Nuclear Weapons in Russia: Safety, Security, and Control Issues

Order Code IB98038 CRS Issue Brief for Congress Received through the CRS Web Nuclear Weapons in Russia: Safety, Security, and Control Issues Updated August 15, 2003 Amy F. Woolf Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress CONTENTS SUMMARY MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS Nuclear Weapons After the Demise of the Soviet Union Location of Nuclear Weapons in the Former Soviet Union Concerns about Command, Control, Safety, and Security Russia’s Nuclear Command and Control System Safety and Security of Stored Nuclear Warheads Former Soviet Nuclear Facilities and Materials Cooperative Programs For Nuclear Threat Reduction The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program Program Objectives and Funding Certifications and waivers 10+10 over 10 Implementing the Programs International Science and Technology Centers Material Protection, Control, and Accounting Programs Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Nuclear Cities Initiative Bilateral Meetings The U.S.-Russian Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation (The Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission) The Strategic Stability Working Group (SSWG) Safeguards, Transparency, and Irreversibility Talks Arms Control Proposals Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons Agreement on the Disposition of Weapons-grade Plutonium Sharing Early Warning Data Alert Rates for Strategic Nuclear Weapons FOR ADDITIONAL READING IB98038 08-15-03 Nuclear Weapons in Russia: Safety, Security, and Control Issues SUMMARY When the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, it reportedly possessed more than 27,000 nuclear weapons, and these weapons were deployed on the territories of several of the former Soviet republics. All of the nuclear warheads have now been moved to Russia, but Russia still has around 6,000 strategic nuclear weapons and perhaps as many as 12,000 warheads for nonstrategic nuclear weapons. eral storage sites in Oct. 1997 and June 1998. Reports of Russian nuclear materials for sale on the black market, when combined with evidence of weaknesses in the security systems have raised concerns about the possible theft or diversion of nuclear materials from these facilities. Many analysts in the United States and Russia have expressed concerns about the safety, security, and control over these weapons. Some of these concerns focus on Russia’s nuclear command and control structure. Financial constraints have slowed the modernization and replacement of many aging satellites and communications links, raising the possibility that Russia might not be able to identify a potential attack or communicate with troops in the field if an attack were underway. Some fear that the misinterpretation of an ambiguous event might lead to the launch of nuclear weapons. Some also expressed concern that the year 2000 computer bug could affect Russia’s command and control system, but it did not. The United States and Russia are cooperating in many fora to improve the safety, security, and control over Russia’s nuclear weapons and materials. Through the NunnLugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the U.S. Department of Defense has provided assistance worth nearly $2 billion to help Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus safely transport and store weapons and eliminate launchers under the START Treaties. The Department of Energy’s Materials Protection, Control and Accounting Program is helping Russia and other former Soviet republics secure nuclear materials at research and other facilities in the former Soviet Union. The nations have also held bilateral meetings to identify ways in which they might cooperate to improve security and resolve concerns. Some concerns are also focused on the safety and security of nuclear warheads in storage facilities in Russia. Press reports and statements by Russian officials about possible missing warheads have added to these concerns. However, General Eugene Habiger, former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, stated that he had no major concerns about security at Russian nuclear storage facilities after he visited sev- Some have proposed that the United States and Russia negotiate arms control agreements to reduce their stockpiles of nonstrategic nuclear weapons and to improve transparency and confidence in the elimination of those weapons. Others have proposed that the two sides agree to “de-alert” their strategic nuclear weapons to reduce the pressures and relieve concerns about Russia’s nuclear command and control system. Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress IB98038 08-15-03 MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In late July, the United States announced that it would not renew the agreements with Russia on the plutonium disposition program and the Nuclear Cities Initiative because the United States and Russia have been unable to agree on liability provisions. Secretary of Energy Abraham suggested that the two sides exercise a provision in the existing agreement to continue ongoing projects, until they are able to complete a new agreement. Without these agreements, work funded under these two programs will end by the end of 2003. The Conference Committee on the FY2004 Defense Authorization Bill continues to review the threat reduction and nonproliferation provisions in the legislation and to seek compromises between the House and Senate versions. BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS Nuclear Weapons After the Demise of the Soviet Union After the 1991 demise of the Soviet Union, many analysts grew concerned that nuclear weapons might be lost or stolen, or that some might be launched by accident or without authorization by responsible officials. Many of these weapons were located outside Russia, but have since been returned to storage areas in Russia. The United States has offered, through efforts such as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, to enhance safety and security at nuclear facilities in Russia. Concerns about the long-term effects of economic hardship and the increasing age of Soviet-era systems continue to prompt questions about the security of Russia’s nuclear weapons and materials. Location of Nuclear Weapons in the Former Soviet Union When the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, it possessed, according to most estimates, more than 27,000 nuclear weapons. These included more than 11,000 strategic nuclear weapons — warheads on land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and in bombers with the range needed to attack the continental United States — and over 15,000 warheads for nonstrategic tactical nuclear weapons (such as artillery shells, short-range missiles, nuclear air-defense and ballistic missile defense interceptors, nuclear torpedoes and sea-launched cruise missiles, and nuclear weapons for shorter-range aircraft). Bye the end of 2001, Russia reportedly retained around 5,900 warheads on its strategic nuclear weapons and, according to some reports, between 7,000 and 12,000 warheads for nonstrategic nuclear weapons. In 1991, more than 80% of Soviet strategic nuclear weapons, including all ballistic missile submarines, were deployed at bases in Russia. The remaining strategic nuclear weapons were deployed in Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. By the end of 1996, these states had all returned their nuclear warheads to Russia and begun to eliminate the launchers for strategic nuclear weapons under the terms of the START I Treaty. By the end of 1998, only Ukraine still had Soviet-era strategic missiles in silos on its territory, and it continued its efforts to eliminate these missiles and their silos. The last SS-19 ICBM was eliminated CRS-1 