The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty:

Threats From the Flank

Colonel Jeffrey D. McCausland, USA

On 10 November 1990, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty was signed in Paris following the successful completion of 20 months of negotiations between the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO). At its completion, President George Bush hailed the agreement as ending the "military confrontation that has cursed Europe for decades."1 Despite the dramatic nature of this document, the largescale reductions required, and the complex inspection regime it established, the completion of the treaty was overshadowed by the ongoing deterioration of the Warsaw Pact, the end of the Berlin Wall, and impending conflict in the Persian Gulf. Even these events paled to insignificance in comparison to the dissolution of the Soviet Union roughly one year later. As a result, many observers announced the imminent demise of the CFE Treaty. The London Times, for example, sounded a particularly distressing note when it announced that "Europe's most ambitious arms control treaty risks [is] becoming unworkable because of the Soviet Union's disintegration."2

Almost paradoxically, the CFE Treaty survived the early reports of its demise. This is perhaps testimony to its value and the relative importance that participating states attach to it. Ongoing changes did slow its entry into force, as the treaty was not provisionally applied until 17 July 1992. It became legally binding on all parties 10 days after the last country deposited its instruments of ratification. This did not occur until 9 November 1992.3 The implementation of the treaty is scheduled to take 40 months from the time it became legally binding. Final reductions are to be made by November 1995 with a subsequent fourmonth period (until March 1996) for all sides to verify residual levels. The purpose of this paper is to review the treaty and examine the likelihood that it will be fully completed.

The Treaty

The CFE Treaty has over 100 pages encompassing 23 treaty articles, several protocols, two annexes, plus several legally binding statements and other political documents associated with the accord. The agreement limits five categories of weapons-tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, combat helicopters, and attack aircraft-in the European territory of the members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact (referred to as "groups of states parties"). The area of application (AOA) stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. This is further subdivided into geographic subzones. The reason for a zonal approach was to force the relocation of Soviet forces eastward from the innerGerman border, prevent their concentration within the Soviet Union, and thus reduce the possibility of a "shortwarning attack." A portion of southeastern Turkey is excluded from the treaty due to Turkish concerns about potential threats from Syria or Iraq.

Though the treaty was negotiated in a multilateral forum, it is firmly rooted in the alliance formations of the cold war-NATO and the WTO. Despite the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the bloctobloc character of the treaty continues and will do so at least until final implementation in 1996. Each alliance has the following limits: 20,000 main battle tanks; 30,000 armored combat vehicles (ACV); 20,000 artillery pieces; 6,800 combat aircraft (excluding trainers, strategic bombers, and transport aircraft); and 2,000 attack helicopters. In addition, no single nation may have more than onethird of the total group entitlement for each category of equipment. This restriction was coupled with provisions restricting the size of forces of one country that could be stationed on the territory of another. Each alliance (NATO and WTO) had to negotiate the national entitlements with its members consistent with the group ceilings and other associated requirements.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the successor states agreed to their respective limitations at Tashkent on 15 May 1992. Additional adjustments were made on the division of Czechoslovakia. The treaty also requires that states place a portion of their allocation in designated permanent storage sites (DPSS). Last, the treaty places additional restrictions on the socalled flanks. This area includes all of Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. It also consists of the North Caucasus and Leningrad military districts in the Russian Federation, plus the southeastern third of the Ukraine. The total, for example, for Russian forces in this area is 700 tanks; 1,280 artillery pieces; and 580 ACVs in active units out of the total allocation for these items for the Russian Federation. Russia is also allowed to place 600 tanks, 400 artillery pieces, and 800 ACVs in designated permanent storage sites in the northern portion of the flank (i.e., the Leningrad Military District). The concept of a separate "flank zone" was the result of efforts by Turkey and Norway. Neither country wanted the Soviet forces removed from the Central Region to reappear on its borders.

Besides the revised totals for each emerging state of the former Soviet Union, two other official statements by the Soviet Union (later adopted by its successor states) deserve particular mention. The first (enacted on 14 June 1991) provides that all treatylimited equipment (tanks, artillery, and armored combat vehicles) assigned to naval infantry or coastal defense forces count against the total treaty entitlement. The West insisted on this pronouncement to assuage concerns that the Soviet Union might transfer large amounts of equipment from the army to its naval forces to circumvent treaty obligations. The second statement acknowledged the requirement of the Soviet Union to destroy roughly 14,500 pieces of treatylimited equipment that were moved east of the Ural Mountains (i.e., outside the area of the treaty) during the negotiations. The first is considered legally binding on the Soviet Union (and its successors), while the second is construed to be a political obligation. The Russian Federation and Ukraine acknowledged these responsibilities in the Tashkent Agreement as successor states of the USSR.

