The CFE Treaty:
Verification and Compliance Issues 

Updated September 1, 1992
(Archived)
by
Mark M. Lowenthal
Office of Senior Specialists CRS

 

CONTENTS

SUMMARY

ISSUE DEFINITION

BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Background of the CFE Treaty

Nature of the CFE Treaty

Arms Control Verification

The CFE Verification Regime

CFE Verification and Compliance Issues

Accuracy of the Data Exchange

Pre-treaty Removal of Soviet Equipment

Collapse of Soviet Central Authority

Circumvention -- Forces in Adjacent Areas

Circumvention - Production and Modernization

Circumvention -- Civil and Paramilitary Use

Nature of "Militarily Significant Violation"

Inspections -- Allied Coordination

Sharing NTM Data

Verification -- Allied Coordination

Inspections -- Manning the Inspectorate

Inspections -- Cost

Inspections -- Counterintelligence

Overall U.S. National Technical Means Capabilities

Past Soviet Compliance Behavior

Senate Consideration of the CFE Treaty

Resolution of Ratification

FOR ADDITIONAL READING

 

 

 

SUMMARY

Senate consideration of the CFE (Conventional Armed Forces in Europe) Treaty included numerous monitoring and verification issues. CFE mandates reductions and limits on tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, and helicopters in a zone stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. The treaty is multilateral and represents several new departures and challenges for monitoring and verification.

The CFE monitoring regime relies on detailed data exchanges on Treaty-Limited Equipment (TLE) and related sites, from which are derived numbers of on-site inspections (OSIS) of both declared sites and challenge inspections. In addition, states may use their National Technical Means (NTM) -- highly sophisticated remote sensors -- for monitoring. CFE also creates a Joint Consultative Group (JCG) to handle compliance and other issues.

A number of compliance issues arose in advance of CFE's formal submission to the Senate. Most prominent were the Soviet transfer of TLEs to units declared to be "naval infantry" and thus outside the CFE mandate, and Soviet removal of TLEs to the east of the Atlantic-to-the-Urals (ATTU) zone, which is not a violation but limits the amount of equipment to be destroyed. The Bush Administration decided to withhold submission of CFE to the Senate until the "naval infantry" issue was resolved; on June 1, 1991, President Bush announced that agreement was reached. According to press reports, the equipment will stay with the "naval infantry" units, but these numbers may not be increased and the Soviets must withdraw equal numbers of equipment from other units. The agreement on this dispute includes other provisions as well. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee noted these activities via conditions binding on the Executive in its resolution of ratification on Nov. 19, 1991, saying they could be inconsistent with Soviet obligations.

Other verification issues that may emerge during implementation of CFE include circumvention via deployment in adjacent areas, via production and modernization, conversion to civilian use, and TLEs held by paramilitary forces; coordination of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) monitoring and verification policy, including pressure on the U.S. to share sensitive NTM data; the cost and manpower requirements of the on-site inspections; overall U.S. NTM capabilities; and the record of past Soviet arms control compliance. Finally, the collapse of central authority in the Soviet Union could complicate and probably magnify compliance problems, leading to questions over the Soviet successor states' ability to fulfill treaty obligations, and the status of military forces of independent republics under CFE. This issue was also the subject of a binding condition of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's ratification resolution, which the Senate approved, 90-4, on Nov. 25, 1991.

 

ISSUE DEFINITION

On Nov. 19, 1990, 22 nations signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), an agreement that mandates reductions and limits on tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, and helicopters in a zone stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. As with all string control treaties considered by the Senate, the United States' ability to monitor and verify compliance with the CFE Treaty will be an area of major focus. Past arms control treaties largely dealt with nuclear weapons and were bilateral (with the exception of the U.S.-U.K.-U.S.S.R. Limited Test Ban Treaty); the CFE Treaty deals with conventional weapons, is multilateral, and represents several new departures and challenges for monitoring and verification. The Senate passed a Resolution of Ratification, 90-4, on Nov. 25, 1991.