IB98038 08-15-03 at the end of February 1999, and all SS-24 silos were eliminated by October, 2001. After lengthy and unsuccessful negotiations with Russia, Ukraine began to dismantle the Soviet-era bombers on its territory. However, in August 1999, Ukraine and Russia announced that Russia would take 8 of these aircraft as partial payment for Ukraine’s debt for natural gas deliveries from Russia. In October, the two nations completed the details of the transaction and noted that Russia would buy 11 of the strategic bombers from Ukraine. Table 1 depicts the number of nuclear weapons deployed in these states in late 1991 and their status today. Table 1. Strategic Nuclear Weapons in the Non-Russian Republics Strategic Nuclear Weapons in 1991 Strategic Nuclear Weapons Today Belarus 81 SS-25 single-warhead mobile ICBMs All SS-25 single-warhead mobile ICBMs, with warheads and launchers, removed in Nov. 1996 Kazakhstan 104 SS-18 10-warhead silo-based ICBMs (1,040 warheads) 40 Bear H bombers All SS-18s removed from silos and silos destroyed; all warheads, bombers and cruise missiles returned to Russia. Ukraine 130 SS-19 6-warhead silo-based ICBMs 46 SS-24 10-warhead silo-based ICBMs About 40 strategic bombers More than 500 air-launched cruise missiles All SS-19 silos and SS-24 silos have been destroyed. Ukraine has completed dismantling of bombers, after transferring 11 to Russia, and transferred or dismantled all cruise missiles. State Source: U.S. Department of Defense. Many of the Soviet Union’s tactical nuclear weapons were also stationed outside Russia, in Eastern Europe or in republics that were closer to prospective theaters of operation. The weapons in Eastern Europe had reportedly been returned to Russia by 1989. In late 1991, the majority of weapons outside Russia reportedly were in Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, with perhaps less than 5% in Georgia and the Central Asian states (Kirghizia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.) According to officials in Russia and these other states, all the weapons had been moved to storage areas in Russia by the end of 1992. According to American and Russian sources, the command and control system for all Soviet strategic and tactical nuclear weapons is centered in Moscow. This central command would have to authorize the use of any nuclear weapons. As the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin replaced Soviet President Gorbachev at the top of the command authority, but the rest of the system remained the same. Concerns about Command, Control, Safety, and Security Many in the United States and Russia remain concerned about safety, security, and control over nuclear weapons in Russia. These concerns center on three general areas — concerns about weaknesses in Russia’s command and control system; concerns about the possible loss of nuclear warheads due to lax security or accounting at nuclear weapons CRS-2 IB98038 08-15-03 facilities; and concerns about the loss or theft of nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons facilities might. Russia’s Nuclear Command and Control System Russia’s nuclear command and control system consists, generally speaking, of early warning satellites and sensors that would warn of an imminent attack on Russian territory; the senior political and military leaders who would assess the nature of the attack and, if necessary, authorize a response using Russia’s nuclear weapons; and the communications links that these commanders would use to consult with each other and to transmit messages authorizing the use of nuclear weapons to commanders in the field. These messages would contain the authorizing and enabling codes needed to “unlock” the permissive action links (PALs) and other technologies used to make sure that nuclear weapons could not be armed and launched without authorization from the central command authority. (For a more detailed description of this command and control system, see CRS Report 97-586, Russia’s Nuclear Forces: Doctrine and Force Structure Issues.) Analysts in the United States and Russia have pointed to the degradation of Russia’s early warning network of satellites and radars to note that Russia may soon lack the ability to monitor and react to strategic threats to its own territory. In early 1997, Russia’s Defense Minister Rodionov stated that he feared a loss of control over Russian strategic nuclear forces in the future if additional funding were not available to maintain and modernize the communications links in the nuclear command and control structure. Furthermore, in June and July 1998, both of Russia’s geostationary early warning satellites failed; this leaves Russia relying on its older satellites and ground radar stations for early warning of ballistic missile attacks. These systems cannot provide continuous coverage of U.S. missile launch sites. At the end of August, Latvia shut down the Skrunda radar, which had provided Russia with early warning of ballistic missile attacks. Russia had hoped that Latvia would allow this radar to continue operating until a new radar in Belarus was completed. The U.S. Defense Department has downplayed concerns about a loss of control over Russia’s nuclear weapons, noting that the central command structure remains in place. But some analysts fear that Russia could respond to the degradation of the system by disseminating codes needed to launch nuclear weapons to commanders in the field to make sure that these commanders could launch missiles in a conflict. This might increase the possibility of an accidental or unauthorized use of these weapons. According to Russian press reports, strategic rocket forces personnel have faced serious financial hardship. Inadequate funding for training and maintenance, along with low morale, could lead to an eventual breakdown of authority. Shooting incidents at facilities that house nuclear weapons or materials and onboard a nuclear-powered attack submarines have raised further concerns about the reliability of Russia’s military personnel. Although problems with the troops probably would not lead to the unauthorized use of nuclear weapons, they could make it difficult for Russia to remain confident in the reliability and effectiveness of its nuclear deterrent. The National Intelligence Council reported, in February 2002, that these concerns had eased somewhat in recent years, as the Russian economy had improved and wages were restored. Russia has also implemented several programs that screen troops responsible for nuclear weapons for psychological, drug, and alcohol problems. CRS-3 IB98038 08-15-03 In 1999, concerns focused on the possibility that the Y2K bug could pose problems for Russia’s military systems. The two nations established the Y2K Center for Strategic Stability at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado in late 1999. Together they monitored ballistic missile launches world-wide from December 30, 1999 through January 15, 2000. Russian officers manned the center and had access to data from U.S. early warning assets. The New Year passed with no apparent or reported missile warning problems. Safety and Security of Stored Nuclear Warheads In the early 1990s, Russia withdrew most nonstrategic nuclear weapons from deployment and placed them in secure storage areas. Russia has consolidated these weapons, reducing from several hundred to, perhaps, less than one hundred storage facilities. Russian officials also contend that they have begun to dismantle these warheads at a rate of around 2,000 per year. The United States does not have independent confirmation of this number, and some analysts suspect that Russia could still have 12,000 warheads for nonstrategic nuclear weapons in its storage facilities. Many in the United States remain concerned about the level of security at these facilities and some