The treaty also contains many other specifications that would logically be required in an agreement of this complexity. It includes careful definitions of such diverse topics as groups of parties, artillery (must be 100 mm or larger), designated permanent storage sites, and so forth. It further lists procedures for the establishment of the Joint Consultative Group (JCG) consisting of representatives from every state involved in the treaty to monitor problems that may occur during implementation, proper methods of verification, the requirement for periodic exchanges of information, update definitions as new equipment types are deployed, and so forth.4

Treaty Analysis

While the amount of equipment and geographic limitations imposed are important, they are still only a technical reflection of the strategic goals that both sides had when the negotiations commenced. The mandate of the CFE Treaty describes the objectives clearly. They include strengthening stability and security in Europe through the creation of balanced conventional forces; establishing lower levels for conventional armaments and equipment; eliminating disparities prejudicial to stability and security; and, as a priority, precluding the capability for launching surprise attacks or largescale offensive operations.5 These conditions are an appropriate mechanism to evaluate whether the United States should continue to participate in the implementation of the accord. Despite the tremendous changes in the world since 1990, the treaty continues to foster the objectives outlined and remains in the best interests of the United States for several reasons. First, the stabilizing limits established mean that no participating signatory can exceed its limits in any category of forces or can increase its CFElimited arsenal without both the concurrence of the other members in its group and corresponding reductions by one or more states in the group. Consequently, it has reduced the possibility of arms racing throughout the continent. Curiously, while this may be most important in troubled areas in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) such as the Russian Federation and Ukraine, it also provides Hungary the means to prohibit the expansion of the Rumanian military and gives Turkey a mechanism to limit Greece.6

Second, the treaty enhances conventional deterrence by expanding the "transparency" that states have with each other's military forces and reducing the possibility of accidental conflict. Deterrence is further advanced by the asymmetrical nature of the reductions that requires NATO (in the aggregate) to reduce only a fraction of the amount required of the former members of the Warsaw Pact. The results are balanced forces between the two "groups of states parties."

Third, the treaty requires notification of any change in the size and character of the military forces of the participants and an annual exchange of information. Fourth, the strict inspection and verification regime ensures compliance. This, coupled with information exchanges, provides all members a great deal of predictability in forecasting the military forces of their neighbors.

Last, while requiring all sides to live up to stringent requirements, the treaty also establishes a clear momentum in the process that may bear fruit in other areas. In attempting to calculate the value of CFE for the United States, it is also important to remember that the United States successfully protected certain operational objectives during the negotiations. These included the maintenance of alliance unity, exclusion of nuclear weapons or naval forces from the discussions, preservation of American rights to store prepositioned materiel in Europe, avoidance of the mandatory disbandment of withdrawn US forces, or any permanent limitations on the overall size of US forces. These advantages have not been compromised by events since and may be even more important today. In summary, the treaty appeals to the enlightened selfinterest of the United States as well as its alliance partners.


Implementation of the treaty has progressed surprisingly well. The verification regime established targets for states to achieve during the 40 months outlined for implementation. The lengthy period of implementation is due to the overwhelming complexity of the treaty and the monumental task of either removing or destroying a vast array of equipment-roughly 32,000 pieces of treatylimited equipment (TLE) for the Warsaw Pact and 16,000 for NATO. The initial target (September 1993) required each state to meet 25 percent of its required reduction as it moved toward its respective allocation for each type of equipment. Goals of 60 percent by September 1994 and 100 percent by November 1995 were also established. The flank limitations go into effect in 1995 as well. At that time, four months is allocated for verifying residual force levels. When that is accomplished, a review conference of all signatories will be convened to discuss difficulties, possible changes to the treaty, and potential future agreements.

It is perhaps axiomatic for successful arms control agreements that they receive their most intense public scrutiny during the negotiations with little attention being paid to the implementation process. If that is true, CFE has been very effective to date with little to no fanfare. All participants with the exception of Armenia and Azerbaijan (due to the ongoing conflict in NagornoKarabakh) reached their initial reduction goal in September 1993 and appear to have also done so in 1994. Overall, roughly 18,000 pieces of treatylimited equipment have been destroyed in the former Warsaw Pact. The Russian Federation alone has disposed of over 6,000 items. None of the inspections of this process to date has revealed discrepancies of a significance to suggest circumvention or violation of treaty provisions.

