COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION
With the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the level of nuclear threat confronting the United States was reduced significantly. Yet, when the Soviet Union disintegrated, an estimated 26,800 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads remained in Russia and approximately 3,200 were spread through Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine. Internal conditions heightened the belief that the former Soviet republics would not be able to provide for safe disposition and security of these nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Possible consequences posed by this situation were clear: diversion or unauthorized use of weapons, diversion of fissile materials, and possible participation of Soviet weapons scientists in proliferation efforts in other countries. Despite other positive changes occurring in the nuclear inheritor states, these weapons continued to pose a threat to U.S. national security.
Taking advantage of a historic opportunity, Congress initiated the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program in November 1991, to reduce the threat to the United States from these weapons of mass destruction. Often referred to as the Nunn-Lugar program, this congressional effort provided the Department authority and funding for the CTR program. Through the CTR program, DoD provides assistance to the eligible states of the former Soviet Union to promote denuclearization and demilitarization and to reduce the threat of WMD proliferation.
A DYNAMIC PROGRAM
Since FY 1992, legislation has provided the Secretary of Defense a total of $1.9 billion in obligation authority. Of this amount, $368 million has been lost due to congressional reductions and expiration of funds. Actual authority, considering the withdrawn or expired funding, as of September 1996, is $1.5 billion in CTR assistance in the form of signed agreements and other support to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan.
A CTR Program Office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense plans future assistance activities supporting CTR goals, works with representatives in recipient nations to identify specific needs, and oversees the contracts awarded almost entirely to American firms to implement assistance projects. Since the CTR program provides goods and services - rather than cash - expenditures are directly related to demilitarization, denuclearization, dismantlement, and proliferation prevention efforts.
The CTR experience in Ukraine illustrates both the challenges of implementing assistance programs and the benefits of cooperation. While Ukraine pledged in the 1992 Lisbon Protocol to become a nonnuclear weapons state, the actual process of withdrawing warheads to Russia was not agreed upon until the United States concluded the Trilateral Agreement with Russia and Ukraine. Critical to the success of these negotiations was the United States' promise of CTR assistance. The agreements to begin the CTR program were not concluded until December 1993 - two years after discussions began.
CTR PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
The CTR program objectives below were established by Congress
and provide guidance for U.S. implementation:
These objectives and the corresponding CTR program activities are inextricably linked. Meeting the objective of safeguarding nuclear weapons in Russia, for instance, will also help prevent proliferation, a growing concern in light of instances of nuclear smuggling.
CTR program activities generally fall into four categories. First, destruction and dismantlement activities accelerate the destruction and dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction, their launchers, and their infrastructure in the four eligible nuclear successor states. Destruction and dismantlement activities provide actual equipment, training, and services required to implement dismantlement decisions as leverage to encourage these countries to dismantle.
Second, through chain of custody and nonproliferation activities, the CTR program decreases the proliferation dangers from the nuclear warheads and fissile materials that remain in the nuclear successor states and represent a potential threat to the United States. During the difficult period of transition in these states, the continued security and custody of nuclear weapons and fissile materials are vitally important to both the United States and the nuclear successor states.
Third, CTR supports demilitarization/defense conversion efforts that decrease the long-term threat by reducing the capacity and economic pressures in the nuclear inheritor states to continue to produce weapons of mass destruction. The defense conversion industrial partnership projects in CTR are an effort to reduce the potential of a future nuclear threat at its source. In addition, the CTR-supported International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in Russia, through which proposals from Kazakstan and Belarus are channeled, and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine, examine and allocate funding to projects that engage weapons scientists in the nuclear successor states in nonweapons-related work. The transformations created through the defense conversion industrial partnership arrangements and the ISTCs aim to prevent proliferation by reducing the availability of weapons of mass destruction for foreign sale or diversion, and the incentives for relying on such sales for income.
Finally, the CTR program supports other programs like the expansion of defense and military contacts with the nuclear successor states. When the Soviet Union dissolved, the new republics retained significant military forces. The United States, through defense and military contacts, has assisted the development of democratic and civilian control of military departments and the restructuring and downsizing of defense capabilities to better reflect these new nations' needs. For example, the CTR program sponsors regular exchanges on defense strategy and attempts to instill transparency of budgets and programs. These exchanges educate the foreign military staffs on the role and functions of the military in western society. These countries will remain important players in world events and the United States benefits greatly from the close contacts among these militaries and their U.S. defense counterparts. These contacts are part of U.S. efforts across the board to expand the domain in which U.S. security interests coincide, rather than conflict, with those of the nuclear successor states.