fear that, as a result of poor security and inadequate record-keeping, Russia may not be able to keep track of all its warheads. In March 1992, reports suggested that a few nuclear warheads from Kazakhstan might have been sold to Iran. These reports stated that Iran did not have codes needed to detonate the weapons but that it might use them to gain design information it needs for its own nuclear weapons programs. At the time, Russian and Kazakh officials denied that nuclear weapons were missing, and U.S. officials stated that the United States has no evidence of such a transfer. Nevertheless, these reports resurfaced in April 1998 — the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported that an Israeli politician had received Iranian documents showing that Iran had received these weapons. Russia repeated its denials and U.S. officials repeated that the United States had no evidence that any nuclear warheads were missing from Russia. The 1998 reports surfaced amidst concerns about Russia construction of nuclear power reactor in Iran and reports that Russian firms were assisting Iran’s missile development program. Some believe the timing was intended to apply added pressure on Russia to cease its cooperation with Iran and on the U.S. Congress to impose sanctions on Russia. In September 1997, former Russian Security Council head and national security advisor Alexander Lebed alleged that Russian authorities could not locate 100 out of 250 small portable nuclear demolition munitions. The Russian Defense Ministry responded by noting that “the Russian system of nuclear weapons safety keeps nuclear weapons under full control and makes any unauthorized transport of them impossible.” It also stressed that all nuclear weapons had been withdrawn to Russia from the former Soviet republics. Other Russian observers also discounted Lebed’s allegations. In early October 1997, Lebed appeared to withdraw his allegation, stating that he had investigated the matter and had found no evidence of missing nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the debate in Russia continued, with some alleging that Russia never had such small munitions and others confirming that the munitions existed but denying that any are unaccounted for. The White House stressed that the United States had “no credible information that any [Russian] nuclear weapon ... has ever been available on the black market.” In late 1997, George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence indicated that the United States remained concerned about the possible loss or theft of nuclear weapons and materials CRS-4 IB98038 08-15-03 in Russia due to declining social and economic conditions. He did not, however, offer any evidence that such losses had already occurred. But conditions continued to deteriorate, and some wages went unpaid for several months during the financial crisis that began in mid1998. As a result, many analysts have continued to express concerns about the “human factor” and the possibility that low morale and poor living conditions may combine to weaken security and controls over nuclear weapons. General Eugene Habiger, the former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, visited nuclear weapons storage facilities in Russia to observe safety and security procedures on two occasions, in October 1997 and June 1998. He stated that he was impressed with what he saw, although he acknowledged the tour only focused on strategic nuclear weapons and provided no information about security procedures at storage facilities for nonstrategic nuclear weapons. He also noted that Russia lacked many high-tech devices the United States used to maintain security at its nuclear bases and seemed to rely more heavily on added manpower. But he stated that he did not have any serious concerns about the security of Russia’s nuclear weapons. Some in Congress remain concerned about Russia’s stockpile of nonstrategic nuclear weapons. The Senate added an amendment to the FY1999 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 105-261) and the FY2000 Defense Authorization Bill (S. 1059) calling on the President to press Russia to reduce these weapons in accordance with its pledges from 1991 and 1992. The amendment also requires that the Secretary of Defense submit a report detailing the numbers, types, strategic implications, and proliferation risks associated with Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons. A request for this report remained in the House and Senate versions of the FY2001 Defense Authorization Bill. After the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York in September 2001, Russian officials reportedly increased security at nuclear weapons facilities. They also denied, on several occasions, that any Russian nuclear weapons were missing. They insisted that terrorists had not gained access to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Former Soviet Nuclear Facilities and Materials Concerns about the loss or theft of nuclear materials from Russia have grown since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Analysts and government officials have noted that Osama bin Laden may have sought to acquire nuclear materials, possibly to construct a nuclear explosive device, but, more likely, to construct a “dirty bomb.” With this type of weapon, nuclear waste or other radioactive materials would be combined with conventional explosives and dispersed over a wide area. There have been numerous reports of nuclear materials from facilities in the former Soviet Union appearing on the black market in Europe. In most cases, the materials lacked the purity to be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. However, in several of the reported cases, the materials could have been useful to a nation seeking to develop nuclear weapons. In May 1999, the National Research Council, an arm of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, issued a report stating that security at Russia’s nuclear materials facilities was worse than previously reported. The report argued for sustained cooperation between the United States and Russia to improve security and prevent the diversion of these materials. Officials from the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry disputed these reports and argued that CRS-5 IB98038 08-15-03 some safeguards are Russian facilities were more stringent than those at U.S. facilities. The National Intelligence Council also highlighted the risks of theft or diversion from facilities housing nuclear materials in its report to Congress in February 2002. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that there may be enough weaponsusable nuclear materials to produce 40,000 nuclear weapons at facilities in 8 countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union secured most of these facilities by placing them in closed cities or by using with gates and armed guards. But, according to DOE, budget cuts and political upheavals have this system. Many facilities lacked fences, monitors, alarms, and comprehensive accounting systems to keep track of materials. Reports indicate that even those facilities with security and monitoring systems often disconnected them to save money on electric bills and to reduce false alarms. They also have been unable to pay the guards and officers charged with maintaining security at the facilities. Deterioration of economic conditions and the decline in military spending has also displaced many scientists and engineers who worked in Soviet nuclear programs. Although reports of scientists moving to other countries have waned, the economic problems continue. For example, on July 23, 1998, several thousand staff members at Arzamas-16, one of Russia’s premier nuclear research facilities, stopped work during a three-hour strike. They sought back payment for wages and