 

BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Background of the CFE Treaty

Negotiations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact on force reductions in Europe had been underway since 1973, under the rubric Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR). After years of negotiations, which dealt mainly with manpower levels, major differences remained on such issues as military manpower levels subject to reduction, intrusive monitoring inspections and the content and validity of exchanged data.

Within the context of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), discussions between members of the two alliances began in 1987 on a new set of negotiations that eventually produced the January 1989 mandate for CFE. In February 1989, M13FR was abandoned; CFE began in March 1989. However, within eight months of CFE's opening, the geopolitical situation in Europe had altered dramatically. Soviet-backed regimes in each of its East European satellites fell, the Warsaw Pact quickly became a military relic, and the Soviet Union began a redeployment of forces -- some unilateral and some negotiated with Pact allies - back into its own territory. These events gave added impetus to CFE. Within a year, the CFE Treaty was completed.

 

Nature of the CFE Treaty

The CFE Treaty, unlike MBFR, focuses on equipment rather than manpower. The treaty sets upper, equal limits for Treaty Limited Equipment (TLE) held by the two groups of states (i.e., NATO and the Warsaw Pact, although these rubrics are not used specifically in the treaty) within a zone from the Atlantic to the Urals (ATTU), to be reached by the conversion and/or destruction of TLEs over those limits. Limits can also be reached as a consequence of the removal of equipment from the zone prior to treaty signature, although this is not an explicit provision. The treaty also creates a complex set of requirements concerning regional sub-ceilings, exchanges of data, rules for equipment destruction or conversion, and inspections to monitor compliance. (For details see CRS Report 90-615F, Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). A Primer.)

 

Arms Control Verification

A central concern in any arms control treaty is the ability of signatory states to verify compliance by their treaty partners. Verification is actually a two-part process. The first part, monitoring, is an intelligence collecting and analytical function. The second part, verification, is a policy process that determines how to deal with issues of compliance and non-compliance, including, but not exclusively focusing on, monitoring information.

The intelligence community assesses each treaty provision in terms of U.S. collection capabilities, the terms of the provision, how the systems being limited or controlled have been deployed and operated over time, possible incentives for cheating, plausible ways that cheating might be conducted and the likelihood of detecting such cheating. The end result is a monitoring confidence, usually expressed by a term or percentage ("High Confidence," or "90% confidence"). These monitoring confidences express the intelligence community's assessment of the likelihood that the United States will detect a violation, not whether a violation itself is likely or what the United States might do about it (which is a verification decision).

No treaty is "100% verifiable," i.e., each treaty carries with it a risk that certain non-compliant activities may go unnoticed, either entirely or until they become problematical. In crafting and assessing a treaty, analysts try to convey to decision makers the degree of risk that a "militarily significant violation" would go undetected, i.e., a violation that would threaten either the fabric of the treaty or national security overall. This standard is very different from "politically significant violations, which may be, in essence, any type of non-compliance regardless of their scope.

For the United States, processes of assessing whether the risk inherent in any treaty is acceptable actually happens twice, once by the executive branch during its negotiations and once by the Senate during the advice and consent process. The questions and concerns raised in both are fairly similar.

Finally, no arms control treaty regime relies on any one provision as the basis for successful monitoring and verification. Rather, each regime is seen as an interlocking web of constraints and provisions designed either to deter cheating or to make its timely detection likely.

 

The CFE Verification Regime

In brief, CFE verification rests on a complex web of monitoring and cooperative measures. Each "arty will use any available National Technical Means (NTM), the panoply of highly sophisticated and very expensive satellites, sensors, etc., for monitoring. In addition, each nation will provide a detailed data exchange of its force structure, TLEs, and their locations, all of which will be updated annually.