The process of implementation has also changed to meet the evolving international conditions in Europe, and this has presented NATO with opportunities as well as difficulties. The preamble of the treaty includes a clause that commits the signatories to strive "to replace military confrontation with a new pattern of security relations based on peaceful cooperation."7 Though the agreement is very specific in its technical content, it does not provide any description about how these new "patterns" are to be accomplished. The creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Committee (NACC), which includes all of the former members of the Warsaw Pact as well as NATO, was done in some measure to adjust the security environment in light of the demise of the Warsaw Pact. This has resulted in an increase in the flow of information and ideas on the conduct of implementation, including seminars on verification run by NATO for NACC members, attendance by Eastern European officers at the NATO arms control inspection course, and access to NATO's verification database (VERITY), which now provides online access to many capitals in the former Warsaw Pact. These new contacts have been formalized as NATO's Enhanced Cooperation Program.8 In addition, the creation of NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) may expand these possibilities into such things as the participation of nonNATO participants on Western inspections as a PfP "event." It may also allow nonsignatories to the CFE Treaty (e.g., Slovenia) who have joined PfP to participate.

Difficulties have arisen, however, in the desire of the former members of the Warsaw Pact to conduct CFE inspections of their former allies to ensure compliance with treaty reductions. These so-called Easton-East inspections demonstrate the emerging security concerns of Central European countries, but they also reduce the total number of NATO inspections of those states in the East of particular interest (i.e., the Russian Federation and the Ukraine).

The Problem of the Flanks

Despite the optimism generated by the obvious progress, serious difficulties have arisen that may imperil final implementation of the CFE accord. The most serious of these is the request by the Russian Federation to be relieved of the Article V limitation on the amount of TLE that can be located in the flank areas of their country (consisting of the Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts). US officials were first made aware of these concerns in early 1993.9

Gen Pavel Grachev (Russian defense minister), returning from an inspection tour of military units in the Transcaucasus, stated that the "geopolitical situation has changed" since the treaty had gone into effect and that Russia "now finds it necessary to reconsider the armed quotas envisioned by the [CFE] accords." Later Grachev's press office reported that a Defense Ministry collegium had discussed the pressing problem of CFE quotas and "expressed concern" that CFE limitations were forcing Russia to distribute arms in the European part of the country "without taking account of security interests."10

Curiously, the problem of the flanks was formally presented to the JCG by Ukrainian ambassador Kostenko on 14 September 1993. Ambassador Yu. V. Kostenko pointed out that the flank limits placed on the Ukraine were "completely unjustified at the present time." He further noted that this would force the Ukraine to ensure the defense of onequarter of its territory (see fig. 1) with only 17 percent of its available tanks, 7 percent of its ACVs, and 22 percent of its artillery.11 This was quickly followed by a rather abrupt letter from Russian president Boris Yeltsin to all NATO leaders requesting the removal of ART. V of the treaty that describes the flank limitations. Yeltsin noted the drastic changes that had occurred in the political situation on the continent, the increased turmoil along Russia's borders, as well as the complex economic and social problems the Russian Federation was suffering in the redeployment of massive numbers of troops from Eastern Europe as his principal rationale. Yeltsin also observed that the two districts constrained by ART. V (Leningrad and North Caucasus) comprise over half the territory of European Russia, and that the restraints imposed were discriminatory as they were not imposed in a similar fashion on any Western state. Finally, the president noted that a solution to this problem needed to be reached quickly so that Russia could conduct the redeployment of its forces properly and construct sufficient infrastructure.12

Overall the rationale presented by Russian spokesmen in the JCG and elsewhere has been fairly consistent and revolves around their perception of Russian national security interests. The Russian leadership has presented essentially seven arguments in its analysis. First, the drastically changed political environment in the world makes the basis for the treaty and its bloctobloc character no longer valid. In this regard, the treaty unfairly discriminates against Russia by placing internal restrictions with respect to where forces may be positioned on its territory. Second, the new Russian military doctrine that has received official governmental and parliamentary approval requires a more allaround balanced military defense.13 Third, the logic of the flanks has changed. Whereas previously the North Caucasus Military District was considered a rear area, it is now a border district.14 Consequently, it is illogical to expect that the deployment of only 15 percent of Russian forces is adequate in an area (the Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts) that is over half of European Russia. Fourth, the rising threat to stability, particularly due to Muslim fundamentalism in the southern area, is the greatest challenge to Russian security and requires a significant deployment of Russian forces to the North Caucasus. Fifth, the North Caucasus is better suited to station forces returning to Russia due to its climate as well as economic and social reasons. For example, there already exists some of the necessary infrastructure for returning forces in this region. Sixth, changes to the treaty do not represent a precedent as it has evolved over the intervening years. Russian spokesmen normally cite the example of the Baltic states, who left the treaty upon achieving their independence as well as the addition of new states (i.e., the former members of the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia).15 Finally, several Russian spokesmen have privately suggested that while the Russian government strongly supports the treaty, its key elements remain the reductions and associated inspections. Despite this fact, they argue that the treaty is not well regarded by many members of the military.16 Russian leaders have also been quick to point out that they sought no increase in the total allocation of TLE under the CFE accord but rather simply the removal of the flank restrictions.