budget allocations for 1997 and a pay increase for 1998. Nuclear workers from several of the closed cities participated in a strike in mid-September 1998, with many traveling to Moscow for protests at the Atomic Ministry (MINATOM). Cooperative Programs For Nuclear Threat Reduction The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program Program Objectives and Funding. In November 1991, Congress allocated $400 million in Department of Defense funds to help the former Soviet republics secure their nuclear weapons. The funds were to provide Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan assistance in 1) the transportation, storage, safeguarding and destruction of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the dismantlement of missiles and launchers; 2) the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and, 3) the prevention of diversion of weapons-related scientific expertise. (For details on the CTR program, see CRS Report 971027, Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs: Issues For Congress.) Although some Members have questioned the benefits and administration of the NunnLugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, Congress has consistently supported the central objectives of the program, allocating $400 million each year in FY1993, 1994, and 1995 and an additional $300 million in FY1996. In FY1997, the Senate passed a new amendment sponsored by Senators Nunn, Lugar and Domenici that added $94 million to DOD and DOE budgets to expand U.S. efforts to contain and control nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the former Soviet Union. With these funds Congress provided $364.9 million to DOD for CTR, in addition to the funds for DOE, in the FY1997 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 104-201). Congress also approved $382.2 million for CTR in FY1998 (P.L. 105-85, H.Rept. 105-340), $440.4 million in FY1999 (P.L. 105-261, H.Rept. CRS-6 IB98038 08-15-03 105-736), and $475 million in FY2000. However, in FY2000, Congress denied funding for the construction of a chemical weapons destruction facility in Russia. The Clinton Administration requested $458.4 million for CTR in FY2001. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved the full amount, but limited the use of funds for the construction of the chemical weapons destruction facility. The House eliminated funding for the chemical weapons destruction facility and provided only $433.4 million. The House prevailed and the Conference Report (H.Rept. 106-945) authorized the appropriation of only $433.4 million for CTR and precluded any expenditures on the construction of a chemical weapons destruction facility in Russia. The Bush Administration requested $403 million for CTR in FY2002. The reduction of $40 million from FY2001 stems mainly from the absence of funding for the Mayak plutonium storage facility. Russia did not need additional assistance with this project. The Administration also requested $50 million to resume construction at the Shchuch’ye chemical weapons destruction facility. Congress approved the request for FY2002, along with its approval of the full request for $403 million. The Bush Administration requested $416.7 million for CTR for FY2003. Within this budget, funding for Strategic Offensive Arms Elimination declined from $133.4 million to $70.5 million in Russia and from $50 million to $6.5 million in Ukraine. This occured because much of the agreed work had been completed. At the same time, the Administration increased funding for the Shchuch’ye to $133.6. The FY2003 budget also increased funding for biological weapons nonproliferation programs. The House and Senate both approved the full amount for the Administration’s request, although the House reduced funding for the chemical weapons destruction facility to $50 million. The House Armed Services Committee argued that this program could not absorb such a large increase in one year and, because Russia did not yet appear committed to the elimination of its chemical weapons, the United States should not accelerate its efforts. The final language in the the FY2003 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4546) retained the reduction in funding for Shchuch’ye. However, it stated that the Administration can use the $83.6 million removed from this project for a number of other projects related to the storage and elimination of nuclear weapons. It could also use the funds for chemical weapons destruction if Russia provides a “full and accurate” disclosure of its chemical weapons stockpile. The Bush Administration has requested $450.8 million for DOD’s CTR program in FY2004. Much of the increase over the FY2003 total of $416.7 represents an increase in funding for the Shchuch’ye chemical weapons destruction facility in Russia. The Administration is seeking to accelerate construction of this facility. The Administration has also reduced funding for strategic offensive arms reduction, in part because much of the work is complete, but also because it has unexpended FY2003 funds, which were held up until Congress provided the President with the authority to waive the certification requirements. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees both approved the President’s request for $450.8 million, although the House reduced the funding for Shchuch’ye from $200.3 million to $171.5 million. The House also linked U.S. funding for Shchuch’ye to funding commitments from Russia and from other nations. In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, J.D. Crouch, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, also identified new objectives for the CRS-7 IB98038 08-15-03 CTR program. As was noted above, past legislation stated that the CTR program should provide Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan assistance in the transportation, storage, safeguarding and destruction of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the dismantlement of missiles and launchers, the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and the prevention of diversion of weapons-related scientific expertise. The Administration’s new objectives are to dismantle weapons of mass destruction and their associated infrastructure in the former Soviet Union; consolidate and secure weapons of mass destruction and related technologies and materials; increase transparency and encourage higher standards of conduct, and support defense and military cooperation with the objective of preventing proliferation. Although these new objectives may not alter CTR priorities in the near-term, the potential exists for significant changes in the future. In particular, funding may shift away from the transportation, storage, and elimination of nuclear weapons towards efforts to secure and eliminate chemical and biological weapons. In addition, as is evident in the FY2004 budget request, the Administration is likely to support new efforts that rely on military-to-military cooperation to enhance border security and deter and detect potential proliferation activities. Finally, the new emphasis on encouraging “higher standards of conduct” could produce added interest conditioning U.S. assistance on policies and activities pursued by the recipient nations. In its request for CTR, the Bush Administration sought authority to use up to $50 million in CTR funds for programs in nations outside the former Soviet Union. The Senate approved the President’s request. The House, in its version of the bill (H.R. 1588), also permits the use of up to $50 million for threat reduction programs outside the former Soviet Union, but mandates that these funds be transferred from DOD to the State Department’s Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund. Certifications and waivers. In early 2002, the Bush Administration stated that it would not certify that Russia