring and verification regime that resembles the regime

in START, in that its text contains detailed definitions of items limited by the treaty; provisions

governing the use of NTM to gather data on each side’s forces and activities; an extensive

database that identifies the numbers, types, and locations of items limited by the treaty; provisions

requiring notifications about items limited by the treaty; and inspections allowing the parties to

confirm information shared during data exchanges. At the same time, the verification regime has

been streamlined to make it less costly and complex than the regime in START. It also has been

adjusted to reflect the limits in New START and the current circumstances in the relationship

between the United States in Russia. In particular, it focuses on maintaining transparency,

cooperation, and openness, as well as on deterring and detecting potential violations.

Under New START, the United States and Russia continue to rely on their NTM to collect

information about the numbers and locations of their strategic forces. They may also broadcast

and exchange telemetry—the data generated during missile flight tests—up to five times each

year. They do not need this data to monitor compliance with any particular limits in New START,

but the telemetry exchange will provide some transparency into the capabilities of their systems.5

The parties will also exchange a vast amount of data about those forces, specifying not only their

distinguishing characteristics, but also their precise locations and the number of warheads

deployed on each deployed delivery vehicle. They will notify each other, and update the database,

whenever they move forces between declared facilities. The treaty also requires the parties to

display their forces, and allows each side to participate in exhibitions, to confirm information

listed in the database.

Under New START, each party can conduct up to 18 short-notice, on-site inspections each year;

both sides used this full quote of inspections during the three years of the treaty’s implementation.

The treaty divides these into Type One inspections and Type Two inspections. Each side can

conduct up to 10 Type One inspections and up to eight Type Two inspections. Moreover, during

each Type One inspection, the parties will be able to perform two different types of inspection

activities—these are essentially equivalent to the data update inspections and reentry vehicle

inspections in the original START Treaty. As a result, the 18 short-notice inspections permitted

under New START are essentially equivalent to the 28 short-notice inspections permitted under

START.

5 U.S. State Department, Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation, Telemetry, Fact Sheet, Washington,

DC, April 8, 2010, http://www.state.gov/t/vci/rls/139904.htm.

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Congressional Research Service 20

Relationship Between Offensive and Defensive Weapons

In the Joint Understanding signed at the Moscow summit in July 2009, the United States and

Russia agreed that the new treaty would contain a “provision on the interrelationship of strategic

offensive arms and strategic defensive arms.” This statement, which appears in the preamble to

New START, states that the parties recognize “the existence of the interrelationship between

strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more

important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic defensive arms do not

undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the parties.” Russia

and the United States each issued unilateral statements when they signed New START that

clarified their positions on the relationship between New START and missile defenses. Russia

indicated that it might exercise its right to withdraw from the treaty if the United States increased

the capabilities of its missile defenses “in such a way that threatens the potential of the strategic

nuclear forces of the Russian Federation.” The United States responded by noting that its “missile

defense systems are not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia. The United States

missile defense systems would be employed to defend the United States against limited missile

launches, and to defend its deployed forces, allies and partners against regional threats.”

Officials from the Obama Administration testified to the Senate and repeatedly emphasized that

these statements did not impose any obligations on either the United States or Russia and would

not result in any limits on U.S. missile defense programs. These statements also did not provide

Russia with “veto power” over U.S. missile defense systems. Although Russia has said it may

withdraw from the treaty if the U.S. missile defenses threaten “the potential of the strategic

nuclear forces of the Russian Federation,” the United States has no obligation to consult with

Russia to confirm that its planned defenses do not cross this threshold. It may develop and deploy

whatever defenses it chooses; Russia can then determine, for itself, whether those defenses affect

its strategic nuclear forces and whether it thinks the threat to those forces justifies withdrawal

from the treaty.

For Further Reading

CRS Report R41219, The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions, by Amy F. Woolf

CRS Report R41201, Monitoring and Verification in Arms Control, by Amy F. Woolf

CRS Report R43037, Next Steps in Nuclear Arms Control with Russia: Issues for Congress, by Amy F. Woolf

Threat Reduction and Nonproliferation Assistance

As the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, many Members of Congress grew concerned that

deteriorating social and economic conditions in Russia would affect control over Soviet weapons

of mass destruction. In December 1991, Congress authorized the transfer of $400 million from

the FY1992 Department of Defense (DOD) budget to help the republics that inherited the Soviet

nuclear and chemical weapons stockpile—Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus—transport

and dismantle these weapons. This effort grew substantially, with Congress appropriating more

than $1 billion each year for nonproliferation and threat reduction programs administered by the

Department of Defense (DOD), the State Department, and the Department of Energy (DOE).

Funding for programs in the former Soviet Union has declined sharply in recent years, while

funding for programs in other nations around the world has increased.

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Congressional Research Service 21

DOD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR)

At its inception, DOD’s CTR program sought to provide Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and

Kazakhstan with assistance in the safe and secure transportation, storage, and dismantlement of

nuclear weapons. During the first few years, the mandate for U.S. assistance expanded to include

efforts to secure materials that might be used in nuclear or chemical weapons, to prevent the

diversion of scientific expertise from the former Soviet Union, to expand military-to-military

contacts between officers in the United States and the former Soviet Union, and to facilitate the

demilitarization of defense industries. In the late 1990s, Congress added funds to the CTR budget

for biological weapons proliferation prevention; this effort has expanded substantially in recent

years. Congress also expanded the CTR program to allow the use of CTR funds for emergency

assistance to remove weapons of mass destruction or materials and equipment related to these

weapons from any of the former Soviet republics.

CTR Implementation

Initial implementation of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program was slowed by

administrative requirements on the U.S. side; the complex nature of activities being undertaken;

the need for major changes in the attitudes of recipients toward the United States and the idea of

weapons dismantlement and destruction; and political and economic upheavals within and among

the states of the former Soviet Union. For example, before funds could be obligated for specific

projects, the United States had to sign general “umbrella” agreements with each recipient nation

that set out the privileges and immunities of U.S. personnel and the legal and customs framework

for the provision of the aid.

The umbrella agreement between the United States and Russia was renewed twice, but lapsed in

June 2013. Although it was replaced with a bilateral protocol under the Multilateral Nuclear

Environmental Program in the Russian Federation Agreement (MNEPR), the scope of

cooperation between the two sides has narrowed considerably since 2014.

Weapons Elimination in the Former Soviet Union

The United States provided Russia and the other former Soviet states with assistance on several

different types of projects. For example, the United States has provided extensive assistance with

projects designed to help with the elimination of nuclear, chemical, and other weapons and their

delivery vehicles. These projects helped Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan remove

warheads, deactivate missiles, and eliminate launch facilities for nuclear weapons covered by the

START Treaty. Several projects were designed to enhance the safety, security and control over

nuclear weapons and fissile materials. These projects provided Russia with bullet-proof Kevlar

blankets, secure canisters, and improved rail cars for warheads transported from Ukraine, Belarus,

and Kazakhstan to storage and dismantlement facilities in Russia. The CTR program also funded

several projects at storage facilities for nuclear weapons and materials, to improve security and

accounting systems and to provide storage space for plutonium removed from nuclear warheads

when they are dismantled. Some projects also encouraged Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to

convert military efforts to peaceful purposes. Many of these projects were nearing completion,

and the United States will no longer fund them after 2013.

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Congressional Research Service 22

Chemical Weapons Destruction

The United States and Russia used CTR funds to construct a chemical weapons destruction

facility at Shchuch’ye. This facility is intended to help Russia comply with its obligations under

the Chemical Weapons convention and to prevent the loss or theft of Soviet-era chemical

weapons by ensuring their safe and secure destruction. Construction on this facility began in

March 2003. The United States also helped install equipment at the destruction facility and to

train the operating personnel. The United States and Russia had hoped that construction would be

completed and the facility would begin operations by the end of 2008. It would then take around

3½ years to destroy the stocks of nerve agent, allowing Russia to meet the 2012 deadline.

Operations at the facility began in March 2009, and it was officially dedicated in late May 2009.

At the end of 2012, Russia had used it to eliminate over 3,321.5 metric tons of nerve agent.

Cooperative Biological Engagement

The Soviet Union reportedly developed the world’s largest biological weapons program,

employing an estimated 60,000 people at more than 50 sites. Russia reportedly continued to

pursue research and development of biological agents in the 1990s, even as the security systems

and supporting infrastructure at its facilities began to deteriorate. The United State began to

provide Russia with CTR assistance to improve safety and security at its biological weapons sites

and to help employ biological weapons scientists during the late 1990s. Much of the work in

Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union focused on safe and secure storage and

handling of biological pathogen collections. Programs in Russia have lapsed since the expiration

of the memorandum of understanding in June 2013. In recent years, however, the United States

has expanded its biological engagement programs beyond the former Soviet Union, and now

works globally to secure pathogen collections, train scientists on security issues, and improve

disease surveillance. The Obama Administration has stated that the goal of the CBE program is to

counter the “threat of state and non-state actors acquiring biological materials and expertise that

could be used to develop or deploy a biological weapon.” In recent years, biological weapons

engagement programs have accounted for more than 70% of the CTR budget.

Scope and Priorities for CTR Projects

The initial Nunn-Lugar legislation was tightly focused on the transport, storage, and destruction

of weapons of mass destruction. But the focus of CTR funding has changed, as the program has

evolved. As the work on strategic offensive arms reductions was completed, a growing proportion

of the funding focused on securing and eliminating chemical and biological weapons. Over the

past decade, the United States has also viewed the CTR program, and other U.S. nonproliferation

assistance to the former Soviet states, as a part of its efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction

away from terrorists. This objective also altered some of the funding priorities, with a number of

projects focused on border and export control.

As much of the work has been completed on securing and eliminating Soviet legacy nuclear

weapons and constructing the chemical weapons destruction facility, funding has shifted into

projects that seek to prevent the proliferation of biological weapons. Moreover, a small but

increasing proportion of CTR funding is now allocated to projects outside the former Soviet

Union, as the United States seeks to engage a greater number of nations as partners in the effort to

secure vulnerable nuclear materials and other weapons of mass destruction.

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service 23

Future of the CTR Program

The United States and Russia initially signed the Memorandum of Understanding, known as the

Umbrella Agreement, that governs implementation of CTR projects in 1992. This agreement had

an initial seven-year duration and was renewed in 1999 and 2006. It expired in June 2013. The

United States and Russia have replaced it with a bilateral protocol under the Multilateral Nuclear

Environmental Program in the Russian Federation Agreement (MNEPR). Russia’s Ministry of

Defense will no longer participate in these cooperative programs. As a result, many of the CTR

projects in Russia will wind down, although the two countries will continue to cooperate on some

areas of nuclear security. The United States will also continue to fund cooperative engagement

programs in countries around the world.

For Further Reading

CRS Report R43143, The Evolution of Cooperative Threat Reduction: Issues for Congress, by Mary Beth D. Nikitin and Amy

  1. Woolf

Department of Energy Nonproliferation Cooperation Programs

The Department of Energy has contributed to U.S. threat reduction and nonproliferation

assistance to the former Soviet states from the start, when CTR included a small amount of

funding for materials control and protection. Since then, the United States and Russia have been

cooperating, through several programs, to secure and eliminate many of the materials that could

help terrorists or rogue nations acquire their own nuclear capabilities.

Highly Enriched Uranium

Highly enriched uranium from dismantled weapons is relatively easy to dispose of, since it can be

diluted to low-enriched uranium which is directly usable in current operating power reactors. In

February 1993 the United States and Russia agreed that highly enriched uranium from weapons

would be diluted to a low enrichment level suitable for use in commercial nuclear power reactors.

The United States has agreed to purchase 500 metric tons of HEU from Russia’s dismantled

nuclear warheads, and deliveries have started to the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, which supplies

uranium fuel for domestic and foreign reactors. By September 2005 about 250 metric tons of

HEU had been recycled, at a purchase price of about $4 billion, according to USEC. The 500-ton

total is expected to be completed by 2013.

Plutonium Disposition

In the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, signed in September 2000, each side

agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, and to do so at roughly the same

time. The parties could use two methods for disposing of the plutonium—they could either

convert it to mixed oxide fuel (MOX) for nuclear power reactors or immobilize it and dispose of

it in a way that would preclude its use in nuclear weapons. Russia has expressed little interest in

the permanent disposal of plutonium, noting that the material could have great value for its

civilian power program. The United States initially intended to pursue both options. However,

after reviewing U.S. nonproliferation policies in 2001, the Bush Administration concluded that

this approach would be too costly. Instead, it outlined a plan for the United States to convert

almost all its surplus plutonium to MOX fuel.

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service 24

In late July 2003, the Bush Administration announced that the plutonium disposition program

would not pursue additional contracts in 2004 because the United States and Russia were unable

to agree on the liability provisions for a new implementing agreement for the program. The two

nations reportedly reached an a liability agreement in 2005, although it has not yet been signed by

Russia’s President Putin. Russia has indicated that it may not pursue the MOX program to

eliminate its plutonium, opting, instead for the construction of fast breeder reactors that could

burn plutonium directly for energy production. The United States is not likely to fund this effort,

as many in the United States argue that breeder reactors, which produce more plutonium than

they consume, would undermine nonproliferation objectives. Moreover, the cost of the U.S. MOX

facility has escalated in recent years, and DOE has considered cancelling the program.

Materials Protection, Control, and Accounting

Many in the United States have expressed concerns about the safety and security of nuclear

materials located at civilian research facilities in the former Soviet Union. Government-togovernment

projects at facilities that housed nuclear materials began in 1994. In a parallel effort

that sought to reduce delays in these projects, experts from the U.S. nuclear laboratories, which

are a part of DOE, also began less formal contacts with their counterparts in Russia to identify

and solve safety and security problems at Russian facilities. Together, these government-togovernment

and lab-to-lab projects evolved into an effort to apply Material Protection, Control

and Accounting (MPC&A) techniques to Russian facilities.

According to the Department of Energy, the MPC&A program has provided assistance at more

than 50 facilities in the former Soviet Union. At many of these facilities, the program focused on

providing upgrades to security to reduce the risk of a loss of materials. These upgrades include

the installation of improved security systems that use modern technology and strict material

control and accounting systems. The program has also provided security training for Russian

nuclear specialists. During the past decade, the United States expanded the program to include

efforts to secure radiological materials that would not be suitable for nuclear weapons but could

be used in radiological dispersal devices, and to improve border security and monitoring to

discourage and detect illicit efforts to transfer these materials.

Global Threat Reduction Initiative

On May 26, 2004, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced the Global Threat Reduction

Initiative (GTRI). GTRI consolidated and accelerated several programs the Department of Energy

was already conducting:

  • Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) program (to repatriate all fresh

and spent Russian-origin nuclear fuel residing at reactors around the world);

  • Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) program (to

convert the cores of 105 civilian research reactors that use high-enriched uranium

[HEU] to low-enriched uranium [LEU]);

  • Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (FRRSNF) Acceptance program

(to accelerate and complete the repatriation of U.S.-origin research reactor spent

HEU fuel [about 20 metric tons from more than 40 locations worldwide]); and

  • U.S. and International Radiological Threat Reduction (USRTR and IRTR)

programs (to identify, recover and store domestic radioactive sealed sources and

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service 25

other radiological materials and reduce the international threat posed by

radiological materials that could be used in “dirty bombs.”)

Over the years, GTRI has worked to secure, protect, and, in some cases, remove vulnerable

nuclear and radiological materials at civilian facilities worldwide, in an effort to mitigate the risk

of terrorists obtaining nuclear material that could be used in a nuclear or radiological device.

Specifically, GTRI repatriates U.S. and Russian-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) spent and

fresh nuclear fuel from research reactors located in countries around the world. In some cases, the

United States converts those reactors to operate with low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, which is

not useful for a nuclear weapon. In addition, GTRI installs physical security upgrades at nuclear

and radiological sites, and recovers disused and unwanted radioactive sources at home and

abroad.

In its FY2016 budget request, the Department of Energy outlined a reorganization of its

nonproliferation programs. It identified two new program areas—Material Management and

Minimization, and Global Material Security—that would incorporate most of the nonproliferation

programs described above. It also identified a program area, known as the Nonproliferation

Construction Program, that would manage the construction of the U.S. MOX facility.

For Further Reading

CRS Report R43143, The Evolution of Cooperative Threat Reduction: Issues for Congress, by Mary Beth D. Nikitin and Amy

  1. Woolf

State Department Programs

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many experts feared that scientists from Russia’s

nuclear weapons complex might sell their knowledge to other nations seeking nuclear weapons.

Many of these scientists had worked in the Soviet Union’s “closed” nuclear cities where they had

enjoyed relatively high salaries and prestige, but their jobs evaporated during Russia’s economic

and political crises in the early 1990s. Even those scientists who retained their jobs saw their

incomes decline sharply as Russia was unable to pay their salaries for months at a time. In

response to these concerns, the United States, Japan, the European Union, and Russia established

the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in Moscow. A similar center began

operating in Kiev in 1993. In subsequent years, several other former Soviet states have joined and

other nations have added their financial support.

The science center programs also began as a part of DOD’s CTR program, and were moved to the

State Department budget in 1996. The centers fund scientists who have worked on nuclear,

chemical, and biological weapons, but they have, historically, focused on nuclear scientists, with

many projects going to those who work at institutes in the closed nuclear cities. The State

Department estimates that about half of the participants are senior scientists, which means the

programs may have reached a significant portion of the estimated 30,000 to 70,000 senior

scientists and engineers in the Soviet nuclear complex. However, most of these scientists spend

fewer than 50 days per year on projects funded by the science centers. In the remainder of the

time, most continue to work at their primary jobs.