Russian experts have suggested several solutions to this problem. Initially, proposals focused exclusively on the total suspension of ART. V. Alternatively, the suggestion has been made to remove the North Caucasus from the flanks and recategorize it as a "rear district," which would change the map associated with the treaty. This was coupled with vague assurances about the level of forces in the Leningrad Military District, no "overconcentration of forces" in the North Caucasus, the right under the treaty to station large quantities of equipment in Kaliningrad would not be abused, and the implementation of these changes would not "prejudice the security of any State Party to the Treaty."17 In February, the Russian Federation added additional ideas that attempted to avoid any interpretation of a "change" in the treaty but rather a "reinterpretation" of key portions. This included the exemption of naval infantry and coastal defense forces from flank limits since this was a declaration by the Soviet Union. Consequently, some Russian officials have argued that it should be considered an addition to the treaty but not an integral part of the text. They further suggested that the authorization to remove equipment from designated storage that was allowed in the treaty as a total for each "group of states" be reinterpreted to mean that "each state party" had this allowance. This would be coupled with the right to "temporary deployments."18 Most recently, Russian spokesmen have suggested that the time period for returning TLE to storage sites (established as 42 days in ART. X) should be considered a "recommendation."19

While the particular "remedy" has changed over time, all suggestions still appear to be viable from the Russian perspective. Furthermore, the argument and objective seem to be the same. Russian authorities seek to increase TLE in active forces (particularly those stationed in the North Caucasus region) and establish as a precedent that the internal limitations imposed on Russia by the flank requirement are no longer valid and are inconsistent with Russian security.

Flank Limits and the Ukraine

The flank limitations also restrict the deployment of forces within the borders of the Ukraine. This obviously complicates achievement of a solution satisfactory to all parties. The Ukraine has also been adamant since September 1993 that the flank limitations must be reviewed-for many of the same reasons cited by the Russian Federation. Ukrainian officials have observed, for example, that the flank limits only allow them to position 7 percent of their total TLE allocation in a portion of the Odessa Military District, which takes up nearly onequarter of their entire territory.20

Ukrainian defense experts have argued that their country requires a more balanced distribution of its forces. Implementation of the flank limitations would force them to position the majority of their forces in the Carpathian Military District. This would seem to be in contravention of a stated NATO goal of reducing forward deployed forces and the associated threat of surprise attack.21 Obviously, this problem is further exacerbated by changes brought about by the dissolution of the Soviet Union and emerging problems between Russia and the Ukraine. This includes the disappearance of the Kiev Military District, which was shared with Russia, the presence of Russian forces in eastern Moldova, and emerging Russian nationalism in the Crimea. In addition, the Russian Federation and the Ukraine have yet to settle the final distribution of TLE assigned to the Black Sea fleet (equipment assigned to naval infantry and coastal defense forces).22

From the Ukranian perspective, this is an issue of sovereignty as it attempts to establish itself as a midlevel power and not the "spinoff of an old empire." For obvious security reasons, the Ukrainians are also somewhat wary of the Russian Federation receiving any relief on the flanks. Finally, implementation of the flank limits presents the Ukrainians with a tremendous economic problem. It would require them to abandon infrastructure currently available in the restricted area and construct new facilities in the Carpathian Military District and Northern Odessa that they simply cannot afford based on their severe economic difficulties.23

The Ukrainians have concluded that the simplest solution is to exempt the naval infantry and coastal defense forces from the sublimits established by the flank limitations, while retaining the rule that they would count against overall national totals. While this might have the desired effect, it is unclear how this could be done in light of the continuing impasse between the Ukraine and the Russian Federation over the Black Sea fleet. Consequently, an exemption on naval infantry and coastal defense forces for the Ukraine would require that a similar accommodation be offered to the Russian Federation.

While there is no doubt that this seeming impasse over the flanks is a threat to the full implementation of the CFE Treaty, the manner in which it has unfolded does contain some positive aspects. It appears that all efforts by the parties involved (particularly Russia and the Ukraine) have been overt. Even the construction of infrastructure that may lead to forces in excess of the flank limitations has been reported publicly. There has been no attempt to disguise or hide the problem and the difficulties associated with it. All parties have used the Joint Consultative Group to air the issues. As a result, the procedures established in the treaty have been working, but one can still question whether this forum is sufficient to resolve the conflict. Last, the Russian military has been "out in front" on the issue in militarytomilitary contacts.