was committed to its arms control obligations under the Chemical Weapons and Biological Weapons Conventions. The law states that this certification is necessary for a recipient nation to receive assistance under the CTR program or the State Department nonproliferation programs. The Administration indicated that Russia had not cooperated fully with the United States in sharing information relevant to the implementation of these treaties. It then asked Congress to waive the requirement for the certification, so that the United States could emphasize its concern with Russian compliance without interrupting funding for the CTR program. Some observers criticized the Administration’s policy, noting that even the Administration agrees that these programs serve U.S. security interests, and that their suspension could undermine U.S. nonproliferation policy. Some believe the Administration’s action reflects less concern about Russia’s compliance with arms control agreements then it does the Administration’s belief that these agreements do not work and should not remain in force. Congress included a waiver for the remainder of FY2002 in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill signed by the President on August 2 (H.R. 4775/P.L. 107-206), so that Russia could continue to receive funds through the end of the fiscal year. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a permanent waiver in its version of the FY2003 Defense Authorization Bill and the House approved one-year waiver; in the Conference Report on the FY2003 Defense Authorization Bill, (H.R. 4546), Congress approved a 3-year waiver. The President signed this waiver, and one permitting continued funding for the Shchuch’ye chemical weapons destruction facility, in mid-January 2003. This step released $466 million CRS-8 IB98038 08-15-03 in CTR funding, including $183 million for the Shchuch’ye facility. The 108th Congress may revisit this issue, as some members continue to support a permanent waiver. 10+10 over 10. During the G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada, the United States, Russia, and other G-8 leaders agreed to establish a long term program – the G-8 Global Partnership Against Weapons of Mass Destruction, to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction and related materials and technology. Under this program, known as 10+10 over 10, the United States has pledged to provide $10 billion over 10 years to sustain ongoing threat reduction programs in Russia. The other G-8 nations agreed that they would provide, together, up to $10 billion over 10 years. The program will initially focus on Russia, but could eventually extend to other nations. The parties met in late September in an effort to clarify the financial obligations of each nation and to add details to proposals for projects that might be funded by the effort. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on this program in October, 2002. Committee members questioned whether the United States would increase funding for threat reduction and nonproliferation assistance and how the G-8 members would coordinate their efforts. Administration officials praised the new program and pledged that the efforts would be coordinated with allies, to avoid duplication. Witnesses also noted that Russia’s cooperation – with access, transparency, funding, and legal mechanisms – was needed to ensure effective implementation. The participants reviewed progress on this program during their meeting in Evian, France in June 2003. Implementing the Programs. By January 2002, the Department of Defense had obligated nearly $3 billion for CTR projects and had spent nearly $2.4 billion implementing those efforts. Early projects focused on transportation of nuclear warheads; the United States is also helping Russia with nuclear weapons control and accounting systems at storage facilities. CTR projects have also helped Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan eliminate Soviet-era strategic nuclear weapons and facilities on their territories. The two sides are also building a storage facility at Mayak for plutonium removed from Russia’s nuclear weapons. The facility’s design has been completed and construction is underway. However delays have occurred because Russia has been unable to fund its portion of the project and the two sides have been unable to agree on transparency measures that will ensure that materials stored in the facility are not removed and returned to nuclear weapons uses. The CTR program has funded projects that addressed a particular proliferation concerns. In November 1997, the United States purchased 21 nuclear-capable MIG-29 aircraft from the Republic of Moldova. In April 1998, the United States and Great Britain moved 8.8 pounds of highly enriched uranium and 17.6 pounds of highly radioactive spent fuel from a nuclear reactor outside Tbilisi, Georgia to Dounreay, Scotland. In September 1998, the government of Kazakhstan announced that it planned to move 3 tons of weapons-useable nuclear materials from a facility near the Iranian border to Semipalatinsk, on the other side of the nation. Funds from the CTR program would help secure this material, as well. International Science and Technology Centers The United States, several European countries, and Japan have all provided funding to International Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) in Moscow and Kiev. These centers — which were originally funded through the CTR program, but are now funded by the State Department — are designed to provide research and peaceful employment opportunities for nuclear scientists and engineers. The Centers began operations in 1992 and have, thus far, CRS-9 IB98038 08-15-03 funded around 450 projects at a cost of $145 million. More than 17,000 scientists and engineers have participated in ISTC projects. Many continue to work at their primary jobs in Russia’s research facilities. But, because most have not received their full salaries at their primary jobs, the grants from the ISTC permit them to support their families without contemplating selling their knowledge to nations seeking nuclear weapons. The Bush Administration will reportedly recommend expanding the ISTCs, in part due to concerns about the potential risk that biological weapons scientists might be lured to programs in other nations. Its budget for FY2003 contains $52 million for a program that combines the Science Centers and the State Department’s program for redirecting biological weapons scientists in the former Soviet Union. Reports indicate that the Science Centers may receive about $32 million of this total amount. Material Protection, Control, and Accounting Programs Although the Nunn-Lugar CTR program, in its early years, focused on securing nuclear weapons, it did include some funding for materials control and protection. But governmentto-government negotiations with Russia and the other republics proceeded slowly, so projects at facilities with these materials did not begin until 1994. In a parallel effort that sought to reduce these delays, experts from the U.S. nuclear laboratories also began, in 1994, less formal contacts with their counterparts in Russia to identify and solve safety and security problems at Russian facilities. Together, the government-to-government and lab-to-lab projects constitute the Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy. The MPC&A program began with less than $3 million in the FY1993 Nunn-Lugar budget and $11 million in FY1994. This amount grew to $73 million in FY1995. In FY1996, Congress expanded these programs through the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Amendment, and provided $99 million in the DOE budget for MPC&A. The program received an additional $115 million in FY1997 and $137 million in FY1998. The Administration requested and the Congress approved $152 million for MPC&A activities in FY1999. The Clinton Administration requested $145 million for MPC&A activities for FY2000 and nearly $145 million in FY2001. Congress approved both these requests, including an additional $30 million in FY2001 that was a part of a long-term nonproliferation initiative outlined by the Clinton Administration. According to GAO, the Department of Energy has identified 332 buildings that require nuclear security systems. By early 2001, DOE had helped upgrade security systems at 115 buildings that contained about 50 metric tons of nuclear materials, protecting about 32% of the 603 metric tons that DOE believed were at risk of theft. 