The Russian government announced in August 2010 that it would withdraw from the agreement

on the establishing of the ISTC, and from the protocol on temporary application of the ISTC

foundation agreement. The ISTC Board decided in December 2010 that all current projects with

Russia would be completed, and that Russia would not withdraw before 2014. All other member

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Congressional Research Service 26

states reaffirmed their commitment to their countries’ participation. The ISTC Board approved

Kazakhstan’s offer to host the ISTC main office in December 2012, and a transition is underway.

The collapse of political control along the Soviet borders, along with incentives created by the

weakness in the economies of the newly independent states, contribute to concerns about the

potential for smuggling or illegal exports of materials and technology from the former Soviet

Union. The State Department’s Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS)

program helps the former Soviet states and other nations improve their ability to interdict nuclear

smuggling and their ability to stop the illicit trafficking of all materials for weapons of mass

destruction, along with dual use goods and technologies. The EXBS program currently has

projects underway in more than 30 nations, and is expanding its reach around the globe.

For Further Reading

CRS Report R43143, The Evolution of Cooperative Threat Reduction: Issues for Congress, by Mary Beth D. Nikitin and Amy

  1. Woolf

G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and

Materials of Mass Destruction

Since the creation of the Nunn-Lugar program in 1992, the United States has pressed its allies to

provide similar support to Russia and the other former Soviet states. Like the United States, the

G-8 countries faced difficulties in implementing similar programs. In early 2002, the United

States proposed to the G-8 an expansion of its Cooperative Threat Reduction programs called “10

plus 10 over 10”—that is, the other G-8 countries (including Russia) would add $10 billion more

over 10 years to the $10 billion the United States was already planning to spend on CTR-related

programs. By expanding the programs to include more donors, the participants would not only be

able to increase their level of effort in Russia, but might also be able to address potential

proliferation problems in other nations.

At their June 2002 summit at Kananaskis, the Group of Eight (United States, Canada, UK,

France, Germany, Italy, Japan (G-7) plus Russia (G-8)) formed the Global Partnership (GP)

Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. Under this partnership, the

United States, other members of the G-7 and the European Union have agreed to raise up to $20

billion over 10 years for projects beginning in Russia related to disarmament, nonproliferation,

counterterrorism, and nuclear safety. The Global Partnership has spurred Russia to take on a

greater portion of the financial burden for these projects, as second-largest donor. According to

the State Department, Global Partnership funding has totaled $21 billion since 2002. The United

States has promised an additional $10 billion in Global Partnership funds in the 2012-2022

timeframe, subject to congressional appropriations.

At the 2002 summit, G-8 countries adopted principles to deny terrorists access to WMD and

WMD materials. These are:

  • Strengthen multilateral treaties and other instruments to prevent WMD

proliferation and strengthen the institutions established to implement such

agreements;

  • Develop and maintain measures that ensure that the production, use, storage, and

transport of WMD materials is safe and secure and provide such assistance to

countries lacking the ability to secure such materials;

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Congressional Research Service 27

  • Ensure that WMD storage facilities are physically secure and provide assistance

to states where facilities lack protection;

  • Implement border controls, law enforcement efforts and international cooperation

to detect and interdict attempts to smuggle WMD materials and items and

provide assistance to countries that lack appropriate resources;

  • Maintain export controls over items that could be used to develop weapons of

mass destruction and missiles; and

  • Work to manage and dispose of fissile materials stocks that are no longer

required for defense purposes, destroy all chemical weapons, and “minimize”

stockpiles of dangerous biological agents.

The Partnership is intended to span the range of U.S. nonproliferation programs, starting in the

former Soviet Union. Russia identified chemical weapons destruction and dismantlement of

decommissioned nuclear submarines as its top priority projects; the G-7 have additionally

identified disposition of fissile materials and employing former weapon scientists as high-priority

projects. However, rather than adopting a common approach, a common fund, or a multilateral

implementation mechanism, projects are funded bilaterally under government-to-government

agreements with Russia. The G8 Global Partnership Working Group provides an informal

coordinating mechanism. Various sub-working groups concentrate on specific nonproliferation

areas.

The G-8 states have invited others to participate and contribute to the initiative, as well as adopt

the nonproliferation principles and guidelines to facilitate implementation. As of April 2014, there

were 27 members of the Global Partnership: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian

Federation, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark,

European Union, Finland, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,

Poland, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Hungary, and the Philippines.

The G-8 decided to extend the Global Partnership at their 2011 Summit in Deauville, France.

They reaffirmed the goals set out at the 2010 Summit for future Global Partnership activities:

nuclear and radiological security, bio-security, scientist engagement, and facilitation of the

implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540. Due to concerns by some G-8

countries over budgetary constraints, no commitment on a pledge amount or end-date was agreed

upon.

The United States held the G-8 presidency in 2012, and the Obama Administration continued its

policy of actively promoting expansion of the Partnership to new geographical regions.6 Mexico

joined in December 2012, the first Latin American state to participate. The United States has also

promoted greater attention to bio-security in the context of the Global Partnership. Under its 2012

chairmanship, it created a sub-working group on biological security to encourage and coordinate

projects in this area.

The United Kingdom’s 2013 presidency focused on increasing projects, expanding GP

membership, strengthening information security, and implementing U.N. Security Council

Resolution 1540. Russia held the G-8 presidency in 2014, but the other members of the G-8

6 “Global Partnership 2012,” State Department website, http://www.state.gov/t/isn/c12743.htm.

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service 28

boycotted the planned meeting in Sochi, Russia, and instead met as the G-7 in Belgium.7

Germany holds the G-7 Presidency in 2015. It is not clear yet what impact this will have on the

Global Partnership activities in Russia, but most of those projects are winding down and no

cancellations have been announced. Global Partnership cooperation among countries other than

Russia continues.

For Further Reading

CRS Report R43143, The Evolution of Cooperative Threat Reduction: Issues for Congress, by Mary Beth D. Nikitin and Amy

  1. Woolf

Multilateral Nuclear Nonproliferation Activities

The International Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

The United States is a leader of an international regime that attempts to limit the spread of nuclear

weapons through treaties, export control coordination and enforcement, and U.N. Security

Council resolutions. Recent challenges to the regime—notably North Korea’s October 2006,

2009, and 2013 nuclear tests and Iran’s lack of transparency on its nuclear program and pursuit of

uranium enrichment—raise questions about and reinforce the importance of nonproliferation

policy. Moreover, increased awareness of the need to keep sensitive materials and technologies

out of terrorist hands has reinvigorated efforts to control not just nuclear weapons and weaponsusable

materials, but also radioactive materials that could be used in radiological dispersal

devices. Key issues in this area that the 114th Congress might consider include verification of

nuclear agreements with Iran and preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons in the long

term; North Korea’s nuclear weapons activities; U.S. nuclear cooperation with India; tensions

between India and Pakistan as amplified by their nuclear weapons programs; and a predicted

expansion in civilian nuclear energy facilities worldwide that will challenge the safeguards

regime. Congress may also consider how cooperation under the international nonproliferation

regimes can be leveraged to prevent nuclear terrorism.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970 and was extended

indefinitely in 1995, is the centerpiece of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. The treaty currently

has 190 States Parties. It is complemented by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

safeguards, national export control laws, coordinated export control policies under the Nuclear

Suppliers Group, U.N. Security Council resolutions, and ad hoc initiatives. The NPT recognizes

five nations (the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and China) as nuclear weapon states—a

distinction that is carried over in other parts of the regime and in national laws. Three nations that

have not signed the NPT—India, Israel, and Pakistan—possess significant nuclear weapon

capabilities. North Korea, which had signed the NPT but withdrew in 2003, is now thought to

possess a small number of nuclear weapons. Several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and

South Africa, suspended their nuclear weapons programs and joined the NPT in the 1990s.

7 “G-7 Leaders Statement,” The White House, March 2, 2014, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/02/

g-7-leaders-statement.

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Others—Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan—gave up former Soviet weapons on their territories

and joined the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states in the 1990s.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is unique in its near universality—only India, Pakistan,

Israel, and North Korea are now outside the treaty. In signing the NPT, non-nuclear weapon states

(NNWS) pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons in exchange for a pledge by the nuclear weapon

states (NWS) not to assist the development of nuclear weapons by any NNWS and to facilitate

“the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological

information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” (NPT, Article IV-2) The NWS, defined as

any state that tested a nuclear explosive before 1967, also agree to “pursue negotiations in good

faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to

nuclear disarmament.” (NPT, Article VI). Many NNWS have often expressed dissatisfaction with

the apparent lack of progress toward disarmament.

Nuclear proliferation often has significant regional security repercussions, but there is also a

growing realization that the current constellation of proliferation risks may require further

improvements to the system itself. Concern has shifted from keeping technology from the states

outside the NPT to stemming potential further proliferation, either from those states outside the

regime or through black markets, such as the Pakistani A.Q. Khan network. Currently, member

states of the NPT are grappling with ways to strengthen controls within the current system and

through ad hoc complementary measures.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency was established in 1957 to assist nations in their

peaceful nuclear programs (primarily research and nuclear power programs) and to safeguard

nuclear materials from these peaceful programs to ensure that they are not diverted to nuclear

weapons uses. The IAEA safeguards system relies on data collection, review, and periodic

inspections at declared facilities. The IAEA may also inspect other facilities if it suspects

undeclared nuclear materials or weapons-related activities are present.

Non-nuclear weapon NPT members are required to declare and submit all nuclear materials in

their possession to regular IAEA inspections to ensure that sensitive nuclear materials and

technologies are not diverted from civilian to military purposes. Some states who are not parties

to the NPT (India, Israel, Pakistan) are members of the IAEA and allow inspections of some, but

not all, of their nuclear activities. The IAEA also provides technical assistance for peaceful

applications of nuclear technology for energy, medicine, agriculture, and research.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, IAEA inspection teams working with the U.N. Special

Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) revealed an extensive covert nuclear weapons program that had

been virtually undetected by annual inspections of Baghdad’s declared facilities. This knowledge

inspired efforts to strengthen the IAEA’s authority to conduct more intrusive inspections of a

wider variety of installations, to provide the Agency with intelligence information about

suspected covert nuclear activities, and to provide the Agency with the resources and political

support needed to increase confidence in its safeguards system. In 1998, the IAEA adopted an

“Additional Protocol” that would give the agency greater authority and access to verify nuclear

declarations. The protocol enters into force for individual NPT states upon ratification. As of

April 2015, 146 countries have signed an Additional Protocol and 125 have entered into force.

The Senate gave its advice and consent to the protocol on March 31, 2004 (Treaty Doc. 107-7,

Senate Executive Report 108-12). On December 18, 2006, implementing legislation was passed

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in P.L. 109-401, as part of the Hyde Act. On December 30, 2008, the President signed the

instrument of ratification for the Additional Protocol. It was deposited with the IAEA and entered

into force on January 6, 2009.

The IAEA has had an expanded mission in recent years, increasingly called upon to implement

nuclear security-related activities. The IAEA also faces a potential worldwide expansion in the

number of nuclear power plants it will need to monitor. Congress may consider U.S. support for

the IAEA in light of these challenges. The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security

Administration is studying the future of international safeguards through its Next Generation

Safeguards Initiative, which includes how to better share U.S. expertise and new safeguards

technologies with the IAEA.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

Several regions of the world have treaties in force that ban the development, deployment, and use

of nuclear weapons, known as nuclear-weapon-free zones, including Latin America (Treaty of

Tlatelolco), Central Asia (Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia), the South

Pacific (Treaty of Rarotonga), Africa (Treaty of Pelindaba), and Southeast Asia (Treaty of

Bangkok). Mongolia has declared itself a single-state Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Also, the

Treaty of Antarctica established that Antarctica will be used for peaceful uses only. Nuclear

weapons are also banned on the seabed, in outer space, and on the moon by international treaties.

The nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) reinforce the undertakings of NPT non-nuclear-weapon

state members and give confidence at a regional level that states are not seeking nuclear weapons.

Each treaty has protocols for nuclear weapon states to ratify. These protocols are pledges that the

nuclear weapon states will not base nuclear weapons in the zone, test nuclear weapons in the

zone, or use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the countries in the zone. The “negative

security assurance” provided to members of the zone through the nuclear weapon state protocol is

considered one of the key benefits of membership for non-nuclear weapon states.

The United States ratified the protocols to the Latin American NWFZ. The Obama

Administration, as pledged at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, submitted the Protocols to the

Treaties of Pelindaba (Africa) and Rarotonga (South Pacific) to the Senate for advice and consent

for ratification on May 2, 2011. The United States signed the protocols at the time these treaties

were open for signature (April 11, 1996, for the Treaty of Pelindaba and August 6, 1985, for the

Treaty of Rarotonga). The other four nuclear weapon states besides the United States (China,

France, Russia, United Kingdom) have ratified those protocols.

The Obama Administration has also said it would work with parties to the Southeast Asian

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone to resolve

outstanding issues related to the protocols in order to “sign the protocols to those treaties as soon

as possible.”8 In August 2011, the United States along with the other four NPT nuclear weapon

states began consultations with the SEANWFZ countries regarding the NWS protocols to that

agreement. Those consultations reportedly continue.

8 “Statement on Nuclear-Free Zones in Asia and Africa,” White House Press Release, May 2, 2011.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/02/statement-nuclear-free-zones-asia-and-africa.

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The five nuclear-weapon states announced their signature of the CANWFZ Protocol at the NPT

Preparatory Committee meeting in May 2014.9 The Obama Administration submitted the

CANFWZ Protocol to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification on April 27, 2015.10

The Presidential letter says that the protocol would require “no changes in U.S. law, policy or

practice.”

The five nuclear weapon states recognized Mongolia as a single-state nuclear-weapon-free zone

in September 2012 by signing parallel declarations formally acknowledging this status.11

Talks are underway to discuss the establishment of a Middle East WMD-free zone.

Table 1. U.S. Adherence to Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Protocols

Year Treaty Opened for

Signature/Entered into

Force

Year United States

Signed Protocols

Year United States

Ratified Protocols

Treaty of Tlatelolco

(Latin America)

1967/1969 Protocol I: 1977

Protocol II: 1968

Protocol I: 1981

Protocol II: 1971

Treaty on a Nuclear-

Weapon-Free Zone in

Central Asia

2006/2009 5/6/14 submitted to the Senate,

April 25, 2015

Treaty of Rarotonga

(South Pacific)

1985/1986

Protocol I, II & III: 1996 Not ratified, submitted to

the Senate, May 2, 2011

Treaty of Pelindaba

(Africa)

1996/2009 Protocols I & II: 1996 Not ratified, submitted to

the Senate, May 2, 2011

Treaty of Bangkok

(Southeast Asia)

1995/1997 Not signed Not ratified

Nuclear Suppliers Group

The United States has been a leader in establishing export controls, a key component of the

nuclear nonproliferation regime. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and Nuclear Nonproliferation

Act of 1978 established controls on nuclear exports that gradually gained acceptance by other

nuclear suppliers. The Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA) authorized controls on dual-use

technology that could contribute to foreign weapons. Export controls require exporters to get a

license before selling sensitive technology to foreign buyers and, in some cases, ban certain

exports to some countries.

International nuclear controls are coordinated by an informal association of 46 nuclear exporters

called the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), founded in 1975. NSG members voluntarily agree to

coordinate exports of civilian nuclear material and nuclear-related equipment and technology to

non-nuclear weapon states. The Group agreed to guidelines for export that include lists of

9 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/05/225681.htm.

10 Message to the Senate: Protocol to the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, Office of the President, April 27,

2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/27/message-senate-protocol-treaty-nuclear-weapon-freezone-

central-asia.

11 Daryl G. Kimball, “Mongolia Recognized as Nuclear-Free Zone,” Arms Control Today, September/October 2012.

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materials and equipment that are to be subject to export control. NSG guidelines require that the

recipient country offer assurances that the importing items will not be used for a weapons

program, will have proper physical security, and will not be transferred to a third party without

the permission of the exporter. Recipient countries’ nuclear program must also have full-scope

IAEA safeguards. In September 2008, the NSG agreed to exempt India from the full-scope

safeguards requirement, although retained a policy of restraint on the transfer enrichment and

reprocessing equipment. NSG members in June 2011 adopted additional guidelines that define

eligibility criteria for the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to new states.

The NSG’s effectiveness is limited by its voluntary nature and, therefore, lack of verification or

enforcement mechanisms. Countries such as Iraq and Pakistan, and individuals like A.Q. Khan

and others have exploited weaknesses in the national export control systems of many countries to

acquire a wide range of nuclear items.

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, adopted in 1987, sets

international standards for nuclear trade and commerce. The Convention established security

requirements for the protection of nuclear materials against terrorism; parties to the treaty agree to

report to the IAEA on the disposition of nuclear materials being transported and agree to provide

appropriate security during such transport. As of April 2014, 149 countries were party to the

treaty and 44 were signatories.

The United States had advocated strengthening the treaty by extending controls to domestic

facility security, not just transportation. In July 2005, States Parties convened to extend the

Convention’s scope to cover not only nuclear material in international transport, but also nuclear

material in domestic use, storage, and transport, as well as the protection of nuclear material and

facilities from sabotage. The new rules will come into effect once they have been ratified by twothirds

of the States Parties of the Convention, which could take several years. As of April 2014,

74 states had deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval of the

amendment with the depositary. The United States has not yet submitted its instrument of

ratification.

