Order Code RL33865
Arms Control and Nonproliferation:
A Catalog of
Treaties and Agreements
Updated June 1, 2007
Amy F. Woolf,
Steve Bowman, and Sharon Squassoni
Specialists in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of
Treaties and Agreements
Arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have
occasionally been used to implement U.S. national security strategy. Although some
believe these tools do little to restrain the behavior of U.S. adversaries, while doing
too much to restrain U.S. military forces and operations, many other analysts see
them as an effective means to promote transparency, ease military planning, limit
forces, and protect against uncertainty and surprise. Arms control and
nonproliferation efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements, informal
arrangements, and cooperative threat reduction and monitoring mechanisms. The
pace of implementation slowed, however, in the 1990s, and during the past 6 years,
the Bush Administration has usually preferred unilateral or ad hoc measures to
formal treaties and agreements to address U.S. security concerns.
The United States and Soviet Union began to sign agreements limiting their
strategic offensive nuclear weapons in the early 1970s. Progress in negotiating and
implementing these agreements was often slow, and subject to the tenor of the
broader U.S.-Soviet relationship. As the Cold War drew to a close in the late 1980s,
the pace of negotiations quickened, with the two sides signing treaties limiting
intermediate range and long-range weapons. But progress again slowed in the 1990s,
as U.S. missile defense plans and a range of other policy conflicts intervened in the
U.S.-Russian relationship. At the same time, however, the two sides began to
cooperate on securing and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear, chemical, and biological
weapons. Through these cooperative efforts, the United States now allocates more
than $1 billion each year to threat reduction programs in the former Soviet Union.
The United States is also a leader of an international regime that attempts to
limit the spread of nuclear weapons. This regime, although suffering from some
setbacks in recent years in Iran and North Korea, includes formal treaties, export
control coordination and enforcement, U.N. resolutions, and organizational controls.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) serves as the cornerstone of this regime,
with all but four nations participating in it. The International Atomic Energy Agency
not only monitors nuclear programs to make sure they remain peaceful, but also helps
nations develop and advance those programs. Other measures, such as sanctions,
interdiction efforts, and informal cooperative endeavors, also seek to slow or stop the
spread of nuclear materials and weapons.
The international community has also adopted a number of agreements that
address non-nuclear weapons. The CFE Treaty and Open Skies Treaty sought to
stabilize the conventional balance in Europe in the waning years of the Cold War.
Other arrangements seek to slow the spread of technologies that nations could use to
develop advanced conventional weapons. The Chemical Weapons and Biological
Weapons Conventions sought to eliminate both of these types of weapons
This report replaces CRS Report RL30033. It will be updated annually.
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
National Security, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Arms Control Agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Arms Control Between the United States and States of the Former
Soviet Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Early Years: SALT I and SALT II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The ABM Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Reagan and Bush Years: INF and START . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
START II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
The Clinton and Bush Years: Moving Past START and the
ABM Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
START III Framework for Strategic Offensive Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Ballistic Missile Defenses and the ABM Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Threat Reduction and Nonproliferation Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
DOD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR) . . . . . . . . . . . 17
CTR Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Department of Energy Nonproliferation Cooperation Programs . . . . . 19
State Department Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and
Materials of Mass Destruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Multilateral Nuclear Nonproliferation Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The International Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Nuclear Suppliers Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material . . . . . . . . 26
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Informal Cooperative Endeavors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Global Threat Reduction Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Ad Hoc Sanctions and Incentives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Non-Nuclear Multilateral Endeavors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
European Conventional Arms Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Treaty on Open Skies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Conventional Technology Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
The Missile Technology Control Regime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile
Proliferation (ICOC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
The Wassenaar Arrangement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Weapons Elimination Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Chemical Weapons Convention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Biological Weapons Convention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Controlling the Use of Anti-Personnel Landmines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Appendix A. List of Treaties and Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Appendix B. The U.S. Treaty Ratification Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Senate Consideration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Approval with Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Appendix C. Arms Control Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A
Catalog of Treaties and Agreements
National Security, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation
For much of the past century, U.S. national security strategy focused on several
core, interrelated objectives. These include enhancing U.S. security at home and
abroad; promoting U.S. economic prosperity; and promoting free markets and
democracy around the world. In addition, the United States has used both unilateral
and multilateral mechanisms to achieve these objectives, with varying amounts of
emphasis at different times. These mechanisms have included a range of military,
diplomatic, and economic tools.
One of these core objectives — enhancing U.S. security — generally is
interpreted as the effort to protect the nation’s interests and includes, for instance,
protecting the lives and safety of Americans; maintaining U.S. sovereignty over its
values, territory, and institutions; and promoting the nation’s well-being. The United
States has wielded a deep and wide range of military, diplomatic, and economic
tools to protect and advance its security interests. These include, for instance, the
deployment of military forces to deter, dissuade, persuade, or compel others; the
formation of alliances and coalitions to advance U.S. interests and counter
aggression; and the use of U.S. economic power to advance its agenda or promote
democratization, or to withhold U.S. economic support to condemn or punish states
hostile to U.S. interests.
In this context, arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that
have occasionally been used to implement the U.S. national security strategy. They
generally are not pursued as ends in and of themselves, and many argue that they
should not become more important than the strategy behind them. But many believe
their effective employment can be critical to the success of that broader strategy.
Many analysts see them as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, military or
Effective arms control measures are thought to enhance U.S. national security
in a number of ways. For example, arms control measures that promote transparency
might increase U.S. knowledge about and understanding of the size, make-up, and
operations of an opposing military force. This might not only ease U.S. military
planning, but it might also reduce an opponent’s incentives for and opportunities to
attack U.S. forces, or the forces of its friends and allies. Transparency measures can
also build confidence among wary adversaries. Effective arms control measures can
also be designed to complement U.S. force structure objectives by limiting or
restraining U.S. and other nations’ forces. In an era of declining defense budget
resources, such as the 1980s and 1990s, arms control measures helped ensure
reciprocity in force reductions. Indeed, some considered such arms control measures
essential to the success of our national military objectives.
Similarly, most agree that efforts to prevent the further spread of weapons of
mass destruction and their means of delivery should be an essential element of U.S.
national security. For one reason, proliferation can exacerbate regional tensions that
might escalate to conflict and involve or threaten U.S. forces or those of its friends
and allies. Proliferation might also introduce new, and unexpected threats to the U.S.
homeland. Furthermore, proliferation can greatly complicate U.S. national military
strategy, force structure design, and conduct of operations. And these weapons could
pose a threat to the U.S. homeland if they were acquired by terrorists or subnational
groups. Hence, the United States employs diplomatic, economic, and military tools
to restrain these threats and enhance its national security.
The Bush Administration has altered the role of arms control in U.S. national
security policy. The President and many in his Administration question the degree
to which arms control negotiations and formal treaties can enhance U.S. security
objectives. For example, the President has argued that the United States did not need
formal treaties to reduce or restrain its strategic nuclear forces, and, therefore,
initially intended to reduce U.S. nuclear forces without requiring Russia to do the
same. The Administration only incorporated these reductions into a formal Treaty
after Russia insisted on such a document. Similarly, some in the Administration have
noted that some formal, multilateral arms control regimes may go too far in
restraining U.S. options without limiting the forces of potential adversaries. Instead,
the Administration would prefer, when necessary, that the United States take
unilateral military action or join in ad hoc coalitions to stem the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction. The absence of confidence in arms control has
extended to the State Department, where the Bush Administration has removed the
phrase “arms control” from all bureaus that were responsible for this policy area.
The focus remains on nonproliferation, but this is seen as policy area that no longer
requires formal arms control treaties to meet its objectives.
The Arms Control Agenda
The United States has participated in numerous arms control and
nonproliferation efforts over the past 40 years. These efforts have produced formal
treaties and agreements that impose restrictions on U.S. military forces and activities,
informal arrangements and guidelines that the United States has agreed to observe,
and unilateral restraints on military forces and activities that the United States has
adopted either on its own, or in conjunction with reciprocal restraints on other
nations’ forces and activities. Because these arms control arrangements affect U.S.
national security, military programs, force levels, and defense spending, Congress has
shown a continuing interest in the implementation of existing agreements and
The changing international environment in the 1990s led many analysts to
believe that the United States and other nations could enter a new era of restraint in
weapons deployments, weapons transfers, and military operations. These hopes were
codified in several treaties signed between 1991 and 1996, such as the Strategic Arms
Reduction Treaties (START I and START II), the Chemical Weapons Convention,
and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Yet, for many, hopes for a new era
were clouded by the slow pace of ratification and implementation for many
agreements. The 1991 START I Treaty did not enter into force until late 1994; the
1993 START II Treaty never entered into force and was replaced by a new, less
detailed Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. The 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty (CTBT), in spite of widespread international support, failed to win approval
from the United States Senate in October 1999. Furthermore, India, Pakistan, Iran,
and North Korea raised new questions about the viability of the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty and its role in stemming nuclear proliferation.
Some progress did occur in the latter years of the decade. In 1997, the United
States and Russia, the two nations with the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons,
both ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. In December 1997, more than 120
nations signed an international agreement banning the use of anti-personnel land
mines; although, a number of major nations, including the United States, have so far
declined to sign. However, the U.S. Senate’s rejection of the CTBT, the Bush
Administration’s withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and the U.S. rejection of a
verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention led many nations to
question the U.S. commitment to the arms control process.
The United States has outlined many new initiatives in nonproliferation policy
that take a far less formal approach, with voluntary guidelines and voluntary
participation replacing treaties and multilateral conventions. With these new
initiatives, the Administration has signaled a change in the focus of U.S.
nonproliferation policy. Instead of offering its support to international regimes that
seek to establish nonproliferation norms that apply to all nations, the Administration
has turned to arrangements that seek, instead, to prevent proliferation only to those
nations and groups that the United States believes can threaten U.S. or international
security. In essence, nonproliferation has become a tool of anti-terrorism policy,
which, in some ways, may diminish its role as a tool of international security policy.
This report provides an overview of many of the key arms control and
nonproliferation agreements and endeavors of the past 40 years. It is divided into
three sections. The first describes arms control efforts between the United States and
the states of the former Soviet Union, covering both formal, bilateral treaties, and the
cooperative threat reduction process. The second section describes multilateral
nuclear nonproliferation efforts, covering both formal treaties and less formal
accommodations that have been initiated in recent years. The final section reviews
treaties and agreements that address chemical, biological, and conventional weapons.
The report concludes with several appendices. These provide a list of treaties
and agreements that the United States is a party to, a description of the treaty
ratification process, and a list of the bilateral and international organizations tasked
with implementation of arms control efforts.
Arms Control Between the United States and States
of the Former Soviet Union
The Early Years: SALT I and SALT II
The United States and Soviet Union signed their first formal agreements
limiting nuclear offensive and defensive weapons in May 1972. The Strategic Arms
Limitation Talks, known as SALT, produced two agreements — the Interim
Agreement ... on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic
Offensive Arms and the Treaty ... on the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic
Missile Systems. These were followed, in 1979, by the Strategic Arms Limitation
Treaty, known as SALT II, which sought to codify equal limits on U.S. and Soviet
strategic offensive nuclear forces.
The Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms. The Interim Agreement on
Offensive Arms imposed a freeze on the number of launchers for intercontinental
ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) that
the United States and Soviet Union could deploy. The parties agreed that they would
not begin construction of new ICBM launchers after July 1, 1972; at the time the
United States had 1,054 ICBM launchers and the Soviet Union had 1,618 ICBM
launchers. They also agreed to freeze their number of SLBM launchers and modern
ballistic missile submarines, although they could add SLBM launchers if they retired
old ICBM launchers. A protocol to the Treaty indicated that the United States could
deploy up to 710 SLBM launchers on 44 submarines, and the Soviet Union could
deploy up to 950 SLBM launchers on 62 submarines.
The inequality in these numbers raised serious concerns both in Congress and
in the policy community in Washington. When approving the agreement, Congress
adopted a provision, known as the Jackson amendment, that mandated that all future
arms control agreements would have to contain equal limits for the United States and
The Interim Agreement was to remain in force for 5 years, unless the parties
replaced it with a more comprehensive agreement limiting strategic offensive
weapons. In 1977, both nations agreed to observe the agreement until the completed
the SALT II Treaty.
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II). The United States and
Soviet Union completed the SALT II Treaty in June 1979, after 7 years of
negotiations. During these negotiations, the United States sought limits on
quantitative and qualitative changes in Soviet forces. The U.S. negotiating position
also reflected the congressional mandate for numerically equal limits on both nations’
forces. As a result, the treaty limited each nation to a total of 2,400 ICBM launchers,
SLBM launchers and heavy bombers, with this number declining to 2,250 by January
1, 1981. Within this total, the Treaty contained sublimits for the numbers launchers
that could be deployed for ICBMs with multiple independent reentry vehicles
(MIRVed ICBMs); MIRVed ICBMs and MIRVed SLBMs; and MIRVed ICBMs,
MIRVed SLBMs, MIRVed air-to-surface ballistic missiles (ASBMs) and heavy
bombers. The Treaty would not have limited the total number of warheads that could
be carried on these delivery vehicles, which was a growing concern with the
deployment of large numbers of multiple warhead missiles, but the nations did agree
that they would not increase the numbers of warheads on existing types of missiles
and would not test new types of ICBMs with more than 10 warheads and new types
of SLBMs with more than 14 warheads. They also agreed to provisions that were
designed to limit missile modernization programs, in an effort to restrain qualitative
improvements in their strategic forces.
Although it contained equal limits on U.S. and Soviet forces, the SALT II Treaty
still proved to be highly controversial. Some analysts argued that the Treaty would
fail to curb the arms race because the limits on forces were equal to the numbers
already deployed by the United States and Soviet Union; they argued for lower limits
and actual reductions. Other analysts argued that the Treaty would allow the Soviet
Union to maintain strategic superiority over the United States because the Soviet
force of large, land-based ballistic missiles would be able to carry far greater numbers
of warheads, even within the equal limits on delivery vehicles, than U.S. ballistic
missiles. Some argued that, with this advantage, the Soviet Union would be able to
target all U.S. land-based ICBMs in a first strike, which created a “window of
vulnerability” for the United States. The Treaty’s supporters argued that the Soviet
advantage in large MIRVed ICBMs was more than offset by the U.S. advantage in
SLBM warheads, which could not be destroyed in a first strike and could retaliate
against Soviet targets, and the U.S. advantage in heavy bombers.
The continuing Soviet build-up of strategic nuclear forces, along with the taking
of U.S. hostages in Iran and other challenges to the U.S. international position in the
late 1970s, combined with the perceived weaknesses to the Treaty to raise questions
about whether the Senate would muster the votes needed to consent to the Treaty’s
ratification. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979,
President Carter withdrew the Treaty from the Senate’s consideration.
The ABM Treaty. The 1972 ABM Treaty permitted the United States and
Soviet Union to deploy ABM interceptors at two sites, one centered on the nation’s
capital and one containing ICBM silo launchers. Each site could contain up to 100
ground-based launchers for ABM interceptor missiles, along with specified radars
and sensors. The ABM Treaty also obligated each nation not to develop, test, or
deploy ABM systems for the “defense of the territory of its country” and not to
provide a base for such a defense. It forbade testing and deployment of space-based,
sea-based, or air-based ABM systems or components and it imposed a number of
qualitative limits on missile defense programs. The Treaty, however, imposed no
restrictions on defenses against aircraft, cruise missiles, or theater ballistic missiles.
In a Protocol signed in 1974, each side agreed that it would deploy an ABM
system at only one site, either around the nation’s capital or around an ICBM
deployment area. The Soviet Union deployed its site around Moscow; this system
has been maintained and upgraded over the years, and remains operational today.
The United States deployed its ABM system around ICBM silo launchers located
near Grand Forks North Dakota; it operated this facility briefly in 1974 before closing
it down when it proved to be not cost effective.
The ABM Treaty was the source of considerable controversy and debate for
most of its history. Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton all wrestled
with the conflicting goals of defending the United States against ballistic missile
attack while living within the confines of the ABM Treaty. President George W.
Bush resolved this conflict in 2002, when he announced that the United States would
withdraw from the ABM Treaty so that it could deploy ballistic missile defenses.
The substance of this debate during the Clinton and Bush years is described in more
The Reagan and Bush Years: INF and START
During the election campaign of 1980, and after taking office in January 1981,
President Ronald Reagan pledged to restore U.S. military capabilities, in general, and
nuclear capabilities, in particular. He planned to expand U.S. nuclear forces and
capabilities in an effort to counter the perceived Soviet advantages in nuclear
weapons. Initially, at least, he rejected the use of arms control agreements to contain
the Soviet threat. However, in 1982, after Congress and many analysts pressed for
more diplomatic initiatives, the Reagan Administration outlined negotiating positions
to address intermediate-range missiles, long-range strategic weapons, and ballistic
missile defenses. These negotiations began to bear fruit in the latter half of President
Reagan’s second term, with the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
Treaty in 1987. President George H.W. Bush continued to pursue the first Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (START), with the United States and Soviet Union signing
this Treaty in July 1991. The collapse of the Soviet Union later that year led to calls
for deeper reductions in strategic offensive arms. As a result, the United States and
Russia signed START II in January 2003, weeks before the end of the Bush
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In December
1979, NATO decided upon a “two track” approach to intermediate-range nuclear
forces (INF) in Europe: it would seek negotiations with the Soviets to eliminate such
systems, and at the same time schedule deployments as a spur to such negotiations.