NATO's Position

The public response of NATO members has emphasized the position that the CFE Treaty is the "cornerstone of European security." Consequently, it cannot be renegotiated and to do so would establish a bad precedent for other arms control forums. This includes not only the basic text of the treaty but also all related documents, protocols, and declarations. Furthermore, the Russian Federation freely accepted the treaty as negotiated to include the agreements with the former members of the Warsaw Pact and declarations by the Soviet Union prior to its demise. Any alteration to these documents (such as those proposed) cannot occur until the review conference, which will occur following full implementation in the spring of 1996. Last, Russia has not sufficiently explained the analysis of new threats to its frontiers that substantiates the removal or modification of flank limits.

The West has also suggested that the treaty provides sufficient "flexibility" to meet Russian needs. Representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States have observed some possibilities. The first possibility is that Russian troops in the North Caucasus could be "light" forces equipped with equipment that is not limited by the CFE Treaty (e.g., trucks, infantry weapons, small calibre artillery, and certain tracked vehicles that are not part of the ACV category). Such a force would also seem more appropriate to the terrain of the Caucasus as well as the threats of internal instability. The second possibility is that the Russians should recognize that there is no flank limitation for their aircraft (either fixed or rotary wing) which can be rapidly moved from zone to zone to meet any emerging threat. Another possibility is that they could transfer additional ACVs and other tracked vehicles to their internal security forces as allowed in Articles III and XII. ART. XII, for example, allows for up to 1,000 ACVs to be placed with internal security forces. Six hundred of these ACVs may be in the "flank zone." It does not, however, allow for any exemption for the transfer of tanks or artillery to internal security forces. A fourth possibility is that equipment for Russian units in the CFE flank zone could be stored outside the area but close enough for rapid deployment in time of crisis. A fifth possibility is that Russia and the Ukraine might also seek to renegotiate their allocation with the other former members of the Soviet Union (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova).24

Other members of NATO have shown more or less willingness to compromise within the NATO highlevel task force (HLTF). Germany has appeared sensitive to Russian concerns throughout the implementation period and has previously cosponsored proposals with Russia for less costly destruction procedures. The Germans have also suggested that the timetable for equipment destruction might be extended, or that excess equipment not destroyed at the end of the reduction period could be placed temporarily at secure storage sites pending final destruction.25

Other NATO countries have been less sympathetic to Russian proposals throughout the implementation process. France, for example, has been uniformly opposed to any concessions to the Russian Federation. The French fear that any concession would result in multiple proposals by other signatories on portions of the treaty they find objectionable, thereby threatening the entire basis of the accord. Turkey and Norway have been the most outspoken opponents to any compromise based on the fact that they border the flank areas.26 These two states echo the doubts of France. Furthermore, Turkey believes that Russia maintains imperialist ambitions in the Caucasus region and is the primary motivator behind hostilities in Georgia as well as the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over NagornoKarabakh. An increase in Russian forces in the flank area would also reduce the warning time available to Turkey and Norway and thus be counter to their security interests. Finally, these countries argue that a change in the CFE Treaty or its overall demise could open the way for a new European or regional arms race due to new tensions brought about by the end of the cold war. As a result, Turkey has hinted that any concessions on the flank issue could result in an overall Turkish review of continued participation in the accord. Due to the intense feelings by the Turks and the Norwegians, NATO has not yet agreed upon a formal alliance approach to solving this problem.

The Russian Response

In assessing Russian willingness to compromise, it may be useful to examine some additional factors affecting this problem from their perspective. There can be no doubt that this issue serves as a surrogate for broader internal and external problems facing the Russian Federation. It illustrates, for example, the ongoing friction between several players in the Russian "bureaucratic politics" process. The Russian military was skeptical of the agreement from the very onset and questioned whether or not it had been left with adequate resources to defend the political and territorial integrity of the country.27 But the military is far from a unitary actor. The appointment of General Grachev as Russia's first minister of defense caused resentment among senior officers on the General Staff that has continued. It is likely that many senior Russian officers blame him at least partially for the treaty.28 Grachev has also had serious disagreements with General Nikolayev, head of interior security forces, over resources, the potential transfer of army assets to border troops, and major military exercises.29 Consequently, the Ministry of Defense has continually rejected the transfer of ACVs to the Internal Security Forces as a partial solution to the flank impasse. There have also been differences between the military, Foreign Ministry, and the Office of the President over such issues as Russian participation in the Partnership for Peace.30 Finally, several political parties during the 1993 elections advocated Russian rejection of CFE as well as the strategic arms reduction talks (START) II accord as being contrary to Russian national security.