The United States has not yet submitted its instrument of ratification to the Convention. On

September 4, 2007, President Bush submitted the amendment to the Senate for its advice and

consent on ratification. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations recommended that the

Senate give its advice and consent on September 11, 2008. The Senate must also approve

implementing legislation before the United States deposits its instrument of ratification to the

Amendment.

In the 112th Congress, the Obama Administration submitted draft legislation to the Senate

Judiciary Committee in April 2011. The House passed implementing legislation in the 112th

Congress, but the Senate did not take action. In the 113th Congress, the House passed the Nuclear

Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act of 2013 (H.R.

1073) in May 2013, which approved implementing legislation for the CPPNM Amendment and

the Nuclear Terrorism Convention (as well as agreements on maritime security). The Senate did

not take action.

In the 114th Congress, implementing legislation for the three conventions, called the Nuclear

Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act (H.R. 1056), was

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introduced on February 25, 2015, in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism,

Homeland Security and Investigations. This bill language was incorporated into Title VIII of the

USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048), which was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on April 28,

  1. The Senate has not taken action.

For Further Reading

CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status, coordinated by Mary Beth D. Nikitin

CRS Report R41216, 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference: Key Issues and Implications, coordinated by

Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth D. Nikitin

CRS Report RL34234, Managing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Policy Implications of Expanding Global Access to Nuclear Power,

coordinated by Mary Beth D. Nikitin

CRS Report RL33016, U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress, by Paul K. Kerr

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of

Nuclear Terrorism

The U.N. General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of

Nuclear Terrorism (also known as the Nuclear Terrorism Convention) in 2005 after eight years of

debating a draft treaty proposed by Russia in 1997.12 Disputes over the definition of terrorism,

omitted in the final version, and over the issue of nuclear weapons use by states, complicated the

discussions for many years. After September 11, 2001, states revisited the draft treaty and the

necessary compromises were made. The Convention entered into force in July 2007. There were

83 states parties and 115 signatories as of February 2013.

The United States has strongly supported the Convention, and President Bush was the second to

sign it (after Russian President Putin) on September 14, 2005. The Senate Committee on Foreign

Relations reported the treaty to the full Senate and recommended advice and consent on

September 11, 2008. The Senate must approve implementing legislation before the United States

deposits its instrument of ratification to the Convention. In the 112th Congress, the Obama

Administration submitted draft legislation to the Senate Judiciary Committee in April 2011. The

House passed implementing legislation in the 112th Congress, but the Senate did not take action.

In the 113th Congress, the House passed the Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and

Safety of Maritime Navigation Act of 2013 (H.R. 1073) in May 2013, which approved

implementing legislation for the CPPNM Amendment and the Nuclear Terrorism Convention (as

well as agreements on maritime security). The Senate did not take action.

In the 114th Congress, implementing legislation for the three conventions, called the Nuclear

Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act (H.R. 1056), was

introduced on February 25, 2015, in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism,

Homeland Security and Investigations. This bill language was incorporated into Title VIII of the

USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048), which was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on April 28,

  1. The Senate has not taken action.

The Convention defines offenses related to the unlawful possession and use of radioactive or

nuclear material or devices, and the use or damage to nuclear facilities. The Convention commits

12 See full text at http://untreaty.un.org/English/Terrorism/English_18_15.pdf.

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each party to adopt measures in its national law to criminalize these offenses and make them

punishable. It covers acts by individuals, not states, and does not govern the actions of armed

forces during an armed conflict. The Convention also does not address “the issue of legality of

the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by States.” It also commits States Parties to exchange

information and cooperate to “detect, prevent, suppress and investigate” those suspected of

committing nuclear terrorism, including extraditions.

For Further Reading

CRS Report RL32595, Nuclear Terrorism: A Brief Review of Threats and Responses, by Jonathan E. Medalia

CRS Report R41169, Securing Nuclear Materials: The 2012 Summit and Issues for Congress, by Mary Beth D. Nikitin

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty13

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would ban all nuclear explosions. It opened for

signature in 1996 but has not yet entered into force. Previous treaties have restricted nuclear

testing: the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty barred explosions in the atmosphere, in space, and

under water, and the 1974 U.S.-U.S.S.R. Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the 1976 Peaceful

Nuclear Explosions Treaty limited the explosive yield of underground nuclear explosions. In the

debate on the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, many non-nuclear weapon states saw the

early conclusion of the CTBT as a key step by the nuclear weapon states to comply with their

obligations under Article VI of the NPT; critics argue that the United States has taken many steps

in support of these obligations. President Clinton signed the CTBT when it opened for signature

and submitted the treaty to the Senate for advice and consent in 1997. The Senate rejected the

treaty by a vote of 48 for, 51 against, and 1 present, on October 13, 1999.

Parties to the treaty agree “not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other

nuclear explosion.” The treaty establishes a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Organization (CTBTO) of all member states to implement the treaty. The CTBTO oversees a

Conference of States Parties, an Executive Council, and a Provisional Technical Secretariat. The

latter would operate an International Data Center to process and report on data from an

International Monitoring System (IMS), a global network that, when completed, would consist of

321 monitoring stations and 16 laboratories. A Protocol details the monitoring system and

inspection procedures. The CTBTO would come into effect if the treaty entered into force; until

that time, the CTBTO Preparatory Commission conducts work to prepare for entry into force,

such as building and operating the IMS.

For the treaty to enter into force, 44 specified states must ratify it. As of May 1, 2015, 183 nations

had signed the CTBT and 164 had ratified. Of the 44 required nations, 36 have ratified, 3 have

not signed (India, North Korea, and Pakistan) and another 5 have not ratified (China, Egypt, Iran,

Israel, and the United States). States that have ratified the treaty have held conferences every two

years since 1999 to discuss how to accelerate entry into force.

The CTBT remains on the calendar of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Bush

Administration opposed U.S. ratification of the CTBT but continued a U.S. nuclear test

moratorium in effect since October 1992. In contrast, President Obama has repeatedly stated his

support for the CTBT. For example, he said, “As president, I will reach out to the Senate to secure

13 For further details, contact Jonathan Medalia, CRS Specialist in National Defense, 7-7632.

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the ratification of the CTBT at the earliest practical date and will then launch a diplomatic effort

to bring onboard other states whose ratifications are required for the treaty to enter into force.”

Senator Hillary Clinton, as nominee for Secretary of State, previewed the Administration’s

approach to securing the Senate’s advice and consent: “A lesson learned from [the treaty’s defeat

in] 1999 is that we need to ensure that the administration work intensively with Senators so they

are fully briefed on key technical issues on which their CTBT votes will depend…. Substantial

progress has been made in the last decade in our ability to verify a CTBT and ensure stockpile

reliability.” Critics respond that confidence in the nuclear stockpile requires nuclear testing, and

that certain techniques would enable a determined cheater to avoid detection or attribution of its

tests.

For Further Reading

CRS Report RL34394, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Issues and Arguments, by Jonathan E. Medalia

CRS Report RL33548, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments, by Jonathan E.

Medalia

CRS Report RL33748, Nuclear Warheads: The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program and the Life Extension Program, by

Jonathan E. Medalia

Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty (FMCT)

The United States first proposed that the international community negotiate a ban on the

production of fissile material (plutonium and enriched uranium) that could be used in nuclear

weapons over 50 years ago. Negotiators of the NPT realized that fissile material usable for

nuclear weapons could still be produced under the guise of peaceful nuclear activities within the

Treaty. Consequently, a fissile material production ban, or FMCT, has remained on the long-term

negotiating agenda at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. These negotiations have

been largely stalled since 1993. In 1995, the CD agreed to the “Shannon Mandate,” which called

for an “non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty

banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive

devices.”

The Bush Administration undertook a comprehensive review of the U.S. position on the FMCT in

2004 and concluded that such a ban would be useful in creating “an observed norm against the

production of fissile material intended for weapons,” but argued that such a ban is inherently

unverifiable. The Bush Administration proposed a draft treaty in May 2006 that contained no

verification measures.

In contrast, the Obama Administration supports the negotiation of an FMCT with verification

measures on the basis of the Shannon mandate. President Obama said in an April 2009 speech

that “to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty

that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons.

If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the

dedicated production of weapons-grade materials that create them.” One key issue is whether or

not such a treaty would seek to include existing stocks of fissile material. The United States has

strongly objected to such an approach, but it is supported by some non-nuclear weapon states.14

14 The states advocating inclusion of stocks refer to such a treaty as the Fissile Material Treaty (FMT).

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Substantively, it has always been important to capture the undeclared nuclear weapon states

(initially India, Pakistan, and Israel, but now also North Korea) that were not parties to the NPT

and therefore subject to very few if any restrictions or monitoring. Many observers believed that

negotiations at the CD were preferable to smaller, eight-party talks (United States, United

Kingdom, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Israel) because they would establish a

global norm and would not have the appearance of conferring nuclear weapons status upon India,

Pakistan, and Israel. As of April 1, 2014, negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament have

not begun, with Pakistan blocking any forward movement (the CD operates on the basis of

consensus). U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said in an opening statement to

the CD in January 2011 that while the United States views the CD as the appropriate forum for

FMCT negotiations, other options should be considered if the stalemate continues.15

The United States initiated P-5 consultations on verification aspects of a possible treaty, and these

meetings continue. Moreover, a 2012 U.N. General Assembly resolution requested the U.N.

Secretary-General to “establish a group of governmental experts” to make recommendations on

“possible aspects [of] … a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or

other nuclear explosive devices.”16 The group began its work in March 2014 and completed its

work in 2015. The General Assembly resolution called upon the Secretary-General to transmit the

group’s report to the General Assembly and the CD.

Although negotiations have not yet begun, it could be important to begin a public debate through

hearings on various options and approaches to end the production of fissile material for weapons.

Some outcomes, particularly those that include intrusive verification, could have an impact on

U.S. facilities that are not currently being monitored. Another aspect for congressional

consideration is how well-equipped the U.S. intelligence community is to verify any such

agreement, and what the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should be.

For Further Reading

CRS Report RS22474, Banning Fissile Material Production for Nuclear Weapons: Prospects for a Treaty (FMCT), by Sharon

Squassoni

CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status, coordinated by Mary Beth D. Nikitin

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540

In April 2004, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1540, which requires all states to

“criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls and secure all sensitive materials within

their borders.” UNSCR 1540 called on states to enforce effective domestic controls over WMD

and WMD-related materials in production, use, storage, and transport; to maintain effective

border controls; and to develop national export and trans-shipment controls over such items, all of

which should help interdiction efforts. The resolution did not, however, provide any enforcement

authority, nor did it specifically mention interdiction. About two-thirds of all states have reported

to the U.N. on their efforts to strengthen defenses against WMD trafficking. U.N. Security

Council Resolutions 1673 (2006), 1810 (2008), and 1977 (2011) extended the duration of the

1540 Committee. The 2011 resolution extended the committee’s mandate for 10 years. The

15 Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, “2011 Opening Statement to the Conference on Disarmament,”

January 27, 2011.

16 A/RES/67/53.

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committee is currently focused on identifying assistance projects for states in need and matching

donors to improve these WMD controls. Congress may consider how the U.S. is contributing to

this international effort.

Informal Cooperative Endeavors

Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)

President Bush announced the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on May 31, 2003. This

Initiative is primarily a diplomatic tool developed by the United States to gain support for

interdicting shipments of weapons of mass destruction-related (WMD) equipment and materials.

Through the PSI, the Bush Administration sought to “create a web of counterproliferation

partnerships through which proliferators will have difficulty carrying out their trade in WMD and

missile-related technology.” The states involved in PSI have agreed to review their national legal

authorities for interdiction, provide consent for other states to board and search their own flag

vessels, and conclude ship-boarding agreements. The Proliferation Security Initiative has no

budget, no formal offices supporting it, no international secretariat, and no formal mechanism for

measuring its effectiveness (like a database of cases). To many, these attributes are positive,

allowing the United States to respond swiftly to changing developments. Others question whether

the international community can sustain this effort over the longer term. The Obama

Administration officials have pledged to “institutionalize” PSI, although how they will carry this

out is not yet clear.

As of May 2015, over 100 countries have committed formally to PSI participation. Sixteen “core”

nations have pledged their cooperation in interdicting shipments of WMD materials, agreeing in

Paris in 2003 on a set of interdiction principles. The 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 recommended

that PSI be expanded and coordination within the U.S. government improved. The United States

has prioritized the conclusion of ship-boarding agreements with key states that have high volumes

of international shipping. So far, the United States has signed 11 agreements with Antigua and

Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Croatia, Cyprus, Liberia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia,

Panama, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Since PSI is an activity rather than an organization, and has no budget or internal U.S.

government organization, it may be difficult for Congress to track PSI’s progress. Several

intelligence resource issues may be of interest to Congress, including whether intelligence

information is good enough for effective implementation and whether intelligence-sharing

requirements have been established with non-NATO allies. Another issue may be how PSI is

coordinated with other federal interdiction-related programs, like export control assistance.

Reporting and coordination requirements now in public law may result in more information and

better interagency coordination than in the past.

For Further Reading

CRS Report RL34327, Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), by Mary Beth D. Nikitin

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

In July 2006, Russia and the United States announced the creation of the Global Initiative to

Combat Nuclear Terrorism before the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg. Like PSI, this initiative is

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nonbinding, and requires agreement on a statement of principles. Thirteen nations—Australia,

Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Turkey, the United

Kingdom, the United States, and Russia—endorsed a Statement of Principles at the Initiative’s

first meeting in October 2006.17 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the

European Union (EU) have observer status. As of April 2014, 85 states have agreed to the

statement of principles and are Global Initiative partner nations.18

U.S. officials have described the Initiative as a “flexible framework” to prevent, detect, and

respond to the threat of nuclear terrorism. It is meant to enhance information sharing and build

capacity worldwide. The Statement of Principles pledges to improve each nation’s ability to

secure radioactive and nuclear material, prevent illicit trafficking by improving detection of such

material, respond to a terrorist attack, prevent safe haven to potential nuclear terrorists and

financial resources, and ensure liability for acts of nuclear terrorism. Participating states share a

common goal to improve national capabilities to combat nuclear terrorism by sharing best

practices through multinational exercises and expert level meetings. Without dues or a secretariat,

actions under the Initiative will take legal guidance from the International Convention on the

Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear

Materials and U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1373.19

Global Initiative partner nations periodically hold exercises and workshops to improve

coordination and exchange best practices. These are the primary activities held under the

initiative.20 The Global Initiative does not have program funding of its own in the U.S. budget,

and therefore Congress may consider whether its goals can be achieved within these constraints.

Ad Hoc Sanctions and Incentives

Other efforts—such as economic, military, or security assistance—may also help slow the

proliferation of nuclear weapons. These cooperative measures have been effective in some cases

(South Korea, Taiwan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine), but failed in others (Iraq, Israel, Pakistan).

Some favor greater use of sanctions against countries that violate international nonproliferation

standards, while others view sanctions as self-defeating. Most observers conclude that a mix of

positive and negative incentives, including diplomacy to address underlying regional security

problems, provides the best opportunity for controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. However,

when diplomacy fails, some policymakers have argued that military measures may be necessary

to attack nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and related facilities in states hostile to

the United States or its allies. For example, the Bush Administration claimed that the overthrow

of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq was justified, in part, on the basis of claims that Iraq

possessed chemical and biological weapons and might resume efforts to develop nuclear

weapons. As developments revealed, however, accurate intelligence is a key component of both

diplomatic and military approaches to nonproliferation.

17 “Partner Nations Endorse Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Statement of Principles,” U.S. Department

of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, November 7, 2006.

18 Current list may be viewed at http://www.state.gov/t/isn/c37083.htm.

19 “U.S.-Russia Joint Fact Sheet on The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism,” July 15, 2006.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/69016.htm.

20 For a full list, see http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/145498.pdf.

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Non-Nuclear Multilateral Endeavors

The international community has concluded a number of arms control agreements, conventions,

and arrangements that affect non-nuclear weapons. Two of these, the Conventional Armed Forces

in Europe Treaty (CFE) and the Open Skies Treaty were a part of the late-Cold War effort to

enhance stability and predictability in Europe. Others seek to control the spread of technologies

that might contribute to developing conventional or unconventional weapons programs. Finally,

several seek to ban whole classes of weapons through international conventions.

European Conventional Arms Control

Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE)

In late 1990, 22 members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact signed the Conventional Armed Forces

in Europe (CFE) Treaty, agreeing to limit NATO and Warsaw Pact non-nuclear forces in an area

from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. The CFE treaty did not anticipate the dissolution

of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Consequently, the participants signed the so-called

“Tashkent Agreement” in May 1992, allocating responsibility for the Soviet Union’s Treaty-

Limited items of Equipment (TLEs) among Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova,

Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. It also established equipment ceilings for each nation and the

implied responsibility for the destruction/transfer of equipment necessary to meet these national

ceilings. In 1999, the CFE Adaptation Agreement was signed to further adjust to the dissolution

of the Warsaw Pact and the expansion of NATO. As discussed below, this agreement has not

entered into force pending its ratification by NATO members, and Russia has suspended its

participation in the CFE Treaty.