Negotiating sessions began in the fall of 1980 and continued until November 1983,
when the Soviets left the talks upon deployment of the first U.S. INF systems in
Europe. The negotiations resumed in January 1985. At the negotiations, the Reagan
Administration called for a “double zero” option, which would eliminate all shortas well as long-range INF systems, a position at the time viewed by most observers
to be unattractive to the Soviets. Nevertheless, significant progress occurred during
the Gorbachev regime. At the Reykjavik summit in October 1986, Gorbachev agreed
to include reductions of Soviet INF systems in Asia. In June 1987, the Soviets
proposed a global ban on short- and long-range INF systems, which was similar to
the U.S. proposal for a double zero. Gorbachev also accepted the U.S. proposal for
an intrusive verification regime.
The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on IntermediateRange Nuclear Forces (INF) on December 8, 1987. The INF Treaty was seen as a
significant milestone in arms control because it established an intrusive verification
regime and because it eliminated entire classes of weapons that both sides regarded
as modern and effective. The United States and Soviet Union agreed to destroy all
intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and ground-
launched cruise missiles, which are those missiles with a range between 300 and
3400 miles. The launchers associated with the controlled missiles were also to be
destroyed. The signatories agreed that the warheads and guidance systems of the
missiles need not be destroyed; they could be used or reconfigured for other systems
not controlled by the Treaty.
The Soviets agreed to destroy approximately 1750 missiles and the United
States agreed to destroy 846 missiles. The agreement thereby established a principle
that asymmetrical reductions were acceptable in order to achieve a goal of greater
stability. On the U.S. side, the principal systems destroyed were the Pershing II
ballistic missile and the ground launched cruise missile (GLCM), both singlewarhead systems. On the Soviet side, the principal system was the SS-20 ballistic
missile, which carried three warheads. These systems, on both sides, were highly
mobile and able to strike such high-value targets as command-and-control centers,
staging areas, airfields, depots, and ports. The Soviets also agreed to destroy a range
of older nuclear missiles, as well as the mobile, short-range SS-23, a system
developed and deployed in the early 1980s. The parties had eliminated all their
weapons by May 1991.
The verification regime of the INF Treaty permitted on-site inspections of
selected missile assembly facilities and all storage centers, deployment zones, and
repair, test, and elimination facilities. Although it did not permit “anywhere,
anytime” inspections, it did allow up to 20 short-notice inspections of sites
designated in the Treaty. The two sides agreed to an extensive data exchange,
intended to account for all systems covered by the agreement. The Treaty also
established a continuous portal monitoring procedure at one assembly facility in each
country. Inspections under the INF Treaty continued until May 2001, however, the
United States continues to operate its site at Russia’s Votkinsk Missile Assembly
facility under the terms of the 1991 START Treaty.
For Further Reading
CRS Issue Brief IB88003, Arms Control: Ratification of the INF Treaty.
(Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Issue Brief IB84131, Verification and Compliance: Soviet Compliance
with Arms Control Agreements. (Archived. For copies contact Amy
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Like, INF, START
negotiations began in 1982, but stopped between 1983 and 1985 after a Soviet walkout in response to the U.S. deployment of intermediate range missiles in Europe.
They resumed later in the Reagan Administration, and were concluded in the first
Bush Administration. The United States and Soviet Union signed the first Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on July 31, 1991.
START After the Soviet Union. The demise of the Soviet Union in
December 1991 immediately raised questions about the future of the Treaty. At that
time, about 70 percent of the strategic nuclear weapons covered by START were
deployed at bases in Russia; the other 30 percent were deployed in Ukraine,
Kazakhstan, and Belarus.1 Russia initially sought to be the sole successor to the
Soviet Union for the Treaty, but the other three republics did not want to cede all
responsibility for the Soviet Union’s nuclear status and treaty obligations to Russia.
In May 1992, the four republics and the United States signed a Protocol that made
all four republics parties to the Treaty. At the same time, the leaders of Belarus,
Ukraine, and Kazakhstan agreed to eliminate all of their nuclear weapons during the
seven-year reduction period outlined in START. They also agreed to sign the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapons states.
The U.S. Senate gave its consent to the ratification of START on October 1,
1992. The Russian parliament consented to the ratification of START on November
4, 1992, but it stated that Russia would not exchange the instruments of ratification
for the Treaty until all three of the other republics adhered to the NPT as non-nuclear
states. Kazakhstan completed the ratification process in June 1992 and joined the
NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state on February 14, 1994. Belarus approved START
and the NPT on February 4, 1993, and formally joined the NPT as a non-nuclear
weapon state on July 22, 1993. Ukraine’s parliament approved START in November
1993, but its approval was conditioned on Ukraine’s retention of some of the
weapons based on its territory and the provision of security guarantees by the other
nuclear weapons states.
In early 1994, after the United States, Russia, and Ukraine agreed that Ukraine
should receive compensation and security assurances in exchange for the weapons
based on its soil, the parliament removed the conditions from its resolution of
ratification. But it still did not approve Ukraine’s accession to the NPT. The
Ukrainian parliament took this final step on November 16, 1994, after insisting on
and apparently receiving additional security assurances from the United States,
Russia, and Great Britain. START officially entered into force with the exchange of
the instruments of ratification on December 5, 1994.
START Provisions. START limits long-range nuclear forces — land-based
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles
(SLBMs), and heavy bombers — in the United States and the newly independent
states of the former Soviet Union. Each side can deploy up to 6,000 attributed
warheads on 1,600 ballistic missiles and bombers. (Some weapons carried on
bombers do not count against the Treaty’s limits, so each side could deploy 8,000 or
9,000 actual weapons.) Each side can deploy up to 4,900 warheads on ICBMs and
SLBMs. Throughout the START negotiations, the United States placed a high
priority on reductions in heavy ICBMs because they were thought to be able to
threaten a first strike against U.S. ICBMs. Therefore, START also limits each side
to 1,540 warheads on “heavy” ICBMs, a 50 percent reduction in the number of
warheads deployed on the SS-18 ICBMs in the former Soviet republics.
Leaders in these the non-Russian republics did not have control over the use of the nuclear
weapons on their territory. Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and now Valdimir Putin, is the
sole successor to the Soviet President in the command and control structure for Soviet
nuclear weapons and he, along with his Minister of Defense and Military Chief of Staff,
have the codes needed to launch Soviet nuclear weapons.
START did not require the elimination of most of the missiles removed from
service. The nations had to eliminate launchers for missiles that exceeded the
permitted totals, but, in most cases, missiles could be placed in storage and warheads
could either be stored or reused on missiles remaining in the force.
START contains a complex verification regime. Both sides collect most of the
information needed to verify compliance with their own satellites and remote sensing
equipment — the National Technical Means of Verification (NTM). But the parties
also use data exchanges, notifications, and on-site inspections to gather information
about forces and activities limited by the Treaty. Taken together, these measures are
designed to provide each nation with the ability to deter and detect militarily
significant violations. (No verification regime can ensure the detection of all
violations. A determined cheater could probably find a way to conceal some types
of violations.) Many also believe that the intrusiveness mandated by the START
verification regime and the cooperation needed to implement many of these measures
builds confidence and encourages openness among the signatories.
The United States and Russia completed the reductions in their forces by the
designated date of December 5, 2001. All the warheads from 104 SS-18 ICBMs in
Kazakhstan were removed and returned to Russia and all the launchers in that nation
have been destroyed. Ukraine has destroyed all the SS-19 ICBM and SS-24 ICBM
launchers on its territory and returned all the warheads from those missiles to Russia.
Belarus had also returned to Russia all 81 SS-25 missiles and warheads based on its
territory by late November 1996.
The future of START. The START Treaty is set to expire in December 2009.
According to the Treaty, the parties must begin discussions, one year prior to that
date, about the future of the Treaty. They could allow it to lapse, extend it without
modification for another 5 years, or seek to modify the Treaty before extending it for
5 year intervals. The Bush Administration has held some preliminary discussions
with Russia about the future of START, but the two sides apparently have sharply
different views on what that future should be. Some in Russia, including President
Putin, have suggested that the two nations replace START with a new Treaty that
would reduce the numbers of deployed warheads but contain many of the definitions,
counting rules, and monitoring provisions of START. The Bush Administration has
rejected that approach, noting that the new Moscow Treaty (described below) calls
for further reductions in offensive nuclear weapons and that many of the detailed
provisions in START are no longer needed now that the United States and Russia are
no longer enemies. Many analysts believe that the two sides should at least extend
the monitoring and verification provisions in START through 2012, as the Moscow
Treaty does not have its own verification regime. Some in the United States,
however, object to this approach because some of the monitoring provisions have
begun to impinge on U.S. strategic weapons and missile defense programs.
For Further Reading
CRS Report 91-492 F, Cooperative Measures in START Verification.
(Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Issue Brief IB98030, Nuclear Arms Control: The U.S.-Russian Agenda.
(Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Report 93-617 F, START I and START II Arms Control Treaties:
Background and Issues. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202707-2379.)
START II. The United States and Russia signed the second START Treaty,
START II, on January 3, 1993, after less than a year of negotiations. The Treaty
never entered into force. Its consideration was delayed for several years during the
1990s, but it eventually received approval from both the U.S. Senate and Russian
parliament. Nevertheless, it was overcome by events in 2002.
START II Provisions. START II would have limited each side to between
3,000 and 3,500 warheads; reductions initially were to occur by the year 2003 and
would have been extended until 2007 if the nations had approved a new Protocol.
It would have banned all MIRVed ICBMs and would have limited each side to 1,750
warheads on SLBMs.
To comply with these limits the United States would have removed two
warheads (a process known as “downloading”) from each of its 500 3-warhead
Minuteman III missiles and eliminated all launchers for its 50 10-warhead MX
missiles. The United States also stated that it would reduce its SLBM warheads by
eliminating 4 Trident submarines and deploying the missiles on the 14 remaining
Trident submarines with 5, rather than 8, warheads. Russia would have eliminated
all launchers for its 10-warhead SS-24 missiles and 10-warhead SS-18 missiles. It
would also have downloaded to a single warhead 105 6-warhead SS-19 missiles, if
it retained those missiles. It would also have eliminated a significant number of
ballistic missile submarines, both for budget reasons and to reduce to START II
limits. These changes would have brought Russian forces below the 3,500 limit
because so many of Russia’s warheads are deployed on MIRVed ICBMs. As a result,
many Russian officials and Duma members insisted that the United States and Russia
negotiate a START III Treaty, with lower warhead numbers, so that Russia would not
have to produce hundreds of new missiles to maintain START II levels.
START II implementation would have accomplished the long-standing U.S.
objective of eliminating the Soviet SS-18 heavy ICBMs. The Soviet Union and
Russia had resisted limits on these missiles in the past. Russia would have achieved
its long-standing objective of limiting U.S. SLBM warheads, although the reductions
would not have been as great as those for MIRVed ICBMs. The United States had
long resisted limits on these missiles, but apparently believed a 50 percent reduction
was a fair trade for the complete elimination of Russia’s SS-18 heavy ICBMs.
START II would have relied on the verification regime established by START,
with a few new provisions. For example, U.S. inspectors would be allowed to watch
Russia pour concrete into the SS-18 silos and to measure the depth of the concrete
when Russia converted the silos to hold smaller missiles. In addition, Russian
inspectors could have viewed the weapons carriage areas on U.S. heavy bombers to
confirm that the number of weapons the bombers are equipped to carry did not
exceed the number attributed to that type of bomber.
START II Ratification. Although START II was signed in early January
1993, its full consideration was delayed until START entered into force at the end
of 1994. The U.S. Senate further delayed its consideration during a Senate dispute
over the future of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The Senate
eventually approved ratification of START II, by a vote of 87-4, on January 26, 1996.
The Russian Duma also delayed its consideration of START II. Many members
of the Duma disapproved of the way the Treaty would affect Russian strategic
offensive forces and many objected to the economic costs Russia would bear when
implementing the treaty. The United States sought to address the Duma’s concerns
during 1997, by negotiating a Protocol that would extend the elimination deadlines
in START II, and, therefore, reduce the annual costs of implementation, and by
agreeing to negotiate a START III Treaty after START II entered into force. But this
did not break the deadlock; the Duma again delayed its debate after the United States
and Great Britain launched air strikes against Iraq in December 1998. The Treaty’s
future clouded again after the United States announced its plans in January 1999 to
negotiate amendments to the 1972 ABM Treaty, and after NATO forces began their
air campaign in Yugoslavia in April 1999.
President Putin offered his support to START II and pressed the Duma for
action in early 2000. He succeeded in winning approval for the treaty on April 14
after promising, among other things, that Russia would withdraw from the Treaty if
the United States withdrew from the 1972 ABM Treaty. However, the Federal Law
on Ratification said the Treaty could not enter into force until the United States
approved ratification of several 1997 agreements related to the 1972 ABM Treaty.
President Clinton never submitted these to the Senate, for fear they would be
defeated. The Bush Administration also never submitted these to the Senate,
announcing, instead, in June 2002, that the United States would withdraw from the
ABM Treaty. Russia responded by announcing that it had withdrawn from START
II and would not implement the Treaty’s reductions.
For Further Reading
CRS Report 93-617 F, START I and START II Arms Control Treaties:
Background and Issues. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202707-2379.)
CRS Report 97-359 F, START II Debate in the Russian Duma: Issues and
Prospects. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
The Clinton and Bush Years: Moving Past START and the
The arms control process between the United States and Russia essentially
stalled during the 1990s, as efforts to ratify and implement START II stalled. In
1997, in an effort to move forward on this agenda, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin
agreed to a framework for a START III Treaty. But these negotiations never
produced a Treaty, as the U.S.-Russian arms control agenda came to be dominated
by U.S. plans for ballistic missile defenses and issues related to the ABM Treaty.
When President Bush took office in 2001, he had little interest in pursuing formal
arms control agreements with Russia. He signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions
Treaty (known as the Moscow Treaty) in 2002, even though he would have preferred
that the United States and Russia each set their force levels without any formal limits.
START III Framework for Strategic Offensive Forces. Many in Russia
argued the United States and Russia should bypass START II and negotiate deeper
reductions in nuclear warheads that were more consistent with the levels Russia was
likely to retain in the future. The Clinton Administration did not want to set START
II aside, in part because it wanted to be sure Russia eliminated its MIRVed ICBMS.
However, many in the Administration eventually concluded that Russia would not
ratify START II without some assurances that the warhead levels would decline
further. So the United States agreed to proceed to START III, but only after START
II entered into force. In March 1997, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed that the
United States and Russia would begin negotiations on START III as soon as START
II entered into force. The START III framework called for reductions to between
2,000 and 2,500 warheads for strategic offensive nuclear weapons on each side.
The United States and Russia held several rounds of discussions on START III,
but they did not resolve their differences before the end of the Clinton
Administration. President Bush did not pursue the negotiations after taking office
in 2001. The demise of these discussions left many issues that had been central to
the U.S.-Russian arms control process unresolved. For example, Presidents Clinton
and Yeltsin had agreed to explore possible measures for limiting long-range, nucleararmed, sea-launched cruise missiles and other tactical nuclear weapons in the START
III framework. These weapons systems are not limited by existing treaties. Many in
Congress have joined analysts outside the government in expressing concerns about
the safety and security of Russia’s stored nuclear weapons.
In addition, when establishing the START III framework, the United States and
Russia agreed that they would explore proposals to enhance transparency and
promote the irreversibility of warhead reductions. Many analysts viewed this step as
critical to lasting, predictable reductions in nuclear weapons. The Bush
Administration has, however, rejected this approach. Although it has pledged to
eliminate some warheads removed from deployment, it will not offer any measures
promoting the transparency or reversibility of this process. It wants to retain U.S.
flexibility and the ability to restore warheads to deployed forces. Many critics of the
Administration oppose this policy, in part, because it will undermine U.S. efforts to
encourage Russia to eliminate warheads that might be at risk of loss or theft.
Ballistic Missile Defenses and the ABM Treaty. As was noted above,
the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and 1974 Protocol allowed the United
States and Soviet Union to deploy limited defenses against long-range ballistic
missiles. The United States completed, then quickly abandoned a treaty-compliant
ABM system near Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1974. The Soviet Union deployed,
and Russia continues to operate, a treaty-compliant system around Moscow.
Missile Defense Plans and Programs. During the 1980s and early 1990s,
the United States conducted research on a variety of ballistic missile defense
technologies. In 1983 President Reagan collected and expanded these programs in
the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which sought to develop and deploy
comprehensive missile defenses that would defend the United States against a
deliberate, massive attack from the Soviet Union. The first Bush Administration
changed this focus, seeking instead to provide a defense against possible limited
missile attacks that might arise from any number of countries throughout the world.
After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, with Iraq’s attacks with Scud missiles
alerting many to the dangers of missile proliferation and the threats posed by shortand medium-range theater ballistic missiles, the United States began developing
several advanced theater missile defense (TMD) systems. At the same time, the
Clinton Administration pursued research and technology development for national
missile defenses (NMD). The Department of Defense concluded that there was no
military requirement for the deployment of such a system after intelligence estimates
found that no additional nations (beyond China, Russia, France, and Great Britain)
were likely to develop missiles that could threaten the continental United States for
at least the next 10-15 years. However, after a congressionally mandated
Commission raised concerns about the proliferation of long-range missiles in July
1998 and North Korea tested a three-stage missile in August 1998, the Clinton
Administration began to consider the deployment of an NMD, with a program
structured to achieve that objective in 2005. On September 1, 2000, after
disappointing test results, President Clinton announced that he would not authorize
construction needed to begin deployment of an NMD.
