Background News

Friday, September 10, 1999 - 10:30 a.m.
Subject: Subject: SecDef's Trip to Russia
Presenter: Briefer: Senior Defense Department Official


On Tuesday we will leave Moscow and go north to the Kola Peninsula area, to Arkhangel'sk and then on to Severodvinsk. There we will be observing activities associated with our Nunn/Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. We, of course, have been engaged in the so-called CTR program since 1993 or so. We have appropriated, Congress has appropriated over $1.7 billion associated with cooperation with Russia in reducing the Soviet legacy of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

One of the key parts of that has been our assistance to the Russians in drawing down, in helping dismantle some of their submarine force, their ballistic missile carrying submarines as they have been phased out of the Russian arsenal in conjunction with their obsolescence and with Russian moves to stay within the various arms control treaties, within the START treaty.

We have been cooperating and have provided substantial facilities at the Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk, and we will be visiting that shipyard. We will also be visiting the nearby major submarine construction facility where within the coming months we will begin the dismantling of the Typhoon class strategic ballistic missile carrying submarines.

While there on Tuesday, at approximately mid-day, among other things we'll take specific note of a recently concluded contract for us to begin to work within the context of CTR to do the dismantlement of the Typhoon submarines.

Q: Is that $1.7 incidentally a cumulative figure?

Briefer: That's a cumulative figure up through the present. There is yet another more than a billion dollars, maybe $2 billion that we look towards spending in the coming years, over the next five to six years.

Q: An additional $2 billion.

Briefer: Yes. I can get you that exact number. Let me check and make sure I have that.


Q: Can I ask you on the issue of where he's going to visit, can we get the spellings of those two things? And what's happening at both sides...

Briefer: Both sides are collocated. They are across a small bay from one another and they are in the town of Severodvinsk, and I'll get you -- Northern Davinsk. Sever is northern. S-E-V-E-R-O-D-V-I-N-S-K. I think.

Q: That's the town.

Briefer: Arkhangel'sk is a larger city which will be about an hour's drive away. So you fly into Arkhangel'sk, you go by automobile, bus, whatever transport it turns out to be. They go to Severodvinsk. There are two facilities there...

Q: Military?

Briefer: No, the facilities are both industrial facilities. It's a defense industrial construction facility, where they construct strategic submarines, where they constructed many of their submarines over a long period.

Q: It's a shipyard?

Briefer: It's a submarine shipyard.

Q: How far north is that?

Briefer: It's right along the Kola Peninsula. I don't know the... It's classically along the Arctic Circle there. You'd have to look, I can't tell you.


Q: Can we go back briefly to the visit to the shipyard there. Is he going to see one of the Typhoon class subs or...

Briefer: There is a Typhoon tied up there awaiting entry into, to be the first to go into the dismantlement process. So it will be there and we will see it. It has not yet been brought into the particular way, if you will.

Q: When will they start cutting this up? Do they chop it up?

Briefer: I'll have to get you that. It's in the coming months.

Q: What's the other class of sub that they have already begun dismantling?

Briefer: Oh, there have been several of them. Let me get it to you. They're undoubtedly -- Did we do any Yankees or just Deltas? Yankees are so old they probably sent a long time ago. Earlier Delta submarines.

Q: And the relative significance of the Typhoon getting taken apart is what?

Briefer: Well, the Typhoon is interesting in that it is the most modern Russian submarine, and yet it turned out for its own internal reasons to have a relatively short service life. The Russians have made the decision that in light of that they are going to begin the process of their dismantlement.

Q: How many will be dismantled all together?

Briefer: I'll have to check into that. I know there are a total of six Delta submarines. I don't know what the contract provides.

Q: You mean Typhoon submarines?

Briefer: I'm sorry. Typhoon submarines.

Q: One of the things that Cohen might have to address is the vote by the House International Relations Subcommittee yesterday to cut $590 million to Russia because they may or may not have been sharing missile technology with Iran. What's his message going to be about that? Is he going to be recommending a veto to the President? Or is he going to be saying yeah, you guys better stop doing that?

Briefer: I don't know on that matter.