Key Limits and Restrictions

CFE placed alliance-wide, regional (zonal), and national ceilings on specific major items of

military equipment.21 It sought to promote stability not only by reducing armaments, but also by

reducing the possibility of surprise attack by preventing large concentrations of forces. The CFE

treaty also provides for (1) very detailed data exchanges on equipment, force structure, and

training maneuvers; (2) specific procedures for the destruction or redistribution of excess

equipment; and (3) verification of compliance through on-site inspections. Its implementation has

resulted in an unprecedented reduction of conventional arms in Europe, with over 50,000 (TLEs)

removed or destroyed; almost all agree it has achieved most of its initial objectives.

Under the CFE treaty all equipment reductions needed to comply with overall, national, and zonal

ceilings were to have been completed by November 1995. As this deadline approached, it was

evident that Russia would not meet those requirements, particularly in the so-called “flank

zones,” which include the Leningrad Military District in the north, and more importantly, the

North Caucasus Military District in the south. The outbreak of armed ethnic conflicts in and

21 The Treaty limits battle tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, and combat aircraft. Other types

of equipment are subject to operating restrictions and reporting requirements: primary trainer aircraft, unarmed trainer

aircraft, combat support helicopters, unarmed transport helicopters, armored vehicle-launched bridges, armored

personnel carrier “look-alikes” and armored combat vehicle “look-alikes.”

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around the Caucasus, most notably in Chechnya, led Russia to claim it needed to deploy

equipment in excess of treaty limits in that zone. Russia placed this claim in the context of

broader assertions that some CFE provisions reflected Cold War assumptions and did not fairly

address its new national security concerns. Further, it argued that economic hardship was making

the movement of forces unaffordable in some cases.

To address these concerns, the CFE parties negotiated a Flank Agreement, in early 1996. This

Agreement removed several Russian (and one Ukrainian) administrative districts from the old

“flank zone,” thus permitting existing flank equipment ceilings to apply to a smaller area. To

provide some counterbalance to these adjustments, reporting requirements were enhanced,

inspection rights in the zone increased, and district ceilings were placed on armored combat

vehicles to prevent their concentration.

The Adaptation Agreement

The 1996 CFE Review Conference opened negotiations to modify the treaty to account for the

absence of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, and the expansion of NATO into the Czech Republic,

Poland, and Hungary. Most CFE signatories did not want to completely renegotiate the treaty.

Russia, however, sought broader revisions, and, ironically, it sought to maintain the alliance-wide

equipment ceilings. An alliance-wide cap on NATO would presumably force adjustments of

national holdings as the NATO alliance expanded; such adjustments probably would not favor

new member nations close to Russia’s borders. The CFE parties did not adopt Russia’s position

and Russia ultimately agreed to a largely NATO-drafted document. This agreement called for,

among other things, lower equipment levels throughout the “Atlantic to the Urals” area; enhanced

verification procedures; and the replacement of NATO-Warsaw Pact “bloc to bloc” ceilings with

national limits on all categories of TLEs. It also stated that the Flank Agreement was to remain in

effect. The Adaptation Agreement reiterates that NATO has “no plan, no intention, and no reason”

to deploy nuclear weapons on new members’ territory; and seeks to improve new members’

defensive capabilities through interoperability and capability for reinforcement, rather than by

stationing additional combat forces on new members’ territory. Russia’s most serious focus has

been, however, on NATO enlargement and how CFE could adapt to mitigate what many Russians

see as an encroaching threat. Russia has called for the new members of NATO, particularly the

Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, to become CFE state parties. These countries have

indicated a willingness to join, however, they cannot do so until the Adaptation Agreement is

ratified and the new CFE regime comes into force.

At the Istanbul Summit in 1999, where the Adaptation Agreement was concluded, Russia

undertook the so-called Istanbul Commitments to remove its troops from both the Republic of

Georgia and the “breakaway” province of Transdniestra in Moldova.22 Though not part of the

CFE Adaptation Agreement document, NATO members have considered Russian fulfillment of

these commitments a prerequisite for the ratification of the Agreement. Consequently, of the CFE

signatories only Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan ratified the adapted treaty.

22 For more information concerning the Georgian and Moldovan negotiations with Russia over its troop deployments in

their countries, see CRS Report RS21981, Moldova: Background and U.S. Policy, by Steven Woehrel, and CRS Report

RL33453, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim

Nichol and Steven Woehrel.

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Compliance Concerns

In past compliance reports, the State Department has asserted that Russian equipment holdings

“continue to exceed most of the legally binding limits for both the original and revised flank

zones.”23 It also cited Russia for relatively minor reporting violations and for its failure to

complete withdrawals of its troops from Georgia and Moldova. It also cited Armenia, Azerbaijan,

Belarus, and Ukraine for noncompliance.24 Armenia and Azerbaijan, engaged in a conflict over

the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, have not completed equipment reductions; nor provided

complete equipment declarations; nor provided timely notification of new equipment acquisition.

Belarus was also cited for questionable equipment declarations and its refusal to allow inspectors

access to an equipment storage site. The State Department deems Ukraine to have substantially

complied with CFE requirements, but notes that it retained several hundred equipment items in

excess of treaty limits. The State Department has raised significant issues with Russia’s

compliance, particularly in the years since Russia suspended its participation in the treaty.

Russian CFE Suspension

On April 26, 2007, Russian President Putin announced a “moratorium” on Russian CFE

compliance, pointing to, among other things, the NATO nations’ not having ratified the treaty as

adapted. Subsequently, in statements to the press and diplomatic conferences, Russian officials

elucidated the Russian position and its concerns. Among the major points are the following:25

  • During its CFE “moratorium” Russia will not allow CFE inspections nor will it

report on its military movements.

  • The Istanbul Commitments regarding troop withdrawals in Georgia and Moldova

are not an integral part of the CFE Adaptation Agreement document, and

consequently not legally binding and should not stand in the way of NATO

members’ ratification of the Agreement.

  • The Baltic States and Slovakia are not bound by the CFE and their NATO

membership, coupled with the new U.S. basing agreements with Poland,

Bulgaria, and Romania, constitute an unacceptable encroachment on Russian

national security.

  • If the NATO nations do not ratify the CFE Adaptation Agreement within a year,

Russia will consider complete withdrawal from the treaty.

Russian officials, military leaders, and political commentators increasingly referred to the CFE

treaty as a “Cold War agreement,” which no longer reflected the realities of the European security

environment. Russian military officials’ consultations at NATO Headquarters on May 10 brought

no softening of the Russian position. A Russian request to the Organization for Security and

Cooperation in Europe for a special conference of CFE signatories in June was granted.26 The

23 Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and Commitments. Department

of State, 2005 p. 47. The State Department did not publish this statutorily-mandated report to Congress in 2006.

24 Ibid., pp. 16-28.

25 “Russia May Withdraw from Agreement with NATO”, RIA Novosti, April 27, 2007; “Russian Paper Examines

NATO Ties, Impact of CFE Moratorium,” BBC Monitoring Service May 1, 2007. Translation from Kommersant, April

28, 2007.

26 “Russian MP Says New Structure of European Security on the Agenda,” ITAR-TASS World Service, May 11, 2007.

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conference failed to resolve any of the outstanding issues, and the State Parties were unable to

find sufficient common ground to issue a final joint statement.

The European and U.S. governments reacted with some surprise at the harshness of Russian

statements, and urged Russia to address its concerns within the consultative framework of the

treaty rather than pursue a withdrawal. However, then-Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of

Defense Gates, in conversations with President Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in testimony before the U.S.

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, reiterated the U.S. position that ratification

of the CFE Adaptation Agreement still remained contingent upon Russia fulfilling its

commitment to withdraw its military forces from Georgia and Moldova.27

On November 30, 2007, President Putin signed legislation from the Duma that suspended Russian

compliance with CFE, effective December 12, 2007. This action came during the Madrid OSCE

summit meeting and evoked an expression of regret on the part of NATO officials, who noted that

Russia’s military posture would be under discussion at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in

December. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns characterized the Russian action as a

“mistake” and urged Russia to negotiate its concerns within the CFE framework.

Russian officials emphasized that this action was not a withdrawal from the treaty, and that they

were willing to participate in further discussions if they perceived a greater willingness on the

part of the NATO allies to address their concerns. However, in recent years, it has become clear

that Russia does not intend to return to the CFE Treaty; it would prefer the negotiation of a new

agreement that reflected the new security environment in Europe. Moreover, in March 2015,

Russia suspended its participation in the Joint Consultative Group of the CFE Treaty, leaving

little room for continued dialogue or cooperation.

Russian officials indicated, in 2007, that Russia did not plan to conduct any significant

redeployment of forces outside the treaty limits. However, in August 2008, Russia sent military

forces into Georgia without the consent of the Georgian government and recognized two

provinces of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as independent states. U.S. officials have

noted that these steps are inconsistent with Russia’s obligation under the CFE Treaty to “to refrain

… from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any

State.” In addition, because Russia has suspended its participation in the treaty, it has not allowed

any on-site inspections and has not provided any data mandated by the treaty.

Some observers, and Russian spokesmen, have portrayed the Russian moves regarding CFE as an

asymmetrical response to the proposed deployment of a U.S. ground-based missile defense

system in Poland and the Czech Republic.28 Others, including Chief of the Russian General Staff

Baluyevsky, have discounted a specific linkage, seeing the missile defense controversy as merely

one element of a more broadly ranged dissatisfaction with changes in the European security

environment, which, from the Russian perspective, have favored the NATO allies.29

27 Transcript of Secretary of State Rice Media Availability, Moscow, May 15, 2007. Federal Document Clearing

House; Transcript of Hearing before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, May 24, 2007.

Federal Document Clearing House.

28 “U.S. and NATO Dissect Putin Treaty Threat,” Financial Times, April 27, 2007, p. 2.

29 “Chief of the General Staff Makes a Policy Speech,” WPS: What the Papers Say. WPS Russian Media Monitoring

Agency. May 8, 2007; “Russian Move on Key Arms Treaty Not Linked to US ABM Plans,” BBC Monitoring News

(continued…)

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Legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate, during the 110th Congress (H.Res. 603,

S.Res. 278), characterizing the Russian actions as “regrettable,” and urging the Russian

Federation to reconsider its intentions and to fulfill the Istanbul Commitments, while encouraging

all CFE State Parties to seek “innovative and constructive” mechanisms to resolves these issues.

S.Res. 278 passed the Senate by unanimous consent, while H.Res. 603 was never reported out by

the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The U.S. Response

In November 2011, the United States announced that it would stop implementing its data

exchange obligations under the CFE Treaty with respect to Russia. The United States would

continue to share data with other treaty partners, and would not exceed the numerical limits on

conventional armaments and equipment established by the treaty. But it would withhold data from

Russia because Russia has refused to accept inspections and ceased to provide information to

other CFE Treaty parties since its 2007 decision.

The U.S. State Department, in its statement on the treaty, indicated that the United States

remained committed to revitalizing conventional arms control in Europe. It also indicated that, in

order to increase transparency and promote stability in the region, the United States would

voluntarily inform Russia of any significant change in the U.S. force posture in Europe.

For Further Reading

Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. http://www.state.gov/t/ac/trt/4781.htm.

Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and Commitments. Department

of State, 2005.

CRS Report 90-615 RCO, Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): A Primer. (Out of print. For copies

contact Amy Woolf, 7-23790.)

Treaty on Open Skies30

On March 24, 1992, the United States, Canada, and 22 European nations signed the Treaty on

Open Skies. The parties agreed to permit unarmed aircraft to conduct observation flights over

their territories. Although the flights will likely focus on military activities, the information they

gather was not intended to be used to verify compliance with limits in other arms control

agreements. Instead, Open Skies is designed as a confidence-building measure that will promote

openness and enhance mutual understanding about military activities. The treaty entered into

force on January 1, 2002. It currently has 34 participating member states that have conducted

more than 835 observation flights since the treaty entered into force.

Open Skies was originally proposed by President Eisenhower in 1955. In the years before

satellites began to collect intelligence data, aerial overflights were seen as a way to gain

information needed for both intelligence and confidence-building purposes. The Soviet Union

rejected President Eisenhower’s proposal because it considered the overflights equal to

(…continued)

File. April 26, 2007.

30 For details contact Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in National Defense, 7-2379.

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espionage. President George H. W. Bush revived the Open Skies proposal in May 1989. By this

time, both the United States and Soviet Union employed satellites and remote sensors for

intelligence collection, so aircraft overflights would add little for that objective. But, at the time

when Europe was emerging from the East-West divide of the Cold War, the United States

supported increased transparency throughout Europe as a way to reduce the chances of military

confrontation and to build confidence among the participants. The Senate consented to the

ratification of the treaty on August 6, 1993, and President Clinton signed the instruments of

ratification on November 3, 1993, but entry-into-force was delayed until Russia and Belarus

approved ratification in May 2001.

The Provisions of Open Skies

The parties to the Open Skies Treaty have agreed to make all of their territory accessible to

overflights by unarmed fixed wing observation aircraft. They can restrict flights over areas, such

as nuclear power plants, where safety is a concern, but they cannot impede or prohibit flights over

any area, including military installations that are considered secret or otherwise off-limits. In

most cases, the nation conducting the observation flight will provide the aircraft and sensors for

the flight. However, Russia insisted that the Treaty permit the observed country to provide the

aircraft if it chose to do so. Nations can also team up to conduct overflights to share the costs of

the effort or use aircraft and sensor suites provided by other nations. Each nation is assigned a

quota of overflights that it can conduct and must be willing to receive each year. The quota is

determined, generally, by the size of the nation’s territory. For the United States, this quota is

equal to 42 observation flights per year.

The Treaty permits the nations to use several types of sensors—including photographic cameras,

infrared cameras, and synthetic aperture radars—during their observation flights. The permitted

equipment will allow the nations to collect basic information on military forces and activities, but

it will provide them with little detailed technical intelligence. For example, the resolution on the

sensors would allow the nations to identify vehicles and distinguish between tanks and trucks, but

probably will not allow them to tell one type of tank from another. Each observation flight will

produce two sets of data—one for the observing nation and one for the observed nation. Other

parties to the Treaty can purchase copies of the data. Each nation is responsible for its own

analysis of the data. The participants may have to revisit the agreement’s list of permitted sensors

in coming years, as technology has moved forward. For example, the permitted cameras use film

that is no longer available, and parts that are no longer supported by most manufacturers. But

some parties are uncomfortable with the idea of changing to digital imaging, as the images can be

enhanced by computers. This would provide more information than is permitted with the current

cameras.

The Open Skies Treaty was designed as a confidence-building measure, allowing all nations,

including those without access to satellites, to collect information on military forces and activities

of other parties to the Treaty. It is not designed to provide detailed intelligence information or

data needed to verify compliance with arms control limits. Instead, it allows the participants to

gain an improved understanding of military activities in other nations. Overflights may provide

early signs of efforts to build up military forces or, conversely, assurances that an adversary or

neighbor is not preparing its military for a possible conflict. In any case, it is designed to promote

openness and transparency as a way to ease tensions and reduce the likelihood of

misunderstandings about military intentions.

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Implementation

Although several of the participating nations conducted practice missions in the years before the

Treaty entered into force, the first official overflight mission occurred in 2002. The United States

has not only conducted several missions over territories in Europe and the former Soviet Union, it

has also hosted numerous observation flights over its own territory. It also, occasionally, uses its

open skies aircraft to monitor natural disasters, such as the recent earthquake in Haiti.

In recent years, the United States has raised concerns about Russia’s compliance with the Open

Skies Treaty. For example, according to the U.S. State Department’s annual report on compliance

with arms control agreements, Russia has refused access for Open Skies observation over

Chechnya and nearby areas of southwestern Russia. It has also limited access to a region over

Moscow, and along the border of Russia with the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and

Abkhazia. Moreover, according to the State Department, Russia has failed to provide priority

flight clearance for Open Skies flights on a few occasions.

Nevertheless, the Open Skies Treaty has proved durable, with flights continuing for more than a

decade. They even proceeded during 2014, when tensions in the region rose over Russia’s

interference in Ukraine. Most participants agree that they provide an opportunity for transparency

that can ease concerns about ongoing military operations.

For Further Reading

CRS Report 95-1098 F, The Open Skies Treaty: Observation Overflights of Military Activities. (Out of print. For copies

contact Amy Woolf, 7-2379.)

The Missile Technology Control Regime

The United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom established

the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on April 16, 1987. Designed to slow the

proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles, rockets, and unmanned air vehicles (UAV) capable of

delivering weapons of mass destruction, the MTCR is an informal, voluntary arrangement in

which participants agree to adhere to common export policy guidelines applied to an “annex” that

lists controlled items. Partner-countries adopt the guidelines as national policy and are

responsible for restraining their own missile-related transfers. In addition, partners regularly

exchange information on relevant export licensing issues, including denials of technology

transfers. The MTCR has neither an independent means to verify whether states are adhering to

its guidelines or monitor nor a mechanism to penalize states if they violate them.

The MTCR is based on the premise that foreign acquisition or development of delivery systems

can be delayed and made more difficult and expensive if major producers restrict exports.

Analysts credit the MTCR with slowing missile development in Brazil and India, blocking a

cooperative missile program of Argentina, Egypt, and Iraq, and eliminating missile programs in

South Africa and Hungary. Moreover, partner countries have tightened their export control laws

and procedures, and several have taken legal action against alleged missile-technology smugglers.

