Arms Control and the U.S. Russian Relationship


Executive Summary

We believe that efforts in the United States, focused in the Congress, to alter or abolish the ABM Treaty cast over arms control problems and prospects as dark a shadow as does NATO enlargement.

Strategic Arms Control

Prescription (2).We believe this should be deleted. It is unwise and unnecessary to delay the START II implementation schedule. ln the first instance, such a change would require resubmission of the treaty to the Senate. Secondly, a schedule stretch-out should not be necessary. Both sides are well ahead of the START I schedule. With the help of Nunn-Lugar funding, elimination of the additional 2OO MRVed ICBM launchers required by START II is clearly feasible by 2003, and Russia's costs should not be prohibitive. The recommended general U.S.-Russian statement of principles for further reductions in START III (current Prescription 3) would substantially reduce the scope of the Russian ICBM replacement program, which probably could not be completed by 2003 and which is the major source of Russian restructuring costs.

The ABM Treaty and Ballistic Missile Defense

We would substitute the following for the entire Section IV, and would revise the Executive Summary in a similar fashion:


The ABM Treaty continues to be a key element in U.S.-Russian strategic relations and the international nuclear nonproliferation regime despite the radical changes in the post-Cold War world. Current efforts to deploy BMD systems that would undercut or lead to the abrogation of the treaty would have


a profound negative impact on U.S. efforts to reduce Russian and Chinese strategic nuclear arsenals and to build a stronger nuclear nonproliferation regime.

The ABM Treaty, which was proposed during the Johnson administration and negotiated, signed, and ratified during the Nixon administration, was a necessary precondition to capping the strategic nuclear arms race. Limiting ballistic missile defenses was critical to achieving this objective because the United States and Soviet Union shared a common fear that massive nationwide BMD deployments by the other side could negate their deterrent by preventing their ability to retaliate after being subjected to a massive first strike. The ABM Treaty, as amended in 1974, limits each side to 100 fixed land-based missile launchers at a single site. lt made possible the SALT I and II agreements, which placed numerical ceilings on strategic offensive systems. With the easing of Cold War tensions in the mid-1980s and the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the negotiation of substantial reductions in strategic forces in the START I and II treaties was made possible by the ABM Treaty's strict limits on defensive systems, which guarantee the effectiveness of mutual assured deterrence at reduced levels.

Looking to the future, it is unlikely that reductions in Russian and U.S. strategic offensive nuclear arsenals below START II levels, and possibly Russian ratification or implementation of START II, will be achieved in the foreseeable future without the continued existence of the ABM Treaty. The Yeltsin administration and the Duma leadership have made it clear that ratification and implementation of START II will be contingent on the continuation of the ABM Treaty. Moreover, it is unlikely that the Pentagon or Congress would support further U.S. strategic reductions in the offensive force in the face of a major Russian BMD deployment. China, France, and the United Kingdom would also undoubtedly see a major BMD deployment by Russia as a threat to their limited nuclear deterrents and would be unlikely to join in future efforts to reduce the global level of strategic nudear arsenals.

Failure to achieve further nuclear reductions, and possibly even the reductions required under START II, would be seen by many


nonnuclear weapon states as a repudiation of U.S. and Russian legal treaty obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and of the political commitments undertaken by the United States and the other nudear weapon states in connection with the indefinite extension of the NPT in May 1995. This would be a major setback to efforts led by the United States to strengthen the NPT regime as the first line of defense against proliferation of nuclear weapons and the emergence of nuclear-armed rogue states.

In drafting the ABM Treaty, a principal concern was the possibility that existing or future antiaircraft or tactical missile defenses would be upgraded to provide the base for a national BMD system. Despite this concern, specific criteria to define the demarcation between strategic and tactical defenses were not included in the treaty since both sides were contemplating tactical ballistic missile defenses with unspecified or classified characteristics. However, the ABM Treaty makes it absolutely clear in Article VI that non-BMD systems (such as tactical systems) or their components should not be given ABM capabilities. In addition, related provisions were carefully crafted to prevent circumvention of the basic intent of the treaty to prohibit the establishment of a base for a nationwide BMD defense. These provisions include Article V, which bans development, testing, and deployment of sea-based, air-based, or space-based, or mobile land-based systems or components, whatever their technology; and agreed Statement D, which requires amendment of the treaty before the deployment of fixed land-based systems or components based on "other physical principles" (such as lasers) than those enumerated in the treaty.