All these tensions have led some to suggest that civil authorities may be losing control of the military31 and, consequently, may not be able to force a compromise on their own armed forces. The recent invasion of Chechnya by the Russian Federation and the bloody struggle to maintain this province in the federation is further evidence of this growing problem of civilmilitary relations. It is also likely that Russia will wish to maintain a large occupation force in Chechnya (which is in the flank zone) or may even be involved in extended hostilities in the region. Either of these possibilities make it even more unlikely that the Russian Federation will ultimately accept the flank limits.

The attitudes of the various factions in the Russian foreign policy establishment are unlikely to slacken and may in fact harden as the deadline for final implementation approaches. For example, it may be difficult for President Yeltsin to compromise on this issue and risk being perceived as weak before the Russian presidential elections in June 1996. It should also be understood that this is viewed as a "military" problem to the Russian Federation while in many ways it is a "political" problem for the United States. Russian critics of the treaty, while describing the "flank issue" as discriminatory, have pointed out repeatedly how the treaty has placed the Russian Federation in an overall position of inferiority. Many argue that it is part of a concerted effort to "keep Russia down" and is indicative of a lack of willingness on the part of the United States to develop a true "strategic partnership" with Russia.32

The resolution of this problem is tied not only to Russia's relations with the West but also to its future relations with the former members of the CIS and its perceived responsibilities toward the socalled "near abroad" (Russian citizens living outside the borders of the federation). In addition, the view that Russia is threatened by future external threats and ongoing strife on its borders (particularly in the Caucasus) is reflected in its new military doctrine. This document suggests that priority must go to the restoration and expansion of a mutually advantageous relationship between Russia and the other members of the CIS to meet these challenges. Furthermore, Russia proceeds from the fact that its security is indivisible from the security of the other members of the CIS.33 In other words, Russia considers its forward defense to begin at the borders of the former Soviet Union and not the Russian Federation. Consequently, Russian military planners believe that they must position additional forces on the territory of these states (Armenia, Moldova, and Georgia, for example) and along their borders with them.

As a result, Russian leaders argue that the Russian Federation, working within the authority of the CIS, should have the primary responsibility for peacekeeping operations within the borders of the former Soviet Union. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev initially broached this issue in a speech given to the United Nations (UN) on 2 September 1993. Kozyrev sought recognition and financial support for Russian peacekeeping operations in the "near abroad."34 General Grachev also raised this issue in discussions with Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali.

Grachev also asserted that forces assigned to peacekeeping operations and their authorized armaments should not count toward the maximum permissible levels under the CFE Treaty. Otherwise, a difficult situation would arise in units trained for peacekeeping such as the 45th Motorized Rifle Division (based in the Leningrad Military District) could not be replaced while operating in Tajikistan or elsewhere in the CIS.35 This idea was reiterated by President Yeltsin during his address to the UN and subsequent summit with President Bill Clinton. Yeltsin asserted that Russia has similar rights to that of the United States in quelling disturbances on its borders. He also added that "the main peacekeeping burden in the territory of the former Soviet Union lies upon the Russian Federation."36

In the summer of 1994, Russian peacemaking troops deployed to the GeorgianAbkhazian border.37 Some reports suggest that Russia may eventually have over two divisions deployed to Georgia. The statusofforces agreement between the two countries allows basing facilities for two divisions, the presence of Russian border guards on the GeorgianTurkish border, use of Georgian airspace by Russian military aircraft, access to all telecommunications facilities, joint operations of all training facilities, and a lease to the Poti Naval Base for the Russian Black Sea fleet. A similar arrangement has been achieved with Armenia with the possibility of one Russian division on its territory. Moldova also has the Russian Fourteenth Army (roughly 9,000 troops) performing "peacemaking," and pressure is being placed on Azerbaijan to accept additional Russian "peacemakers." In summary, a combination of Russian foreign policy and a reluctance on the part of other UN members to become involved in peacekeeping along the southern border of the Russian Federation may offer the Russian military an additional argument for exceeding their flank authorizations.


As the treaty approaches its last year of the implementation process, it seems increasingly clear that some solution to this impasse must be found. Any solution must include aspects of classical arms control theory as well as confront the difficulties inherent in a multilateral agreement and the impact of domestic pressures. While the technical details may differ and the degree to which the Russian Federation is willing to compromise is unclear, certain key factors are evident. First, NATO needs to decide precisely what it means by the phrase "within the flexibility allowed in the treaty." This is fundamental to maintaining a united front in the negotiations and will avoid an interpretation by the Russian Federation that NATO cannot accept. It also avoids any possibility of a takeitorleaveit confrontation in November 1995, as Russian objectives could be to meet the overall national levels with enough ambiguity so as to argue compliance. In determining an acceptable level of "flexibility," the alliance should also consider what additional guarantees the Russian Federation could offer the states most affected-Turkey and Norway. This could include such things as Russian assistance in the settlement of the war in NagornoKarabakh, buffer zones, or additional inspection allocations for these areas. Some combination of these or other proposals might serve to reduce the threat of surprise attack to these two states.