On the other hand, some analysts note that the MTCR does not regulate countries’ acquisition or

production of missiles and cannot prevent non-partners from exporting missiles and technology. It

has also been difficult to restrain exports of ballistic and cruise missile technology from some

partners—Russia has exported technology to Iran and Great Britain has done so to the United

Arab Emirates. In addition, many analysts have argued that advances in missile-related

technology will challenge the MTCR’s future ability to check missile proliferation. Analysts and

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experts in the international community have also discussed the possibility that the “supply side”

approach of the MTCR has outlived its usefulness and that a “demand side” approach to

proliferation, on a regional or global basis, might prove more effective.

Participants

Since 1987, the number of MTCR partners has grown from 7 to 34, with Bulgaria joining the

Regime in June 2004.31 Several non-partners, including China, Israel, Romania, Slovakia, and

India, have said they will restrict their transfers of missile equipment and technology according to

the MTCR.

Membership in the Regime is decided by consensus. According to former MTCR Chairman Per

Fischer, “[p]otential members are reviewed on a case-by case basis, and decisions regarding

applications are based on the effectiveness of a state’s export controls … its potential contribution

to the regime and its proliferation record.”32 The United States supports new requests for

membership to the regime only if the country in question agrees not to develop or acquire

missiles (excluding space launch vehicles) that exceed MTCR guidelines.

Substance of the MTCR

The MTCR guidelines33 call on each partner country to exercise restraint when considering

transfers of equipment or technology, as well as “intangible” transfers, that would provide, or

help a recipient country build, a missile capable of delivering a 500 kilogram (1,100 pound)

warhead to a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) or more. The 500 kilogram weight threshold

was intended to limit transfers of missiles that could carry a relatively crude nuclear warhead. A

1993 addition to the guidelines calls for particular restraint in the export of any missiles or related

technology if the nation controlling the export judges that the missiles are intended to be used for

the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, or biological). Thus some

missiles with warheads weighing less than 500 kilograms also fall under MTCR guidelines. From

time to time, Regime partners update the MTCR guidelines and annex.

The MTCR annex contains two categories of controlled items. Category I items are the most

sensitive. There is “a strong presumption to deny such transfers,” according to the MTCR

guidelines. Regime partners have greater flexibility in exports of Category II items.

Category I items include complete rocket systems (including ballistic missiles, space launch

vehicles, and sounding rockets), UAV systems (including cruise missiles systems, target and

reconnaissance drones), production facilities for such systems, and major subsystems (including

rocket stages, re-entry vehicles, rocket engines, guidance systems, and warhead mechanisms).

Transfers of Category I production facilities are not to be authorized. Category II items are other

less sensitive and dual-use missile-related components that could be used to develop a Category I

system, and complete missiles and major subsystems of missiles capable of delivering a payload

of any size to a range of 300 km.

31 Information on MTCR partners is available at http://www.mtcr.info/english/partners.html.

32 “20 Years of the Missile Technology Control Regime and Beyond,” paper given to the DIIS Conference on Missile

Proliferation, Copenhagen, May 2, 2007.

33 The MTCR guidelines and annex are available at http://www.mtcr.info.

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Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)

The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) was inaugurated on

November 25, 2002. As of May 30, 2014, 137 countries subscribed to the Code.34 The HCOC is

not a treaty but instead a set of “fundamental behavioral norms and a framework for cooperation

to address missile proliferation.” It focuses on the possession of ballistic missiles, as a

complement to the supply-side-oriented MTCR. Subscribing states have held regular conferences

since the Code came into effect.

The Code intends to “prevent and curb the proliferation of Ballistic Missile systems capable of

delivering weapons of mass destruction.” It calls on subscribing states “to exercise maximum

possible restraint in the development, testing and deployment of Ballistic Missiles capable of

delivering weapons of mass destruction [WMD], including, where possible, to reduce national

holdings of such missiles.” Subscribing states also agree not to assist ballistic missile programs in

countries suspected of developing WMD. The HCOC also calls for subscribing states to “exercise

the necessary vigilance” in assisting other countries’ space-launch programs, which could serve

as covers for ballistic missile programs.

Additionally, subscribing states “resolve to implement” several transparency measures, such as

producing annual declarations that provide outlines of their ballistic missile policies, as well as

“information on the number and generic class” of such missiles launched during the preceding

year. The Code also calls on subscribing states to provide similar annual declarations regarding

their “expendable Space Launch Vehicle” programs.

Furthermore, the HCOC calls on states to “exchange pre-launch notifications on their Ballistic

Missile and Space Launch Vehicle launches and test flights.” Signatories are required to provide

such notifications to Austria, which serves as the Immediate Central Contact and Executive

Secretariat for the HCOC. The United States and Russia each provide such notifications and the

annual declarations described above.

The Wassenaar Arrangement

In July 1996, 33 nations approved the Wassenaar Arrangement (formally titled the Wassenaar

Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies)

on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.35 This agreement

replaces the Coordinating Committee For Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom)—the Cold War

organization that controlled sensitive exports of technologies to Communist nations.

According to its Guidelines and Procedures, the Wassenaar Arrangement is not formally targeted

at “any state or group of states.” But it is “intended to enhance co-operation to prevent the

acquisition of armaments and sensitive dual-use items for military end-uses, if the situation in a

region or the behaviour of a state is, or becomes, a cause for serious concern.”36

34 The full text is available at http://www.bmeia.gv.at/fileadmin/user_upload/bmeia/media/2-Aussenpolitik_Zentrale/

114_hcoc.pdf.

35 Dual-use goods are those commodities, processes, or technologies used primarily for civilian purposes which can

also be used to develop or enhance the capabilities of military equipment.

36 The Arrangement’s Guidelines and Procedures may be found at http://www.wassenaar.org/guidelines/index.html.

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The Arrangement is designed “to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by

promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use

goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.” Member decisions are

made by consensus. This group has a broader membership but smaller lists of controlled goods

than did CoCom. Its control regime is also less rigorous. Under Wassenaar, each national

government regulates its own exports, whereas under CoCom, any member could disapprove any

other members’ export by of a controlled item to a proscribed destination. There is also no

mechanism to punish a Participating State for violating Wassenaar guidelines.

Membership

The Arrangement’s guidelines specify that several factors must be considered when deciding on a

potential new member’s eligibility. These include whether the state has adopted the

Arrangement’s control lists “as a reference in its national export controls,” the government’s

“adherence to fully effective export controls,” and whether the state adheres to several other

multilateral agreements.37

Items Controlled

Participating States agree to control exports and retransfers of items on a Munitions List and a

List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. The decision to allow or deny transfer of an item is the

sole responsibility of each Participating State. The control lists are updated frequently.

Organization and Operations

Twice a year Participating States report all transfers or licenses issued for sensitive dual-use

goods or technology and all deliveries of items on the Munitions List. The data exchange

identifies the supplier, recipient, and items transferred.

Participating States also report denials of licenses to transfer items on the Dual-Use list to nonmember

states. The Arrangement does not prohibit a participating country from making an export

that has been denied by another participant (this practice is called “undercutting”). But

participants are required to report soon after they approve a license for an export of dual-use

goods that are essentially identical to those that have been denied by another participant during

the previous three years.

During plenary and working group discussions, Participating States voluntarily share information

on potential threats to peace and stability and examine dangerous acquisition trends. The

participants review the scope of reporting and coordinating national control policies and develop

further guidelines and procedures. Twice a year, the group reviews the Munitions List with a view

to extending information and notifications.

37 These agreements include the guidelines for the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Zangger Committee, the Missile

Technology Control Regime, and the Australia Group. They also include the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the

Biological and Toxicological Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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Weapons Control and Elimination Conventions

Chemical Weapons Convention

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) bans the development, production, transfer,

stockpiling, and use of chemical and toxin weapons, mandates the destruction of all chemical

weapons production facilities, and seeks to control the production and international transfer of the

key chemical components of these weapons. Negotiations began in 1968, but made little progress

for many years.38 Verification issues, in particular, stalled the talks until the Soviet Union

accepted challenge inspections. In September 1992, the Conference on Disarmament’s 40

member-nations agreed on the final draft for the Convention, and it opened for signature in

January 1993. As of May 6, 2015, 190 nations had ratified the treaty, which entered into force on

April 29, 1997. Two states have signed but not ratified the Convention.39 Five states have not

signed the CWC.40 Under the Convention, states-parties provide declarations, which detail

chemical weapons-related activities or materials and relevant industrial activities, to the

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW inspects and

monitors states-parties’ facilities and activities that are relevant to the convention.

The U.S. Senate held hearings and debated the CWC for more than four years before consenting

to its ratification on April 24, 1997. Congress passed the CWC implementing legislation, as a part

of the FY1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-277), in late October 1998. This legislation

provides the statutory authority for U.S. domestic compliance with the Convention’s provisions.

The legislation also provides detailed procedures to be used for on-site inspections by the OPCW,

including limitations on access and search warrant procedures, should they be required.

Limits and Restrictions

Parties to the Convention have agreed to cease all offensive chemical weapons research and

production and close all relevant facilities. They agreed to declare all chemical weapons

stockpiles, allow an inventory by international inspectors, and seal their stocks. They must also

destroy their weapons within 10 years, unless the OPCW approves an extension. They must also

destroy all chemical weapons production facilities within 10 years. In “exceptional cases of

compelling need,” the OPCW may approve the conversion of these facilities to peaceful

purposes.

The CWC contains a complex verification regime, with different obligations applying to different

types of chemical facilities. The Convention establishes three schedules of chemicals, grouped by

relevance to chemical weapons production and extent of legitimate peaceful uses. Some facilities

are subject to systematic on-site verification, others are subject to periodic verification

inspections. Facilities for a third class of chemicals are subject to random or “ad hoc” inspections.

Signatories may also request challenge inspections at facilities suspected to be in violation of the

Convention. The OPCW will carry out these inspections on short notice. Inspected nations will

38 The United States and Soviet Union—possessors of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles—also

conducted bilateral negotiations from 1976 to 1980.

39 Israel, Myanmar.

40 Angola, Egypt, North Korea, South Sudan.

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have the right to negotiate the extent of inspectors’ access to any facility, but must make every

reasonable effort to confirm compliance.41

Destruction Deadlines

According to the OPCW, all of the member-states’ declared chemical weapons production

facilities have been inactivated and, as of December 31, 2013, almost 82% of declared chemical

weapons agent stockpiles had been destroyed.42 This amount does not include the chemical

stockpiles declared by Syria (see below).

Six countries declared possession of chemical weapons, but none destroyed their stocks by the

original April 29, 2007, deadline. In July 2007, Albania became the first country to have

destroyed its declared chemical weapons. South Korea became the second on July 10, 2008. India

became the third on March 16, 2009. Four other states—Libya, Russia, Syria, and the United

States—have declared possession of such weapons.

Libya

Libya joined the CWC in January 2004. At that time, Libya declared nearly 25 metric tonnes of

bulk sulfur mustard agent, several thousand unloaded aerial munitions designed for use with

chemical warfare agents, and several chemical weapons production facilities. The declared aerial

munitions were destroyed in March 2004. Production facilities were destroyed or converted under

OPCW supervision.

Libya had said that it would destroy its Category One weapons43 by December 31, 2010, and its

Category Two weapons by December 31, 2011.44 However, Tripoli was given until May 15, 2011,

to destroy all of its Category One weapons. As of October 31, 2010, Libya had destroyed

approximately 4% of its Category One weapons and over 39% of its Category Two weapons.45

These weapons, which included some undeclared stocks of mustard gas, remained on Libyan

territory after the 2011 revolution and fall of the Muammar al Qadhafi regime. Libya’s Permanent

Representative to the OPCW stated March 11, 2011, that the country’s “situation regarding the

chemical weapons to be destroyed remains unchanged and under control.”46 In January 2012,

OPCW inspectors returned to Libya to verify the status of Libya’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

In 2013, Libya completed the destruction of its stock of bulk mustard agent. Libya announced in

January 2014 that it had completed destruction of the CW filled munitions it had discovered and

41 For more information on CWC verification issues, see CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes:

Background and Status, coordinated by Mary Beth D. Nikitin.

42Report of the OPCW on the Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production,

Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction in 2013, C-19/4, December 3, 2014.

43 Chemical weapons are grouped into three categories, depending on the weapon type.

44 Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Status Report On The Progress Made By Those States

Parties That Have Been Granted Extensions Of Deadlines For The Destruction Of Their Category 1 Chemical

Weapons, November 14, 2008.

45 Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, “Opening Statement by the Director-General to the

Conference of the States,” C-15/DG.14, November 29, 2010.

46 http://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-director-general-meets-permanent-representative-of-the-libyan-arabjamahiriya/.

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declared in 2011 and 2012.47 The U.S. Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction

(CTR) program provided $52 million toward this effort, in collaboration with Germany. Libya’s

stocks of Category 2 (precursor) chemicals are to be destroyed by 2016.

Syria48

The Obama Administration threatened military action against Syria in response to chemical

weapons use in Syria in August 2013. In a diplomatic solution that resulted in the Administration

withdrawing the threat, Syria agreed to join the CWC, which requires Syria to destroy all of its

chemical weapons stocks and production facilities.49 Based on a joint U.S.-Russian proposal, the

OPCW approved a destruction plan under which Syria is required to destroy all chemical

weapons by June 30, 2014. Under Security Council Resolution 2118, the OPCW is to report to

the U.N. Security Council on implementation on a monthly basis.

A joint mission of U.N. and OPCW personnel was created to monitor and facilitate Syrian

chemical weapons disarmament.50 OPCW-U.N. experts arrived in Damascus on October 1, 2013,

and began to inspect Syria’s declared chemical weapons facilities. The OPCW spokesman told

reporters on October 31 that the Syrian government met the November 1, 2013, destruction

deadline for disabling production equipment, and that all chemical weapons stocks and agents in

Syria were under “tamper-proof” seal. The first stage of destruction activities focused on

destroying “critical equipment” at chemical weapons production facilities and mixing and filling

units.

The current stage of the chemical weapons destruction process involves transportation and

removal of chemical weapons agents from the country. These are liquid chemicals that have not

been loaded into delivery vehicles. The OPCW Executive Council on November 14, 2013,

approved the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons agents (“priority 1” chemicals) outside of

Syria due to the security situation in the country. The United States and others have provided

equipment to the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission to help safely transfer these chemicals from storage

facilities to the Syrian port of Latakia. Once all the chemicals are at the port, Danish and

Norwegian ships are to pick up the chemicals and remove them from Syria. The first quantity of

priority chemicals was moved to the port of Latakia in early January 2014.

No country had agreed to conduct destruction operations on its territory due to public concerns

about the dangers of the material, but also due to the short timeline for destruction, which in some

cases would not have allowed for the required environmental and health impact assessments.

Therefore, the United States plans to neutralize the liquid chemical weapons agents on board the

Maritime Administration’s Motor Vessel (MV) Cape Ray using newly installed field deployable

hydrolysis systems (FDHS). This ship is expected to receive 700 metric tons of both mustard

47 https://www.opcw.org/news/article/libya-completes-destruction-of-its-category-1-chemical-weapons/.

48 For more information on chemical weapons in Syria, see CRS Report R42848, Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for

Congress, coordinated by Mary Beth D. Nikitin.

49 Syria is believed to have more than 1,000 metric tons of chemical warfare agents and precursor chemicals. This

stockpile includes several hundred metric tons of the nerve agent sarin, which represents the bulk of Syria’s chemical

weapons stockpile. Damascus also has several hundred metric tons of mustard agent in ready-to-use form and several

metric tons of the nerve agent VX.

50 See http://opcw.unmissions.org/.

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agent and DF compound, a key component in sarin.51 U.S. personnel, including 64 Army

chemical specialists, will run the operation. The MV Cape Ray is now at the port of Rota, Spain.

Once removed from Latakia, the most dangerous compounds in approximately 60 containers will

be transferred to the Cape Ray at the Italian port of Gioia Tauro for destruction at sea in

international waters. NATO has canceled cooperation with the Russian Federation on guarding

the Cape Ray during chemical weapons destruction activities because of Russia’s actions in

Ukraine.52 Less sensitive chemicals will be shipped to commercial processing facilities, for

example in the United Kingdom. Companies in Finland and the United States were awarded

contracts for processing the liquid waste (effluent) from the destruction process.53

Syria did not meet the original deadline of December 31, 2013, for removal of these agents from

its territory. According to the OPCW Director General, the delays were caused by “security

concerns, the procurement and delivery of large quantities of packaging and transportation

materials and equipment, and adverse weather conditions.”54 Reports in early January quoted a

Syrian government official as saying two CW storage sites have been under attack.55 The Syrian

government also missed a February 5, 2014, deadline, raising questions about the intentions of

the Syrian government. Syria has asked for a new deadline of mid-May. In February, the U.N.

Security Council called upon Syria to expedite removal of the chemicals.

In March 2014, OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag described “important

progress” in efforts to expedite the transfer and destruction of chemicals and encouraged the

Syrian government “to sustain the current pace.”56 As of April 8, Secretary Kerry confirmed the

March 20 Joint Mission estimate that the Syrian government had moved 11 shipments of

chemicals to the port of Latakia, representing around 53.6% of total stocks to be removed.57

The Syrian government also did not meet the deadline of March 15, 2014, for destruction of its 12

chemical weapons production facilities, and has proposed that the facilities not be completely

destroyed but instead made inaccessible.58 The CWC requires that production facilities be

“physically destroyed.” U.S. Ambassador to the OPCW Robert Mikulak said in a February

statement that the Executive Council should require Syria to physically destroy the facilities in

line with the Convention.59 The OPCW is now working on a destruction plan for these facilities

with Syria.

51 “Army to Destroy Syrian Chemical Weapons Aboard Ship,” Army News Service, January 3, 2014.