With the end of the Cold War, the focus of concern over possible ballistic missile threats to the United States or its allies has shifted from the still existing massive Russian strategic nuclear offensive force to the potential future small-scale threat from so-called rogue states such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea, which might develop ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. Iraq's use of short-range ballistic missiles with conventional warheads during the Gulf War, coupled with its major effort to


develop nuclear weapons, led to the intensified pursuit by all three U.S. military services of a half-dozen overlapping tactical and theater missile defense programs at an estimated future procurement cost of more than $50 billion. Concurrently, increased congressional pressure developed for a firm commitment to deployment by 2003 of a limited national ballistic missile defense designed to permit early expansion to a layered defense at a cost estimated by the Congressional Budget Office of between $31 billon and $60 billion by the year 2010, independent of operations and maintenance costs.

The U.S. intelligence community has now agreed that none of the rogue states or other potential new U.S. adversaries will pose a threat to the continental United States with strategic ballistic missiles for at least 15 years, and that there is no evidence that any of them are contemplating such a program. While some U.S. allies and friends are already threatened by short-range (less than 1,000 kilometers) theater ballistic missiles, none are now threatened or will be threatened by longer-range theater ballistic missiles for at least five years. Only a North Korean missile currently in development could conceivably have sufficient range to strike portions of Alaska or the far westem Hawaiian islands, but the likelihood of it being operational within five years is very low. Moreover, North Korea, the only rogue state that has any program for such missiles, is in the process of dismantling its nuclear weapons program under the agreed framework with the United States and has agreed to discussion on the future of its ballistic missile program.

In view of the high cost of the proposed U.S. programs that threatened other modernization and procurement programs, and in the absence of other than short-range actual threats from rogue states, Secretary of Defense William Perry, with the full support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently decided to reorient these programs, substantially to reflect actual threats posed by rogue states to U.S. security. The reoriented program will give highest priority to developing effective, reliable defenses against existing or anticipated short-range ballistic missiles. The program also will stretch out the development of systems designed against intermediate-


range ballistic missiles with deployment decisions deferred at least until early in the next century, if an actual threat can then be identified that justifies the decision.

Similarly, any decision on deployment of a national missile defense will hinge on the emergence of a direct rogue-state ballistic missile threat to the United States. As a hedge against such a development, which the intelligence community believes is unlikely for at least 15 years, the Defense Department will develop over the next three years the components of a system that could be deployed within another three years if a threat should unexpectedly emerge that justifies such a decision. Since it is extremely unlikely that such a threat will be identified within the next three years, the development program would continue so that the program elements would be continually improved. A decision at any time in the future for a three-year deployment could incorporate the most up-to-date technology then available.


  1. The United States should structure its BMD program to respond realistically to the actual and potential ballistic missile threat from rogue nations on a scale that does not encroach on other higher priority military programs or put at risk Russia's implementation of START I, or ratification and implementation of START II, and does not preclude the negotiation of future reductions in Russian or Chinese nudear arsenals. The administration's recently announced reorientation of the BMD program appears to be well-designed to meet these objectives and deserves support.

  2. To implement this strategy, the United States should:

      a. Give highest priority within the BMD program to perfecting the field performance of short-range theater missile defenses (PAC 3, Navy Lower Tier, and MEADS) designed to defend against short-range (less than 1,000 kilometers) ballistic missile threats that exist or can be clearly anticipated.

      b. Defer any decisions on the deployment of higher performance theater missile defense systems, such as THAAD


      and Navy Upper Tier, designed to defend large areas against missiles with ranges up to 3,500 kilometers. The development period for these systems should be extended into the next century, and any future deployment decision should be based on the emergence of an actual threat that warrants it.

      c. Defer at this time any decision to deploy a national missile defense. The United States should, however, continue a development program over the next several years so that it would be in a position to deploy within a few years a treaty-compliant fixed ground-based system if it became apparent that a rogue-state capability was actually emerging that warranted such a decision. In the absence of a compelling threat to deploy, development should continue so that any future decision could be made on the basis of the best available technology.