President George W. Bush altered U.S. policy on missile defenses. His
Administration is seeking to develop layered defense with land-based, sea-based, and
space-based components. It is seeking a system that could protect the United States,
its allies, and its forces overseas from short, medium, and long-range ballistic
missiles. It has begun to deploy land-based missile interceptors for defense against
long-range missiles in Alaska and California, and has pursued the deployment of
defenses against shorter-range missiles on naval ships. The Administration had
hoped that these missiles could be operational by 2004, but the system still is not
ABM Treaty Issues and Negotiations. The missile defense systems
advocated by the Reagan and first Bush Administrations would not have been
permitted under the ABM Treaty. In 1985, the United States proposed, in
negotiations with the Soviet Union, that the two sides replace the ABM Treaty with
an agreement that would permit deployment of more extensive defenses. These
negotiations failed, and, in 1993, the Clinton Administration altered their focus. It
sought a demarcation agreement to clarify the difference between theater missile
defenses and strategic missile defenses so the United States could proceed with
theater missile defense (TMD) programs without raising questions about compliance
with the Treaty.
The United States and Russia signed two joint statements on ABM/TMD
Demarcation in September 1997. As amendments to the ABM Treaty, these
agreements required the advice and consent of the Senate before they entered into
force. But President Clinton never submitted them to the Senate, knowing that the
required 67 votes would prove elusive as many of the Senators in the Republican
majority believed the ABM Treaty, even if modified, would stand in the way of the
deployment of robust missile defenses.
In February 1999, the United States and Russia began to discuss ABM Treaty
modifications that would permit deployment of a U.S. national missile defense
(NMD) system. The United States sought to reassure Russia that the planned NMD
would not interfere with Russia’s strategic nuclear forces and that the United States
still viewed the ABM Treaty as central to the U.S.-Russian strategic balance. The
Russians were reportedly unconvinced, noting that the United States could expand
its system so that it could intercept a significant portion of Russia’s forces. They also
argued that the United States had overstated the threat from rogue nations.
Furthermore, after Russia approved START II, President Putin noted that U.S.
withdrawal from the ABM Treaty would lead not only to Russian withdrawal from
START II, but also Russian withdrawal from a wider range of arms control
agreements. Through the end of the Clinton Administration, Russia refused to
consider U.S. proposals for modifications to the ABM Treaty. Some argued that
Russia’s position reflected its belief that the United States would not withdraw from
the ABM Treaty and, therefore, if Russia refused to amend it, the United States
would not deploy national missile defenses.
Officials in the new Bush Administration referred to the Treaty as a relic of the
Cold War and the President stated that the United States would need to move beyond
the limits in the Treaty to deploy robust missile defenses. In discussions that began
in the middle of 2001, the Bush Administration sought to convince Russia to accept
a U.S. proposal for the nations to “set aside” the Treaty together. The Administration
also offered Russia extensive briefings to demonstrate that its missile defense
program would not threaten Russia but that the ABM Treaty would interfere with the
program. Russia would not agree to set the Treaty aside, and, instead, suggested that
the United States identify modifications to the Treaty that would allow it to pursue
the more robust testing program contained in its proposals. But, according to some
reports, Russia would have insisted on the right to determine whether proposed tests
were consistent with the Treaty. The Bush Administration would not accept these
conditions and President Bush announced, on December 13, 2001, that the United
States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty. This withdrawal took effect on June
13, 2002. Russia’s President Putin stated that this action was “mistaken.” Russia
responded by withdrawing from the START II Treaty, but this action was largely
symbolic as the Treaty seemed likely to never enter into force.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31111, Missile Defense: The Current Debate, coordinated by
Steven A. Hildreth.
CRS Report 98-496 F, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty Demarcation and
Succession Agreements: Background and Issues. (Archived. For copies
contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Issue Brief IB98030, Nuclear Arms Control: The U.S. Russian Agenda.
(Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. During a summit meeting
with President Putin in November 2001, President Bush announced that the United
States would reduce its “operationally deployed” strategic nuclear warheads to a level
between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads during the next decade. He stated that the United
States would reduce its forces unilaterally, without signing a formal agreement.
President Putin indicated that Russia wanted to use the formal arms control process,
emphasizing that the two sides should focus on “reaching a reliable and verifiable
agreement.” Specifically, Russia sought a “legally binding document” that would
provide “predictability and transparency” and ensure for the “irreversibilty of the
reduction of nuclear forces.” The United States, wanted to maintain the flexibility
to size and structure its nuclear forces in response to its own needs. It preferred a less
formal process, such as an exchange of letters and, possibly, new transparency
measures that would allow each side to understand the force structure plans of the
Within the Bush Administration, Secretary of State Powell supported the
conclusion of a “legally binding” agreement because he believed it would help
President Putin’s standing with his domestic critics. He apparently prevailed over
the objections of officials in the Pentagon. Although the eventual outcome did differ
from the initial approach of the Bush Administration, most observers agree that it did
not undermine the fundamental U.S. objectives in the negotiations because the
Treaty’s provisions would not impede the Bush Administration’s plans for U.S.
strategic nuclear forces.
The United States and Russia signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
on May 24, 2002. The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to the ratification of
the Treaty on March 6, 2003. The Russian Duma approved the Federal Law on
Ratification for the Treaty on May 14, 2003. The Treaty entered into force on June
The Treaty is due to remain in force until December 31, 2012, after which it
could be extended or replaced by another agreement. In theory, the parties might be
able to increase their warheads above the 2,200 limit as soon as the Treaty expires.
The Treaty also states that either party may withdraw from the Treaty on three
months’ notice. This provision differs from the withdrawal clause in previous
treaties, which required six months notice and a statement of “extraordinary events”
that led to the nation’s withdrawal.
Treaty Provisions. Article I contains the only limit in the Treaty, stating that
the United States and Russia will reduce their “strategic nuclear warheads” to
between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012. The text does not define
“strategic nuclear warheads” and, therefore, does not indicate whether the parties will
count only those warheads that are “operationally deployed,” all warheads that would
count under the START counting rules, or some other quantity of nuclear warheads.
The text does refer to statements made by Presidents Bush and Putin in November
and December 2001, when each outlined their own reduction plans. This reference
may indicate that the United States and Russia could each use their own definition
when counting strategic nuclear warheads. The Treaty does not limit delivery
vehicles or impose sublimits on specific types of weapons systems. Each party shall
determine its own “composition and structure of its strategic offensive arms.”
Monitoring and verification. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
does not contain any monitoring or verification provisions. The Bush Administration
has noted that the United States and Russia already collect information about
strategic nuclear forces under START I and during implementation of the NunnLugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Some in Congress have questioned,
however, whether this information will be sufficient for the duration of the Treaty,
since START I expires in 2009, three years before the end of implementation under
the new Treaty.
Nonstrategic nuclear weapons. The Strategic Offensive Reductions
Treaty also does not contain any limits or restrictions on nonstrategic nuclear
weapons. Yet, as was noted above, many Members of Congress have argued that
these weapons pose a greater threat to the United States and its allies than strategic
nuclear weapons. During hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Powell both agreed that the
disposition of nonstrategic nuclear weapons should be on the agenda for future
meetings between the United States and Russia, although neither supported a formal
arms control regime to limit or contain these weapons.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31448, Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive
Reductions Treaty, by Amy F. Woolf.
CRS Report RL31222, Arms Control and Strategic Nuclear Weapons:
Unilateral vs. Bilateral Reductions, by Amy F. Woolf.
Threat Reduction and Nonproliferation Assistance
As the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, many Members of Congress grew
concerned that deteriorating social and economic conditions in Russia would affect
control over Soviet weapons of mass destruction. In December 1991, Congress
authorized the transfer of $400 million from the FY1992 Department of Defense
(DOD) budget to help the republics that inherited the Soviet nuclear and chemical
weapons stockpile — Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus — transport and
dismantle these weapons. This effort has since grown substantially, with Congress
appropriating more than $1 billion each year, in recent years for nonproliferation and
threat reduction programs administered by the Department of Defense (DOD), the
State Department, and the Department of Energy (DOE). The United States has also
worked with other nations, through the G-8 Global Partnership, to expand
participation in, and funding for, nonproliferation and threat reduction programs in
DOD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR). At its inception,
DOD’s CTR program sought to provide Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan
with assistance in the safe and secure transportation, storage, and dismantlement of
nuclear weapons. During the first few years, the mandate for U.S. assistance
expanded to include efforts to secure materials that might be used in nuclear or
chemical weapons, to prevent the diversion of scientific expertise from the former
Soviet Union, to expand military-to-military contacts between officers in the United
States and the former Soviet Union, and to facilitate the demilitarization of defense
industries. In the late 1990s, Congress added funds to the CTR budget for biological
weapons proliferation prevention; this effort has expanded substantially in recent
years. Congress also expanded the CTR program to allow the use of CTR funds for
emergency assistance to remove weapons of mass destruction or materials and
equipment related to these weapons from any of the former Soviet republics.
CTR Implementation. Initial implementation of the Cooperative Threat
Reduction (CTR) Program was slowed by administrative requirements on the U.S.
side; the complex nature of activities being undertaken; the need for major changes
in the attitudes of recipients toward the United States and the idea of weapons
dismantlement and destruction; and political and economic upheavals within and
among the states of the former Soviet Union. For example, before funds could be
obligated for specific projects, the United States had to sign general “umbrella”
agreements with each recipient nation that set out the privileges and immunities of
U.S. personnel and the legal and customs framework for the provision of the aid.
The umbrella agreement between the United States and Russia has recently been
renewed for another seven years, after intensive debate between the nations and in
the Russian Duma.
The United States provides assistance with several different types of projects.
Most of the funding, in recent years, has gone to Russia, as the participants have
completed most projects in the other nations. For example, the United States has
provided extensive assistance with destruction and dismantlement projects. These
are designed to help with the elimination of nuclear, chemical, and other weapons
and their delivery vehicles. These projects have helped Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan remove warheads, deactivate missiles, and eliminate launch facilities for
nuclear weapons covered by the START I Treaty. Chain of custody projects are
designed to enhance the safety, security and control over nuclear weapons and fissile
materials. These projects provided Russia with bullet-proof Kevlar blankets, secure
canisters, and improved rail cars for warheads transported from Ukraine, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan to storage and dismantlement facilities in Russia. The CTR program also
funded several projects at storage facilities for nuclear weapons and materials, to
improve security and accounting systems and to provide storage space for plutonium
removed from nuclear warheads when they are dismantled. Demilitarization projects
encourage Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to convert military efforts to peaceful
Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility. The United States and Russia
have agreed to use CTR funds to construct a chemical weapons destruction facility
at Shchuch’ye. This facility is intended to help Russia comply with its obligations
under the Chemical Weapons convention and to prevent the loss or theft of Soviet
era chemical weapons by ensuring their safe and secure destruction. The two nations
planned to share the costs of this facility, with the United States spending about $750
million to build and begin operations at the facility and Russia spending about $240
million on related infrastructure improvements. But Russia has been slow to meet
its obligations in this project and some Members of Congress are concerned that the
United States will eventually have to spend more. Congress prohibited the allocation
of any new CTR funds for this project in FY2000 and FY2001. However, after
completing its review of CTR projects in 2001, the Bush Administration identified
this as a high priority project that could be accelerated. Consequently, the
Administration requested an increasing amount of money for this project, with the
amount peaking in FY2003 at $200 million. The request declined to $42.7 million
in FY2007. The Administration has indicated that the reduction reflects the maturity
of the project and the lack of any further capital investment.
Scope and Priorities for CTR Projects. The initial Nunn-Lugar
legislation was tightly focused on the transport, storage, and destruction of weapons
of mass destruction. Most in Congress continue to support these core activities. But
the focus of CTR funding has changed, as the program evolves. Much of the work
on strategic offensive arms reductions has been completed, and a growing proportion
of the funding is focused on securing and eliminating chemical and biological
weapons. In addition, the Bush Administration has indicated that it views the CTR
program, and other U.S. nonproliferation assistance to the former Soviet states, as a
part of its efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction away from terrorists. This
objective has also altered some of the funding priorities, with a growing number of
projects focused on border and export control.
Certification. The CTR legislation requires the President to certify that the
recipient nations are committed to a number of specific policy areas before they can
receive CTR funds. Belarus lost its certification in 1997. In mid-2002, the Bush
Administration indicated that it could not certify that Russia was committed to
complying with arms control agreements because it continued to fall short of U.S.
expectations in providing information about its chemical and biological weapons
programs. However, the President asked Congress to waive the certification
requirements so that Russia could continue to receive assistance. The Senate
supported an unlimited waiver authority for the President; the House sought to limit
the authority to one year. The Conference Committee accepted a waiver authority for
three years. In the FY2006 Defense Authorization Bill, the Senate again approved
an unlimited waiver authority and the House accepted this proposal. Senator Lugar
proposed an amendment to the FY2007 Defense Authorization Bill that would have
eliminated the certification requirements; the Senate approved this amendment, but
it was dropped from the bill during Conference.
Expanding Threat Reduction Assistance. The Senate and the Bush
Administration have both supported proposals to spend CTR funds in nations outside
the former Soviet Union. The House resisted these proposals, but eventually agreed
in the FY2004 Defense Authorization Act. Some of these funds have been used to
assist with scientist redirection programs in Libya and Iraq, and to help eliminate
chemical weapons in Albania. Some analysts have suggested that promises of
assistance might also help convince other nations, such as North Korea, to eliminate
their nuclear weapons programs.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S.
Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy F. Woolf.
CRS Report 97-1027 F, Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs:
Issues for Congress, by Amy F. Woolf.
Department of Energy Nonproliferation Cooperation Programs. The
Department of Energy has contributed to U.S. threat reduction and nonproliferation
assistance to the former Soviet states from the start, when CTR included a small
amount of funding for materials control and protection. Since then, the United States
and Russia have been cooperating, through several programs, to secure and eliminate
many of the materials that could help terrorists or rogue nations acquire their own
Highly Enriched Uranium. Highly enriched uranium from dismantled
weapons is relatively easy to dispose of, since it can be diluted to low-enriched
uranium which is directly usable in current operating power reactors. In February
1993 the United States and Russia agreed that highly enriched uranium from
weapons would be diluted to a low enrichment level suitable for use in commercial
nuclear power reactors. The United States has agreed to purchase 500 metric tons of
HEU from Russia’s dismantled nuclear warheads, and deliveries have started to the
U.S. Enrichment Corporation, which supplies uranium fuel for domestic and foreign
reactors. By September 2005 about 250 metric tons of HEU had been recycled, at a
purchase price of about $4 billion, according to USEC. The 500-ton total is expected
to be completed by 2013.
Plutonium Disposition. In the Plutonium Management and Disposition
Agreement, signed in September 2000, each side agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons
of weapons-grade plutonium, and to do so at roughly the same time. The parties
could use two methods for disposing of the plutonium — they could either convert
it to mixed oxide fuel (MOX) for nuclear power reactors or immobilize it and dispose
of it in a way that would preclude its use in nuclear weapons. Russia has expressed
little interest in the permanent disposal of plutonium, noting that the material could
have great value for its civilian power program. The United States initially intended
to pursue both options. However, after reviewing U.S. nonproliferation policies in
2001, the Bush Administration concluded that this approach would be too costly.
Instead, it outlined a plan for the United States to convert almost all its surplus
plutonium to MOX fuel.
In late July 2003, the Bush Administration announced that the plutonium
disposition program would not pursue additional contracts in 2004 because the
United States and Russia were unable to agree on the liability provisions for a new
implementing agreement for the program. The two nations reportedly reached an a
liability agreement in 2005, although it has not yet been signed by Russia’s President
Putin. The Bush Administration requested $34.7 million for FY2007 for this project,
but it may not receive any of this funding. Both the House and the Senate Armed
Services Committees have expressed wide-ranging and deep concerns about this
program. Russia has not yet signed the liability agreement, and it may require
approval by the Russian parliament, which could lead to further delays in resuming
the program. In addition, Russia has indicated that it may not pursue the MOX
program to eliminate its plutonium, option, instead for the construction of fast
breeder reactors that could burn plutonium directly for energy production. The
United States is not likely to fund this effort, as many in the United States argue that
breeder reactors, which produce more plutonium than they consume, would
undermine nonproliferation objectives.
Materials Protection, Control, and Accounting. Many in the United
States have expressed concerns about the safety and security of nuclear materials
located at civilian research facilities in the former Soviet Union. Government-togovernment projects at facilities that housed nuclear materials began in 1994. In a
parallel effort that sought to reduce delays in these projects, experts from the U.S.
nuclear laboratories, which are a part of DOE, also began less formal contacts with
their counterparts in Russia to identify and solve safety and security problems at
Russian facilities. Together, these government-to-government and lab-to-lab projects
evolved into an effort to apply Material Protection, Control and Accounting
(MPC&A) techniques to Russian facilities.
According to the Department of Energy, the MPC&A program has provided
assistance at more than 50 facilities in the former Soviet Union. At many of these
facilities, the program focused on providing upgrades to security to reduce the risk
of a loss of materials. These upgrades include the installation of improved security
systems that use modern technology and strict material control and accounting
systems. The program has also provided security training for Russian nuclear
specialists. In recent years, the Bush Administration has expanded the focus of the
program to include efforts to secure radiological materials that would not be suitable
for nuclear weapons but could be used in radiological dispersal devices, and to
improve border security and monitoring to discourage and detect illicit efforts to
transfer these materials. Some have questioned whether the expanded focus might
dilute funding for central security and accounting programs. Others, however, note
that the Bush Administration and Congress have supported increased funding for
these efforts as the focus has expanded.