52 “NATO to cancel activities with Russia, step up military cooperation with Ukraine,” Stars and Stripes, March 6,

2014.

53 “OPCW awards contracts to two companies for destruction of Syrian chemical and effluents,” OPCW-UN Joint

Mission Press Release February 14, 2014, http://opcw.unmissions.org/AboutOPCWUNJointMission/tabid/54/ctl/

Details/mid/651/ItemID/182/Default.aspx.

54 “Director General says Removal of Priority Chemicals in Syria Marks Important New Phase in Work of Joint

Mission,” OPCW press release, January 8, 2014.

55 Nick Cumming-Bruce and Rick Gladstone, “Syrian Government Reports 2 Attacks on Chemical Arms Sites,” New

York Times, January 8, 2014.

56 “Over half of Syria’s chemical weapons removed or destroyed, says joint OPCW-UN mission,” UN News Centre,

March 20, 2014.

57 Ibid.; and Secretary of State John Kerry Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 8, 2014.

58 “Syria to miss deadline to destroy 12 chemical arms sites,” Reuters, March 6, 2014.

59 http://www.state.gov/t/avc/rls/2014/221891.htm.

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Despite these delays, however, U.N. officials say they are optimistic that the final deadline, June

30, 2014, for destruction of all chemical weapons and production facilities will be met.

Russia

The CWC Conference of States-Parties gave Russia until December 31, 2009, to destroy 45% of

its Category One stockpiles and until April 29, 2012, to destroy the rest.60 Russia did not meet the

2012 deadline, but plans to destroy its stockpiles by December 31, 2020.61 As of March 15, 2015,

Russia had destroyed more than 86% of its Category One chemical weapons stocks;62 Moscow

has destroyed its Category Two and Category Three chemical weapons stockpiles.63

Under DOD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the United States has provided Russia with

considerable financial assistance for chemical weapons destruction.64 The impetus for continued

funding, despite reservations about this program, has been the concern that the Russian chemical

weapons stockpile is a potential source of chemical weapons proliferation.

The United States

The United States has also encountered difficulties in destroying its Category One chemical

weapons stockpile and did not meet its 2007 deadline for doing so. Washington has already

destroyed its Category Three stockpile and has declared no Category Two weapons. In April

2006, the United States submitted its formal request to the OPCW Chairman and Director-

General to extend the United States’ final chemical weapons destruction deadline from April 2007

to April 29, 2012, the latest possible date allowed under the CWC.65 However, Ambassador Eric

Javits, then-U.S. Permanent Representative to the OPCW, added that the United States did “not

expect to be able to meet that deadline” because Washington had encountered “delays and

difficulties” in destroying its stockpile.66 These delays have generally resulted from the need to

meet state and federal environmental requirements and from both local and congressional

concerns over the means of destruction.

The 2008 Defense Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-116) required the Defense Department to

“complete work on the destruction” of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile by the 2012 deadline

“and in no circumstances later than December 31, 2017.” Additionally, the National Defense

Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (P.L. 110-181) required that the Secretary of Defense

submit a report to Congress that included a

60 “Opening Statement by the Director-General to the Conference of the States,” C-15/DG.14, November 29, 2010.

61 Report of the Nineteenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties, C-19/5, December 5, 2014.

62 Statement by the Delegation of the Russian Federation at the Seventy-Eighth Session of the Executive Council, EC-

78/NAT.12, March 18, 2015.

63 Report of the OPCW on the Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production,

Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction in 2013, C-19/4, December 3, 2014.

64 CRS Report R43143, The Evolution of Cooperative Threat Reduction: Issues for Congress, by Mary Beth D. Nikitin

and Amy F. Woolf.

65 Ambassador Eric Javits, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OPCW, Statement Concerning Request to Extend the

United States’ Destruction Deadline Under the Chemical Weapons Convention, April 20, 2006. http://www.state.gov/t/

isn/rls/rm/64878.htm.

66 Ibid.

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description of the options and alternatives for accelerating the completion of chemical

weapons destruction at each such facility, particularly in time to meet the [CWC] destruction

deadline of April 29, 2012 … and by December 31, 2017.

That report, submitted in June 2008, compared three options for accelerating stockpile

destruction, noting that “[t]here are no options to achieve 100 percent destruction of the national

stockpile by 2012.”67 The three options were:

  • Provide schedule incentives authorized by Congress68 to ensure that the operating

sites complete the destruction of their stockpiles by 2012.

  • Transport portions of the remaining stockpile to destruction facilities which are

already operating.

  • Accelerate the destruction schedule for sites located in Colorado and Kentucky.

According to a 2014 Department of Defense report, the “planned stockpile destruction operations

… are not expected to accommodate the December 31, 2017, congressionally mandated

destruction deadline.” The report adds that the department “continues working to minimize the

time required to complete destruction of the remaining chemical weapons stockpile without

sacrificing the environment or worker and public safety and security.”69

As of December 31, 2013, the United States had destroyed 90% of its Category One stockpile.70

Washington projects that the Colorado and Kentucky facilities will destroy the remaining

chemical agents stockpiles. According to the 2014 Defense Department report, these stockpiles

are to be destroyed by November 2019 and September 2023, respectively.71

Iraq

Iraq used chemical weapons during its 1980-1988 war with Iran and against Iraqi Kurds in 1988.

Following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 687 on April

3, 1991. This resolution was the first in a series of resolutions that required Iraq to declare its

programs for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges

exceeding 150 kilometers, and to destroy the weapons and related materials under U.N.

monitoring. Regarding chemical weapons, Resolution 687 required Iraq to “unconditionally

accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision of … [a]ll

chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and

components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities.” The resolutions

also required Baghdad to accept an ongoing U.N. monitoring regime to prevent Iraqi

reconstitution of its prohibited weapons programs. The U.N. Secretary-General subsequently

formed the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) to verify Iraq’s compliance with the

resolution.

67 Department of Defense Report, Chemical Demilitarization Program Semi-Annual Report to Congress, 2008.

68 In §923 of P.L. 109-364.

69 Department of Defense Report, Chemical Demilitarization Program Semi-Annual Report to Congress, March 2014.

70 Report of the OPCW on the Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production,

Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction in 2013, C-19/4, December 3, 2014. The United

States has destroyed all of its chemical weapons munitions.

71 Chemical Demilitarization Program Semi-Annual Report to Congress, March 2014.

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Iraq’s chemical weapons generally met one of four fates: they were used during the Iran-Iraq

war;72 they were destroyed by Iraq under UNSCOM supervision; they were secretly destroyed by

Iraq outside UNSCOM supervision; or they were destroyed by coalition forces during the 1991

Persian Gulf War. Although “a number of issues relating to Iraq’s chemical weapons programme

remain unresolved,” according to a 2006 U.N. report,73 the inspectors “were able to identify the

major parameters of this programme, its scope and the results achieved.” Moreover, the “vast

majority” of chemical agents and munitions which Iraq possessed in 1991 were “declared by Iraq,

identified by the inspectors and destroyed under international supervision,” according to the

report.74

Iraq’s legacy chemical weapons are “contained in two sealed bunkers” at an old Iraqi chemical

weapons production facility, according to a July 31, 2012, British Ministry of Defense

statement.75 These weapons were “left over after being rendered unusable by the UN inspection

teams,” OPCW Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü said in a June 6, 2013, speech. Iraq

acceded to the CWC in 2009 and is working with the OCPW and countries such Germany,

Switzerland, and the United Kingdom to devise an appropriate disposal method for these

weapons. Iraq has submitted “detailed facility information for the destruction of its chemical

weapons,” to the OPCW, the Director-General said in December 2013.76

On June 11, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant invaded the al-Muthanna chemical

weapons facility. The Iraqi government has stated that “the relevant Iraqi authorities saw to it that

all sensitive equipment and instruments” at the site “were transferred to safe locations.”77 Iraqi

armed forces regained control of the site on October 28, 2014. An Iraqi assessment “confirmed

the integrity” of the bunkers’ “walls and entries.”78

Due to this situation, Permanent Representative of Iraq Mohamed Alhakim stated in a June 30,

2014, letter to U.N. Secretary–General Ban Ki-moon that Iraq is currently “unable to fulfil its

obligations to destroy chemical weapons” and will resume these “obligations as soon as the

security situation has improved and control of the facility has been regained.”79 Iraq reiterated its

“commitment to continue implementing the destruction plan for the remnants of the former

regime’s chemical programme, as early as possible,” according to a March 17, 2015, statement.80

72 Iraq used more than 75% of its chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, according to figures from Saddam

Hussein’s government.

73 Summary of the Compendium of Iraq’s Proscribed Weapons Programmes, June 2006.

74 UNSCOM personnel left Iraq in late 1998, but returned in late 2002 and worked in the country until just before the

U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Neither the inspectors nor coalition troops found any significant evidence of

renewed prohibited Iraqi weapons programs.

75 “MOD Experts to Help Iraqis Destroy Legacy Chemical Weapons,” July 31, 2012.

76 Opening Statement by the Director-General to the Conference of the States Parties at its Eighteenth Session, C-

18/DG.17, December 2, 2013..

77 Statement by the Delegation of Iraq at the Seventy-Eighth Session of the Executive Council, EC-78/NAT.24, March

17, 2015.

78 Ibid.

79 http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2014/457.

80 Statement by the Delegation of Iraq at the Seventy-Eighth Session of the Executive Council, EC-78/NAT.24, March

17, 2015.

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Other Compliance Issues

A State Department report covering 2013 raised some compliance questions, but did not conclude

that any CWC state-party had a chemical weapons program in violation of the Convention.81

Biological Weapons Convention

In 1969, the Nixon Administration unilaterally renounced U.S. biological weapons. Offensive

BW development and production ceased, and destruction of the U.S. BW stockpile began.

Simultaneously, the United States pressed the Soviet Union to follow its example. After some

delay, agreement was reached, and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)82 was signed in

  1. The United States, after lengthy Senate consultations, ratified the Convention in 1975, the

same year that the Convention entered into force.

The BWC bans the development, production, stockpiling, and transfer of biological weapons, as

well as biological agents and toxins. It also bans “equipment or means of delivery designed to use

such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.” In addition, the Convention

requires States-Parties to destroy all relevant “agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of

delivery.”

The BWC permits only defensive biological warfare research (e.g., vaccines, protective

equipment) and allows production and stockpiling of BW agents only in amounts justifiable for

protective or peaceful purposes. Unlike the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the BWC

does not specify particular biological agents, but generically defines them as “microbial or other

biological agents or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in

quantities that have no justification for prophylactic or peaceful purposes.”

As of May 6, 2015, the Convention had 173 States Parties, including the United States, and there

were 9 additional countries that have signed, but not ratified the Convention. The Convention

does not contain any independent verification or enforcement mechanisms.83

Verification and Enforcement

The Fifth Review Conference of the BWC, which took place in November 2001, ended in

disarray, with the parties unable to agree upon a final declaration. The primary deadlock was the

issue of an adaptive protocol to the Convention, intended to enhance its enforcement. In July

2001, after almost seven years of negotiations, the United States declared the 200-page protocol

unacceptable as basis for further negotiation. A Bush Administration review concluded that the

81 Compliance With the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of

Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, Condition (10)(C) Report, Department of State, July 29, 2014.

82 The agreement is more formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and

Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. The text of the BWC and

associated documents are available at http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Bio/index.shtml.

83 Article V of the Convention does speak to the issue of compliance, stating that the States Parties “undertake to

consult one another and to cooperate in solving any problems which may arise in relation to the objective of, or in the

application of the provisions of, the Convention. Consultation and Cooperation pursuant to this article may also be

undertaken through appropriate international procedures within the framework of the United Nations and in accordance

with its Charter.”

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draft protocol would not provide adequate security against covert violations, yet could endanger

the security of U.S. biodefense programs and U.S. commercial proprietary information. Alone in

its complete rejection of the draft protocol, the United States came under widespread international

criticism, including from close allies, for “jeopardizing” the future of biological arms control. In

response, the Administration put forward several proposals at the 2001 Review Conference,

urging their adoption by BWC State Parties at the national level. These included

  • Criminalization of BWC violations and expedited extradition procedures for

violators.

  • United Nations investigation of suspicious disease outbreaks or alleged BW use.
  • Procedures for addressing BWC compliance concerns.
  • Improved international disease control.
  • Improved security over research on pathogenic organisms.

The Review Conference was unable to reach a compromise final declaration on future activities

satisfactory to all State Parties, and adjourned until November 2002. The United States has

continued to oppose further negotiations on verification. Confronted with the U.S. position, the

chairman of the 2002 Review Conference presented a minimal program emphasizing only annual

meetings to discuss strengthening national laws and ways to respond to BW attacks. These were

endorsed by the United States and accepted by the conference.

The 6th BWC Review Conference, held in December 2006, could not reach consensus on a

comprehensive set of guidelines for national implementation of the Convention owing to

differences between the United States and the non-aligned nations group over technology transfer

control issues. The assumption of U.S. opposition also precluded consideration of enhanced

verification or enforcement provisions for the Convention. The conference, however, did establish

a new program of work for annual meetings, which took place before the 7th Review Conference

in December 2011. The meetings included discussion and information exchanges on a variety of

issues, including domestic enforcement of BWC provisions, pathogen security, and oversight of

potentially dual-use research. The United States required, however, that these sessions be

prohibited from reaching binding decisions. Beginning in 2007, the BWC States-Parties have met

annually.

The Obama Administration has chosen not to support revival of the negotiations on a BWC

verification protocol, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher

announced in a December 9, 2009, address to the BWC states-parties. The Administration has

“determined that a legally binding protocol would not achieve meaningful verification or greater

security,” she explained, adding

[t]he ease with which a biological weapons program could be disguised within legitimate

activities and the rapid advances in biological research make it very difficult to detect

violations. We believe that a protocol would not be able to keep pace with the rapidly

changing nature of the biological weapons threat.

Instead, Tauscher stated, the United States believes that “confidence in BWC compliance should

be promoted by enhanced transparency about activities and pursuing compliance diplomacy to

address concerns.” Pointing out that part of the November 2009 U.S. National Strategy for

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Countering Biological Threats84 is to “reinvigorate” the BWC, Tauscher exhorted the

Convention’s states-parties to join the United States in “increasing transparency, improving

confidence building measures and engaging in more robust bilateral compliance discussions.” She

proposed such measures as increasing participation in the Convention’s Confidence-Building

Measures,85 as well as bilateral and multilateral cooperation in such areas as pathogen security

and disease surveillance and response. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated U.S.

opposition to a BWC “verification regime” in a December 7, 2011, address to the BWC Review

Conference.

The United States identified several goals for the 2011 Review Conference, including

  • promoting universality of the BWC;
  • enhancing confidence in states-parties’ compliance with the Convention via

transparency measures and “mechanisms for consultation and clarification”;

  • pursuing a “strengthened, revitalized intersessional process”;
  • increasing states’ capacity for “disease surveillance and response,” including

natural disease outbreaks; and

  • enhancing efforts to strengthen national implementation and measures to counter

the threat of bioterrorism.”86

The 7th Review Conference was held from December 5-22, 2011. The conference participants

decided to continue the intersessional process with some changes. The annual meetings will

address three standing agenda items: cooperation and assistance, review of relevant scientific and

technological developments, and strengthening national implementation. In addition, during the

intersessional program, the states-parties are to discuss enabling fuller participation in BWCrelated

Confidence Building Measures and strengthening implementation of Article VII of the

Convention.87 The conference did not make any decisions on verification.

Compliance Concerns

No nation publically acknowledges either an offensive biological weapons (BW) program or

stockpile. A State Department report covering 2013 does not state that any BWC state-party

violated the Convention during that time.88

84 http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/National_Strategy_for_Countering_BioThreats.pdf.

85 These measures are vehicles for BWC states-parties to share information about their biological activities.

86 Statement by Ambassador Laura Kennedy, December 6, 2010; statement by Ambassador Laura Kennedy, January

20, 2011.

87 Article VII states, “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to provide or support assistance, in accordance

with the United Nations Charter, to any Party to the Convention which so requests, if the Security Council decides that

such Party has been exposed to danger as a result of violation of the Convention.”

88 Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and

Commitments, U.S. Department of State, July 2014.

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The Arms Trade Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a multilateral treaty of unlimited duration. Its stated objectives

are to “[e]stablish the highest possible common international standards for regulating or

improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms …” and to “[p]revent and

eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion.”

Though various concepts similar to the ATT have been discussed in international circles for

decades, a speech by the UK Foreign Secretary backing the concept in 2004 is widely credited as

giving critical momentum to the movement by adding a major conventional arms exporter to it.

Beginning in 2006, the treaty was negotiated in the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) and

specialized fora. A UNGA vote in early April 2013 approved the treaty in its negotiated form,

with only Iran, North Korea, and Syria voting against it. Notable abstentions included Russia, a

major arms exporter, and emerging powers China and India, the latter being one of the world’s

largest arms importers. As of April 17, 2014, China, Russia, and India had not signed the treaty.

The ATT opened for signature on June 3, 2013, and will enter into force after 50 signatories

deliver their documents of ratification, acceptance, or approval to the U.N. Secretary-General,

who is the Depository. As of April 17, 2014, the treaty had been signed by 118 states, 31 of which

had ratified the treaty. The United States participated in the drafting of the ATT and voted for it in

the UNGA on April 2, 2013. The United States signed the ATT on September 25, 2013, but has

not ratified it. Because the United States already has strong export control laws in place, the ATT

would likely require no significant changes to policy, regulations, or law.