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. DOE officials have noted that the program had has experienced some problems and results have been limited because most of the materials are in Russia’s closed nuclear cities and nuclear weapons complex. MINATOM, which is responsible for these facilities, has been slow to provide DOE with information about and access to these facilities because of the sensitive nature of the nuclear weapons complex. In August 2000, the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, a private organization, issued a report that praised the past MPC&A efforts, but criticized DOE and CRS-10 IB98038 08-15-03 the Administration for moving too slowly to secure nuclear materials in the Former Soviet Union. The report outlined a number of steps that it believed the next Administration should take to accelerate and strengthen the program. It repeated many of these suggestions in a paper released in October, 2001, noting that the September 11 attacks had renewed and strengthened concerns about the safety and security of Russia’s nuclear materials. The Bush Administration sharply reduced the planned funding for MPC&A programs in FY2002. DOD had planned to request more than $200 million, but the Administration’s budget reduced the program to 138.8 million. The Senate Armed Services Committee added $5 million to this request and expressed its concern about that the reduced level of funding would be inadequate to meet current and future needs. The Senate and House Appropriations Committees, in the Energy and Water Appropriations bills for FY2002 restored funding for the MPC&A program to its FY2001 level. Furthermore, Congress included $120 million in additional funds for this program in a supplemental appropriations bill passed at the end of 2001. The Bush Administration requested $233 million for MPC&A programs in its budget for FY2003; both the House and the Senate Armed Services Committees approved this request. It has requested $226 million for MPC&A in FY2004. The House and Senate both approved this amount. Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention The Department of Energy’s Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) program, which began in 1994, funds projects with non-military applications that have commercial value for both the United States and the former Soviet republics. This effort is designed to discourage scientists and engineers in Russia’s nuclear complex from seeking employment in other nations seeking nuclear weapons. The program has coordinated lab-to-lab contacts that sought to identify technologies at former Soviet weapons facilities that might have commercial applications. It also matches U.S. government funds with funds provided by U.S. companies in projects that seek to commercialize these technologies. The IPP program received $35 million in the FY1994 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, and funded 193 projects in 1995. In FY1996, Congress provided $10 million in the DOE budget and the program received another $20 million from the NunnLugar CTR budget. IPP received $30 million in the DOE budget each year in FY1997 and FY1998. Through FY1998, the IPP program had obligated $115 million to 435 projects throughout the former Soviet republics. In FY1999, DOE requested only $15 million, noting that it had sufficient unexpended funds from previous years to continue ongoing projects with this funding level. The Senate, however, in its version of the FY1999 Defense Authorization Bill (S. 2057) provided $30 million for the IPP program. The Conference Report on the Defense Authorization Bill (H.Rept. 105-736) provided $20 million for the IPP Program. It also required that the Secretary of Defense submit a study on the number of former Soviet nuclear weapons scientists and engineers who are likely to be unemployed or unpaid and the extent to which commercialization projects, such as those sponsored by IPP, might employ these people and discourage them from selling their knowledge to other nations. The Clinton Administration requested $30 million for the IPP program for FY2000 and $22.5 million for FY2001. The Bush Administration requested $22.1 million for FY2002, and this was supported by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. CRS-11 IB98038 08-15-03 In February 1999, the General Accounting Office issued a report that reviewed and criticized the IPP program. The report noted that Russian institutes had received only around one-third of the funds allocated to IPP projects — around 50% of the funds had gone to the DOE labs for oversight and implementation and around 12% had gone to U.S. companies that were participating in the program — and that taxes, fees, and other charges had further reduced the amount of money available to Russian scientists. The report also questioned DOE’s oversight of the programs, noting that program officials do not always know how many scientists are receiving funds through the IPP program. Finally, the report questioned whether the program was contributing to U.S. nonproliferation objectives because none of the projects was yet a commercial success and because some scientists who received IPP funding might still be working in Russia’s WMD programs. DOE agreed that the IPP program needed improved oversight, but it questioned the conclusions about its contributions to U.S. nonproliferation objectives. DOE noted that IPP has temporarily employed thousands of scientists in around 170 institutes. DOE also stated that the program did not subsidize scientists who were performing weapons-related work. In response to the GAO report, the House and Senate both reduced the Administration’s request for funding for the IPP program in FY2000 and limited the proportion of the funding that can be allocated to the U.S. national labs. In the Conference Report on the FY2000 Defense Authorization Bill, Congress approved $25 million for IPP and specified that no more than 35% of the funds be spent at the U.S. labs. It also mandated that the United States seek to negotiate agreements with Russia to ensure that funds provided under this program are not subject to taxes in Russia. Furthermore, it requested that the Secretary of Energy review IPP programs for their commercialization potential. Nuclear Cities Initiative In August 1998, Vice President Gore and then-Prime Minister Kiriyenko signed an agreement establishing the Nuclear Cities Initiative. This program is designed to bring commercial enterprises to Russia’s closed nuclear cities, so that scientists and engineers will not be tempted to sell their knowledge to nations seeking nuclear weapons. In September 1998, Secretary of Energy Richardson and Russia’s Minister of Atomic Energy signed an implementing agreement for this program. It is designed to promote nonproliferation goals by helping to redirect the work of nuclear weapons scientists, engineers, and technicians and to develop commercial opportunities in those cities. For example, it helped finance a computing center in Sarov, formerly known as Arzamas-16, that will produce software for sale around the world. The Clinton Administration requested $30 million