Access to Russian facilities. A GAO study released in early 2003 noted
that Russia continues to deny the United States access to many facilities that are apart
of the weapons complex maintained by Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Affairs
(MINATOM). As a result, the United States cannot even begin to address security
and accounting concerns for a majority of the nuclear materials at risk in Russia. In
addition, because access problems have slowed program implementation, DOE
maintains significant balances of unallocated funds from prior years. Congress has
expressed concerns about these funds, particularly as it adds more money to DOE’s
budget for nonproliferation programs.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S.
Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy F. Woolf.
State Department Programs. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in
1991, many experts feared that scientists from Russia’s nuclear weapons complex
might sell their knowledge to other nations seeking nuclear weapons. Many of these
scientists had worked in the Soviet Union’s “closed” nuclear cities where they had
enjoyed relatively high salaries and prestige, but their jobs evaporated during
Russia’s economic and political crises in the early 1990s. Even those scientists who
retained their jobs saw their incomes decline sharply as Russia was unable to pay
their salaries for months at a time. In response to these concerns, the United States,
Japan, the European Union, and Russia established the International Science and
Technology Center (ISTC) in Moscow. A similar center began operating in Kiev in
1993. In subsequent years, several other former Soviet states have joined and other
nations have added their financial support.
The science center programs also began as a part of DOD’s CTR program, and
were moved to the State Department budget in 1996. The centers fund scientists who
have worked on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, but they have,
historically, focused on nuclear scientists, with many projects going to those who
work at institutes in the closed nuclear cities. The State Department estimates that
about half of the participants are senior scientists, which means the programs may
have reached a significant portion of the estimated 30,000 to 70,000 senior scientists
and engineers in the Soviet nuclear complex. However, most of these scientists
spend fewer than 50 days per year on projects funded by the science centers. In the
remainder of the time, most continue to work at their primary jobs.
Some analysts have noted that, because the science centers do not have enough
money to support full pay for a significant number of scientists, they may not achieve
their objective of keeping these scientists away from nations or groups seeking
weapons of mass destruction. Others, however, note that, even if the financial
support is less than complete, the cooperation with Russian institutes, and the
promise of a fairly steady stream of funding, helps build relationships and draw these
institutes into the “western orbit.” To address this problem, some have suggested
that, instead of providing short term grants, the centers should focus on projects that
will lead to the long-term redirection of scientists out of weapons work. The State
Department seems to agree with this approach with its growing reliance on the
Partners Program and its acknowledged need to transition Russia’s nuclear scientists
to more commercially viable projects.
The collapse of political control along the Soviet borders, along with incentives
created by the weakness in the economies of the newly independent states, contribute
to concerns about the potential for smuggling or illegal exports of materials and
technology from the former Soviet Union. The State Department’s Export Control
and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS) program helps the former Soviet
states and other nations improve their ability to interdict nuclear smuggling and their
ability to stop the illicit trafficking of all materials for weapons of mass destruction,
along with dual use goods and technologies. The EXBS program currently has
projects underway in more than 30 nations, and is expanding its reach around the
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S.
Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy F. Woolf.
G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and
Materials of Mass Destruction. Since the creation of the Nunn-Lugar program
in 1992, the United States has pressed its allies to provide similar support. Like the
United States, G-7 allies faced difficulties in implementing similar programs. In
early 2002, the United States proposed to the G-8 an expansion of its Cooperative
Threat Reduction programs called “10 plus 10 over 10” — that is, G-7 allies would
add $10 billion more over 10 years to the $10 billion the United States was already
planning to spend on CTR-related programs. By expanding the programs to include
more donors, the participants would not only be able to increase their level of effort
in Russia, but might also be able to address potential proliferation problems in other
nations. At their June 2002 summit at Kananaskis, the Group of Eight (US, Canada,
UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan (G-7) plus Russia (G-8)) formed the Global
Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
Under this partnership, the United States, other members of the G-7 and the
European Commission have agreed to raise up to $20 billion over ten years for
projects in Russia related to disarmament, nonproliferation, counterterrorism and
The Partnership is intended to span the range of U.S. nonproliferation programs
in the former Soviet Union. Russia has identified chemical weapons destruction, and
dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines as its top priority projects; the
G-7 have additionally identified disposition of fissile materials and employing former
weapon scientists as high priority projects. However, rather than adopting a common
approach, a common fund, or a multilateral implementation mechanism, projects will
be funded bilaterally under government-to-government agreements with Russia. G-8
senior officials will provide an informal coordinating mechanism.
The U.S. and G-7 allies have invited other states to participate and contribute
to the initiative, as well as adopt the nonproliferation principles. In 2003, the EU,
Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, and the Netherlands joined as donor states.
In 2004, at the summit in Sea Island, Georgia, seven additional nations joined. Other
countries have also participated in informal meetings (at the Senior Officials Group
level). Observers have pointed out that many countries have pledged their support,
but that pledges are still about $2 billion short of the $20 billion total, and that the
pledges represent commitments, not actual allocations by national parliaments. As
in the past, implementation has been slowed by difficulties resolving liability, tax
exemption, and site access issues.
Nonproliferation Principles. At the summit, G-8 countries also adopted
principles to deny terrorists access to WMD and WMD materials. These are:
Strengthen multilateral treaties and other instruments to prevent
WMD proliferation and strengthen the institutions established to
implement such agreements;
Develop and maintain measures that ensure that the production, use,
storage and transport of WMD materials is safe and secure and
provide such assistance to countries lacking the ability to secure
Ensure that WMD storage facilities are physically secure and
provide assistance to states where facilities lack protection;
Implement border controls, law enforcement efforts and
international cooperation to detect and interdict attempts to smuggle
WMD materials and items and provide assistance to countries that
lack appropriate resources;
Maintain export controls over items that could be used to develop
weapons of mass destruction and missiles; and
Work to manage and dispose of fissile materials stocks that are no
longer required for defense purposes, destroy all chemical weapons
and “minimize” stockpiles of dangerous biological agents.”
U.S. participation. Across the board, the United States has led its allies in
pushing for effective controls on WMD and WMD materials, so U.S. participation
is unlikely to be a stumbling block in this program. U.S. leadership may be judged,
however, on continued funding levels for existing programs, effective export
controls, and efforts to support and strengthen multilateral treaties, all of which
Congress is involved in.
Allied participation. As was noted above, the other participants in the global
partnership have not yet reached their pledges to raise $10 million dollars, and it
remains uncertain whether they will eventually fulfill these pledges. Budget
constraints, along with the difficulties associated with project implementation in
Russia, may discourage long-term participation. Congress, in its oversight role, may
choose to pay close attention to the progress these other nations are making in
identifying and implementing projects and in sustaining their pledged levels of
Potential recipients. The United States has suggested that the funding
provided by the G-8 global partnership address proliferation problems in nations
outside the former Soviet Union. For example, it proposed that the funds contribute
to programs in both Libya and Iraq that are designed to redirect weapons scientists
away from work on weapons of mass destruction. The G-8 participants have agreed
to consider this proposal, but have not yet adopted such an expansion. Congress has
supported legislation allowing the United States to expand its CTR program to
nations outside the former Soviet Union; it may also consider whether G-8 funding
could address these objectives.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S.
Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy F. Woolf.
CRS Issue Brief IB98038, Nuclear Weapons in Russia: Safety, Security, and
Control Issues. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Report RL32359, Globalizing Cooperative Threat Reduction: A Survey of
Options, by Sharon Squassoni.
Multilateral Nuclear Nonproliferation Activities
The International Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime
The United States is a leader of an international regime that attempts to limit the
spread of nuclear weapons through treaties, export control coordination and
enforcement, and U.N. security council resolutions. Recent challenges to the regime
— notably North Korea’s October 2006 nuclear test and Iran’s continued defiance
of international demands to stop uranium enrichment — raise questions about and
reinforce the importance of nonproliferation policy. Moreover, increased awareness
of the need to keep sensitive materials and technologies out of terrorist hands has
reinvigorated efforts to control not just nuclear weapons and weapons-usable
materials, but also radioactive materials that could be used in radiological dispersal
devices. Key issues in this area that the 110th Congress might consider include how
the nuclear nonproliferation regime is affected by: North Korea’s nuclear weapons
activities; Iran’s suspected weapons program and Russia’s nuclear cooperation with
Iran; the proposed nuclear cooperation with India, in light of the tensions between
India and Pakistan as amplified by their nuclear activities; and continued concerns
about access by terrorists to nuclear materials.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in
1995, is the centerpiece of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. It is complemented
by national export control laws, coordinated export control policies under the Nuclear
Suppliers Group, U.N. Security Council resolutions and ad hoc initiatives. The NPT
recognizes five nations (the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and China) as
nuclear weapon states — a distinction that is carried over in other parts of the regime
and in national laws. Three nations that have not signed the NPT — India, Israel, and
Pakistan — possess significant nuclear weapon capabilities. North Korea, which had
signed the NPT but withdrew in 2003, is now thought to possess a small number of
nuclear weapons. Several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa
suspended their nuclear weapons programs and joined the NPT in the 1990s. Others
— Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan — gave up former Soviet weapons on their
territories and joined the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states in the 1990s.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is unique in its near universality — only
India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea are now outside the treaty. In signing the
NPT, non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS) pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons in
exchange for a pledge by the nuclear weapon states (NWS) not to assist the
development of nuclear weapons by any NNWS and to facilitate “the fullest possible
exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for
the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” (NPT, Article IV-2) The NWS, defined as any
state that tested a nuclear explosive before 1967, also agree to “pursue negotiations
in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at
an early date and to nuclear disarmament...” (NPT, Article VI). Many NNWS have
often expressed dissatisfaction with the apparent lack of progress toward
Nuclear proliferation often has significant regional security repercussions, but
there is also a growing realization that the current constellation of proliferation risks
may require further improvements to the system itself. Concern has shifted from
keeping technology from the states outside the NPT to stemming potential further
proliferation, either from those states outside the regime or through black markets,
such as the Pakistani A.Q. Khan network. Currently, member states of the NPT are
grappling with ways to strengthen controls within the current system and through ad
hoc complementary measures.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The International
Atomic Energy Agency was established in 1957 to assist nations in their peaceful
nuclear programs (primarily research and nuclear power programs) and to safeguard
nuclear materials from these peaceful programs to ensure that they are not diverted
to nuclear weapons uses. The IAEA safeguards system relies on data collection,
review, and periodic inspections at declared facilities. The IAEA may also inspect
other facilities if it suspects undeclared nuclear materials or weapons-related
activities are present.
Non-nuclear weapon NPT members are required to declare and submit all
nuclear materials in their possession to regular IAEA inspections to ensure that
sensitive nuclear materials and technologies are not diverted from civilian to military
purposes. Some states who are not parties to the NPT (India, Israel, Pakistan) are
members of the IAEA and allow inspections of some, but not all, of their nuclear
activities. The IAEA also provides technical assistance for peaceful applications of
nuclear technology for energy, medicine, agriculture, and research.
After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, IAEA inspection teams working with the U.N.
Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) revealed an extensive covert nuclear
weapons program that had been virtually undetected by annual inspections of
Baghdad’s declared facilities. This knowledge inspired efforts to strengthen the
IAEA’s authority to conduct more intrusive inspections of a wider variety of
installations, to provide the Agency with intelligence information about suspected
covert nuclear activities, and to provide the Agency with the resources and political
support needed to increase confidence in its safeguards system. In 1998, the IAEA
adopted an “Additional Protocol” that would give the agency greater authority and
access to verify nuclear declarations. The protocol enters into force for individual
NPT states upon ratification. The Additional Protocol was gradually adopted by
many countries, and in February 2004 President Bush recommended that it be
required of all NPT signatories. He urged the Senate to consent to it on the part of
the United States, and on March 31, 2004, the Senate ratified the protocol (Treaty
Doc. 107-7, Senate Executive Report 108-12). Although Iran signed an Additional
Protocol in December 2003, its implementation of the protocol was voluntary;
current efforts to restrain Iran’s weapons activities are focused on getting that country
to ratify and fully implement the new inspection protocol, and agree to abandon
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. In addition to the NPT, several states have
signed treaties that ban the development, deployment and use of nuclear weapons in
certain regions. These regions include Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco), Central
Asia (Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon- Free Zone in Central Asia), the South Pacific
(Treaty of Rarotonga), Africa (Treaty of Pelindaba), and Southeast Asia (Treaty of
Bangkok). By and large, the nuclear-weapon-free zones reinforce the undertakings
of NPT non-nuclear-weapon state members.
Nuclear Suppliers Group. The United States has been a leader in
establishing export controls, a key component of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978
established controls on nuclear exports that gradually gained acceptance by other
nuclear suppliers. The Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA) authorized
controls on dual-use technology that could contribute to foreign weapons. Export
controls require exporters to get a license before selling sensitive technology to
foreign buyers and, in some cases, ban certain exports to some countries.
International nuclear controls are coordinated by an informal association of
nuclear exporters called the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), founded in 1975. NSG
members agree to a common policy to restrict exports of certain goods such as
uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technology that could be used by
proliferants to make nuclear weapons. The NSG’s effectiveness is limited by its
voluntary nature and, therefore, lack of verification or enforcement mechanisms.
Countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, and individuals like A.Q. Khan and others have
exploited weaknesses in the national export control systems of many countries to
acquire a wide range of nuclear items.
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, adopted in 1987, sets
international standards for nuclear trade and commerce. The Convention established
security requirements for the protection of nuclear materials against terrorism; parties
to the treaty agree to report to the IAEA on the disposition of nuclear materials being
transported and agree to provide appropriate security during such transport. For
several years, the United States has been trying to strengthen this treaty by extending
controls to domestic facility security, not just transportation. In July 2005, states
parties convened to extend the Convention’s scope to cover not only nuclear material
in international transport, but also nuclear material in domestic use, storage, and
transport, as well as the protection of nuclear material and facilities from sabotage.
The new rules will come into effect once they have been ratified by two-thirds of the
States Parties of the Convention, which could take several years. As of September
18, 2006, only six states had deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance,
or approval with the depositary.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status,
by Sharon Squassoni, Steve Bowman, and Steven A. Hildreth.
CRS Report RL33016, U.S. Nuclear Cooperation With India: Issues for
Congress, by Sharon Squassoni.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty2
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear
explosions, opened for signature in 1996 but has not yet entered into force. Previous
treaties have banned certain kinds of nuclear testing (the 1963 Limited Test Ban
Treaty barred explosions in the atmosphere, in space, and under water and the 1974
U.S.-U.S.S.R. Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the 1976 Peaceful Nuclear Explosions
Treaty limited the explosive yield of underground nuclear explosions). Following
the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, the early conclusion of the CTBT was
seen as an important gesture of good faith by nuclear weapon states, as well as a
significant step for the three states outside the NPT. President Clinton signed the
CTBT soon after it opened for signature and submitted the treaty to the Senate for
advice and consent in 1997. The Senate rejected the treaty by a vote of 48 for, 51
against and 1 present, on October 13, 1999.
The United States is not the sole obstacle to the CTBT’s entry into force.
Provisions of the treaty require 144 states, including the 44 states with nuclear
reactors, to ratify the treaty before it can enter into force. By December 2006, 177
nations had signed it and 137 had ratified it. Of the 44 required nations, 3 have not
signed (India, Pakistan, and North Korea) and 10 have not ratified, including the
United States and China. Although the United States conducted its last nuclear test
on September 23, 1992, observing a nuclear test moratorium since then, the current
Administration opposes U.S. ratification of the CTBT. States that have ratified the
treaty have held conferences every two years since 1999 to discuss how to accelerate
entry into force.
States party to the treaty agree “not to carry out any nuclear weapon test
explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” The treaty establishes a Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) of all member states to implement
the treaty. The CTBTO oversees a Conference of States Parties, an Executive
Council, and a Provisional Technical Secretariat, which operates an International
Data Center that processes and reports on data from an International Monitoring
System. Several CTBTO components would handle requests for on-site inspections
if the treaty enters into force. A Protocol details the monitoring system and
The CTBT remains on the calendar of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
but given the requirement for a two-thirds-plus-one majority vote to consent to
For further details, contact Jonathan Medalia, CRS Specialist in National Defense, 7-7632.
ratification, the Senate may do little more than hold hearings in the next few years.
If hearings are held, topics for substantive discussion could include technical issues
of verification, the value of the CTBT for the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and
the potential effect of a CTBT on U.S. nuclear deterrence.
An ongoing issue for Congress is how to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile in
the absence of nuclear testing. In 1995, President Clinton conditioned U.S.
adherence to a CTBT on, among other things, funding a stockpile stewardship
program to ensure confidence in nuclear weapons without testing. The FY2006
appropriation for stewardship was $6.4 billion. The aim of the program is to allow
certification that (1) the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile is safe, secure and reliable
and (2) that there is no need to resume underground testing. More recently, the
Department of Energy has funded the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW)
program, which seeks to replace existing warheads with simpler designs that would
be less prone to fail. DOE intends that RRWs could be certified for the stockpile
without nuclear testing. CTBT opponents counter that testing is the only way to
maintain confidence in the ability to detect or fix age-related weapon problems.
Some would also retain the option to develop new weapons, which might require
testing, if a need arose.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RS20351, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Pro and Con, by
CRS Report RL33548, Nuclear Weapons: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, by
CRS Report RL32130, Nuclear Weapon Initiatives: Low-Yield R&D, Advanced
Concepts, Earth Penetrators, Test Readiness, by Jonathan Medalia.