There is also an elaborate regime of on-site inspections (OSI) for any declared military site holding Objects of Verification (OOVs), i.e., any declared military unit holding TLEs; destruction, conversion, storage, repair, or training sites; etc. The number of inspections each nation is obligated to accept is derived as a percentage from the number of its declared OOVs. The number of inspections declines as TLEs are reduced. Non-declared sites are subject to "challenge' inspections, which can be refused if the challenged state provides reasonable assurance that the site does not contain TLEs.

Finally, the treaty establishes a Joint Consultative Group (JCG) among other things to address compliance issues. The JCG, composed of all treaty signatories, has no enforcement powers and will work by consensus, which is defined in the treaty as "the absence of any objection" by any nation.

Given the nature and quantity of the CFE TLES, no verification regime can hope to keep an exact tally. Rather, the CFE verification regime appears designed to create a combination of unilateral NTM monitoring, frequent reporting requirements, inspections -- which largely serve as a deterrent to cheating and political pressure via the JCG - to give policy-makers reasonable confidence that treaty obligations are being met.

 

CFE Verification and Compliance Issues

Some of the verification issues raised by CFE are unique to this treaty; others are either more generic in nature or stem from the past 20 years of arms control experience with the Soviet Union.

 

Accuracy of the Data Exchange

The most prominent and potentially damaging issue to have arisen prior to submission of the treaty to the Senate was the accuracy of the initial Soviet data. There were significant discrepancies between the Soviet data for its accountable TLEs and western intelligence assessments, which showed higher numbers. Apparently, the approximately 3,500 TLEs in question were transferred to units that were declared to be "naval infantry" or "coastal defense," a category excluded from the CFE mandate, allowing the Soviets to claim that this equipment is now exempt. The United States raised this issue, apparently quite forcefully, with the Soviets, seeking additional information and clarification. The Bush Administration decided to withhold CFE from the Senate until the data exchange issue was resolved. President Bush reportedly also told President Gorbachev that this issue would prevent the planned June 1991 summit in Moscow.

According to press reports, this issue was discussed by Secretary of State Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh at their Jan. 29-30, 1991 meeting. Bessmertnykh reportedly proposed allowing the Soviets an exemption for these three divisions, in return for a Soviet assurance that no further such exemptions would be sought. Baker reportedly rejected this idea. The Apr. 1, 1991 Washington Post reported that the Soviets had proposed what they called a compromise: the weapons of the two "coastal defense" divisions would be moved eastward, out of the CFE zone; these weapons would replace older types that would then be destroyed. The other two would be allowed to stay put and not be counted in CFE limits. According to the Apr. 12, 1991 Washington Post, President Bush wrote to Gorbachev, accepting the withdrawal of the "coastal defense" equipment east of the CFE zone, but also asking that a number of weapons equal to those held by the "naval infantry" units also be withdrawn from the CFE zone. The United States would also accept the destruction of some weapons outside of the CFE zone, but would insist on U.S. and allied inspection. The Soviets would not have to affirm the treaty interpretation accepted by the other CFE signatories.

On Apr. 22, 1991, Senators Pell, Helms, and Biden wrote to President Bush, recommending that he submit the CFE Treaty to the Senate with the understanding that the Senate would add a condition stipulating strict adherence to Article III, which is at issue in this instance. The Senators argued that this approach would induce Soviet President Gorbachev "to bring his military officials into line." Although such a position offered political support to the Administration, it also served to undercut any arrangement worked out with the Soviets that offered less than strict adherence or, failing that, left the CFE Treaty in limbo.

In negotiations with the United States, General Mikhail Moiseyev, then Chief of the Soviet General Staff, offered Soviet compliance with the CFE Treaty limits, including the "naval infantry," according to press reports. However, Moiseyev reportedly wanted to revise treaty limits to allow the Soviets to keep more equipment on active duty, including some 750 armored combat vehicles, some of which would be deployed in the Soviet Baltic region. The United States rejected this proposal.