  3. In making future decisions on the deployment of advanced theater missile defense systems or a national missile defense system, the nature of any new ballistic missile threat should be carefully studied to determine whether it could be eliminated by diplomatic initiatives, buyouts, economic sanctions, or other direct actions. In addition, careful consideration should be given to whether the United States should simply continue to rely on deterrence to deal with the new threat, as has been done in the past. Finally, careful consideration should be given as to whether the added value of such a deployment would outweigh the potential risks to U.S. security by its impact on U.S.-Russian or U.S.-Chinese relations, or by the diversion of defense funds from other higher priority security programs.

  4. In structuring the BMD program, the United States should act in strict compliance with the ABM Treaty and should eschew unilateral self-serving interpretations that would be widely seen as undercutting the provisions or intent of the treaty. If the United States expects Russia and the rest of the world to abide by strict interpretations of international arms control treaties, it must subject itself to the same standards. The treaty dearly adopts "capability" as a standard. To argue,


    for example, that a BMD system is exempt from the treaty regardless of its capabilities simply because it is called a TMD system and has not been tested against missiles traveling more than five kilometers per second is contrary to the plain language of the treaty, the negotiating history of the treaty, the treaty ratification hearings, and subsequent practice under the treaty. To suggest that the only test for compliance with the ABM Treaty is "demonstrated" operational capability in a "force-on-force" interaction is contrary to the clear meaning of the treaty and unachieveable except in a full-scale war. By this logic, any system labeled TMD, regardless of its capabilities, would be permitted since there is general agreement that any BMD system would be overwhelmed in a force-on-force U.S.-Russian confrontation. However, the "inherent capability" of a missile in a BMD system can be extrapolated from tests against targets traveling at less than the maximum velocity against which the system could operate.

  5. The United States should continue to negotiate with Russia to establish a mutual understanding on which TMD systems would be permitted under the ABM Treaty. The United States should be willing to include reasonable confidence-building measures and collateral constraints on advanced systems if necessary to facilitate reaching a satisfactory demarcation agreement. Given the stretch-out in the U.S. development program for THAAD and the Navy Upper Tier system, the problem does not appear as urgent from the U.S. perspective or as threatening from the Russian perspective.

  6. The United States should not pursue the concept of a joint venture with Russia and others to develop national missile defense systems. The idea that the United States should invest many billions of dollars to help build first an effective Russian TMD system and then a national missile defense system is totally unrealistic. To recommend such a conceptual program without a serious examination of the security implications, specific technical and practical problems, and costs would be irresponsible. And aside from military considerations, in the extremely unlikely event that Congress and U.S. allies would


    approve large expenditures for such a joint venture, it would be most unwise to encourage large outlays by Russia for this purpose given its economic problems. Further, it would be an extremely poor use of scarce U.S. assistance funds, which are sorely needed to assist in providing safety and security for Russian fissile material.


We do not agree with the report's criticism of the arms control efforts of the administration. While it started slowly, the administration has reached some impressive detailed arms control results (e.g., the Trilateral Agreement leading to denuclearization of Ukraine; the indefinite extension of the NPT; the successful CFE conference resolving the flank crisis; a CTBT that was signed in September; and the Agreed Framework with Korea).

Alton Frye
Morton H Halperin
Stanley R. Resor
John B. Rhinelander

I endorse the ABM Treaty and Ballistic Missile Defense section of this dissent, except for Prescription 6. I also concur in the dissent to the Conclusion. I do not endorse any of the other sections of this dissent.

Arnold L. Horelick

The ABM Treaty and Ballistic Missile Defense

Debate on the ABM Treaty and ballistic missile defense is too often polarized into the positions of Defense Hawks or Defense Doves. Defense Hawks estimate long-range missiles will be available to "rogue" countries well before the estimates of Defense Doves. Both positions may be in error because not all dimensions of the threat are considered. The threat has as much to do with the missile warhead as the missile range.


