Tracking Number:  331576

Title:  "White House Statement on Mutual Detargeting, Jan 14, 1994." The US and Russia have agreed to will direct the detargeting of their nuclear weapons so that none will be aimed at the other nation; the uranium retrieved from dismantled nuclear warheads will be converted to low-enriched uranium which cannot be used for nuclear weapons purposes. (940101)

Date:  19940101


White House Statement on Mutual Detargeting

Mutual Detargeting of Strategic Nuclear Systems

Statement released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Moscow, Russia, January 14, 1994.

United States and Russian experts have discussed for several months possible measures to improve strategic stability, increase mutual confidence, and step back from Cold War nuclear force postures. These discussions have included proposals for mutual detargeting of strategic nuclear systems. Based on these talks, the Presidents announced that they will direct the detargeting of strategic nuclear missiles under their respective commands. This means that by May 30, 1994, no country will be targeted by the strategic forces of either side. For the first time since the earliest days of the nuclear age, the two countries will no longer operate nuclear forces, day-to-day, in a manner that presumes they are enemies.

Intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles are capable of being launched against one of several targets or sets of targets stored in weapon system computers. Historically, a target setting associated with actual war plans had been the routine alert assignment of U.S. missile systems. Detargeting will involve changing weapon-system control settings so that on a day-to-day basis no country, including Russia, Ukraine, or any other former Soviet territory, will be targeted by U.S. strategic forces. Russia has told the United States that their detargeting measures are comparable.

For three of the four U.S. strategic missile systems--the Trident I, Trident II, and Peacekeeper--the missiles will contain no targeting information. The older-technology Minuteman III missile computers, which require a constant alignment reference, will be set to ocean-area targets.

This action directly affects only the strategic nuclear forces under the command of the United States and Russian Federation. However, as no country will be targeted on a day-to-day basis by U.S. and Russian strategic forces, any country whose territory may have been of targeting interest to U.S. and Russian forces is affected.

This initiative builds on previous steps taken unilaterally to reduce strategic nuclear arsenals, withdraw and eliminate certain tactical nuclear weapons, and discontinue strategic bomber ground alert and continuous airborne command post operations.

This will not affect commitment of U.S. forces to NATO contingency plans.

Discussions between Russia and the U.S. on strategic stability will continue. In addition, the U.S. is conducting a comprehensive Nuclear Posture Review to take into account rapidly changing strategic circumstances. The review is to be completed later this year. It is possible that other measures along these lines may be recommended in the future.