CRS Report RL32929, Nuclear Weapons: The Reliable Replacement Warhead
Program, by Jonathan Medalia.
CRS Report 97-1007F, Nuclear Testing and Comprehensive Test Ban:
Chronology Starting September 1992, by Jonathan Medalia.
Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty (FMCT)
The United States first proposed that the international community negotiate a
ban on the production of fissile material (plutonium and enriched uranium) that could
be used in nuclear weapons over fifty years ago. Negotiators of the NPT realized that
fissile material usable for nuclear weapons could still be produced under the guise
of peaceful nuclear activities within the Treaty. Consequently, a fissile material
production ban, or FMCT, has remained on the long-term negotiating agenda at the
Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. These negotiations have been largely
stalled since 1993. The Bush Administration undertook a comprehensive review of
the U.S. position on the FMCT in 2004 and concluded that such a ban would be
useful in creating “an observed norm against the production of fissile material
intended for weapons,” but it has argued that such a ban is inherently unverifiable.
The treaty proposed by the Bush Administration in May 2006 to the CD contained
no verification measures.
Substantively, it always been important to capture the undeclared nuclear
weapon states (initially India, Pakistan, and Israel, but now also North Korea) that
were not parties to the NPT and therefore subject to very few if any restrictions or
monitoring. Many observers believed that negotiations at the CD were preferable to
smaller, eight-party talks (United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia,
India, Pakistan, and Israel) because they would establish a global norm and would not
have the appearance of conferring nuclear weapons status upon India, Pakistan, and
Israel. Since the mid-1990s, however, both India and Pakistan have openly tested
nuclear weapons, and North Korea has pulled out of the NPT, tested a nuclear device,
and may be enriching uranium for weapons in addition to making plutonium for
weapons. Negotiators may have to balance the very real need to halt production by
such states (and perhaps also Iran) against traditional concerns of the nuclear
In addition to North Korean capabilities, Iran’s burgeoning enrichment
capabilities are a cause for concern. Also, the uncovering of the A.Q. Khan nuclear
black market network in late 2003 and 2004, points to the need for greater efforts to
halt the spread of production capabilities. Director General Mohamed El Baradei of
the International Atomic Energy Agency in early 2004 called for renewed efforts to
negotiate an FMCT as one response to the proliferation of enrichment capabilities by
the Khan network. President Bush notably did not include FMCT in his list of
approaches to combating the Khan network, but instead called for supplier controls
and a voluntary ban on enrichment and reprocessing by NPT member states. One key
issue is whether or not such a treaty would seek to include existing stocks of fissile
material; the United States, in the past, has strongly objected to such an approach.
It is not clear from official statements that the Bush Administration will
vigorously pursue FMCT negotiations at the CD in Geneva in the near term.
However, while negotiations are still in their infancy, it could be important to begin
a public debate through hearings on various options and approaches to end the
production of fissile material for weapons. Some outcomes, particularly those that
include intrusive verification, could have an impact on U.S. facilities that are not
currently being monitored. Another aspect for congressional consideration is how
well-equipped the U.S. intelligence community is to verify any such agreement.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RS22474, Banning Fissile Material Production for Nuclear
Weapons: Prospects for a Treaty (FMCT), by Sharon Squassoni.
CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status,
by Sharon Squassoni, Steve Bowman, and Steven A. Hildreth.
Informal Cooperative Endeavors
Global Threat Reduction Initiative. On May 26, 2004, Secretary of Energy
Spencer Abraham announced the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). GTRI
has consolidated and accelerated several programs the Department of Energy was
Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) program (to
repatriate all fresh and spent Russian-origin nuclear fuel residing at
reactors around the world);
Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR)
program (to convert the cores of 105 civilian research reactors that
use high-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU));
Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (FRRSNF)
Acceptance program (to accelerate and complete the repatriation of
U.S.-origin research reactor spent HEU fuel (about 20 metric tons
from more than 40 locations worldwide));
Radiological Threat Reduction (RTR) program (to identify, recover
and store domestic radioactive sealed sources and other radiological
materials and reduce the international threat posed by radiological
materials that could be used in “dirty bombs.”)
A new program added to the mix is the Global Research Reactor Security
Program. So far, according to DoE, the program has focused primarily on providing
security upgrades to research reactor facilities that store highly enriched uranium
(HEU) that could be used to develop a nuclear weapon. Upgrades have been
conducted at 24 facilities — protecting more than 3,000 kilograms of plutonium and
2,500 kilograms of fresh HEU from potential theft for use in a nuclear device.
According to DoE, GTRI since May 2004 has removed more than nine nuclear
bombs’ worth of highly enriched uranium and secured more than 400 radiological
sites around the world.3 In September 2004, the United States and Russia convened
a GTRI International Partners’ Conference to build support for GTRI-related
projects.4 Reportedly, over 90 countries joined GTRI after its inception, promising
to spend about $450 million over the next decade. The 2004 conference
recommended that Member States work with the IAEA to “coordinate a mechanism
to address opportunities for implementing Global Threat Reduction Initiative related
projects and programs, consistent with the activities relevant to the Global Threat
Reduction Initiative and as approved by the IAEA Member States,” but it is not clear
whether this mechanism has yet been established.
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). President Bush announced the
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on May 31, 2003. This Initiative is primarily
a diplomatic tool developed by the United States to gain support for interdicting
DoE Fact Sheet, “GTRI: Two Successful Years of Reducing Nuclear Threats,” August,
2006, available at [http://www.nnsa.doe.gov/docs/factsheets/2006/NA-06-FS04.pdf].
S e e
f i n d i n g s
t h e
c o n f e r e n c e
shipments of weapons of mass destruction-related (WMD) equipment and materials.
Through the PSI, the Bush Administration seeks to “create a web of
counterproliferation partnerships through which proliferators will have difficulty
carrying out their trade in WMD and missile-related technology.” The states
involved in PSI have agreed to review their national legal authorities for interdiction,
provide consent for other states to board and search their own flag vessels, and
conclude ship-boarding agreements. The Proliferation Security Initiative has no
budget, no formal offices supporting it, no international secretariat, and no formal
mechanism for measuring its effectiveness (like a database of cases). To many, these
attributes are positive, allowing the United States to respond swiftly to changing
developments. Others question whether the international community can sustain this
effort over the longer term.
Sixteen “core” nations have pledged their cooperation in interdicting shipments
of WMD materials, agreeing in Paris in 2003 on a set of interdiction principles. The
Bush Administration states that over 70 nations support the PSI, although it is not
clear what that support entails, beyond limited participation in operational exercises.
Although the Bush administration stresses the global reach of PSI, officials have
noted that Iran and North Korean activities are a focus of particular concern. Thus,
it may be important to win the support of states that may lie along established sea,
air, and land transportation routes to and from those states, as well as states that may
manufacture key materials and equipment. The 9/11 Commission Report
recommended that PSI be expanded, but was not specific about how to focus that
expansion or how to implement that expansion.
Bush administration officials have stressed that PSI is an activity, not an
organization. It seeks to develop, according to key officials, “new means to disrupt
WMD trafficking at sea, in the air, and on land. However, very few new means of
disruption appear to have been developed so far, although old means may be applied
more rigorously to improve disruption. For example, key WMD supplier states have
cooperated for many years with the United States in interdicting shipments of WMDrelated items, whether through sharing intelligence information or the actual boarding
of ships and airplanes. In particular, the United States is pursuing vigorously the
conclusion of ship-boarding agreements with key states that have high volumes of
international shipping. So far, the United States has signed agreements with Panama,
Liberia, and the Marshall Islands.
In February 2004, President Bush proposed expanding PSI to address more than
shipments and transfers, including shutting down facilities, seizing materials and
freezing assets. Although this proposal has not yet been realized, in April 2004, the
UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1540, which requires all states to
“criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls and secure all sensitive
materials within their borders. UNSCR 1540 called on states to enforce effective
domestic controls over WMD and WMD-related materials in production, use,
storage, and transport; to maintain effective border controls, and to develop national
export and trans-shipment controls over such items, all of which should help
interdiction efforts. The resolution did not, however, provide any enforcement
authority, nor did it specifically mention interdiction. About one-third of all states
have reported to the UN on their efforts to strengthen defenses against WMD
Since PSI is an activity rather than an organization, and has no budget or
internal U.S. government organization, it may be difficult for Congress to track PSI’s
progress. Several intelligence resource issues may be of interest to Congress,
including whether intelligence information is good enough for effective
implementation and whether intelligence-sharing requirements have been established
with non-NATO allies. Another issue may be how PSI is coordinated with other
federal interdiction-related programs, like export control assistance. Congress may
wish to consider, again, whether more nonproliferation policy coordination may be
required at higher levels for such far-reaching programs.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RS21881, Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), by Sharon
Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. In July 2006, Russia and
the United States announced the creation of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear
Terrorism before the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg. Like PSI, this initiative is nonbinding, and requires agreement on a statement of principles. Thirteen nations —
Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco,
Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia — endorsed endorsed a
Statement of Principles at the Initiative’s first meeting in October 2006.5 The
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has observer status.
This Global Initiative seeks to promote greater information sharing among
participating states and the Statement of Priniciples includes commitments to
improve each nation’s ability to: secure radioactive and nuclear material, prevent
illicit trafficking by improving detection of such material, respond to a terrorist
attack, prevent safe haven to potential nuclear terrorists and financial resources, and
ensure liability for acts of nuclear terrorism.6 Participating states share a common
goal to improve national capabilities to combat nuclear terrorism by sharing best
practices through multinational exercises and expert level meetings. Without dues
or a secretariat, the Initiative’s legal basis (although not exclusively) is the
International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.7
Ad Hoc Sanctions and Incentives. Other efforts — such as economic,
military, or security assistance — may also help slow the proliferation of nuclear
weapons. These cooperative measures have been effective in some cases (South
Korea, Taiwan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine), but failed in others (Iraq, Israel,
Pakistan). Some favor greater use of sanctions against countries that violate
“Partner Nations Endorse Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Statement of
Principles,” U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Security and
“U.S.-Russia Joint Fact Sheet on The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism,” July
15, 2006. Available at [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/69016.htm].
international nonproliferation standards, while others view sanctions as selfdefeating. Most observers conclude that a mix of positive and negative incentives,
including diplomacy to address underlying regional security problems, provides the
best opportunity for controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. However, when
diplomacy fails, some policy-makers have argued that military measures may be
necessary to attack nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and related
facilities in states hostile to the United States or its allies. For example, the Bush
Administration claimed that the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq was
justified, in part, on the basis of claims that Iraq possessed chemical and biological
weapons and might resume efforts to develop nuclear weapons. As developments
revealed, however, accurate intelligence is a key component of both diplomatic and
military approaches to nonproliferation.
Non-Nuclear Multilateral Endeavors
The international community has concluded a number of arms control
agreements, conventions, and arrangements that affect non-nuclear weapons. Two
of these, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) and the Open Skies
Treaty were a part of the late-Cold War effort to enhance stability and predictability
in Europe. Others seek to control the spread of technologies that might contribute
to developing conventional or unconventional weapons programs. Finally, several
seek to ban whole classes of weapons through international conventions.
European Conventional Arms Control
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE). In late 1990, 22
members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact signed the Conventional Armed Forces in
Europe (CFE) Treaty, agreeing to limit NATO and Warsaw Pact non-nuclear forces
in an area from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. The CFE treaty did not
anticipate the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Consequently,
the participants signed the so-called “Tashkent Agreement” in May 1992, allocating
responsibility for the Soviet Union’s Treaty-Limited items of Equipment (TLEs)
among Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and
Georgia. It also established equipment ceilings for each nation and the implied
responsibility for the destruction/transfer of equipment necessary to meet these
national ceilings. In 1999, the CFE Adaptation Agreement was signed to further
adjust to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the expansion of NATO. As
discused below, this agreement has not entered into force pending its ratification by
Key Limits and Restrictions. CFE placed alliance-wide, regional (zonal),
and national ceilings on specific major items of military equipment.8 It sought to
The Treaty limits battle tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, and
combat aircraft. Other types of equipment are subject to operating restrictions and reporting
requirements: primary trainer aircraft, unarmed trainer aircraft, combat support helicopters,
unarmed transport helicopters, armored vehicle-launched bridges, armored personnel carrier
promote stability not only by reducing armaments, but also by reducing the
possibility of surprise attack by preventing large concentrations of forces. The CFE
treaty also provides for 1) very detailed data exchanges on equipment, force structure,
and training maneuvers; 2) specific procedures for the destruction or redistribution
of excess equipment, and 3) verification of compliance through on-site inspections.
Its implementation has resulted in an unprecedented reduction of conventional arms
in Europe, with over 50,000 (TLEs) removed or destroyed; almost all agree it has
achieved most of its initial objectives.
Under the CFE treaty all equipment reductions needed to comply with overall,
national, and zonal ceilings were to have been completed by November 1995. As
this deadline approached, it was evident that Russia would not meet those
requirements, particularly in the so-called “flank zones,” which include the
Leningrad Military District in the north, and more importantly, the North Caucasus
Military District in the south. The outbreak of armed ethnic conflicts in and around
the Caucasus, most notably in Chechnya, led Russia to claim it needed to deploy
equipment in excess of treaty limits in that zone. Russia placed this claim in the
context of broader assertions that some CFE provisions reflected Cold War
assumptions and did not fairly address its new national security concerns. Further,
it argued that economic hardship was making the movement of forces unaffordable
in some cases.
To address these concerns, the CFE parties negotiated a Flank Agreement, in
early 1996. This Agreement removed several Russian (and one Ukrainian)
administrative districts from the old “flank zone,” thus permitting existing flank
equipment ceilings to apply to a smaller area. To provide some counterbalance to
these adjustments, reporting requirements were enhanced, inspection rights in the
zone increased, and district ceilings were placed on armored combat vehicles to
prevent their concentration.
The Adaptation Agreement. The 1996 CFE Review Conference opened
negotiations to modify the treaty to account for the absence of the USSR and the
Warsaw Pact, and the expansion of NATO into the Czech Republic, Poland, and
Hungary. Most CFE signatories did not want to completely renegotiate the treaty.
Russia, however, sought broader revisions, and, ironically, it sought to maintain the
alliance-wide equipment ceilings. An alliance-wide cap on NATO would
presumably force adjustments of national holdings as the NATO alliance expanded;
such adjustments probably would not favor new member nations close to Russia’s
borders. The CFE parties did not adopt Russia’s position and Russia ultimately
agreed to a largely NATO-drafted document. This agreement called for, among
other things, lower equipment levels throughout the “Atlantic to the Urals” area;
enhanced verification procedures; and the replacement of NATO-Warsaw Pact “bloc
to bloc” ceilings with national limits on all categories of TLE’s. It also stated that the
Flank Agreement was to remain in effect. The Adaptation Agreement reiterates that
NATO has “no plan, no intention, and no reason” to deploy nuclear weapons on new
members’ territory; and seeks to improve new members’ defensive capabilities
“look-alikes” and armored combat vehicle “look-alikes.”
through interoperability and capability for reinforcement, rather than by stationing
additional combat forces on new members’ territory. Russia’s most serious focus has
been, however, on NATO enlargement and how CFE could adapt to mitigate what
many Russians see as an encroaching threat. Russia has called for the new members
of NATO, particularly the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, to become
CFE state parties. These countries have indicated a willingness to join, however they
currently cannot do so until the Adaptation Agreement is ratified and the new CFE
regime comes into force.
At the Istanbul Summit in 1999, where the Adaptation Agreement was
concluded, Russia undertook the so-called Istanbul Commitments to remove its
troops from both the Republic of Georgia and the "breakaway" province of
Transdniestra in Moldova.9 Though not part of the CFE Adaptation Agreement
document, NATO members have considered Russian fulfilment of these
commitments a prerequisite for the ratification of the Agreement. Consequently, of
the CFE signatories only Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan have ratified the
Compliance Concerns. In its most recent compliance report, the State
Department has asserted that Russian equipment holdings “continue to exceed most
of the legally binding limits for both the original and revised flank zones.”10 It also
cites Russia for relatively minor reporting violations and for its failure to complete
withdrawals of its troops from Georgia and Moldova. It also cites Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine for non-compliance.11 Armenia and Azerbaijan,
still engaged in a conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, have not completed
equipment reductions; nor provided complete equipment declarations; nor provided
timely notification of new equipment acquisition. Belarus is again cited for
questionable equipment declarations and its refusal to allow inspectors access to an
equipment storage site. The State Department deems Ukraine to have substantially
complied with CFE requirements, but notes that it retains several hundred equipment
items in excess of treaty limits.
Russia Considers CFE Withdrawal. April 26, 2007, in his last State of the
Union speech, President Putin announced a "moratorium" on Russian CFE
compliance, pointing to, among other things, the NATO nations ' not having ratified
the treaty as adapted. Subsequently, in statements to the press and diplomatic
For more information concerning the Georgian and Moldovan negotiations with Russia
over its troop deployments in their countries, see CRS Report RS21981 Moldova:
Background and U.S. Policy by Steve Woehrel, and CRS Report RL33453 Armenia,
Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests by Jim
Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and
Commitments. Department of State, 2005 p. 47. The State Department did not publish this
statutorily-mandated report to Congress in 2006.
Ibid. pp. 16-28
conferences, Russian officials elucidated the Russian position and its concerns.
Among the major points are the following12:
During its CFE “moratorium” Russia will not allow CFE inspections
nor will it report on its military movements.