On June 1, 1991, President Bush announced that agreement had been reached on this issue. According to press reports, the compromise included the following points:

  • Soviet naval and coastal units can keep the transferred equipment, but these units may not be increased in size. The Soviets must also withdraw an equal amount of equipment from other units;
  • The Soviets agree to destroy or convert to civilian use some 25% of the 57,000 pieces of armored equipment withdrawn from the ATTU zone prior to the treaty signing;
  • 1,700 armored personnel carriers assigned by the Soviets to the Strategic Rocket Forces will be excluded from treaty limits by being counted as for internal security units rather than ground forces;
  • The Soviets will be allowed to move some of their more modem equipment to units beyond the ATTU zone and to destroy or convert older equipment instead. However, the Soviets may not create new forces in Asia with this equipment or stockpile them there. The equipment will go to units in the middle of the country.

In response to concerns raised at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on this compromise, Secretary Baker said the Soviets viewed this as a "legally binding' statement.

In a Dec. 24, 1991 report on CFE, President Bush said that the underreporting of TLEs was a violation, as was a failure to report all OOVs.

Given the centrality of the data exchange in establishing baseline figures for TLEs and for calculating the number of inspections for which a country is liable, this is an important issue. In addition to U.S.-Soviet bilateral discussions, the data exchange issue is currently being considered by the CFE Joint Consultative Group as well. The treaty allowed for a 90-day period from signature (ending on Feb. 19, 1991) for states to amend their data. Press reports indicated that both U.S. allies and former Warsaw Pact members supported the U.S. position on this data exchange issue. The Soviet actions and treaty interpretations also raise broader questions about post-Soviet compliance behavior (see below).

The U.S. ability to verify the data exchange has also become a more sensitive issue, because of recent instances in which intelligence estimates were found to be inaccurate. For example, the United States apparently did not know of the existence of SS-23 SRBMS, systems to be destroyed under the INF Treaty, stationed outside the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Warsaw Pact revealed that East Germany, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia all had SS-23 forces of their own. Similarly, complete access to the details of the East German military during the process of German unification apparently also revealed inaccuracies in long-held intelligence estimates.

 

Pre-treaty Removal of Soviet Equipment

A second prominent compliance issue was the Soviet Union's removal of equipment eastward from the ATTU zone prior to completion of the treaty. According to their own data, the Soviets removed some 21,000 tanks, 18,000-20,000 artillery pieces, nearly 16,000 armored combat vehicles, and 800 combat aircraft from the ATTU zone. This has reduced the number of Soviet TLEs that have to be converted or destroyed from 74,000 as of January 1990 to 18,840 currently.

This process actually dates from President Gorbachev's December 1988 U.N. speech announcing unilateral cuts in Soviet forces in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. This process has been accelerated by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The removed equipment is apparently being used to replace older items in units east of the ATTU zone (a process called "cascading"), converted to civilian use or stored east of the Urals, or destroyed.

The transfers do not constitute a violation of the treaty, which had not been signed when they took place. Moreover, the United States has also transferred some equipment out of the ATTU zone prior to treaty signing, including 700 tanks transferred to Egypt, 200 tanks sold to Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, and some 616 M-lAl tanks sent to U.S. forces in Operation Desert Shield. The United States has, however, given assurances that all transfers related to Desert Shield will count against total TLEs to be destroyed.

Nonetheless, the Soviet transfers have raised concerns about the ultimate disposition of this equipment and its potential for a rapid build-up in the restricted area by equipment stored just east of the Urals. (See below: Circumvention -- Forces in Adjacent Areas.)