PROGRESS IN CTR IMPLEMENTATION
To meet CTR program objectives, assistance is provided to Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, and Ukraine pursuant to umbrella agreements that establish a legal framework for CTR assistance activities. Each of these four umbrella agreements provides a system of rights, exemptions, and protections for U.S. assistance personnel and for CTR activities and designates executive agents to implement CTR assistance programs for each government. For the United States, DoD is the designated executive agent. Each of the four umbrella agreements authorizes the conclusion, by the executive agents, of implementing agreements that are subject to and governed by the terms of the umbrella agreement and provide more detailed terms for specific assistance projects.
As of September 1996, 34 such implementing agreements have been concluded by the Department of Defense - 12 with ministries of the Russian Federation, eight with ministries of Ukraine, and seven with ministries of the Republics of Kazakstan and Belarus. In addition, four separate memoranda of understanding between the Department of Defense and counterpart defense ministries address defense and military-to-military relations.
Execution of the implementing agreements has accelerated over the past three years. By the end of FY 1994, DoD obligated $434 million. By the end of FY 1995, obligations had almost doubled, with total obligations of over $866 million. By the end of FY 1996, DoD obligated approximately $1.1 billion. More importantly, the total assistance committed under contracts and other support with DoD and for which implementation is actually underway is now almost $1.2 billion, of which $765 million has been disbursed.
The CTR process from negotiation, to project formulation, to requirements definition, to final execution involves many steps in the respective state-to-state relationships, as well as within the U.S. government. Congress directed that American contractors be used for CTR support to the extent feasible, and agreements with recipient governments make U.S. contracting laws applicable to CTR activities.
Accordingly, DoD contracting for CTR goods and services is based on Federal Acquisition Regulations. In the final analysis, CTR benefits the U.S. economy by providing additional jobs for American workers and expanded markets for U.S. corporations. The United States is not the only country providing assistance to the nuclear successor states for dismantlement and is closely coordinating its assistance efforts with its allies through NATO and G-7 forums, eliminating needless duplication.
To ensure assistance provided under CTR is used as intended, CTR agreements include provisions for the United States to conduct audits and examinations (A&E) of the assistance provided. The United States has conducted 25 A&Es in the nuclear successor states (Russia (9), Ukraine (7), Belarus (6), Kazakstan (3)). At least one A&E is projected for every month through the year 2001. It is important to note that CTR A&Es are not arms control inspections, but formal checks to ensure goods and services provided through the Nunn-Lugar program are used for the intended, agreed-upon purpose.
REDUCING THE THREAT
CTR activities contributed significantly to the reduction of the threat over the past four years. The U.S. offers of assistance under the program were instrumental in convincing Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, and Ukraine they could shoulder the economic, political, and technical burdens of weapons dismantlement and demilitarization. Since the dissolution of the USSR, the CTR program has assisted the four states possessing portions of the Soviet nuclear arsenal with the elimination (or, in the case of Russia, reduction) of WMD; proliferation prevention efforts; and the dismantlement and transformation of WMD-associated infrastructure.
Through the provision of equipment and technical expertise,
the CTR program supported Belarus in becoming a nonnuclear weapons state
in November 1996 in accordance with START I and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT). Ukraine became a nonnuclear weapons state in June 1996. The
CTR program also facilitated Kazakstan becoming nuclear-free in the spring
of 1995. Since the inception of the CTR program, the following positive
developments in the nuclear successor states have occurred:
Future CTR assistance is planned to help Russia meet its START
II obligations in weapons reductions. CTR is assisting Russia in meeting
and accelerating its START Treaty obligations and in complying with the Chemical
Weapons Convention once the latter enters into force. CTR assistance has
also expedited Russia's compliance with START levels, by contributing to
the following developments:
CTR assistance also has procured a U.S. prime contractor to assist the Russian Federation in planning its chemical weapons destruction program.
To enhance the safety, security, and control of fissile material
and nuclear weapons in Russia, CTR assistance provided the
U.S. assistance helps give Russian authorities the confidence to proceed with warhead consolidation and eventual dismantlement. Thus, CTR not only helps to alleviate physical bottlenecks, but also provides an incentive for improvements in security.
CTR also contributed to additional proliferation prevention efforts. Over 17,000 former Soviet weapon scientists and engineers once engaged in WMD research are now involved in civilian research projects through the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow and the Science and Technology Center Ukraine, thus reducing the threat of the possible transfer of WMD expertise to nonnuclear capable states.