Second, all alliance members (especially the United States) need to avoid any appearance of this issue becoming bilateral between their country and the Russian Federation. Russian tactics in the negotiations seem focused on emphasizing its "strategic partnership" with the United States and other attempts to split the alliance depending on the type of proposal presented or assurances offered. NATO members need to be aware of the stress that these negotiations place on the alliance.

Third, every effort must be made to frame the result in a fashion that avoids any renegotiation of the treaty. At this stage, the JCG must remain the forum for finding a compromise. The treaty does allow for the calling of an "extraordinary" conference, but this is unwise for two reasons. First, it could easily become a protracted negotiation and offer other states the opportunity to contest provisions they find difficult. Second, any alteration of the treaty by such a conference would likely require each state to ratify the accord again. This might also imperil the treaty. Consequently, a dichotomy exists as all members realize that the European security landscape has changed significantly since 1991, but to reopen the negotiations on this treaty would either doom it to failure or at least to a significant period of discussion.

Fourth, NATO members need to quietly but firmly remind the Russian Federation of the severe penalties associated with noncompliance in this forum and others. Arms control cannot occur in isolation, and success (or failure) in one area affects other forums. The Russian Federation could lose substantial aid (particularly due to the congressional requirement to certify treaty compliance) and its entry into the G7 (the group comprising the seven most industrialized nations of the world) by flagrantly violating the accord.

Fifth, a solution must be found to the problem of Ukraine, and it may differ from the overall settlement. The future of Central Europe may well be defined by the relationship established between Ukraine and Russia. From a strict security perspective, the Ukranian problem is more persuasive than the difficulties of the Russian Federation. The severe economic deprivations occurring in Ukraine add credence to the statements of Ukrainian leaders that they will be unable to comply due to financial limitations.

Finally, NATO members must have no illusions. The problem cannot be "wished away." The prospects for a lastminute compromise or change in Russian attitudes is unlikely, particularly in light of the recent hostilities in Chechnya and elsewhere in the flank area. It is certainly conceivable that the Russian Federation might declare itself fully in compliance with the treaty in November 1995 and challenge the West to argue that interpretation. This would place renewed strain on NATO and make a compromise extremely difficult politically, given the impending Russian parliamentary elections in December 1995 plus presidential elections in Russia and the United States in 1996.

As we consider what role conventional arms control should have in future US national security strategy, it is essential to remember that it remains a means to an end. It is also important to maintain a short and longerterm perspective. In the near term, the final implementation of CFE is not assured and will not occur without concerted action by the United States. The failure of this agreement will adversely affect both future European security and the prospects for conventional arms control elsewhere. For the more distant future, we must remember that arms control remains a "means" to the ultimate goal of enhanced national security.

Our arms control policies have a tremendous resonance in broader areas having to do with the future of the USEuropean relationship. As a result, answers to wider questions may well serve as a guide to arms control policies. Does the United States wish to continue its role as the leader of NATO, with that alliance being the premier security organization on the continent? What is the US policy towards the assertion by the Russian Federation of a preeminent role in the security affairs of the former members of the Soviet Union? While these are questions of tremendous complexity, it is still necessary to remember that seemingly "tactical choices" now in CFE may define their ultimate answers.

The United States and its NATO partners won a tremendous victory in the cold war through their policies and perseverance. Having achieved this peace, it remains to be seen how we build on this cornerstone to achieve a secure and lasting peace in Europe and refocus our efforts for the next millennium. &127;


1. Lee Feinstein, "CFE: Off the Endangered List?" Arms Control Today, October 1993, 3.

2. Ibid., 2-3

3. NATO Office of Information and Press, "Basic Fact Sheet¾Chronology of Key Arms Control Treaties and Agreements (1963-1994)" (Brussels: NATO Information Service, April 1994), 3-5.

4. For a thorough examination, see US Department of State, Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Treaty document 102-8 (Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1991).

5. Ibid., 2 and 223.

6. Feinstein, 3.

7. Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), 223.

8. Necil Nedimoglu, "NATO and Partner Countries Cooperate in Implementing CFE Treaty," NATO Review, June 1994, 18-20.

9 .Daniel Sneider, "Russia Seeks CFE Changes as Warfare Rages at Border," Defense News, 2 August 1993, 3.

10. "Russia Increasing Pressure to Revise CFE Flank Quotas," Foreign Broadcast Information Service Media Analysis (FBIS), 17 November 1993, 2-3.