 

Collapse of Soviet Central Authority

The rapid collapse of Soviet central authority in the aftermath of the failed August 1991 coup has raised new CFE compliance issues. Several Soviet republics that lie within the CFE zone have now declared their independence; some -- most prominently the Ukraine - have also discussed creating independent military forces. These developments raise several important issues. First, can the Soviet or any successor government enforce treaty obligations in all areas covered by CFE? For example, the Soviet government declared that all equipment in the now independent Baltic republics will continue to count against Soviet limits but, as the CFE's Joint Consultative Group has noted, any inspections of this equipment depend on the consent and cooperation of the Baltics. Second, will independent republics accede to the CFE Treaty? According to international law, successor states are not automatically obligated by agreements entered into by their predecessors. Thus, there could be states in the ATTU zone whose forces are no longer subject to CFE limits. Third, if these states adhere to the CFE Treaty, how are their forces to be accounted for? For example, the Ukraine has talked about raising an independent force of 450,000. Would such forces count against former Soviet limits? Would new limits have to be drawn for each republic in the ATTU zone? If so, who would set those limits?

As none of these questions could be answered definitively before the Senate voted approval of the CFE Treaty, the Senate created reservations binding on the Executive to cover possible outcomes in what was the U.S.S.R. (see Resolution of Ratification).

 

Circumvention -- Forces in Adjacent Areas

Among the means of circumvention (or "cheating scenarios") of most concern is the continuing presence of sizable Soviet forces, some of them armed with modern equipment withdrawn from the ATM zone prior to completion of CFE, on the very fringes of the reduction zone. The burden for monitoring this potential threat will fall to NTM, as no inspections are permitted beyond the ATTU zone. Presumably, policy-makers are convinced that NTM would detect any changes in deployment on the fringes of the ATTU zone that could presage a significant build-up that would threaten the treaty if they were moved west. According to recent press reports, the intelligence community has increased its presumed period of warning of a potential Soviet attack from the older 14 days to 44 days, and now to perhaps as much as 2 years. There is also a provision in the CFE Treaty requiring advance notification of TLEs above permitted levels moving into the zone for periods longer than 7 days.

Force concentrations in adjacent areas are of greater concern for NATO than for the United States given the contiguity of Soviet territory with the ATTU zone and the far greater distance that the main source of major NATO counterbalancing forces, i.e., those of the United States, would have to come.

 

Circumvention - Production and Modernization

The CFE Treaty does not preclude ongoing force modernization and does not provide for monitoring production of new TLEs within the ATTU zone. The treaty calls for notification of any new type of TLE or updated TLE either for active units or in storage as part of the annual data exchange. Although storage areas for newly produced TLEs will not be subject to declared site inspections, challenge inspections of suspect sites are seen as an important deterrent to cheating. The treaty also requires annual reports on newly produced TLE awaiting export. Large increases in this category over two successive data exchanges must be explained.

The United States initially favored establishing perimeter portal monitors for production sites, similar to those in the INF Treaty. However, NATO allies voiced major opposition as they were concerned that these measures would reveal highly sensitive information and could put their own national industries at a disadvantage vis--vis the United States in the international export market. Presumably, any production of TLEs in numbers large enough to be of concern could be monitored given the need to have adequate storage as well as ongoing maintenance if these TLEs are to have any military utility.

 

Circumvention -- Civil and Paramilitary Use

TLEs can be converted to civilian use as a means of reduction or used by paramilitary forces. The number of TLEs that can be converted to civilian use is limited; the treaty also provides specific conversion procedures. Required notifications and inspections are the treaty-mandated safeguards for these processes.

The allowance for equipment that constitute TLEs but are held by paramilitary forces was a concession to some NATO allies and to the Soviet Union, which has substantial forces in this category. Tanks, artillery, combat aircraft, and specialized attack helicopters used by paramilitary units count against CFE ceilings but are liable only to suspect site inspection and not declared site inspection; only paramilitary armored infantry fighting vehicles in excess of 1,000 count against treaty limits; paramilitary multipurpose attack helicopters, armored personnel carriers, and heavy armament combat vehicles must be reported but are not limited. All paramilitary TLEs are subject to the data exchange.

Critics of the treaty pointed to these two areas, but especially the intact equipment of paramilitary forces, as a potential area for circumvention within the ATTU zone, although it is not clear how much additional equipment could be actively assigned to paramilitary forces or stored in significant numbers without being detected.