Neither the Hawk nor Dove versions of ballistic missile defense will be capable of defeating sophisticated warheads, what we might call "poor man MRVs," which are likely to be available to "rogue" countries before long-range missiles.

What is a "poor man MRV"? Within five to ten years, "rogue" states will be able to mount warheads on short- and long-range ballistic missiles that consist of many submunitions, perhaps one hundred. These submunitions would be released into a ballistic trajectory shortly after termination of the boost phase of the launching missile. They can be loaded with biological agents, can reenter the atmosphere, and then release their biological agents over urban areas or massed troops causing incomprehensible devastation to us, our allies, and our troops. A defense designed to kill a single warhead is overwhelmed by the multiplicity and extent of the attacking submunitions.

Only a missile defense system that destroys the offensive missile during its boost phase can defeat such a weapon. Since we can expect to have little warning of such an attack, our defensive systems have to be in place and capable of reacting within tens of seconds to be credible. This is particularly true for the shorter-range theater ballistic missiles, since their boost time is short.

Fortunately, it seems possible to build such systems. They probably have to be based in space, but - and this is most important - they can be designed to be compatible with the objectives and the letter of the ABM Treaty within the limitations and ambiguities of that document, and, furthermore, they can be verifiable by on-site inspections. This is accomplished by limiting orbits and altitudes of the required satellite interceptors and space-borne lasers so that they can defend only against missiles launched from "rogue" countries. They cannot reach Russian strategic assets located north of 50' latitude. It should not be our desire to threaten the Russians, neither should the Russians deter us from defending our troops and allies against the most likely threat from "rogue" states. If these defenses against "rogue" states do not change the Russian-U.S. strategic balance, how can the Russians reasonably object?

"Breakout" would take longer than conventional ground-based systems and would be impractical. Furthermore, the time it would


take us to develop and deploy a space-based defense exceeds the time it might take a "rogue" country to deploy some poor man MRVs. After all, cluster bombs - which resemble poor man MRVs - are available commercially.

The recently announced Airborne Laser program is represented to be capable of boost phase intercept, but it is intrinsically incapable of being available continuously against surprise attacks. Furthermore, it is not likely to be less expensive than the space-based system if it is to have capability in two simultaneous regional wars. Additionally, it can be redeployed to attack Russian strategic assets, which is not possible for the space-based systems.

These space-based defenses can defeat strategic, as well as theater, launches from "rogue" countries, so a ground-based NMD system is not needed except for an accidental Russian launch, which seems unlikely.

We should proceed with theater defenses against single unsophisticated warheads, PAC 3, Navy Lower Tier, and MEADS, but we should not have dropped the research and development programs of space-based defenses. We should now expand these programs.

Lawrence Goldmuntz

I decline to endorse the recommendations in the report regarding NATO enlargement.

Arnold Kanter

Ambassador Blackwill deserves credit for the intellectual achievement that the report represents, as well as for his valiant effort to forge a consensus among the diverse and unruly participants of the Task Force. However, I am obliged to state my views on significant issues where I differ strongly.

NATO Enlargement

Any reassurance to Russia that nuclear weapons need not be stationed on the sod of new NATO members cannot be uncondi-


tional. It should be dependent, first, on reciprocity in the form of similar Russian assurances with respect to Belarus, Kaliningrad, and any other relevant territory. Second, and more important in this context, it should depend on Russian acceptance of the principle of NATO enlargement - that is, an assurance that Russia will not attempt to "punish" the Baltic states, Ukraine, or anyone else in retaliation for NATO's first step toward enlargement. This must be part of any strategy to protect the Baltic states, Ukraine, and others in the interim. If Russia continues a policy of intimidation or destabilization anywhere in Central or Eastem Europe, NATO can hardly accept any unilateral restraints on its right to deploy whatever may be necessary.