The Istanbul Commitments regarding troop withdrawals in Georgia
and Moldova are not an integral part of the CFE Adaptation
Agreement document, and consequently not legally binding and
should not stand in the way of NATO members’ ratification of the
The Baltic States and Slovakia are not bound by the CFE and their
NATO membership, coupled with the new U.S. basing agreements
with Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania, constitute an unacceptable
encroachment on Russian national security.
If the NATO nations do not ratify the CFE Adaptation Agreement
within a year, Russia with consider complete withdrawal from the
Russian officials, military leaders, and political commentators are increasingly
referring to the CFE treaty as a “Cold War agreement,” which no longer reflects the
realities of the European security environment. Russian military officials’
consultations at NATO Headquarters on May 10th brought no softening of the
Russian position. A Russian request to the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe for a special conference of CFE signatories in mid-June
(possibly June 12-15) has been granted, and it is likely that the Russian government
will take this opportunity to air an extensive array of concerns about developments
in European security arrangements over the last several years, and perhaps propose
negotiations for an entirely new framework to address security concerns in Europe.13
The European and U.S. governments, reacting with some surprise at the
harshness of Russian statements, have urged Russia to address its concerns within the
consultative framework of the treaty rather than pursue a withdrawal. However,
Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Gates, in conversations with
President Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and Assistant Secretary of
State for European and Eurasian Affairs in testimony before the U.S. Commission
on Security and Cooperation in Europe, have reiterated the U.S. position that
ratification of the CFE Adaptation Agreement still remains contingent upon Russia
"Russia May Withdraw from Agreement with NATO ", RIA Novosti, April 27, 2007;
"Russian Paper Examines NATO Ties, Impact of CFE Moratorium, " BBC Monitoring
Service May 1, 2007. Translation from Kommersant, April 28, 2007.
"Russian MP Says New Structure of European Security on the Agenda, " ITAR-TASS
World Service, May 11, 2007.
fulfilling its commitment to withdraw its military forces from Georgia and
Some observers, and Russian spokesmen, have portrayed the Russian moves
regarding CFE as an asymmetrical response to the proposed deployment of a U.S.
ground-based missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.15 Others,
including Chief of the Russian General Staff Baluyevsky, have discounted a specific
linkage, seeing the missile defense controversy as merely one element of a more
broadly ranged Russian dissatisfaction with changes in the European security
Though being held with little time for preparation, particularly given the
complexity of the CFE treaty, the June conference of signatories could at least
develop a roadmap for future consultations, even if immediate resolution of
differences appears unlikely.
For Further Reading
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation
Agreements and Commitments. Department of State, 2005.
CRS Report 90-615 RCO, Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
(CFE): A Primer. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-7072379.)
Treaty on Open Skies.17 On March 24, 1992, the United States, Canada and
22 European nations signed the Treaty on Open Skies. The parties agreed to permit
unarmed aircraft to conduct observation flights over their territories. Although the
flights will likely focus on military activities, the information they gather was not
intended to be used to verify compliance with limits in other arms control
agreements. Instead, Open Skies is designed as a confidence-building measure that
will promote openness and enhance mutual understanding about military activities.
The Treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002.
Transcript of Secretary of State Rice Media Availability, Moscow, May 15, 2007. Federal
Document Clearing House; Transcript of Hearing before the U.S. Commission on Security
and Cooperation in Europe, May 24, 2007. Federal Document Clearing House.
"U.S. and NATO Dissect Putin Treaty Threat," Financial Times, April 27, 2007 p. 2.
"Chief of the General Staff Makes a Policy Speech," WPS: What the Papers Say. WPS
Russian Media Monitoring Agency. May 8, 2007; "Russian Move on Key Arms Treaty Not
Linked to US ABM Plans," BBC Monitoring News File. April 26, 2007.
For details contact Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in National Defense, 7-7613.
Open Skies was originally proposed by President Eisenhower in 1955. In the
years before satellites began to collect intelligence data, aerial overflights were seen
as a way to gain information needed for both intelligence and confidence-building
purposes. The Soviet Union rejected President Eisenhower’s proposal because it
considered the overflights equal to espionage. President George H.W. Bush revived
the Open Skies proposal in May 1989. By this time, both the United States and
Soviet Union employed satellites and remote sensors for intelligence collection, so
aircraft overflights would add little for that objective. But, at the time when Europe
was emerging from the East-West divide of the Cold War, the United States
supported increased transparency throughout Europe as a way to reduce the chances
of military confrontation and to build confidence among the participants. The Senate
consented to the ratification of the treaty on August 6, 1993 and President Clinton
signed the instruments of ratification on November 3, 1993, but entry-into-force was
delayed until Russia and Belarus approved ratification in May 2001.
The Provisions of Open Skies. The parties to the Open Skies Treaty have
agreed to make all of their territory accessible to overflights by unarmed fixed wing
observation aircraft. They can restrict flights over areas, such as nuclear power
plants, where safety is a concern, but they cannot impede or prohibit flights over any
area, including military installations that are considered secret or otherwise off-limits.
In most cases, the nation conducting the observation flight will provide the aircraft
and sensors for the flight. However, Russia insisted that the Treaty permit the
observed country to provide the aircraft if it chose to do so. Nations can also team
up to conduct overflights to share the costs of the effort or use aircraft and sensor
suites provided by other nations. Each nation is assigned a quota of overflights that
it can conduct and must be willing to receive each year. The quota is determined,
generally, by the size of the nation’s territory. For the United States, this quota is
equal to 42 observation flights per year.
The Treaty permits the nations to use several types of sensors — including
photographic cameras, infrared cameras, and synthetic aperture radars — during their
observation flights. The permitted equipment will allow the nations to collect basic
information on military forces and activities, but it will provide them with little
detailed technical intelligence. For example, the resolution on the sensors probably
will allow the nations to identify vehicles and distinguish between tanks and trucks,
but it probably will not allow them to tell one type of tank from another. Each
observation flight will produce two sets of data — one for the observing nation and
one for the observed nation. Other parties to the Treaty can purchase copies of the
data. Each nation is responsible for its own analysis of the data.
The Open Skies Treaty was designed as a confidence-building measure,
allowing all nations, including those without access to satellites, to collect
information on military forces and activities of other parties to the Treaty. It is not
designed to provide detailed intelligence information or data needed to verify
compliance with arms control limits. Instead, it allows the participants to gain an
improved understanding of military activities in other nations. Overflights may
provide early signs of efforts to build up military forces or, conversely, assurances
that an adversary or neighbor is not preparing its military for a possible conflict. In
any case, it is designed to promote openness and transparency as a way to ease
tensions and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings about military intentions.
Implementation. Although several of the participating nations conducted
practice missions in the years before the Treaty entered into force, the first official
overflight mission occurred in 2002. The parties have conducted more than 140
missions since that time. The United States has not only conducted several missions
over territories in Europe and the former Soviet Union, it has also hosted numerous
observation flights over its own territory.
For Further Reading
CRS Report 95-1098 F, The Open Skies Treaty: Observation Overflights of
Military Activities. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-7072379.)
Conventional Technology Controls
The Missile Technology Control Regime. The United States, Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom established the Missile
Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on April 16, 1987. The MTCR was designed
to slow the proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles, rockets, and unmanned air
vehicles (UAV) capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. It is an informal
arrangement, not a treaty, consisting of guidelines for transfers of missiles and related
technology, and an annex listing items to be controlled. The Regime is based on the
premise that foreign acquisition or development of delivery systems can be delayed
and made more difficult and expensive if major producers restrict exports. The
MTCR has no independent means to monitor or enforce its guidelines. Nations adopt
the guidelines as national policy and are responsible for restraining their own missilerelated transfers.
Participants. Since 1987, the number of countries that adhere to the MTCR
has grown from seven to 34, with Bulgaria joining the Regime in June 2004.18 Four
countries (China, Israel, Romania, and Slovakia) have said they will restrict their
transfers of missile equipment and technology but have not become partners. The
United States supports new requests for membership to the MTCR only if the country
in question agrees not to develop or acquire missiles (excluding space launch
vehicles) that exceed MTCR guidelines.
The Substance of the MTCR. The MTCR guidelines call on each of the
partner countries to exercise restraint when considering transfers of equipment or
technology that would provide, or help a recipient country build, a missile capable
of delivering a 500 kilogram (1,100 pound) warhead to a range of 300 kilometers
(186 miles) or more. The 500 kilogram weight threshold was intended to limit
transfers of missiles that could carry a relatively crude nuclear warhead. A 1993
“Treaty Update: MTCR,” Arms Control Today, September 2004, p. 5.
addition to the guidelines calls for particular restraint in the export of any missiles
or related technology if the nation controlling the export judges that the missiles are
intended to be used for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear,
chemical, or biological). Thus some missiles with warheads weighing less than 500
kilograms also fall under MTCR guidelines.
Analysts credit the MTCR with slowing missile development in Brazil and
India, blocking a cooperative missile program of Argentina, Egypt, and Iraq, and
eliminating missile programs in South Africa and Hungary. Partner countries have
tightened their export control laws and procedures, and several have taken legal
action against alleged missile-technology smugglers. On the other hand, some
analysts note that the MTCR cannot prevent countries such as North Korea, Iran,
Syria, India, and Pakistan from acquiring and producing missiles, nor prevent nonPartners (China, North Korea, and others) from exporting missiles and technology.
It has also been difficult to restrain exports of ballistic and cruise missile technology
from some Partners — Russia has exported technology to Iran and Great Britain has
done so to the United Arab Emirates. Analysts and experts in the international
community have also discussed the possibility that the “supply side” approach of the
MTCR has outlived its usefulness and that a “demand side” approach to proliferation,
on a regional or global basis, might prove more effective.
International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation
(ICOC). The International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation
(ICOC) was inaugurated on November 25, 2002. As of January 1, 2004, 111
countries had subscribed to the ICOC.19 The ICOC is not a treaty but instead a set
of “fundamental behavioral norms and a framework for cooperation to address
missile proliferation.” It focuses on the demand side of proliferation, as a
complement to the supply side oriented MTCR. It seeks to achieve transparency by
using confidence building measures, such as information transfer on ballistic missile
programs. It also calls for pre-launch notification of ballistic missile flight tests.
The ICOC intends to establish a formal standing organization to collect
information and oversee the development of its confidence building measures and
information control mechanisms. Supporters have hailed it as another important step
in the eventual creation of a legally binding treaty and some members have suggested
that the ICOC come under auspices of the United Nations. Critics question its
effectiveness, citing its lack of a verification regime and penalties, and lack of
incentives — features more common in a treaty and not in a voluntary code.
“International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation,” Fact Sheet - U.S.
State Department Bureau of Nonproliferation, January 6, 2004.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31848 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and
International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation
(ICOC): Background and Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert.
CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status,
by Sharon Squassoni, Steve Bowman, and Steven A. Hildreth.
“U.S. Efforts to Combat the Biological Weapons Threat.” State Department
Fact Sheet. November 14, 2002.
Tucker, Jonathan, The Sixth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons
Convention: Success or Failure? Center for Nonproliferation Studies,
January 4, 2007. [http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/week/070104.htm]
The Wassenaar Arrangement.20 In July 1996, 33 nations approved the
Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use
goods and technologies. Dual-use goods are those commodities, processes, or
technologies used primarily for civilian purposes which can also be used to develop
or enhance the capabilities of military equipment. This agreement replaces the
Coordinating Committee For Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) — the Cold War
organization that controlled sensitive exports of technologies to Communist nations.
The Wassenaar Arrangement is designed “to contribute to regional and
international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater
responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies,
thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.” This group has a broader membership
but smaller lists of controlled goods than did CoCom. Its control regime is also less
rigorous. Under Wassenaar, each national government regulates its own exports,
whereas under CoCom, any member could disapprove the export by any other
member of a controlled item to a proscribed destination. There is also no
enforcement mechanism should a Participating State violate Wassenaar guidelines.
The Arrangement nevertheless provides information on arms transfers that would not
otherwise be available. The Arrangement seeks to complement the existing export
control regimes for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their delivery
systems, and other transparency mechanisms such as the UN Arms Register.
Thirty-three nations approved the Arrangement’s “Initial Elements” in July
1996.21 A small Secretariat was established in Vienna and Participating States began
For details, contact Richard Grimmett, Specialist in National Defense, 7-7675
The Participating States currently are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria,
Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New
reporting transfers in the fall of 1996. In 1999, U.S. officials campaigned to
strengthen the arrangement and make exports more transparent. The effort was
driven in part by recommendations of the congressional Select Committee on U.S.
National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of
China (the Cox Committee) to enhance multilateral export controls.
Membership. Member nations of the Wassenaar Arrangement that produce
or export arms or industrial equipment must adhere to major existing nonproliferation
regimes and treaties, and adhere to effective export controls. Current participants are
expected to have national policies banning arms and related exports to Iran, Iraq, and
North Korea. Initially the United States was unwilling to include Russia, but other
members of CoCom were unwilling to proceed without Russia. In June 1995,
Russia agreed not to make any new weapons contracts with Iran and not to sell it
nuclear reprocessing equipment, clearing it for membership in Wassenaar. In
November 2000, Russia announced it would end a bilateral agreement with the
United States regarding arms sales to Iran. In spite of this action, Russia remains a
member of Wassenaar. On December 6, 2000, the Russian Defense Minister noted
that Russia would only sell “defensive” weapons to Iran in the future. Participants
still doubt that other former Soviet republics are willing or capable of adopting the
policies and procedures of the Wassenaar Arrangement. China has not been invited
to join Wassenaar because of concerns regarding its weapons exports to Iran and
Pakistan, and other shortcomings in its export control system.
Materials To Be Controlled. Participating States agree to control exports
and retransfers of items on a common Munitions List based on the categories of
major conventional weapons used for the Conventional Forces-Europe Treaty and the
United Nations Arms Register, and more than 100 items on a List of Dual-Use Goods
and Technologies. The decision to allow or deny transfer of an item is the sole
responsibility of each Participating State. The United States would like to establish
detailed reporting requirements and restraint on all arms exports, including various
types of missiles and advanced military equipment not specified on the current lists.
The Administration modified the Export Administration Regulations to include all
items on the Wassenaar Dual-Use list.
Organization and Operations. Twice a year Participating States report all
transfers or licenses issued for sensitive dual-use goods or technology and all
deliveries of items on the Munitions List. The data exchange identifies the supplier,
recipient, and items transferred. During negotiations, only the United States favored
prior notification of transfers, which would have allowed time to discuss the
implications of planned transactions. More intensive consultations and information
sharing were envisioned among six major weapons suppliers: the United States, the
United Kingdom, France, Russia, Germany, and Italy.
Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic,
Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom,
and the United States. South Africa was admitted as the 40th Participating State of the
Wassenaar Arrangement in December 2005.
Participating States also report denials of licenses to transfer items on the DualUse list to non-member states. The Arrangement does not prohibit a participating
country from making an export that has been denied by another participant (this
practice is called “undercutting”). But participants are required to report soon after
they approve a license for an export of dual-use goods that are essentially identical
to those that have been denied by another participant during the previous three years.
During plenary and working group discussions, Participating States voluntarily
share information on potential threats to peace and stability and examine dangerous
acquisition trends. The participants review the scope of reporting and coordinating
national control policies and work on further guidelines and procedures. Twice a
year, the group reviews the Munitions List with a view to extending information and
Implementation. Although some progress has been made in getting
Wassenaar states to subscribe to general principles regarding strong enforcement
mechanisms, Members of Congress may question whether other participants will be
as diligent as the United States in controlling exports of dual-use technologies. Most
countries place fewer restrictions on exports than does the United States. The
Arrangement may support U.S. interests by encouraging other suppliers to forgo
irresponsible exports that they might consider politically or financially beneficial.
On the other hand, if the other participants do not restrain their exports of weapons
and dual-use items to an extent comparable to the United States, U.S. businesses may
be placed at a disadvantage in world markets and the U.S. trade balance may be
It is not clear whether the United States can induce acceptance of higher
standards by other Participating States by appealing to common security interests, by
rewarding cooperative behavior, or by penalizing nations that continue to transfer
weapons and technology to aggressive nations in regions of tension. Congress may
examine various legislative and oversight mechanisms that could contribute to
effective and fair multilateral export controls, including renewal and/or revision of
the expired Export Administration Act of 1979. This could enable Congress to shape
policy in this area.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RS20517, Military Technology and Conventional Weapons Export
Controls: the Wassenaar Arrangement, by Richard F. Grimmett.
CRS Report RL31832, The Export Administration Act: Evolution, Provisions,
and Debate, by Ian F. Fergusson.
Weapons Elimination Conventions
Chemical Weapons Convention. The Chemical Weapons Convention
(CWC) bans the development, production, transfer, stockpiling, and use of chemical
and toxin weapons, mandates the destruction of all CW production facilities, and
seeks to control the production and international transfer of the key chemical
components of these weapons. It seeks to promote the global elimination of these
weapons. Negotiations began in 1968, but made little progress for many years.22
Verification issues, in particular, stalled the talks until the Soviet Union accepted
challenge inspections. In September 1992, the Conference on Disarmament’s forty
member-nations agreed on the final draft for the Convention, and it opened for
signature in January 1993. Since then, 189 nations have signed and 181 nations,
including the United States and Russia, have ratified the treaty. Only eight nations
have neither signed nor acceded to the Convention.23 It entered into force on April
The U.S. Senate held hearings and debated the CWC for more than four years,
before consenting to its ratification on April 24, 1997. Congress passed the CWC
implementing legislation, as a part of the FY1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L.