 

Nature of "Militarily Significant Violation"

The number and types of the TLEs involved in CFE, literally hundreds of thousands of items, is far greater than any past arms control treaty. Indeed, SALT I and II, INF, and START all deal with far more finite and ultimately more readily monitored weapon systems. Thus, for CFE, the Intelligence Community has neither the ability nor the expectation to tally allowed and excess systems with the same degree of specificity.

This has at least two significant results for CFE monitoring and for verification decisions on potential non-compliance. First, there will be greater uncertainty in terms of overall monitoring judgments and the policy decisions that flow from them. Second, the issue of what constitutes a 'militarily significant violation" will be more difficult. It should be noted that, even in nuclear arms control, there are no hard and fast rules as to what types of violations are militarily significant. For example, under START, 10 additional MX or SS-18 ICBMs, meaning 100 additional warheads, is still small in an overall force of 6,000 warheads. For CFE, where the overall numbers are far greater and where geographical constraints limit the effect of non-compliance, this threshold of "militarily significance" becomes even less clear. Thus, there is a dual uncertainty as to the actual numbers of TLEs and the level at which this uncertainty is perceived as posing a potential military risk.

(A third issue arising from the "military significance" question has to do with probable differences in U.S. and allied thresholds for concern. See below: Verification-Allied Coordination.)

 

Inspections -- Allied Coordination

NATO has created an internal body in Brussels to coordinate inspection technologies, inspector training, organizing inspections, and sharing data. Ideally, NATO members will coordinate their inspections so as to minimize duplication and maximize the sites and types of equipment inspected. However, NATO states have not yet decided the degree to which they will share information gained during inspections. This could become a source of tension within the alliance and between the U.S. and NATO allies, especially if the U.S. continues to withhold much of its NTM data (see below). Some of the smaller NATO states have discussed multinational inspection teams, which the treaty allows; to date the U.S. is reluctant to join in such teams because of the need to share sensitive data.

Beyond the NATO directorate, the mechanics of the JCG will also require inter-allied coordination, given the consensus (i.e., no dissents) rule. This could involve political deals that are, in essence, removed from the details of the non-compliance issue at hand and are affected by such factors as how much information allies have been willing to share and past support for issues of concern in the JCG.

 

Sharing NTM Data

The United States has the largest and most capable NTM within NATO but has traditionally been reluctant to share NTM-derived data in detail with its allies. The U.S. will presumably maintain this policy under CFE, although the pressure to share information will increase. In -the case of challenge inspections of undeclared sites, for example, the tip-off of the need for such an inspection could likely come via NTM, which may also reveal that assurances given to refuse such an inspection are invalid. If the U.S. wishes either to request its allies to undertake the inspection as part of their quota or to press the matter of non-compliance after a refusal, there may be allied demands to reveal details of NTM data to substantiate the U.S. position. Similar pressures could arise during discussions in the JCG if the U.S. seeks adherents to a non-compliance issue. Finally, NATO allies may demand greater access to U.S. NTM data as a quid pro quo for information they share from inspections.

 

Verification -- Allied Coordination

NATO allies will also have to decide how they deal with the monitoring data collected from NTM and inspections in terms of the political verification decisions, an issue that likely transcends the more technical duties of the new Verification and Information Systems Directorate. Each state is likely to have different reactions to potential non-compliance. There is the potential for major disagreements between the United States and its allies given the fact that any Soviet violation poses a much more proximate threat to them than to us. There is also the potential for issues wholly extraneous to CFE to become part of intra-allied bargaining.

 

Inspections -- Manning the Inspectorate

The CFE Treaty allows each state to have a roster of up to 400 inspectors to carry out OSIS. At the onset of the INF Treaty in 1988, which allowed up to 200 inspectors, the U.S. found that it did not have sufficient numbers of available personnel with the proper language proficiencies and familiarity with the treaty-limited equipment. CFE poses the question of whether or not this problem has been resolved and the degree to which it will be aggravated by the implementation of the START Treaty. START will also require trained OSI personnel.