The ATT regulates trade in conventional weapons between and among countries. It does not affect

sales or trade in weapons among private citizens within a nation. The treaty obligates States

Parties engaged in the international arms trade to establish national control systems to review,

authorize, and document the import, export, brokerage, transit, and transshipment of conventional

weapons, their parts, and ammunition. The treaty also requires that States Parties report on their

treaty-specified transfers to other nations on an annual basis to the Secretariat. The scope of the

weapons covered by the treaty includes the following, though States Parties may voluntarily

include other conventional weapons as well:

  • battle tanks,
  • armored combat vehicles,
  • large-caliber artillery systems,
  • combat aircraft,
  • attack helicopters,
  • warships,
  • missiles and missile launchers, and
  • small arms and light weapon.

The ATT also binds States Parties to certain pre-export review processes that take into account

various criteria related to possible destabilizing effects on international security, terrorism,

transnational crime, human rights, and other factors in determining whether or not a transfer

should be approved. A State Party is specifically prohibited from approving a transfer to another

nation that violates a United Nations Security Council Resolution adopted under Chapter VII of

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the United Nations Charter, especially an arms embargo. Also explicitly prohibited is any transfer

where a State Party “has knowledge” when reviewing the proposed transfer that the treatyspecified

arms, parts, or ammunition would be used in the “commission of genocide, crimes

against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against

civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international

agreements to which it is a party.” Parties to the treaty are obligated to take measures to prevent

the illegal diversion of covered arms and ammunition, to mitigate risks of diversion occurring by

cooperating with each other and exchanging information, and to “take appropriate measures” if a

diversion is detected. States Parties are also encouraged to exchange relevant information about

effectively addressing illicit diversion. Finally, the ATT encourages cooperation between States

Parties in the development of implementing legislation, institutional capacity building, and other

pertinent areas.

After entry into force, the treaty’s governing body, the Conference of States Parties, will meet

within a year and then thereafter to review the implementation of the treaty with as of yet

undetermined frequency. The treaty envisages a minimal Secretariat, whose cost shall be borne by

the ATT’s States Parties, with a role largely confined to disseminating treaty-related reporting and

lists of national points of contact, facilitating and matching offers of assistance, and organizing

Conferences of States Parties.

Controlling the Use of Anti-Personnel Landmines

Anti-personnel landmines (APL) are small, inexpensive weapons that kill or maim people upon

contact. Abandoned, unmarked minefields can remain dangerous to both soldiers and civilians for

an indefinite time. Mines were addressed in The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on

the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or

To Have Indiscriminate Effects also known as the Convention on Conventional Weapons

(CCW).89 Protocol II of this contains rules for marking, registering, and removing minefields. The

CCW was concluded in 1980 and entered into force in 1993. The United States signed it in 1982

and the U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on March 24, 1995.

U.S. Initiatives

In 1992, Congress established a one year moratorium on U.S. exports of APL (P.L. 102-484) and

subsequently extended it for 15 more years (see P.L. 107-115). H.R. 948, introduced in the first

session, 107th Congress, sought to make the ban permanent but was not brought to a vote. Many

nations have followed the U.S. example and imposed their own moratoria. In the FY1996 Foreign

Operations Appropriations Act (P.L. 104-107) Congress established a one-year ban on the use of

APL by U.S. personnel to begin in 1999—but, the 105th Congress repealed the moratorium in the

FY1999 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 105-261).

In 1996, President Clinton announced a policy that immediately discontinued U.S. use of “dumb”

APL (except in the DMZ of Korea); supported negotiation of a worldwide ban on APL in the

United Nations; and supported development of alternative technologies to perform landmine

functions without endangering civilians and expanded mine detection and clearing technology

efforts and assistance to mine-plagued countries. This initiative temporarily retained the possible

89 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, http://www.ccwtreaty.com/ccwtreatytext.htm.

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use of “smart” mines that render themselves harmless after a certain period of time, either through

self-destruction, self-neutralization, or self-deactivation. Clinton subsequently set a goal of 2003

to replace even smart mines everywhere except Korea, and of 2006 in Korea.

In November 1996, the United States introduced a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly to

pursue an international agreement that would ban use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of

APL—there were 84 co-sponsors. Some countries, such as Canada, already abided by the intent

of the proposed agreement and pushed for an early deadline to reach agreement. Others, however,

were concerned that verifying such an agreement would be difficult, or that AP landmines still

have a useful and legitimate role in their security planning. Landmine control, specifically a ban

on exports, was briefly on the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva for

  1. During 2000, however, that body could not agree on its program of work and the landmine

issue was not addressed again.

During 1997, the government of Canada and a number of nongovernmental organizations, such as

the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, sponsored conferences to craft a treaty outside the

CD process. Over 100 nations signed the Ottawa Treaty, formally titled the Convention on the

Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on

Their Destruction, which entered into force for its parties on March 1, 1999. The Clinton

Administration participated in the Ottawa Process, but declined to sign the Treaty after failing to

gain certain temporary exceptions to treaty language. Specifically, the United States wanted to

continue to use APL in the defense of South Korea until 2006 if necessary, and the ability to

include smart APL (or “devices”) within anti-tank landmine munitions. President Clinton

suggested that the United States would sign the Ottawa Treaty in 2006 if effective alternatives to

APL were available.

The Ottawa Convention requires States-Parties to stop the production, use, and transfer of APL,

as well as destroy all stockpiled APL, except for the “minimum number absolutely necessary” for

training purposes, within four years. As of May 6, 2015, 133 countries had signed the treaty and

162 countries are states-parties. Belarus, Greece, Turkey, and Ukraine all missed their stockpile

destruction deadlines. Turkey completed destroying its APL in June 2011.90 Finland and Poland

must also destroy APL stockpiles. States-Parties are also required to clear APL within 10 years of

becoming party to the convention, but can request extensions of up to 10 years to complete this

task.91 Thirty-two states-parties have not yet met their clearance obligations.

The Convention does not include a verification body, but States-Parties may submit allegations of

noncompliance, as well as requests for “clarification” from relevant governments, to the U.N.

Secretary-General. A State-Party may also request that a special meeting of other treaty members

address the compliance matters. States-Parties can initiate fact-finding missions and also request

relevant governments to address compliance issues.

In February 2004, the Bush Administration announced that, after 2010, the United States would

not use any type of persistent landmines, whether anti-personnel or—a new policy—anti-vehicle.

Self-destruct and self-deactivating landmines will be used and will meet or exceed specifications

90 Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer

of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, Final Report, February 16, 2012. APLC/MSP.11/2011/8.

91 The full text of the Convention may be found at http://www.icbl.org/content/download/7050/165094/file/

treatyenglish.pdf.

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of the Amended Mines Protocol, CCW. It also indicated that alternatives to persistent landmines

would be developed that incorporate enhanced technologies. This policy did not include a date to

join the Ottawa Treaty. Richard Kidd, then-Director of the State Department’s Office of Weapons

Removal and Abatement, said in a November 21, 2007, speech that the United States would not

sign the Ottawa Convention. If needed, U.S. forces will use non-persistent mines. Various U.S.

landmine systems were reportedly prepositioned in the Middle East in preparation for the 2003

war in Iraq, but were not used.

The Obama Administration is conducting “an on-going comprehensive review of U.S. landmine

policy,” according to a December 1, 2009, statement. On June 27, 2014, during the Third Review

Conference of the Ottawa Convention, the United States announced that it “will not produce or

otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines in the future,” including for the purpose of

replacing expiring stockpiles. Moreover, the United States is “conducting a high fidelity modeling

and simulation effort to ascertain how to mitigate the risks associated with the loss” of such

mines.92 On September 23, 2014, the Obama Administration stated that the United States is

aligning its “APL policy outside the Korean Peninsula with the key requirements of the Ottawa

Convention.” Specifically, the United States will “not use APL outside the Korean Peninsula; not

assist, encourage, or induce anyone outside the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity prohibited

by the Ottawa Convention; and undertake to destroy APL stockpiles not required for the defense

of the Republic of Korea.”93 Puneet Talwar, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of

Political-Military Affairs, stated on December 9, 2014, that the United States is “pursuing

solutions that would be compliant with the convention and that would ultimately allow us to

exceed to the convention while ensuring that we are still able to meet our alliance commitments”

to South Korea.

Cluster Munitions94

Cluster munitions are weapons that open in mid-air and dispense smaller submunitions—

anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds—into an area. They can be delivered by aircraft or from

ground systems such as artillery, rockets, and missiles. Cluster munitions are valued militarily

because one munition can kill or destroy many targets within its impact area, and fewer weapons

systems are needed to deliver fewer munitions to attack multiple targets. They also permit a

smaller force to engage a larger adversary and are considered by some an “economy of force”

weapon. On the other hand, critics note that cluster munitions disperse their large numbers of

submunitions imprecisely over an extended area, that they frequently fail to detonate and are

difficult to detect, and that the submunitions can remain explosive hazards for decades. They can

also produce high civilian casualties if they are fired into areas where soldiers and civilians are

intermixed or if inaccurate cluster munitions land in populated areas.

There are two major ongoing international initiatives to regulate cluster munitions:

92 The White House Office of the Press Secretary, “Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on U.S. Anti-

Personnel Landmine Policy,” June 27, 2014.

93 U.S. Landmine Policy, available at http://www.state.gov/t/pm/wra/c11735.htm.

94 For detailed information, see CRS Report RS22907, Cluster Munitions: Background and Issues for Congress, by

Andrew Feickert and Paul K. Kerr.

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U.N. Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain

Conventional Weapons (CCW)

In an effort to restrict or ban specific types of weapons used in armed conflicts, 51 states

negotiated the CCW in 1980.95 When the treaty entered into force in December 1983, it applied

only to incendiary weapons, mines and booby-traps, and weapons intended to cause casualties

through very small fragments. Since then, some states parties have added provisions through

additional protocols to address other types of weapons. Negotiations on cluster munitions are

carried out under Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War. Acting in accordance with the

recommendation of a group of experts established during the 2006 CCW review conference,

states-parties to the convention decided in 2007 to “negotiate a proposal to address urgently the

humanitarian impact of cluster munitions.”96 The experts group continued negotiations in 2011

“informed by” a Draft Protocol on Cluster Munitions. However, the CCW states-parties were

unable to reach agreement on a protocol during their November 2011 review conference.

Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)

A number of CCW members, led by Norway, initiated negotiations in 2007 outside of the CCW

to ban cluster munitions.97 On May 30, 2008, they reached an agreement to ban cluster

munitions.98 The United States, Russia, China, Israel, Egypt, India, and Pakistan did not

participate in the talks or sign the agreement. During the Signing Conference in Oslo from

December 3-4, 2008, 94 states signed the convention and 4 of the signatories ratified the

convention at the same time.99 China, Russia, and the United States abstained, but France,

Germany, and the United Kingdom were among the 18 NATO members to sign the convention.100

As of September 14, 2013, 113 nations had signed the convention and 84 had ratified it. The

convention entered into force on August 1, 2010.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), inter alia, bans the use of cluster munitions, as

well as their development, production, acquisition, transfer, and stockpiling.101 The Convention

does not prohibit cluster munitions that can detect and engage a single target or explosive

submunitions equipped with an electronic self-destruction or self-deactivating feature102—an

exemption that seemingly permits sensor-fuzed or “smart” cluster submunitions.

95 Information in this section is from an Arms Control Association Fact Sheet. “Convention on Certain Conventional

Weapons Convention (CCW) at a Glance,” Washington, DC, October 2007.

96 Report from the November 2007 meeting of states-parties to the CCW, December 3, 2007. http://www.unog.ch/

80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/029247C7A309EAC2C12573CF005B93B6/$file/CCW+MSP+2007+5+E.pdf.

97 Arms Control Association Fact Sheet. “Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCW) at a

Glance,” Washington, DC, October 2007.

98 Kevin Sullivan and Josh White, “111 Nations, Minus the U.S., Agree to Cluster-Bomb Ban,” Washington Post, May

29, 2008.

99 Convention on Cluster Munitions Homepage, http://www.clusterconvention.org/.

100 Marina Malenic, “Dozens of Nations Sign Cluster Bomb Treaty, U.S. Begins Upgrading Related Technology,”

Defense Daily, December 5, 2008.

101 Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Convention on Cluster Munitions, Convention on Cluster Munitions,

Dublin, Ireland, May 30, 2008, http://www.clustermunitionsdublin.ie/documents.asp.

102 Ibid.

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Appendix A. List of Treaties and Agreements

This appendix lists a wide range of arms control treaties and agreements. The date listed in each

entry indicates the year in which the negotiations were completed. In some cases, entry into force

occurred in a subsequent year.

The Geneva Protocol, 1925: Bans the use of poison gas and bacteriological weapons in warfare.

The Antarctic Treaty, 1959: Demilitarizes the Antarctic continent and provides for scientific

cooperation on Antarctica.

Memorandum of Understanding … Regarding the Establishment of a Direct Communications

Link (The Hot Line Agreement), 1963: Provides for a secure, reliable communications link

between Washington and Moscow. Modified in 1971, 1984, and 1988 to improve the method of

communications.

Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1963: Bans nuclear weapons tests or any nuclear explosions in the

atmosphere, outer space, and under water.

Outer Space Treaty, 1967: Bans the orbiting or stationing on celestial bodies (including the moon)

of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco), 1967:

Obligates nations in Latin America not to acquire, possess, or store nuclear weapons on their

territory.

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1968: Non-nuclear signatories agree not to

acquire nuclear weapons; nuclear signatories agree to cooperate with non-nuclear signatories in

peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Seabed Arms Control Treaty, 1971: Bans emplacement of military installations, including those

capable of launching weapons, on the seabed.

Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War (Accident Measures

Agreement), 1971: Outlines measures designed to reduce the risk that technical malfunction,

human failure, misinterpreted incident, or unauthorized action could start a nuclear exchange.

Biological Weapons Convention, 1972: Bans the development, production, stockpile, or

acquisition of biological agents or toxins for warfare.

Agreement … on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas, 1972: Establishes “rules

of the road” to reduce the risk that accident, miscalculation, or failure of communication could

escalate into a conflict at sea.

Interim Agreement … on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive

Arms (SALT I Interim Agreement), 1972: Limits numbers of some types of U.S. and Soviet

strategic offensive nuclear weapons.

Treaty … on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty), 1972: Limits United

States and Soviet Union to two ABM sites each; limits the number of interceptor missiles and

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radars at each site to preclude nationwide defense. Modified in 1974 to permit one ABM site in

each nation. U.S. withdrew in June 2002.

Agreement … on the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1973: United States and Soviet Union agreed to

adopt an “attitude of international cooperation” to prevent the development of situations that

might lead to nuclear war.

Treaty … on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapons Tests (Threshold Test Ban Treaty),

1974: Prohibits nuclear weapons tests with yields of more than 150 kilotons. Ratified and entered

into force in 1990.

Treaty … on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes (Peaceful Nuclear

Explosions Treaty), 1976: Extends the limit of 150 kilotons to nuclear explosions occurring

outside weapons test sites. Ratified and entered into force in 1990.

Concluding Document of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Final

Act), 1975: Outlines notifications and confidence-building measures with respect to military

activities in Europe.

Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any other Hostile Use of Environmental

Modification Techniques, 1978: Bans the hostile use of environmental modification techniques

that have lasting or widespread effects.

Treaty … on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (SALT II), 1979: Places quantitative and

qualitative limits on some types of U.S. and Soviet strategic offensive nuclear weapons. Never

ratified.

The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons

Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have Indiscriminate Effects: This

Convention, also known as the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), was concluded in

Geneva in 1980 and entered into force in 1993. Protocol II (Protocol on Prohibitions or

Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-traps and Other Devices) contains rules for marking,

registering, and removing minefields, in an effort to reduce indiscriminate casualties caused by

anti-personnel landmines. Protocol IV prohibits laser weapons designed to cause blindness.

Document of the Stockholm Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and

Disarmament in Europe (Stockholm Document), 1986: Expands on the notifications and

confidence-building measures in the Helsinki Final Act. Provides for ground and aerial inspection

of military activities.

Treaty of Rarotonga, 1986: Establishes a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the South Pacific. The

United States signed the Protocols in 1996; the Senate has not yet provided its advice and consent

to ratification.

Agreement … on the Establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, 1987: Establishes

communications centers in Washington and Moscow and improves communications links

between the two.

Treaty … on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, 1987: Bans

all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and

3,400 miles.

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Agreement … on Notifications of Launches of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Submarine

Launched Ballistic Missiles, 1988: Obligates United States and Soviet Union to provide at least

24 hours’ notice before the launch of an ICBM or SLBM.

Agreement on the Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities, 1989: Outlines cooperative

procedures that are designed to prevent and resolve peacetime incidents between the armed forces

of the United States and Soviet Union.

U.S.-U.S.S.R. Chemical Weapons Destruction Agreement, 1990: Mandates the destruction of the

bulk of the U.S. and Soviet chemical weapons stockpiles.

Vienna Document of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, 1990:

Expands on the measures in the 1986 Stockholm Document.

Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), 1990: Limits and reduces the

numbers of certain types of conventional armaments deployed from the “Atlantic to the Urals.”

Treaty … on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START), 1991: Limits and

reduces the numbers of strategic offensive nuclear weapons. Modified by the Lisbon Protocol of

1992 to provide for Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia to succeed to Soviet Union’s

obligations under the Treaty. Entered into force on December 5, 1994.