Furthermore, I question whether any NATO pledge to Russia should be so categorical in its forswearing of foreign troops on the soil of new members; I can see reason for some token American presence. Nor can NATO ever forswear the right to move infrastructure eastward, in the sense of facilities and prepositioning of supplies that would make rapid reinforcement possible if mutual restraints in Central Europe should ever break down.

The ABM Treaty and Ballistic Missile Defense

The report goes too far in endorsing the Clinton administration's approach to "demarcation" negotiations with Russia; it endorses the negotiation without setting any criteria. In my view, it is unconscionable to sacrifice, in the name of the 1972 ABM Treaty, technologies that we need now for theater defense - e.g., space-based systems, THAAD, and the Navy's Upper Tier. The report acknowledges that the administration has accepted significant limitations in this area. These limits on theater defense make no sense at all in terms of either the original purpose of the ABM Treaty or our most immediate strategic priority - namely, protecting our forces and allies abroad against the already present ballistic missile threat.

I agree with the concept of seeking as a first resort an accord with the Russians on TMD systems, which, after all, are not directed at them; I certainly also agree with the report's recommendation that unilateral U.S. action be considered if a satisfactory


understanding with Russia cannot be reached. But the content of this negotiation as so far conducted seems to me totally misguided.

Conventional Forces in Europe

The report is correct that Russian attempts to link CFE and NATO enlargement should be rebuffed. Our ability to do so, however, is undermined by the report's recommendation that NATO pledge unilaterally to move no troops eastward. The report's attitude is wrong: the Russians have more reason to fear the remilitarization of Central Europe than we; they can least afford it and their strategic priorities are elsewhere (Caucasus and Central Asia). Our attitude should be that we insist on Russian compliance with CFE without regard to NATO enlargement or else we will inevitably confront them in Central Europe, on a line a few hundred miles further east than before. In a game of chicken we win, unless we lose our nerve.

A future "modernization" of CFE showd be kept open, as the report suggests - inter alia, to ensure long-term reciprocal restraints in Central Europe - but only on the basis of prior Russian compliance.

Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions

These are the kind of feel-good, unverifiable, ineffectual arms control agreements that give arms control a bad name. The rogue states that we are worried about either will not sign or will cheat; that is a 100-percent certainty. Therefore, the benefit of these conventions is marginal. Undoubtedly, the Group of Seven leading industrial nations would find the conventions a useful vehicle to strengthen their own laws and controls against diversion - but this they should be doing anyway.

Peter W Rodman

I endorse the above dissent.

Dov S. Zakheim


This report contains many sound judgments and recommendations, and will improve public discussion of U.S. policy. Several major conclusions are, however, not convincing.

Preventing Nuclear Anarchy

The report says that "reducing the danger of nuclear leakage as much as possible, as quickly as possible, should be the highest priority of American security policy" and that the problem requires "frequent high-level and significant presidential attention." There is no denying that the security of fissile materials in Russia is a big problem, but this prescription is seriously overstated. It is not supported either by the record to date or by the report's own recommendations. These recommendations are not, in fact, substantial enough to occupy the president's time in the way described, even if he were willing to give it. The president's real job is to get the U.S. relationship with Russia right. The security of fissile materials is just one part of this effort.

NATO Enlargement

The report's suggested compromise on NATO expansion is well-intended but probably unworkable. NATO is supposed to admit Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, but then pause for a "protracted" period before considering new applicants. The attempt to make this assurance credible is, however, undercut by rushing the Baltic states into the Western European Union. (The idea of EU action on admitting Baltic members next spring itself seems unrealistic.) Finally, the report proposes "parallel" urgings on Russia to establish a consultative relationship with NATO. Whether this very familiar proposal will have any impact at all depends on the content of the relationship to be created, about which the report says nothing.

Strategic Arms Control

The report has some useful things to say about strategic nuclear issues, particularly its emphasis on drawing Russia into a cooperative approach to ballistic missile defense. The value of such suggestions is, however, undercut by the short deadline proposed for


such discussions (the end of 1996) and by the unwillingness to offer any relaxation of START II terms other than stretching out the timetable for reductions.

Stephen R. Sestanovich