Conditions of instability, uncertainty, and strife still exist within the nuclear successor states. The CTR program is responding to these challenges with a program plan designed to continue and accelerate WMD threat reduction through FY 2001. CTR materially and observably reduced threats to the United States and provides the means for continuing to do so in the future.
AN INTEGRATED APPROACH
These successes come not as the result of isolated donations of equipment, but are a product of the close interaction between representatives of the United States and the recipient nations. This integrated approach highlights the importance of all elements of the program to the goals it seeks to achieve.
In an effort to speed the specific action that eliminated much of the direct threat to the United States - removing warheads from missiles - the United States offered to accelerate delivery of materials useful for early deactivation. The fruits of this effort were dramatically visible when Secretary Perry joined the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers in January 1996 in Pervomaysk, Ukraine, to jointly destroy a silo, which was accomplished under a CTR contract. In July 1996, these three defense ministers met once again in Pervomaysk to commemorate Ukraine, once the third-largest nuclear power in the world, becoming a nuclear weapons-free nation. Sunflowers were planted on what was previously a missile field to symbolize this new era. In October 1996, Secretary Perry traveled with Senators Nunn, Lugar, and Lieberman to Severodvinsk, Russia, to witness the dismantlement of a Russian missile submarine. These are vivid examples of the effectiveness of CTR in helping to neutralize a nuclear system which until very recently had posed a direct threat to the security of the United States.
Tangible initial successes proved to be the foundation upon
which further CTR assistance for the dismantlement and destruction of SS-19
ICBMs is built. CTR assistance was directed to remove potential choke points
in the long and difficult process of dismantling the SS-19 systems located
on Ukrainian territory. Some examples of the program's successes in this
The CTR program also sponsored a continuous series of defense and military contacts which went far to assure Ukraine that the United States (and the West) had an interest in Ukraine's stability and success beyond eliminating nuclear weapons from its soil. The United States has provided expertise and support in helping Ukraine develop a national armed force that reflects its sovereign needs, through visits to U.S. training centers and other activities.
This integrated approach addresses the full scope of the challenge facing these nations in completing their arms control agreements and preventing further nuclear dangers from threatening themselves or others.
In spite of the progress made by the CTR program, a great deal of work still needs to be done. The program will continue to provide Russia, Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine with destruction and dismantlement assistance directed toward accelerating strategic offensive arms elimination. CTR assistance will be used to support ongoing deactivation and dismantlement of strategic nuclear systems - missiles and launchers, heavy bombers, and missile carrying submarines - according to START I and the January 1994 United States-Russian-Ukrainian Trilateral Agreement. It will also support and accelerate elimination of Russian strategic delivery systems under START II.
The CTR program will also continue to provide assistance to enhance the safety and security of nuclear weapons and fissile materials with emphasis on strengthening the entire chain of custody from eliminating and dismantling the weapons, to advancing the design and construction of a fissile material storage facility in Russia, and to monitoring the storage of the plutonium resulting from dismantlement. Plans call for CTR to provide additional assistance to the Russian Ministry of Defense to strengthen weapons security by enhancing physical security at storage sites, and to advance control and accounting by building upon existing Russian national material control and accounting and physical protection policies and practices. Specifically, future CTR assistance will assist Russia in developing programs and national resources to ensure the effective regulatory oversight of nuclear weapons and fissile material control and accounting and physical protection policies.
Another key CTR project involves assisting Russia to destroy the 40,000 metric tons of declared chemical weapons agents inherited from the Soviet Union. Without substantial technical and monetary assistance from the United States and other countries, Russia will have difficulty complying with the Chemical Weapons Convention destruction schedules. Through the CTR program, the United States is considering substantial assistance in the design and construction of a prototype chemical munitions destruction facility capable of destroying 500 metric tons per year of nerve-agent-filled artillery munitions.
The CTR program represents a small investment when compared to the overall size of the DoD budget. This modest investment, $1.5 billion since FY 1992, has been responsible for many accomplishments. Continuing the CTR program will allow the United States to pursue not only the objectives specific to this program, but also overarching objectives and interests bearing on U.S. national security and global nuclear stability. This will be made possible by a program whose FY 1997 budget of $328 million represented less than two-tenths of one percent of the entire DoD budget. This is a program of preventive defense, a modest investment with a big payoff for U.S. security. By maintaining this program of defense by other means, the United States will continue to enhance its national security now and in the future.