for the NCI program in FY2000. In its February 1999 report, the GAO recommended that DOE move slowly with this initiative to ensure that it met its stated goals and objectives. As a result, Congress reduced funding for this program to $7.5 million in FY2000, limiting U.S. assistance to only one of three nuclear cities that were included in the Administration’s initiative. The Clinton Administration has requested $17.5 million for this program in FY2001. Although most members of Congress have questioned the value of this program, in April 2000, Senator Domenici announced that he was considering introducing legislation that would expand funding for the NCI program. He stated that his goal would be to expand U.S. efforts to help Russia downsize its nuclear complex. This legislation became S.Amdt. 3760 to the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Bill. It authorized $30 million for the NCI CRS-12 IB98038 08-15-03 program for FY2001, and passed the Senate on July 13, 2000. The Conference Committee accepted this level of funding for NCI in FY2001 but limited the amount that could be expended until the Secretary of Energy implemented a review process for the program. The Bush Administration cut funding for the NCI program sharply, requesting $6.6 million for FY2002. With this low level of funding, the program would have to withdraw from two of the three nuclear cities that participate. The Administration has also indicated that it would like to eliminate the NCI program and merge its remaining projects into the IPP program. The Senate Armed Services supported the Administration’s funding request for NCI, but did not support the Administration’s plan to merge the NCI program with the IPP program. The House, however, required that DOE merge the NCI program with the IPP program in by July 1, 2001. In the Conference Report on the FY2002 Defense Authorization Bill, Congress approved the merger of the two programs, into a new Russian Transition Initiative, but, at the Senate’s insistence, required that DOE continue to plan for and fund the NCI programs separately. It also increased funding for the combined program from the President’s request of $28.8 million to $42 million in the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill and an additional $15 million in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill. The Bush Administration has requested and received $39 million for this combined program in its budget for FY2003. It has requested approximately the same amount for FY2004, with $17 million allocated to NCI and $23 million allocated to IPP. However, the NCI program may end by the end of 2003 because the United States and Russia have been unable to complete a new implementing agreement. They remain at odds over liability protections Bilateral Meetings The U.S.-Russian Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation (The Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission). In 1993, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin established the U.S.-Russian Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, chaired by Vice President Gore and Russia’s Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin often used their meetings to address issues, such as arms control and missile defense cooperation, on the agenda for upcoming Presidential summits. In 1994, the commission announced that the two sides would cooperate in building a storage facility at Mayak (described above) for plutonium removed from Russia’s nuclear weapons. In 1994, Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin also signed the agreement that established the program through which the United States will purchase 500 metric tons of uranium removed from Russian nuclear weapons for use in nuclear power reactors. In June 1994, the two sides signed an agreement requiring the shutdown of nuclear reactors that produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. Russia initially balked at this because it used the same reactors to produce light and heat in the cities of Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk, but the two sides agreed to find ways to replace these energy sources. Russia announced that it had stopped producing plutonium for weapons in these reactors by the end of 1994, but it did not shut them down because these alternatives were not yet available. The United States had planned to contribute $80 million, through the Nunn-Lugar CTR Program, to convert the reactors to a type that did not produce weapons materials and the two sides signed an implementing agreement in September 1997. However, in February 2000, the Russian government reportedly told the Clinton Administration that it wanted to cancel the project because of delays, cost overruns, and fears of a catastrophic accident. Instead, Russia CRS-13 IB98038 08-15-03 suggested that it would close the reactors altogether if the United States would help fund conventional energy sources for the affected cities. Congress has prohibited the use of CTR funds for the construction of “fossil fuel energy plants.” But the Bush Administration has continued to work with Russia in an effort to shut down the reactors. During their June 24, 1998 meeting, Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Kiriyenko signed two agreements on nuclear issues. The United States agreed to provide Russia with assistance in converting plutonium from nuclear weapons to fuel for nuclear reactors. In the second agreement, the United States pledged $3.1 million for 9 projects that are designed to help scientists in Russia’s closed nuclear cities convert their efforts to peaceful civilian endeavors, a project known as the Nuclear Cities Initiative. The Bush Administration has indicated that it will not continue to address U.S-Russian issues through this high-level bilateral commission. Instead, the Administration will establish working groups to address individual security and economic issues as the need arises. The Strategic Stability Working Group (SSWG). In late 1993, the United States and Russia established an experts working group of experts to discuss ways to improve strategic stability, increase mutual confidence, and relax the Cold War nuclear force postures. One of the first topics the SSWG addressed was ballistic missile “detargeting.” In an agreement that took effect on May 30, 1994, the two nations agreed that no country would be targeted by any strategic forces on either side. Many observers praised this agreement as an overdue sign that the United States and Russia no longer consider each other enemies. Some also saw it as a move away from the nuclear hair-trigger and a concrete step to reduce the risk of accidental missile launches. Others, however, argued that its benefits were strictly symbolic because both sides could quickly retarget missiles during a crisis. Many also noted that the measure was not verifiable, so neither side could be sure that the other’s missiles were actually detargeted. Safeguards, Transparency, and Irreversibility Talks. In January 1994, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin established a working group to consider steps to ensure the transparency and irreversibility of the process of reducing nuclear weapons. The Safeguards, Transparency, and Irreversibility working group produced an agreement, in principle, for the two sides to exchange data on warhead stockpiles. But they were unable to complete an agreement that would permit the exchange of classified data on nuclear warheads. Congress had amended U.S. law to permit this exchange in 1994, but Russia has neither passed legislation nor issued the necessary executive decree. Arms Control Proposals Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons. In 1991, the United States and Soviet Union each announced the withdrawal of most of their deployed nonstrategic nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia have periodically exchanged information updating the status of the withdrawals and assuring the other side that the remaining weapons are in safe and secure storage areas. During their summit meeting in Helsinki in March 1997, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to explore possible arms control measures relating to tactical nuclear weapons and warheads removed from strategic nuclear weapons during the proposed START III negotiations, but these talks did not materialize. Some in the United States would like further restrictions on Russian tactical nuclear weapons both because they believe these might pose a proliferation risk and because Russia has a far greater number of these weapons CRS-14 IB98038 08-15-03 than does the United States. Russia has resisted formal limits although it did exchange date with NATO in April 1998. This effort was designed not only to ease Russia’s concerns about NATO’s nuclear weapons, but also to provide NATO with information about the thousands of tactical nuclear weapons still in service in Russia. Agreement on the Disposition of Weapons-grade Plutonium. In Sept. 1998, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed that each nation would convert 50 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium to a form that could not be returned to nuclear weapons. Clinton Administration officials estimated that this amount was approximately half of the U.S. stockpile and perhaps 25% of Russia’s stockpile. The agreement highlighted two means for converting the plutonium — the parties could either convert it to fuel for nuclear power reactors or mix it with other nuclear wastes and dispose of it in a way the would preclude its use in nuclear weapons. This agreement is designed to ease concerns about the possible theft or diversion of weapons-grade plutonium by nations or others seeking to develop their own nuclear weapons. Congress allocated $200 million for this program in the Omnibus Appropriations Act passed at the end of the 105th Congress. The Clinton Administration had planned to request $400 million for this program in FY2002, but the Bush Administration has indicated that funding would remain at around $200 billion. After its review of U.S. nonproliferation programs with Russia, the Bush Administration indicated that it would seek an alternative plan, that would be less costly and less complex, to address concerns with Russia’s stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium. Under the new plan, the two nations will each convert plutonium to MOX fuel. But U.S. assistance to Russia for the construction of its MOX plant may end in late 2003 because the United States and Russia have been unable to complete a new implementing agreement. They remain at odds over liability protections. Sharing Early Warning Data. In September 1998, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed that the United States and Russia would share early warning data for all space launches and ballistic missile launches world wide. They agreed to share data on a continual basis, in real time (rather than providing it annually or biannually); they agreed that data would include information on strategic, theater, and intermediate range missiles, and on space launches; they agreed the data would be derived from early warning satellites and ground-based radars; and they agreed to establish a multilateral pre-launch notification system that would be open to all nations who agreed to share data prior to missile or space launches from their territories. The Clinton Administration emphasized that this agreement would strengthen stability and protect against the possibility of a nuclear launch triggered by false warning of an attack. Administration officials have also highlighted the cooperative nature of this endeavor; this Center will provide the first opportunity for U.S. and Russian military personnel to be permanently involved in a joint military operation. In mid-December 2000, the United States and Russia signed an agreement outlining the types of information that would be exchanged in the newly-formed Joint Data Exchange Center (JDEC) near Moscow. This agreement establishes a pre-launch and post-launch notification system for ballistic missile and space launches and designed to reduce the risk that a test, experiment, or space launch, could be misread as a ballistic missile attack. Some critics of the planned center argued it would hinder U.S. access to space by requiring that notifications before launches, but the military space community reportedly reviewed all the provisions and approved of the plan because it allows for exceptions to the notification requirement in the interest of national security. Most experts hoped the center, which is to be based in an old school building near Moscow, would begin operations in 2001. However, CRS-15 IB98038 08-15-03 the building’s renovations have not yet begun. Disagreements between the United States and Russia about tax issues, along with a general cooling in the relationship between the two countries, have been cited as reasons for the delay. Congress authorized funding for the JDEC in 2002, but withheld 50% of the funds until Russia and the United States reach a costsharing agreement and an agreement on taxes and liability for U.S. participants. In a Joint Declaration signed during their summit meeting in Moscow in May 2002, Presidents Bush and Putin emphasized that they remain committed to opening the center. Alert Rates for Strategic Nuclear Weapons. Many analysts argue that Russia’s aging satellite and communication systems, when combined with the high alert rates for U.S. and Russian nuclear forces (both can launch on very short notice), increase the possibility of a nuclear attack. If Russia lacks complete information about the status of U.S. forces it might interpret ambiguous events as a missile launch. Some in the United States, such as Bruce Blair and former Senator Sam Nunn, have proposed that the United States and Russia “de-alert” their nuclear weapons. They argue that, if U.S. weapons were not on alert, Russia would be less likely to assume that it were under attack if it detected ambiguous activities. In addition, if Russia took its forces off alert, it would not have to loosen controls over them to ensure their launch in a crisis because the missiles would not be ready to be launched in a crisis. Those who support de-alerting have outlined several different measures, from removing warheads from missiles and storing them separately, to removing launch keys from control centers or removing critical data from launch computers. Those who oppose “de-alerting” argue that it will undermine stability because warheads in a few storage depots may be far more vulnerable to a preemptive attack than warheads deployed on hundreds of missiles in hardened silos. Each side might also feel compelled to “re-alert” its forces quickly if it suspected that the other side had done so, and that this could lead to a destabilizing “alert” race, with each trying to gain an advantage over the other. Officials in Russia have shown no interest in this proposal; instead, some Russians have argued that “de-alerting” appears to be a U.S. attempt to disarm Russian missiles. In late 1997, an inter-agency working group assessed possible measures to “de-alert” U.S. nuclear forces but it did not result in any changes in the alert status of U.S. nuclear forces. FOR ADDITIONAL READING Executive Branch Reports U.S. Department of Defense. Cooperative Threat Reduction. August 1997. U.S. Department of Energy. MPC&A Strategic Plan. January 1998. CRS Products CRS Issue Brief IB98030. Nuclear Arms Control: The U.S.-Russian Agenda. CRS Report 97-1027. Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs: Issues for Congress. CRS-16