INF-related inspections have provided the relatively new On-Site Inspection Agency (OSIA) with valuable experience. Nonetheless, the sheer physical problem of carrying out as many inspections as the various treaties entail could become daunting.

 

Inspections -- Cost

The extensive OSI agreed to in CFE will be costly. The Congressional Budget Office now estimates that U.S. costs for verifying and complying with CFE could range from $25 to $75 million annually, plus a one-time cost of $130 to $385 million for baseline inspections and observation of destruction of foreign equipment, escorts for foreign inspectors in the United States, destruction of U.S. equipment, and undetermined aerial reconnaissance requirements to supplement OSI. (These estimates are lower than CBO's earlier figures, which showed annual costs of $25 to $100 million and $780 million for one-time costs.) In its report on the CFE Treaty, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee estimated annual costs of CFE verification at $50 million. At the same time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the CFE and START treaties together would save the United States at least $9 billion annually. Most of these savings would probably come from CFE, given the greater expense of conventional forces compared to strategic systems. Thus, there would be a significant offset to the CFE inspection costs.

 

Inspections -- Counterintelligence

OSI inevitably raises the specter of intelligence collection by the inspecting team for reasons beyond the scope of the treaty. As was the case with INF, this will be a concern in CFE. The demise of the Warsaw Pact has likely decreased the overall threat given the change in relations between the Soviet Union and its former satellites. Concerns remain, however, over Soviet intelligence activities as well as the possibility that long-established ties between the KGB or GRU and their former East European partners may not have been completely severed despite the political changes.

This potential threat raises the question of U.S. counterintelligence capabilities. The FBI has long complained about its own manpower difficulties in this area. The Senate Intelligence Committee has echoed these concerns (see S.Rept. 102-85). However, unlike INF, no CFE inspections will take place on U.S. territory, only at U.S. military installations in Europe. This presumably transfers the counterintelligence task to the Defense Department, whose counterintelligence capabilities now must be evaluated as is the threat itself.

 

Overall U.S. National Technical Means Capabilities

NTM are the bedrock of arms control monitoring. Although the United States' NTM are held in high repute, they are a limited asset in that they have multiple tasks at any given time, ranging from strategic warning to global trouble spots, as well as numerous arms control responsibilities. Some have voiced concern about these increasing tasks for what are limited and highly expensive assets. For example, during the debate over the INF Treaty, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (S. Rept. 100-318) questioned the effects of that treaty and the impending START Treaty on U.S. NTM capabilities, noting the need for funds "to initiate a long-term program to modernize and improve upon current plans for intelligence collection." The CFE Treaty raises further concerns about the ability of U.S. NTM to cope with these multiple tasks.

The Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly attached an informal understanding to the INF Treaty to improve NTM capabilities, requiring the annual launching of additional imagery satellites. The actual costs of these systems are highly classified, but based on CBO estimates this could mean added annual NTM expenses of $1.5 to $5.75 billion, not all of which would be directly attributable to CFE given the multiple tasks assigned to NIM.

 

Past Soviet Compliance Behavior

Past Soviet compliance with arms control treaties, and the compliance of post-Soviet successor states, is also an issue. The Bush Administration, for example, noted in its February 1991 Compliance Report to Congress on Soviet Non-Compliance with Arms Control Agreements that "concerns about Soviet compliance remain," even though there had been significant Soviet actions designed to resolve some of these concerns. The March 1992 report continued to raise concerns about behavior under the now defunct Soviet regime.

Among the more serious U.S. concerns have been the early warning radar at Krasnoyarsk, which the Soviet-Union admitted was a violation and began dismantling, other Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty radar violations that have also been corrected, though without any Soviet admission of a violation, and the presence of SS-23s in former Warsaw Pact nations. The March 1992 report noted that dismantlement of Krasnoyarsk had not been completed by 1991, as promised. Other areas of concern include the presence of SS-23s in former Warsaw Pact nations ("the most serious concern") and that Soviet failure to acknowledge the SS-23s in East Europe "constitutes bad faith;" the presence of INF-limited SS-4s at some undeclared locations; and certain AIBM-related activities.