105-277), in late October, 1998. This legislation provides the statutory authority for
U.S. domestic compliance with the Convention’s provisions. The legislation also
provides detailed procedures to be used for on-site inspections by the Organization
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), including limitations on access
and search warrant procedures, should they be required.
Limits and Restrictions. Parties to the Convention have agreed to cease all
offensive chemical weapons research and production and close all relevant facilities.
They agreed to declare all CW stockpiles, allow an inventory by international
inspectors, and seal their stocks. They must also destroy their weapons within 10
years, unless the OPCW approves an extension. They must also destroy all CW
production facilities within 10 years. In “exceptional cases of compelling need”, the
OPCW may approve the conversion of these facilities to peaceful purposes.
The CWC contains a complex verification regime, with different obligations
applying to different types of chemical facilities. The Convention establishes three
schedules of chemicals, grouped by relevance to CW production and extent of
legitimate peaceful uses. Some facilities are subject to systematic on-site
verification, others are subject to periodic verification inspections. Facilities for a
third class of chemicals are subject to random or “ad hoc” inspections. Signatories
may also request challenge inspections at facilities suspected to be in violation of the
Convention. The OPCW will carry out these inspections on short notice. Inspected
nations will have the right to negotiate the extent of inspectors’ access to any facility,
but must make every reasonable effort to confirm compliance.
Russian Compliance and Financial Aid. Information exchanges under
a bilateral U.S.-Russian CW destruction agreement, amplified by charges of
deception from former Russian CW scientists, have led to charges that the Russians
The United States and Soviet Union — possessors of the world’s largest CW stockpiles
— also conducted bilateral negotiations from 1976 to 1980.
Angola, Barbados, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria.
have not been forthright in declaring details about their CW program, particularly in
the area of binary agent research. The U.S. intelligence community has provided the
relevant Senate Committees with classified briefings on attempts to reconcile these
concerns through continued high-level consultations.
Russia has maintained that it needs significant foreign aid to carry out its
destruction program, including substantial assistance in infrastructure improvements
for the communities where destruction sites are located. The United States provided
Russia with about $230 million from FY1992-FY2000, under DOD’s Cooperative
Threat Reduction Program, to help with chemical weapons destruction. Most of
these funds have been directed to construction of a destruction facility at Shchuch’ye.
The impetus for continued funding, despite reservations about thisprogram, has been
the concern that the Russian CW stockpile is a potential source of covert CW
Even with foreign assistance, Russia will not be able to meet CWC destruction
deadlines. It requested an extension until 2012, but few believe that extension will
be sufficient. Consequently, the CWC Conference of States Parties has approved an
extension of Russia’s interim deadline to destroy 20% of its stockpile to April 2007
and also agreed to an extension of subsequent deadlines in principle, with no date
specified. In November 2004, a senior Russian official announced schedules for the
construction of five new CW destruction facilities and still projected that the new
2012 deadline will be met.24
U.S. Chemical Demilitarization Program. The United States has also
encountered difficulties in destroying its CW stockpile. In October 2003, the United
States acknowledged that it would not be able to destroy 45% of its CW stockpile by
the interim deadline of April 29, 2004; it requested an extension of the interim
deadline to December 2007 — a full eight months after the Convention’s deadline
for the destruction of the entire stockpile. This request, and its implication that the
United States will not be able to meet the final destruction deadline of April 2007,
reflects the many difficulties the destruction program has encountered over the years.
Accepting that the United States is undertaking a good faith effort to destroy its
stockpile, the Eighth OPCW Conference of States Parties approved the extension of
the 45% deadline to December 2007 and the extension of the final deadline in
principle, with no date specified.
Compliance and Participation. In its most recent report on arms control
treaty compliance, the United States has asserted that China maintains an active CW
research and development program and “CW production mobilization capability”.
The report further assesses that Iran is “retaining and modernizing key elements of
its CW infrastructure, including offensive research and development, a possible
undeclared stockpile, and an offensive production capability.” The United States has
not requested challenge inspections for any facilities in these countries because of
concerns that prohibited activities could avoid detection, and that inspections that
Nartker, Mike. “Russian Official Outlines Detailed Schedule to Eliminate Chemical
Weapons Arsenal by 2012” Global Security Newswire, November 12, 2004.
failed to confirm such activity would contribute to a false sense of security.25 The
Administration has also not sought to impose unilateral sanctions.
Several nations suspected of possessing chemical weapons (e.g. Syria, North
Korea) have not joined nor are expected to join the CWC. The most notable new
accession to the CWC is Libya, which has ended its WMD programs and is
undertaking the destruction of its CW stockpile under OPCW supervision. The
newly elected government of Iraq is expected to sign and ratify the CWC in the near
For Further Reading
Chemical Weapons Convention and Related Documents,
CRS Report RL32158, Chemical Weapons Convention: Issues for Congress.
(Archived. For copies contact Steve Bowman 707-7613).
Biological Weapons Convention. In 1969, the Nixon Administration
unilaterally renounced U.S. biological weapons. Offensive BW development and
production ceased, and destruction of the U.S. BW stockpile began. Simultaneously,
the United States pressed the Soviet Union to follow its example. After some delay,
agreement was reached, and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) was signed
in 1972. The United States, after lengthy Senate consultations, ratified the
Convention in 1975.
The BWC bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of
these weapons. It permits only defensive biological warfare research (e.g., vaccines,
protective equipment), and allows production and stockpiling of BW agents only in
amounts justifiable for protective or peaceful purposes. Unlike the Chemical
Weapons Convention (CWC), the BWC does not specify particular biological agents,
but generically defines them as: “Microbial or other biological agents or toxins
whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no
justification for prophylactic or peaceful purposes.”
The Convention has 155 States Parties, including the United States, and there
are 16 additional countries that have signed, but not ratified the Convention. Many
believe that the Convention is inadequate because it does not contain any verification
or enforcement provisions. Revelations about proven and alleged Soviet violations
of the BWC underscore concerns about whether the parties can enforce the
Convention. Since 2001, the United States has opposed strengthening the BWC,
emphasizing instead voluntary measures by individual national governments.26
Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and
Commitments. Department of State, 2005.
The text of the BWC and associated documents are available at the United Nations
Verification and Enforcement. The November 2001 Review Conference
of the BWC ended in disarray, unable to agree upon a final declaration. The primary
deadlock was the issue of an adaptive protocol to the Convention, intended to
enhance its enforcement. In July 2001, after almost seven years of negotiations, the
United States declared the 200-page protocol unacceptable as basis for further
negotiation. A Bush Administration review concluded that the draft protocol would
not provide adequate security against covert violations, yet could endanger the
security of U.S. biodefense programs and U.S. commercial proprietary information.
Alone in its complete rejection of the draft protocol, the United States came under
widespread international criticism, including from close allies, for “jeopardizing” the
future of biological arms control. In response, the Administration put forward
several proposals at the 2001 Review Conference, urging their adoption by BWC
State Parties at the national level. These included:
Criminalization of BWC violations and expedited extradition
procedures for violators
United Nations investigation of suspicious disease outbreaks or
alleged BW use
Procedures for addressing BWC compliance concerns
Improved international disease control
Improved security over research on pathogenic organisms
The Review Conference was unable to reach a compromise final declaration on
future activities satisfactory to all State Parties, and adjourned until November 2002.
The U.S. has continued to oppose further negotiations on verification, while calling
for international action against Iran and North Korea whom it has identified as BWC
violators. Confronted with the U.S. position, the Chairman of the 2002 Review
Conference, presented a minimal program emphasizing only annual meetings to
discuss strengthening national laws and ways to respond to BW attacks. These were
endorsed by the United States and accepted by the Conference.
The 6th BWC Review Conference, held in December 2006, could not reach
consensus on a comprehensive set of guidelines for national implementation of the
Convention owing to differences between the United States and the non-aligned
nations group over technology transfer control issues. The assumption of the United
States’ opposition also precluded consideration of enhanced verification or
enforcement provisions for the Convention. The Conference was able to agree to
continue annual meetings for discussion and information exchanges on a variety of
issues, including domestic enforcement of BWC provisions, pathogen security, and
oversight of potentially dual-use research. The United States required, however, that
these sessions be prohibited from reaching binding decisions, reserving that for the
7th Review Conference in 2011.
Compliance Concerns. Though the United States has used the Review
Conferences to repeatedly charge that the Soviet Union is in violation of the
website: Biological Weapons Convention [http://disarmament2.un.org/wmd/bwc//]
Convention, it did not do so at the December 2006, Conference. Instead, it voiced
its assessment that Syria, Iran, and North Korea were in violation, but declined to
offer the Conference supporting evidence. The State Department has not, however,
revised its position that “Russia maintains a mature offensive BW program.”27
Consultations among the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia to resolve
this controversy have broken off with no progress. The United States has imposed
no unilateral sanctions against Russia in connection with BWC non-compliance.
The last State Department report on compliance with arms control agreements
also noted that China continues to maintain some elements of an offensive BW
capability.28 The Administration has retracted its earlier assessment that Cuba had
a BW research and development program, and now only notes that Cuba has “the
technical capability to conduct limited offensive BW research and development.”
Terrorism Concerns. The Fall 2001 postal anthrax attacks in the United
States spurred significant congressional interest in biological weapons, but the focus
has been primarily on increased domestic security and medical protective/treatment
Though there has been some congressional criticism of the
Administration’s position on the BWC, there has been no political initiative to
refocus biological arms control efforts. While those in favor of strengthening the
BWC have pointed to the anthrax attacks and rapid advances in biotechnology as
emphasizing the need for greater efforts to control biological weapons, those
supporting the Administration’s position maintain that the difficulties in
apprehending the perpetrator(s) of the anthrax attacks and wide dissemination of
biotechnology merely highlight the futility of an international BW verification
Controlling the Use of Anti-Personnel Landmines. Anti-personnel
landmines are small, inexpensive weapons that kill or maim people upon contact.
Abandoned, unmarked minefields can remain dangerous to both soldiers and
civilians for an indefinite time. Mines were addressed in The Convention on
Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which
May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have Indiscriminate Effects also
known as the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).29 Protocol II of this
contains rules for marking, registering, and removing minefields. The CCW was
concluded in 1980 and entered into force in 1993. The United States signed it in
1982 and the U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on March 24,
U.S. Initiatives. In 1992, Congress established a one year moratorium on U.S.
exports of APL (P.L. 102-484) and subsequently extended it for fifteen more years
Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and
Commitments. Department of State, 2005. p. 27.
Ibid. pp. 17, 26.
(see P.L. 107-115). H.R. 948, introduced in the 1st Session, 107th Congress, sought
to make the ban permanent but was not brought to a vote. Many nations have
followed the U.S. example and imposed their own moratoria. In the FY1996 Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act (P.L. 104-107) Congress established a one-year ban
on the use of APL by U.S. personnel to begin in 1999 — but, the 105th Congress
repealed the moratorium in the FY1999 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 105-261).
In 1996, President Clinton announced a policy that immediately discontinued
U.S. use of “dumb” APL (except in the DMZ of Korea); supported negotiation of a
worldwide ban on APL in the United Nations; supported development of alternative
technologies to perform landmine functions without endangering civilians (he
subsequently set a goal of 2003 to replace even smart mines everywhere except
Korea, and of 2006 in Korea); and, expanded mine detection and clearing technology
efforts and assistance to mine-plagued countries. This initiative temporarily retained
the possible use of “smart” mines that render themselves harmless after a certain
period of time, either through self-destruction, self-neutralization, or selfdeactivation.
In November 1996, the United States introduced a resolution to the U.N.
General Assembly to pursue an international agreement that would ban use,
stockpiling, production, and transfer of APL — there were 84 co-sponsors. Some
countries, such as Canada, already abided by the intent of the proposed agreement
and pushed for an early deadline to reach agreement. Others, however, were
concerned that verifying such an agreement would be difficult, or that AP landmines
still have a useful and legitimate role in their security planning. Landmine control,
specifically a ban on exports, was briefly on the agenda of the Conference on
Disarmament (CD) in Geneva for 1999. During 2000, however, that body could not
agree on its program of work and the landmine issue was not addressed again.
During 1997, the government of Canada and a number of non-governmental
organizations, such as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, sponsored
conferences to craft a treaty outside the CD process. Over 100 nations signed the
Ottawa Treaty, formally titled the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use,
Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their
Destruction, which went into force for its parties on March 1, 1999. The Clinton
Administration participated in the Ottawa Process, but declined to sign the Treaty
after failing to gain certain temporary exceptions to treaty language. Specifically, the
United States wanted to continue to use APL in the defense of South Korea until
2006 if necessary, and the ability to include smart APL (or “devices”) within antitank landmine munitions. President Clinton suggested that the United States would
sign the Ottawa Treaty in 2006 if effective alternatives to APL were available .30
The Army has an APL Alternatives effort underway. The Non Self-Destruct Alternative
[http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/nsda.htm] is in the engineering
and manufacturing development stage; it combines lethal and non-lethal payloads and
includes a “man-in-the-loop” to determine when they are fired.
Bush Administration. In February 2004, the Bush Administration
announced that, after 2010, the United States would not use any type of persistent
landmines, whether anti-personnel or — a new policy — anti-vehicle. Self-destruct
and self-deactivating landmines will be used and will meet or exceed specifications
of the Amended Mines Protocol, CCW. It also indicated that alternatives to
persistent landmines would be developed that incorporate enhanced technologies.
The administration also indicated that funding for humanitarian demining would be
increased by the State Department to $70,000,000 in FY2006.
This new policy does not include a date to join the Ottawa Treaty. It is unlikely
that the Bush Administration will pursue such a goal. If needed, U.S. forces will use
non-persistent mines. Various U.S. landmine systems were reportedly prepositioned
in the Middle East in preparation for the 2003 war in Iraq, but were not used.
CRS Report 96-362, Landmines: Basic Facts and Congressional Concerns, by
Edward F. Bruner and Thomas Hawkins. (Archived. For copies contact
Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
To Walk the Earth in Safety: The United States Commitment to Humanitarian
Demining, Fifth Edition, September 2004. U.S. Department of State.
New United States Policy on Landmines, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs,
U.S. Department of State, February 2004.
Appendix A. List of Treaties and Agreements
This appendix lists a wide range of arms control treaties and agreements. The
date listed in each entry indicates the year in which the negotiations were completed.
In some cases, entry into force occurred in a subsequent year.
The Geneva Protocol, 1925: Bans the use of poison gas and bacteriological weapons
The Antarctic Treaty, 1959: Demilitarizes the Antarctic continent and provides for
scientific cooperation on Antarctica.
Memorandum of Understanding ... Regarding the Establishment of a Direct
Communications Link (The Hot Line Agreement), 1963: Provides for a secure,
reliable communications link between Washington and Moscow. Modified in 1971,
1984, and 1988 to improve the method of communications.
Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1963: Bans nuclear weapons tests or any nuclear
explosions in the atmosphere, outer space, and under water.
Outer Space Treaty, 1967: Bans the orbiting or stationing on celestial bodies
(including the moon) of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.
Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of
Tlatelolco), 1967: Obligates nations in Latin America not to acquire, possess, or
store nuclear weapons on their territory.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1968: Non-nuclear signatories
agree not to acquire nuclear weapons; nuclear signatories agree to cooperate with
non-nuclear signatories in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Seabed Arms Control Treaty, 1971: Bans emplacement of military installations,
including those capable of launching weapons, on the seabed.
Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War (Accident
Measures Agreement), 1971: Outlines measures designed to reduce the risk that
technical malfunction, human failure, misinterpreted incident, or unauthorized action
could start a nuclear exchange.
Biological Weapons Convention, 1972: Bans the development, production,
stockpile, or acquisition of biological agents or toxins for warfare.
Agreement ... on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas, 1972:
Establishes “rules of the road” to reduce the risk that accident, miscalculation, or
failure of communication could escalate into a conflict at sea.
Interim Agreement ... on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of
Strategic Offensive Arms (SALT I Interim Agreement), 1972: Limits numbers of
some types of U.S. and Soviet strategic offensive nuclear weapons.
Treaty ... on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty), 1972:
Limits United States and Soviet Union to two ABM sites each; limits the number of
interceptor missiles and radars at each site to preclude nationwide defense. Modified
in 1974 to permit one ABM site in each nation. U.S. withdrew in June 2002.
Agreement ... on the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1973: United States and Soviet
Union agreed to adopt an “attitude of international cooperation” to prevent the
development of situations that might lead to nuclear war.
Treaty ... on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapons Tests (Threshold Test
Ban Treaty), 1974: Prohibits nuclear weapons tests with yields of more than 150
kilotons. Ratified and entered into force in 1990.
Treaty ... on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes (Peaceful
Nuclear Explosions Treaty), 1976: Extends the limit of 150 kilotons to nuclear
explosions occurring outside weapons test sites. Ratified and entered into force in
Concluding Document of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
(Helsinki Final Act), 1975: Outlines notifications and confidence-building measures
with respect to military activities in Europe.
Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any other Hostile Use of Environmental
Modification Techniques, 1978: Bans the hostile use of environmental modification
techniques that have lasting or widespread effects.
Treaty ... on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (SALT II), 1979: Places
quantitative and qualitative limits on some types of U.S. and Soviet strategic
offensive nuclear weapons. Never ratified.