11. Ambassador Yu. V. Kostenko, head of the Ukrainian Delegation, "Statement to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 14 September 1993, 3-4.

12. Lt Col James F. Holcomb, "The Russian Case for Renegotiation" (Mons, Belgium: Central and East European Defense Studies, SHAPE Headquarters, 28 September 1993), 1-2. See also "Russia Increasing Pressure to Revise CFE Flank Quotas," FBIS, 17 November 1993, 1.

13. For a thorough discussion of the doctrine and its implications, see Charles J. Dick, The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation (Royal Military College, Sandhurst, U.K.: Conflict Studies Research Centre, 1993).

14. Lt Col James Holcomb, "Chief of the Russian General Staff and the CFE Flank Issue" (Central and East European Defense Studies, SHAPE Headquarters, 22 April 1994), 1.

15. For a thorough discussion of Russian objections to the flanks, see ColGen Mikhail Kolesnikov, chief of General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces, "Problems of Flanks and Future of Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces," Kraznaya Zvezda (Red Star), 19 April 1994, 1 and 3.

16. Jane M. Sharp, "Russian Perspectives on the Future of Conventional Arms Control" (paper presented at the KCL Conference, London, July 1994), 23-29. See also Celestine Bohlen, "Russia Says It Needs to Keep More of Its Weapons on Borders," New York Times, 3 April 1994, 8.

17. General Zhurbenko, "Statement to the Joint Consultative Group CFE Treaty," 12 October 1993, 4. See also V. N. Kulebiakin, "Statement to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 2 November 1993, 2-4.

18. General Karchenko, "Statement to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 15 February 1994, 5-6.

19. V. N. Kulebiakin, "Statement to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 26 April 1994, 2.

20. "Russia Chafes at Force Limits," New York Times, 16 April 1994, A20.

21. Volodymyr Belayshov, deputy director, Ukrainian Arms Control and Disarmament Department, "Statement to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 6 April 1994, 3-5.

22. International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, 1994-1995 (London: Brassey's Defence Publishers, Ltd., 1994), 103.

23. Lt Gen Gennadiy Gurin, first deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Ukraine, "Statement to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 27 September 1994, 2.

24. Sharp, "Russian Perspectives," 32-33.

25. Jane Sharp, "Should the CFE Treaty Be Revised?" (Paper presented for members of the Select Committee on Defense, British House of Commons, London, 14 June 1994), 8-9.

26. Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby, "Statement of the Norwegian Delegation to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 9 November 1993; and "Statement by the Turkish Delegation to the Joint Consultative Group, CFE Treaty," 21 September 1993.

27. Sharp, "Russian Perspectives," 24-25.

28. Ibid.

29. Bill Gertz, "Moscow Losing Control of Army," Washington Times, 30 September 1994, 1.

30. John W. Lepingwell, "The Military and Russian Security Policy," paper presented at the IISS Conference, St. Petersburg, Russia, 27 April 1994, 14-15.

31. Gertz, 1. See also C. J. Dick, The Current State of the Russian Army and Its Possible Implications for Politics (Camberley, U.K.: Conflict Studies Research Centre, 1993), passim.

32. Aleksey Arbatov, "The West Will Not Defend Russia against the West: The Countries of Eastern Europe are Striving to Join NATO. Why? Against Whom?" Novoye Vremya, 26 October 1993, 23. For a further elaboration of Russian views, see Dr Alexander J. Motyl, Russian Security, Neoimperialism, and the West (Camberley, U.K.: Conflict Studies Research Centre, 1994), 1-8.

33. Dick, The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, 12. For the background behind the development of the CIS, see Dr Yuriy Ivanov, The Possibility of Creating Common Defense Organizations within the Commonwealth (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1992).

34. Dick, The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, 16.

35. Mikhail Pogorely, "Russia's Peacekeeping Activities Are Far from the `Imperial Ambitions' of a Great Power," Krasnaya Zvezda, 5 April 1994, 1 and 3.

36. John M. Goshko, "Yeltsin Claims Russian Sphere of Influence," Washington Post, 27 September 1994, A10. See also "Clinton and Russia," Wall Street Journal, 27 September 1994, A16.

37. Maj Mark Davis, Russian Peacemaking Operations in GeorgiaAbkhazia (Mons, Belgium: Central and East European Defense Studies, SHAPE Headquarters, June 1994), 1-3.


Col Jeffrey D. McCausland (BS, United States Military Academy; MA, PhD, Tufts University) is the director of European Studies at the US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He was a field artillery commander in Operation Desert Storm and a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Colonel McCausland's next scheduled assignment is US Army attaché at the American Embassy in London.


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.