Vienna Document of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, 1992:

Expands on the measures in the 1990 Vienna Document.

Treaty on Open Skies, 1992: Provides for overflights by unarmed observation aircraft to build

confidence and increase transparency of military activities.

Agreement … Concerning the Safe and Secure Transportation, Storage, and Destruction of

Weapons and Prevention of Weapons Proliferation, 1992: Provides for U.S. assistance to Russia

for the safe and secure transportation, storage, and destruction of nuclear, chemical, and other

weapons.

Agreement Between the United States and Republic of Belarus Concerning Emergency Response

and the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, 1992: Provides for U.S.

assistance to Belarus in eliminating nuclear weapons and responding to nuclear emergencies in

Belarus.

Treaty … on the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) 1993:

Would have further reduced the number of U.S. and Russian strategic offensive nuclear weapons.

Would have banned the deployment of all land-based multiple-warhead missiles (MIRVed

ICBMs), including the Soviet SS-18 “heavy” ICBM. Signed on January 3, 1993; U.S. Senate

consented to ratification in January 1996; Russian Duma approved ratification in April 2000.

Treaty never entered into force.

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical

Weapons and on their Destruction: Bans chemical weapons and requires elimination of their

production facilities. Opened for signature on January 13, 1993; entered into force in April 1997.

Agreement … Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Resulting from the

Dismantlement of Nuclear Weapons in Russia, 1993: Provides for U.S. purchase of highly

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enriched uranium removed from Russian nuclear weapons; uranium to be blended into low

enriched uranium for fuel in commercial nuclear reactors. Signed and entered into force on

February 18, 1993.

Agreement Between the United States and Ukraine Concerning Assistance to Ukraine in the

Elimination of Strategic Nuclear Arms, and the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass

Destruction: Provides for U.S. assistance to Ukraine to eliminate nuclear weapons and implement

provisions of START I. Signed in late 1993, entered into force in 1994.

Agreement Between the United States and Republic of Kazakhstan Concerning the Destruction of

Silo Launchers of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, Emergency Response, and the Prevention of

Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, 1993: Provides for U.S. assistance to Kazakhstan

to eliminate nuclear weapons and implement provisions of START I.

Trilateral Statement by the Presidents of the United States, Russia, and Ukraine, 1994: Statement

in which Ukraine agreed to transfer all nuclear warheads on its territory to Russia in exchange for

security assurances and financial compensation. Some compensation will be in the form of fuel

for Ukraine’s nuclear reactors. The United States will help finance the compensation by

purchasing low enriched uranium derived from dismantled weapons from Russia.

Treaty of Pelindaba, 1996: Establishes a nuclear weapons free zone in Africa. The United States

has signed, but not yet ratified Protocols to the Treaty.

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), 1996: Bans all nuclear explosions, for any

purpose. The United States and more than 130 other nations had signed the Treaty by late 1996.

The U.S. Senate voted against ratification in October, 1999.

Ottawa Treaty, 1997: Convention for universal ban against the use of anti-personnel landmines,

signed in 1997 and entered into force in 1999. The United States and other significant military

powers are not signatories.

Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (Moscow Treaty), 2002: Obligates the United States and

Russia to reduce strategic nuclear forces to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads. Does not define

weapons to be reduced or provide monitoring and verification provisions. Reductions must be

completed by December 31, 2012. Treaty lapsed upon entry into force of New START. Signed in

May 2002, entered into force June 1, 2003.

Treaty … On Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms

(New START), 2010: Obligates the United States and Russia to reduce strategic nuclear forces to

1,550 warheads on up to 700 deployed delivery vehicles, within a total of 800 deployed and

nondeployed delivery vehicles. Reductions must occur within 7 years, treaty remains in force for

10 years. Signed on April 10, 2010, entered into force on February 5, 2011.

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Appendix B. The U.S. Treaty Ratification Process

Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution establishes responsibilities for treaty

ratification. It provides that the President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent

of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” Contrary to

common perceptions, the Senate does not ratify treaties; it provides its advice and consent to

ratification by passing a resolution of ratification. The President then “ratifies” a treaty by signing

the instrument of ratification and either exchanging it with the other parties to the treaty or

depositing it at a central repository (such as the United Nations).

In Section 33 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act (P.L. 87-297, as amended), Congress

outlined the relationship between arms control agreements and the treaty ratification process. This

law provides that “no action shall be taken under this or any other law that will obligate the

United States to disarm or to reduce or to limit the Armed Forces or armaments of the United

States, except pursuant to the treaty-making power of the President under the Constitution or

unless authorized by further affirmative legislation by the Congress of the United States.”

In practice, most U.S. arms control agreements have been submitted as treaties, a word reserved

in U.S. usage for international agreements submitted to the Senate for its approval in accordance

with Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Senate clearly expects future arms control

obligations would be made only pursuant to treaty in one of its declarations in the resolution of

ratification of the START Treaty. The declaration stated: “The Senate declares its intention to

consider for approval international agreements that would obligate the United States to reduce or

limit the Armed Forces or armaments of the United States in a militarily significant manner only

pursuant to the treaty power set forth in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution.”

Nonetheless, some arms control agreements have been made by other means. Several “confidence

building” measures have been concluded as legally binding international agreements, called

executive agreements in the United States, without approval by Congress. These include the Hot

Line Agreement of June 20, 1963, the Agreement on Prevention of Nuclear War of June 22, 1973,

and agreements concluded in the Standing Consultative Commission established by the Antiballistic

Missile Treaty. In another category that might be called statutory or congressionalexecutive

agreements, the SALT I Interim Agreement was approved by a joint resolution of

Congress in 1972. In a third category, the executive branch has entered some arms control

agreements that it did not submit to Congress on grounds that they were “politically binding” but

not “legally binding.” Such agreements include several measures agreed to through the

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, such as the Stockholm Document on

Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe, signed September 19,

1986.

Senate Consideration

The conclusion or signing of a treaty is only the first step toward making the agreement legally

binding on the parties. First, the parties decide whether to ratify, that is, express their consent to

be bound by, the treaty that the negotiators have signed. Each party follows its own constitutional

process to approve the treaty.

In the United States, after a treaty has been signed, the President at a time of his choice submits to

the Senate the treaty and any documents that are to be considered an integral part of the treaty and

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Congressional Research Service 69

requests the Senate’s advice and consent to ratification. The President’s message is accompanied

by a letter from the Secretary of State to the President which contains an analysis of the treaty.

After submittal, the Senate may approve the agreement, approve it with various conditions, or not

approve it.

Senate consideration of a treaty is governed by Senate Rule XXX, which was amended in 1986 to

simplify the procedure.103 The treaty is read a first time and the injunction of secrecy is removed

by unanimous consent, although normally the text of a treaty has already been made public. The

treaty is then referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Senate Rule XXV on

jurisdiction. After consideration, the committee reports the treaty to the Senate with a proposed

resolution of ratification that may contain any of the conditions described below. If the committee

objects to a treaty, or believes the treaty would not receive the necessary majority in the Senate, it

usually simply does not report the treaty to the Senate and the treaty remains pending indefinitely

on the committee calendar.104

After it is reported from the committee, a treaty is required to lie over for one calendar day before

Senate consideration. The Senate considers the treaty after adoption of a non-debatable motion to

go into executive session for that purpose.105 Rule XXX provides that the treaty then be read a

second time, after which amendments to the treaty may be proposed. The majority leader

typically asks unanimous consent that the treaty be considered to have passed through all the

parliamentary stages up to and including the presentation of the resolution of ratification. After

the resolution of ratification is presented, amendments to the treaty itself, which are rare, may not

be proposed. The resolution of ratification is then “open to amendment in the form of

reservations, declarations, statements, or understandings.” Decisions on amendments and

conditions are made by a majority vote. Final approval of the resolution of ratification with any

conditions that have been approved, requires a two-thirds majority of those Senators present.

After approving the treaty, the Senate returns it to the President with the resolution of ratification.

If he accepts the conditions of the Senate, the President then ratifies the treaty by signing a

document referred to as an instrument of ratification. Included in the instrument of ratification are

any of the Senate conditions that State Department officials consider require tacit or explicit

approval by the other party. The ratification is then complete at the national level and ready for

exchange or deposit. The treaty enters into force in the case of a bilateral treaty upon exchange of

instruments of ratification and in the case of a multilateral treaty with the deposit of the number

of ratifications specified in the treaty. The President then signs a document called a proclamation

which publicizes the treaty domestically as in force and the law of the land.

If the President objects to any of the Senate conditions, or if the other party to a treaty objects to

any of the conditions and further negotiations occur, the President may resubmit the treaty to the

Senate for further consideration or simply not ratify it.

103 The 1986 amendment eliminated a stage in which the Senate met “as in Committee of the Whole” and acted on any

proposed amendment to the treaty.

104 For further information, see Rejection of Treaties: A Brief Survey of Past Instances. CRS Report No. 87-305 F, by

Ellen C. Collier, March 30, 1987. (Archived. For copies, call Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)

105 Earlier, treaties could only be taken out of the order in which they were reported from the committee and appeared

on the Senate Executive Calendar by debatable motion. In 1977 the Threshold Test Ban and Peaceful Nuclear

Explosions Treaties were ordered reported by the committee and then delayed partly so that they would not be placed

on the Senate calendar ahead of the Panama Canal Treaties. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Treaties and

Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate. November 1993, p. 101.

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Congressional Research Service 70

Approval with Conditions

The Senate may stipulate various conditions on its approval of a treaty. Major types of Senate

conditions include amendments, reservations, understandings, and declarations or other

statements or provisos. Sometimes the executive branch recommends the conditions, such as the

December 16, 1974, reservation to the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of poison gas

and the understandings on the protocols to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in

Latin America.

An amendment to a treaty proposes a change to the language of the treaty itself, and Senate

adoption of amendments to the text of a treaty is infrequent. A formal amendment to a treaty after

it has entered into force is made through an additional treaty often called a protocol. An example

is the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Protocol, signed July 3, 1974, which limited the United States

and the Soviet Union to one ABM site each instead of two as in the original 1972 ABM Treaty.

While the Senate did not formally attach amendments to the 1974 Threshold Test Ban and 1976

Peaceful Nuclear Explosion treaties, it was not until Protocols relating to verification were

concluded in 1990 that the Senate approved these two Treaties.

A reservation is a limitation or qualification that changes the obligations of one or more of the

parties. A reservation must be communicated to the other parties and, in a bilateral treaty,

explicitly agreed to by the other party. President Nixon requested a reservation to the Geneva

Protocol on the use of poison gases stating that the protocol would cease to be binding on the

United States in regard to an enemy state if that state or any of its allies failed to respect the

prohibition. One of the conditions attached to the INF treaty might be considered a reservation

although it was not called that. On the floor the sponsors referred to it as a Category III condition.

The condition was that the President obtain Soviet consent that a U.S.-Soviet agreement

concluded on May 12, 1988, be of the same effect as the provisions of the treaty.

An understanding is an interpretation or elaboration ordinarily considered consistent with the

treaty. In 1980, the Senate added five understandings to the agreement with the International

Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Application of Safeguards in the United States. The

understandings concerned implementation of the agreement within the United States. A condition

added to the INF treaty resolution, requiring a presidential certification of a common

understanding on ground-launched ballistic missiles, might be considered an understanding. The

sponsor of the condition, Senator Robert Dole, said, “this condition requires absolutely nothing

more from the Soviets, but it does require something from our President.”106

A declaration states policy or positions related to the treaty but not necessarily affecting its

provisions. Frequently, like some of the understandings mentioned above, declarations and other

statements concern internal procedures of the United States rather than international obligations

and are intended to assure that Congress or the Senate participate in subsequent policy. The

resolution of ratification of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty adopted in 1990 made approval subject

to declarations (1) that to preserve a viable deterrent a series of specified safeguards should be an

ingredient in decisions on national security programs and the allocation of resources, and (2) the

United States shared a special responsibility with the Soviet Union to continue talks seeking a

verifiable comprehensive test ban. In a somewhat different step, in 1963 the Senate attached a

preamble to the resolution of ratification of the limited nuclear test ban treaty. The preamble

106 Congressional Record, May 27, 1988, p. S 6883.

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Congressional Research Service 71

contained three “Whereas” clauses of which the core one stated that amendments to treaties are

subject to the constitutional process.

The important distinction among the various conditions concerns their content or effect. Whatever

designation the Senate applies to a condition, if the President determines that it may alter an

international obligation under the treaty, he transmits it to the other party or parties and further

negotiations or abandonment of the treaty may result.

During its consideration of the SALT II Treaty, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grouped

conditions into three categories to clarify their intended legal effect; (I) those that need not be

formally communicated to or agreed to by the Soviet Union, (II) those that would be formally

communicated to the Soviet Union, but not necessarily agreed to by them, and (III) those that

would require the explicit agreement of the Soviet Union. In the resolution of ratification of the

START Treaty, the Senate made explicit that some of the conditions were to be communicated to

the other parties.

The Senate approves most treaties without formally attaching conditions. Ten arms control

treaties were adopted without conditions: the Antarctic, Outer Space, Nuclear Non-Proliferation,

Seabed, ABM, Environmental Modification, and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaties, the

Biological Weapons and the Nuclear Materials Conventions, and the ABM Protocol. In some of

these cases, however, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee included significant

understandings in its report.

Even when it does not place formal conditions in the resolution of ratification, the Senate may

make its views known or establish requirements on the executive branch in the report of the

Foreign Relations Committee or through other vehicles.107 Such statements become part of the

legislative history but are not formally transmitted to other parties. In considering the Limited

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963, the Senate turned down a reservation that “the treaty does not

inhibit the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict,” but Senate leaders insisted upon a written

assurance on this issue, among others, from President Kennedy. In reporting the Nuclear Non-

Proliferation Treaty, the committee stated that its support of the Treaty was not to be construed as

approving security assurances given to the non-nuclear-weapon parties by a U.N. Security

Council resolution and declarations by the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United

Kingdom. The security assurances resolution and declarations were, the committee reported,

“solely executive measures.”108

107 For a discussion of methods by which Congress influences arms control negotiations, see House Committee on

Foreign Affairs. Fundamentals of Nuclear Arms Control. Part IX—The Congressional Role in Nuclear Arms Control.

Prepared for the Subcommittee on Arms Control, International Security, and Science by the Congressional Research

Service. June 1986.

108 Senate. Executive Report 91-1, March 6, 1969. 91st Congress, 1st session.

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service 72

For Further Reading

The Congressional Role in Arms Control. Part IX in Fundamentals of Nuclear Arms Control, Subcommittee on Arms

Control, International Security and Science of Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee Print, December 1986.

CRS Report No. 90-548 F, Executive Agreements Submitted to Congress: Legislative Procedures Used Since 1970.

(Out of print. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 7-2379.)

CRS Report No. 93-276 F, Senate Approval of Treaties: A Brief Description with Examples from Arms Control. (Out

of print. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 7-2379.)

Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Print, November 1993.

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service 73

Appendix C. Arms Control Organizations

Bilateral (U.S.-Former

Soviet Republics) Jurisdiction Mandate and issues currently under discussion

Standing Consultative

Commission (SCC)

ABM Treaty Established to resolve compliance questions and to

consider amendments to Treaty; currently debating

ABM/TMD demarcation issues—no longer operating

Special Verification

Commission (SVC)

INF Treaty Established to resolve compliance questions; continues

to discuss issues raised during monitoring and

inspection process—no longer operating

Joint Compliance and

Inspection Commission (JCIC)

START I Established to resolve compliance questions and to

promote implementation; meetings began before

Treaty was ratified

Delegation on Safety, Security

and Disarmament of Nuclear

Weapons (SSD)

Nunn-Lugar Cooperative

Threat Reduction

Programs

U.S. delegations meet with counterparts in former

Soviet republics to identify areas where U.S. assistance

is needed and to implement programs

Bilateral Consultative

Commission

New START Treaty U.S. and Russian delegations meet to promote the

objectives and implementation of the provisions the

Treaty

Multilateral

Conference on Disarmament

(CD)

Multilateral negotiations

under the U.N.

Negotiating Fissile Material Production Ban and ban on

the export of anti-personnel landmines

Joint Consultative Group

(JCG)

CFE Treaty Established to resolve compliance questions and to

ease implementation; recent discussions have

addressed Russian request for changes in some Treaty

limits

Open Skies Consultative

Committee (OSCC)

Open Skies Treaty Established to facilitate implementation of the Treaty; it

has already addressed a number of technical,

procedural and cost issues related to Open Skies flights

Organization for the

Prohibition of Chemical

Weapons (OPCW)

Chemical Weapons

Convention

Established to oversee CWC implementation and

monitor chemical industry worldwide; preparatory

commission is currently working out the procedural

details for OPCW

Comprehensive Nuclear Test-

Ban Treaty Organization

Comprehensive Nuclear

Test Ban Treaty

Oversees three groups—a Conference of States

Parties, an Executive Council, and a Technical

Secretariat—responsible for implementing the CTBT

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Congressional Research Service 74

Author Contact Information

Amy F. Woolf

Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy

awoolf@crs.loc.gov, 7-2379

Mary Beth D. Nikitin

Specialist in Nonproliferation

mnikitin@crs.loc.gov, 7-7745

Paul K. Kerr

Analyst in Nonproliferation

pkerr@crs.loc.gov, 7-8693

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Casper Oswald for his assistance in preparing the entry on the Arms Trade

Treaty.

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