More recently, there have been U.S. and British allegations that Russia has not been forthcoming in declaring sites involved in biological weapons production, as required under the new Chemical Weapons Convention. Russian officials have denied this allegation. This raises several new concerns: (1) Are Russia and other former Soviet republics continuing past questionable Soviet practices? (2) Given the far-flung nature of the Soviet military-industrial complex and the current confused, if not chaotic, political conditions in what was the Soviet Union, can these new governments assuredly get control over the apparatus and successfully meet their arms control obligations?

Thus, a significant history of past Soviet compliance practice, publicly acknowledged by the past two administrations, raises concerns about strict Soviet adherence to the CFE Treaty. The dispute over Soviet claims of exemptions for equipment of units redesignated "naval infantry" and "coastal defense" will likely heighten such concerns. These concerns, as in all treaties, have to be balanced against monitoring capabilities, assessments as to acceptable levels of uncertainty and risk, the significance of recent changes in Soviet arms control compliance policy that permitted completion of the CFE Treaty and its intrusive OSI regime, and the value of the treaty to the Soviet Union versus the potential political cost of being caught in non-compliance.

 

Senate Consideration of the CFE Treaty

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee began consideration of the CFE Treaty on July 11, 1991. At the first session, with Secretary of State Baker representing the Administration, a number of verification issues arose, including concern over the pre-treaty movement of Soviet equipment east of the Urals and the nature of the compromise concerning the Soviet naval infantry units. On this latter point, several Senators voiced concern over whether this "side agreement" was legally binding; Secretary Baker said that the Soviets viewed this as a "legally binding" statement.

 

Resolution of Ratification

On Nov. 19, 1991, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-0 to report out the treaty favorably. The Resolution of Ratification contains several conditions that would be binding on the Executive, mostly related to verification and compliance concerns: (1) regarding the naval infantry issue, the United States would treat the Soviet declaration of June 14, 1991, as legally binding; (2) the United States shall continue to seek clarification of differences in Soviet data and U.S. estimates; (3) militarily significant activity of equipment east of the Urals may warrant U.S. withdrawal and will require a report from the President to the Senate on the appropriate U.S. response; (4)-Soviet equipment in the Baltics will be held liable to treaty restrictions; (5) if new states form in the ATTU area and do not accede to the treaty, the President shall consult with the Senate on the effects of such an event; if the TLEs of such a state undermine the treaty, the President can exercise the U.S. right to withdraw; if not, he should call for an extraordinary conference to assess the treaty's viability and potentially to amend it; any changes (save minor technical or administrative ones) in the treaty must be submitted for the Senate's advice and consent.

There are also declarations stating that in its consideration of START, the Senate will examine whether SS-23s limited by the INF Treaty have been dismantled according to those provisions and whether the Krasnoyarsk radar is being properly dismantled. The Senate approved the resolution, 90-4, on Nov. 25, 1991.

 

FOR ADDITIONAL READING

Lowenthal, Mark M. The politics of verification: What's new, what's not. Washington Quarterly, Winter 1991.

U.S. Congress. Congressional Budget Office. U.S. costs of verification and compliance under pending arms control treaties, by Michael O'Hanlon. [Washington] September 1990.

CBO Staff Memorandum. Budgetary and military consequences of the CFE treaty: An update. Congressional Budget Office. [Washington] March 1991.

U.S. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment. Verification technologies: Cooperative aerial surveillance in international agreements. [Washington] July 1991.

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Verifying compliance with a conventional arms control accord: Considerations for Congress, by Stanley R. Sloan. [Washington] Feb. 8, 1990. (Revised) CRS Report 90-79 F.

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