The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional
Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have
Indiscriminate Effects: This Convention, also known as the Convention on
Conventional Weapons (CCW), was concluded in Geneva in 1980 and entered into
force in 1993. Protocol II (Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of
Mines, Booby-traps and Other Devices) contains rules for marking, registering, and
removing minefields, in an effort to reduce indiscriminate casualties caused by antipersonnel landmines. Protocol IV prohibits laser weapons designed to cause
Document of the Stockholm Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building
Measures and Disarmament in Europe (Stockholm Document), 1986: Expands on
the notifications and confidence-building measures in the Helsinki Final Act.
Provides for ground and aerial inspection of military activities.
Treaty of Rarotonga, 1986: Establishes a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the South
Pacific. The United States signed the Protocols in 1996; the Senate has not yet
provided its advice and consent to ratification.
Agreement ... on the Establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, 1987:
Establishes communications centers in Washington and Moscow and improves
communications links between the two.
Treaty ... on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range
Missiles, 1987: Bans all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise
missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.
Agreement ... on Notifications of Launches of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and
Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles, 1988: Obligates United States and Soviet
Union to provide at least 24 hours notice before the launch of an ICBM or SLBM.
Agreement on the Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities, 1989: Outlines
cooperative procedures that are designed to prevent and resolve peacetime incidents
between the armed forces of the United States and Soviet Union.
U.S.-U.S.S.R. Chemical Weapons Destruction Agreement, 1990: Mandates the
destruction of the bulk of the U.S. and Soviet chemical weapons stockpiles.
Vienna Document of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building
Measures, 1990: Expands on the measures in the 1986 Stockholm Document.
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), 1990: Limits and
reduces the numbers of certain types of conventional armaments deployed from the
“Atlantic to the Urals.”
Treaty ... on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START),
1991: Limits and reduces the numbers of strategic offensive nuclear weapons.
Modified by the Lisbon Protocol of 1992 to provide for Belarus, Ukraine,
Kazakhstan, and Russia to succeed to Soviet Union’s obligations under the Treaty.
Entered into force on December 5, 1994.
Vienna Document of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building
Measures, 1992: Expands on the measures in the 1990 Vienna Document.
Treaty on Open Skies, 1992: Provides for overflights by unarmed observation
aircraft to build confidence and increase transparency of military activities.
Agreement ... Concerning the Safe and Secure Transportation, Storage, and
Destruction of Weapons and Prevention of Weapons Proliferation, 1992: Provides
for U.S. assistance to Russia for the safe and secure transportation, storage, and
destruction of nuclear, chemical, and other weapons.
Agreement Between the United States and Republic of Belarus Concerning
Emergency Response and the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass
Destruction, 1992: Provides for U.S. assistance to Belarus in eliminating nuclear
weapons and responding to nuclear emergencies in Belarus.
Treaty ... on the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms
(START II) 1993: Would have further reduced the number of U.S. and Russian
strategic offensive nuclear weapons. Would have banned the deployment of all landbased multiple-warhead missiles (MIRVed ICBMs), including the Soviet SS-18
“heavy” ICBM. Signed on January 3, 1993; U.S. Senate consented to ratification in
January 1996; Russian Duma approved ratification in April 2000. Treaty never
entered into force.
Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use
of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction: Bans chemical weapons and
requires elimination of their production facilities. Opened for signature on January
13, 1993; entered into force in April 1997.
Agreement ... Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Resulting
from the Dismantlement of Nuclear Weapons in Russia, 1993: Provides for U.S.
purchase of highly enriched uranium removed from Russian nuclear weapons;
uranium to be blended into low enriched uranium for fuel in commercial nuclear
reactors. Signed and entered into force on February 18, 1993.
Agreement Between the United States and Ukraine Concerning Assistance to
Ukraine in the Elimination of Strategic Nuclear Arms, and the Prevention of
Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Provides for U.S. assistance to
Ukraine to eliminate nuclear weapons and implement provisions of START I. Signed
in late 1993, entered into force in 1994.
Agreement Between the United States and Republic of Kazakhstan Concerning the
Destruction of Silo Launchers of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, Emergency
Response, and the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction,
1993: Provides for U.S. assistance to Kazakhstan to eliminate nuclear weapons and
implement provisions of START I.
Trilateral Statement by the Presidents of the United States, Russia, and Ukraine,
1994: Statement in which Ukraine agreed to transfer all nuclear warheads on its
territory to Russia in exchange for security assurances and financial compensation.
Some compensation will be in the form of fuel for Ukraine’s nuclear reactors. The
United States will help finance the compensation by purchasing low enriched
uranium derived from dismantled weapons from Russia.
Treaty of Pelindaba, 1996: Establishes a nuclear weapons free zone in Africa. The
United States has signed, but not yet ratified Protocols to the Treaty.
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), 1996: Bans all nuclear explosions,
for any purpose. The United States and more than 130 other nations had signed the
Treaty by late 1996. The U.S. Senate voted against ratification in October, 1999.
Ottawa Treaty, 1997: Convention for universal ban against the use of anti-personnel
landmines, signed in 1997 and entered into force in 1999. The United States and
other significant military powers are not signatories.
Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (Moscow Treaty): Obligates the United States
and Russia to reduce strategic nuclear forces to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads.
Does not define weapons to be reduced or provide monitoring and verification
provisions. Reductions must be completed by December 31, 2012, when the Treaty
limits then expire. Signed in May 2002, entered into force June 1, 2003.
Appendix B. The U.S. Treaty Ratification Process
Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution establishes
responsibilities for treaty ratification. It provides that the President “shall have
Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided
two thirds of the Senators present concur.” Contrary to common perceptions, the
Senate does not ratify treaties; it provides its advice and consent to ratification by
passing a resolution of ratification. The President then “ratifies” a treaty by signing
the instrument of ratification and either exchanging it with the other parties to the
treaty or depositing it at a central repository (such as the United Nations).
In section 33 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act (P.L. 87-297, as
amended), Congress outlined the relationship between arms control agreements and
the treaty ratification process. This law provides that “no action shall be taken under
this or any other law that will obligate the United States to disarm or to reduce or to
limit the Armed Forces or armaments of the United States, except pursuant to the
treaty-making power of the President under the Constitution or unless authorized by
further affirmative legislation by the Congress of the United States.”
In practice, most U.S. arms control agreements have been submitted as treaties,
a word reserved in U.S. usage for international agreements submitted to the Senate
for its approval in accordance with Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. The
Senate clearly expects future arms control obligations would be made only pursuant
to treaty in one of its declarations in the resolution of ratification of the START
Treaty. The declaration stated: “The Senate declares its intention to consider for
approval international agreements that would obligate the United States to reduce or
limit the Armed Forces or armaments of the United States in a militarily significant
manner only pursuant to the treaty power set forth in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2
of the Constitution.”
Nonetheless, some arms control agreements have been made by other means.
Several “confidence building” measures have been concluded as legally binding
international agreements, called executive agreements in the United States, without
approval by Congress. These include the Hot Line Agreement of June 20, 1963, the
Agreement on Prevention of Nuclear War of June 22, 1973, and agreements
concluded in the Standing Consultative Commission established by the Anti-ballistic
Missile Treaty. In another category that might be called statutory or congressionalexecutive agreements, the SALT I Interim Agreement was approved by a joint
resolution of Congress in 1972. In a third category, the executive branch has entered
some arms control agreements that it did not submit to Congress on grounds that they
were “politically binding” but not “legally binding.” Such agreements include
several measures agreed to through the Conference on Security and Cooperation in
Europe, such as the Stockholm Document on Confidence- and Security-Building
Measures and Disarmament in Europe, signed September 19, 1986.
The conclusion or signing of a treaty is only the first step toward making the
agreement legally binding on the parties. First, the parties decide whether to ratify,
that is, express their consent to be bound by, the treaty that the negotiators have
signed. Each party follows its own constitutional process to approve the treaty.
In the United States, after a treaty has been signed, the President at a time of his
choice submits to the Senate the treaty and any documents that are to be considered
an integral part of the treaty and requests the Senate’s advice and consent to
ratification. The President’s message is accompanied by a letter from the Secretary
of State to the President which contains an analysis of the treaty. After submittal, the
Senate may approve the agreement, approve it with various conditions, or not
Senate consideration of a treaty is governed by Senate Rule XXX, which was
amended in 1986 to simplify the procedure.31 The treaty is read a first time and the
injunction of secrecy is removed by unanimous consent, although normally the text
of a treaty has already been made public. The treaty is then referred to the Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations under Senate Rule XXV on jurisdiction. After
consideration, the Committee reports the treaty to the Senate with a proposed
resolution of ratification that may contain any of the conditions described below. If
the Committee objects to a treaty, or believes the treaty would not receive the
necessary majority in the Senate, it usually simply does not report the treaty to the
Senate and the treaty remains pending indefinitely on the Committee calendar.32
After it is reported from the Committee, a treaty is required to lie over for one
calendar day before Senate consideration. The Senate considers the treaty after
adoption of a non-debatable motion to go into executive session for that purpose.33
Rule XXX provides that the treaty then be read a second time, after which
amendments to the treaty may be proposed. The Majority Leader typically asks
unanimous consent that the treaty be considered to have passed through all the
parliamentary stages up to and including the presentation of the resolution of
ratification. After the resolution of ratification is presented, amendments to the treaty
The 1986 amendment eliminated a stage in which the Senate met “as in Committee of the
Whole” and acted on any proposed amendment to the treaty.
For further information, see Rejection of Treaties: A Brief Survey of Past Instances. CRS
Report No. 87-305 F, by Ellen C. Collier, March 30, 1987. (Archived. For copies, call Amy
Earlier, treaties could only be taken out of the order in which they were reported from the
Committee and appeared on the Senate Executive Calendar by debatable motion. In 1977
the Threshold Test Ban and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaties were ordered reported by
the Committee and then delayed partly so that they would not be placed on the Senate
calendar ahead of the Panama Canal Treaties. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate.
November 1993. P. 101.
itself, which are rare, may not be proposed. The resolution of ratification is then
“open to amendment in the form of reservations, declarations, statements, or
understandings.” Decisions on amendments and conditions are made by a majority
vote. Final approval of the resolution of ratification with any conditions that have
been approved, requires a two-thirds majority of those Senators present.
After approving the treaty, the Senate returns it to the President with the
resolution of ratification. If he accepts the conditions of the Senate, the President
then ratifies the treaty by signing a document referred to as an instrument of
ratification. Included in the instrument of ratification are any of the Senate
conditions that State Department officials consider require tacit or explicit approval
by the other party. The ratification is then complete at the national level and ready
for exchange or deposit. The treaty enters into force in the case of a bilateral treaty
upon exchange of instruments of ratification and in the case of a multilateral treaty
with the deposit of the number of ratifications specified in the treaty. The President
then signs a document called a proclamation which publicizes the treaty domestically
as in force and the law of the land.
If the President objects to any of the Senate conditions, or if the other party to
a treaty objects to any of the conditions and further negotiations occur, the President
may resubmit the treaty to the Senate for further consideration or simply not ratify it.
Approval with Conditions
The Senate may stipulate various conditions on its approval of a treaty. Major
types of Senate conditions include amendments, reservations, understandings, and
declarations or other statements or provisos. Sometimes the executive branch
recommends the conditions, such as the December 16, 1974, reservation to the 1925
Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of poison gas and the understandings on the
protocols to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America.
An amendment to a treaty proposes a change to the language of the treaty itself,
and Senate adoption of amendments to the text of a treaty is infrequent. A formal
amendment to a treaty after it has entered into force is made through an additional
treaty often called a protocol. An example is the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile)
Protocol, signed July 3, 1974, which limited the United States and the Soviet Union
to one ABM site each instead of two as in the original 1972 ABM Treaty. While the
Senate did not formally attach amendments to the 1974 Threshold Test Ban and 1976
Peaceful Nuclear Explosion treaties, it was not until Protocols relating to verification
were concluded in 1990 that the Senate approved these two Treaties.
A reservation is a limitation or qualification that changes the obligations of one
or more of the parties. A reservation must be communicated to the other parties and,
in a bilateral treaty, explicitly agreed to by the other party. President Nixon requested
a reservation to the Geneva Protocol on the use of poison gases stating that the
protocol would cease to be binding on the United States in regard to an enemy state
if that state or any of its allies failed to respect the prohibition. One of the conditions
attached to the INF treaty might be considered a reservation although it was not
called that. On the floor the sponsors referred to it as a Category III condition. The
condition was that the President obtain Soviet consent that a U.S.-Soviet agreement
concluded on May 12, 1988, be of the same effect as the provisions of the treaty.
An understanding is an interpretation or elaboration ordinarily considered
consistent with the treaty. In 1980, the Senate added five understandings to the
agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Application
of Safeguards in the United States. The understandings concerned implementation
of the agreement within the United States. A condition added to the INF treaty
resolution, requiring a presidential certification of a common understanding on
ground-launched ballistic missiles, might be considered an understanding. The
sponsor of the condition, Senator Robert Dole, said, “this condition requires
absolutely nothing more from the Soviets, but it does require something from our
A declaration states policy or positions related to the treaty but not necessarily
affecting its provisions. Frequently, like some of the understandings mentioned
above, declarations and other statements concern internal procedures of the United
States rather than international obligations and are intended to assure that Congress
or the Senate participate in subsequent policy. The resolution of ratification of the
Threshold Test Ban Treaty adopted in 1990 made approval subject to declarations (1)
that to preserve a viable deterrent a series of specified safeguards should be an
ingredient in decisions on national security programs and the allocation of resources,
and (2) the United States shared a special responsibility with the Soviet Union to
continue talks seeking a verifiable comprehensive test ban. In a somewhat different
step, in 1963 the Senate attached a preamble to the resolution of ratification of the
limited nuclear test ban treaty. The preamble contained three “Whereas” clauses of
which the core one stated that amendments to treaties are subject to the constitutional
The important distinction among the various conditions concerns their content
or effect. Whatever designation the Senate applies to a condition, if the President
determines that it may alter an international obligation under the treaty, he transmits
it to the other party or parties and further negotiations or abandonment of the treaty
During its consideration of the SALT II Treaty, the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee grouped conditions into three categories to clarify their intended legal
effect; (I) those that need not be formally communicated to or agreed to by the
Soviet Union, (II) those that would be formally communicated to the Soviet Union,
but not necessarily agreed to by them, and (III) those that would require the explicit
agreement of the Soviet Union. In the resolution of ratification of the START Treaty,
the Senate made explicit that some of the conditions were to be communicated to the
Congressional Record, May 27, 1988, p. S 6883.
The Senate approves most treaties without formally attaching conditions. Ten
arms control treaties were adopted without conditions: the Antarctic, Outer Space,
Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Seabed, ABM, Environmental Modification, and Peaceful
Nuclear Explosions Treaties, the Biological Weapons and the Nuclear Materials
Conventions, and the ABM Protocol. In some of these cases, however, the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee included significant understandings in its report.
Even when it does not place formal conditions in the resolution of ratification,
the Senate may make its views known or establish requirements on the executive
branch in the report of the Foreign Relations Committee or through other vehicles.35
Such statements become part of the legislative history but are not formally
transmitted to other parties. In considering the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in
1963, the Senate turned down a reservation that “the treaty does not inhibit the use
of nuclear weapons in armed conflict,” but Senate leaders insisted upon a written
assurance on this issue, among others, from President Kennedy. In reporting the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Committee stated that its support of the Treaty
was not to be construed as approving security assurances given to the non-nuclearweapon parties by a UN Security Council resolution and declarations by the United
States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom. The security assurances
resolution and declarations were, the committee reported, “solely executive
For Further Reading
The Congressional Role in Arms Control. Part IX in Fundamentals of Nuclear Arms
Control, Subcommittee on Arms Control, International Security and Science of
Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee Print, December 1986.
CRS Report No. 90-548 F, Executive Agreements Submitted to Congress:
Legislative Procedures Used Since 1970. (Archived. For copies call Amy
CRS Report No. 93-276 F, Senate Approval of Treaties: A Brief Description with
Examples from Arms Control. (Archived. For copies call Amy Woolf, 202-7072379.)
Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate,
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Print, November 1993.
For a discussion of methods by which Congress influences arms control negotiations, see
House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Fundamentals of Nuclear Arms Control. Part IX
— The Congressional Role in Nuclear Arms Control. Prepared for the Subcommittee on
Arms Control, International Security, and Science by the Congressional Research Service.
Senate. Executive Report 91-1, March 6, 1969. 91st Congress, 1st session.
Appendix C. Arms Control Organizations
Mandate and issues currently under
Joint Compliance and
Delegation on Safety,
Disarmament of Nuclear
Established to resolve compliance
questions and to consider amendments
to Treaty; currently debating
ABM/TMD demarcation issues
Established to resolve compliance
questions; continues to discuss issues
raised during monitoring and
Established to resolve compliance
questions and to promote
implementation; meetings began before
Treaty was ratified
U.S.-Russian commission will promote
implementation and resolve compliance
questions under START II
U.S. delegations meet with
counterparts in former Soviet republics
to identify areas where U.S. assistance
is needed and to implement programs
Joint Consultative Group
Open Skies Consultative
Open Skies Treaty
Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical
Nuclear Test Ban
Negotiating Fissile Material Production
Ban and ban on the export of antipersonnel landmines
Established to resolve compliance
questions and to ease implementation;
recent discussions have addressed
Russian request for changes in some
Established to facilitate implementation
of the Treaty; it has already addressed a
number of technical, procedural and
cost issues related to Open Skies flights
Established to oversee CWC
implementation and monitor chemical
industry worldwide; preparatory
commission is currently working out
the procedural details for OPCW
Oversees three groups — a Conference
of States Parties, an Executive Council,
and a Technical Secretariat —
responsible for implementing the