Chapter 8


Verification agency leaders gathered at RAF Scampton, England, for a post-baseline conference in December 1992.

At the end of the CFE Treaty's third reduction year in November 1995, one could draw six conclusions. First, the treaty ratification process had been critical to achieving national and international consensus on the detailed treaty provisions and protocols that were so important throughout implementation. Second, three years into the process of providing data, reducing weapons, accepting inspection teams, and adjudicating disputes, the 30 signatory states remained committed to the CFE Treaty. With some exceptions, the states were meeting their national reduction quotas in the treaty's five categories of offensive weapons. The treaty specified that 100 percent of each nation's final reduction liability had to be achieved by the end of the third reduction year. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia did not meet their treaty-mandated reduction quotas.1Of these states, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia had informed the Joint Consultative Group in Vienna of the special circumstances that forced them to postpone the date for completing their treaty reductions. No nation indicated that it would withdraw from the treaty. Despite the fact that these six nations were not in compliance as of November 1995, collectively, the nations of the NATO and WTO alliances had met and even exceeded the CFE Treaty reduction quotas. By November 17, 1995, the end of the third reduction year, the signatory states had destroyed, converted, decommissioned, reclassified, or placed on static display more than 19,200 battle tanks, 9,800 artillery pieces, 18,600 armored personnel carriers, 2,200 combat aircraft, and 370 attack helicopters. The total--50,170--exceeded the reduction quotas established in the treaty.2    


The Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, was the meeting place for the CFE Treaty's Joint Consultative Group.

  The third conclusion was that the CFE Treaty's principal verification measure--the use of on-site inspection teams to confirm force data and to monitor reductions, recategorizations, and suspect sites--was working well. National on-site inspection teams had conducted more than 2,500 inspections of declared sites, objects of verification (OOVs), specified areas, and reductions of treaty-limited equipment (TLE). Disputes arose in fewer than 50 inspections. Many potentially contentious issues had been resolved on-site by the inspectors and escorts acting within the treaty's articles and protocols.


Fourth, the CFE Treaty's Joint Consultative Group (JCG) had functioned as an important forum throughout treaty ratification and implementation. The JCG had met almost continually in Vienna since the treaty's signature in Paris on November 19, 1990, to consider problems arising from national force data, on-site inspections, notifications, and other treaty requirements. In closed joint sessions and committees, representatives of the treaty states discussed and formulated solutions and, on many occasions, achieved the required consensus on recommended changes to treaty issues. Throughout implementation, the JCG provided the CFE Treaty process a degree of flexibility that was invaluable in a time of rapid changes across Europe.

The fifth conclusion is that the political and social upheavals sweeping across post-Cold War Europe from 1992 to 1995 had a direct influence on the CFE Treaty's implementation. Within a year of the Soviet Union's collapse in late 1991 and the creation of the new successor states, Western European governments and peoples were interacting, formally and informally, with Eastern European nations to a degree not seen for almost 50 years or more. This activity influenced the composition of the CFE Treaty's national inspection teams. In January 1993, just six months after the treaty's entry into force, the NATO nations collectively invited the treaty's Eastern states to join their CFE teams as guest inspectors. They accepted. Shortly thereafter, individual inspectors from the Eastern states began serving on the NATO nations' CFE inspection teams. These multinational teams conducted inspections of CFE sites throughout Eastern Europe and the successor states. Within a matter of months in 1993, virtually all the NATO nations' CFE inspection teams had become multinational, with inspectors from several nations routinely serving on a single team.

The rapid thaw after the Cold War was reflected in other cooperative efforts. In 1994, the treaty nations agreed to share data from on-site inspections and from the annual national force data submissions. At that time, the NATO nations expanded VERITY, their computerized database, incorporating information on inspections and national force data from almost all treaty states. In another development, in 1993 NATO opened its CFE Treaty training courses to inspectors from the Eastern states and successor nations. Further, NATO's Verification Coordinating Committee (VCC) sponsored special seminars each year from 1992 through 1996 for the directors and senior staffs of the national verification agencies from both groups of states. These seminars served as important informal forums for raising implementation issues, and they provided a setting in which the verification directors could discuss common issues and approaches. When the CFE Treaty was negotiated and signed in 1990, no one had anticipated the form or the extent of these joint East-West treaty implementation activities.


The JCG approved Russian modified reduction procedures.

The NATO School's CFE Treaty Course was open to all 30 nations.


    Finally, one could conclude that collectively the 30 CFE Treaty states had, in large measure, achieved the treaty's stated objectives of establishing a "secure and stable balance of conventional armed forces in Europe at lower levels" and eliminating "as a matter of high priority, the capability for launching a surprise attack or for initiating a large-scale offensive action in Europe."3 Certainly, the demise of the Soviet Union and of the Warsaw Treaty Organization as a viable military alliance were consequential events that contributed directly to these all-European treaty objectives. Yet, one should not discount the treaty states' concrete actions in carrying out their CFE Treaty commitments. In 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995; daily, weekly, yearly; in thousands of discrete actions, the signatory states had met their treaty obligations and exercised their treaty rights.

By the end of the reduction period in November 1995, the CFE Treaty was viewed widely across Europe as a valuable, legally binding agreement for reducing military armaments and for enhancing openness of military forces across national borders. Since it entered into force, a durable record had been achieved; that record established a context for evaluating the CFE Treaty's next major phase: the residual level validation period.


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