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U.S. Joins Study of Arms Trade Treaty

Jeff Abramson

All 28 countries invited to do so, including the United States, sent representatives to a UN-sponsored experts meeting in February to explore a global arms trade treaty (ATT). The United States originally voted against starting the effort (see ACT, December 2006), prompting many to believe it would not participate in the process.

The Feb. 11-15 governmental group of experts meeting is the first of three such meetings slated to take place this year. The experts are charged with examining the “feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.” The expert meetings are closed to the public and are not intended to be negotiations but rather to produce a set of recommendations that could lead to a treaty.

Many governments and civil society groups that have pushed for the UN effort believe that it could result in a treaty. In 2006, 153 countries voted to start the process. Last year, nearly 100 countries submitted their views on a possible legal instrument.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose country is seen as a leader of the ATT process, said in a Jan. 21 speech in India that “[b]ecause the threat and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is now compounded by the continuing proliferation of conventional weapons, and we know that one person is killed every minute from small arms, Britain will also work internationally to achieve a global arms trade treaty.”

In 2006, the United States voted against beginning the treaty process, contending that that the effort would be time-consuming and that any eventual treaty would contain standards weaker than existing U.S. rules. Nonetheless, U.S. nongovernmental groups urged the Bush administration to participate in part because the United States is the largest arms supplier in the world. The U.S. decision to attend came at the last minute, with Ambassador Don Mahley arriving to represent the United States at the meeting on its second day.

Participants in the meeting said that a number of countries expressed skepticism about the ATT concept, including China, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States. Given that whatever recommendations emerge will need to be agreed to by consensus, they speculate that a final report would likely include a list of pros and cons on the treaty concept.

The experts group is chaired by Ambassador Roberto García Moritán of Argentina. In 2006, Moritán chaired a similar experts group on the UN Register of Conventional Arms, which recommended improvements to the reporting mechanism, including a standardized form for small arms. The register provides a process through which countries voluntarily report annually on certain conventional arms exports and imports. (See ACT, September and November 2007.)

Experts representing Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated in the February meeting. They will meet again May 12-16 and July 28-Aug. 8, with recommendations expected later this year after the final meeting.

Contradictions Still Plague U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal

Daryl G. Kimball

Two and a half years after President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their proposed U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal, the ill-conceived arrangement faces a highly uncertain future. In the next few weeks, decisions will likely be made at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that will determine whether the deal occurs at all and, if so, at what cost to the global nuclear nonproliferation system.

As soon as this month, the IAEA Board of Governors may be convened to consider a new India-specific safeguards agreement. If approved, the 44 other members of the NSG might then act on a U.S. proposal to exempt India from long-standing guidelines that require comprehensive IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply. If these bodies agree, the United States and other suppliers could finalize bilateral nuclear trade deals with India.

Although many states are willing to bend some rules to help India buy new reactors and the additional fuel needed to run them, there is growing resistance to forms of nuclear trade that could indirectly enable India’s nuclear weapons program or that would allow continued nuclear trade if India breaks its pledge not to resume nuclear test explosions. There is good reason for such concern because India violated past agreements on peaceful nuclear cooperation when it tested its first nuclear device in 1974 and has refused to allow comprehensive IAEA safeguards.

Contrary to claims of its proponents, the deal does not bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream. In fact, given India’s refusal to join the five original nuclear-weapon states in halting the production of fissile material for weapons, foreign supplies of nuclear fuel could free up New Delhi’s existing (and limited) uranium stockpile and increase its capacity to produce more nuclear bomb material. Unlike 177 other states, India has not yet signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Meanwhile, Indian officials are highly sensitive to concerns that the deal could affect its nuclear weapons program. To preserve India’s military options, the Singh government has bargained hard for unprecedented fuel supply assurances and unspecified “corrective measures” in the new safeguards agreement to offset disruptions that might occur if India resumes testing.

Indian leaders are also demanding terms of trade with other nuclear suppliers that sidestep the minimal but vital nonproliferation conditions and restrictions established by Congress in 2006 implementing legislation. The law, known as the Hyde Act, would require the termination of U.S. nuclear trade if New Delhi resumes nuclear testing or violates its safeguards commitments.

To improve its fuel production and spent fuel reprocessing capabilities, the Singh government has fought tooth and nail to secure access to uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies. The Hyde Act effectively bars the transfer of these sensitive nuclear technologies, which India could potentially use to enhance its military nuclear program.

Yet, India is demanding an NSG exemption without any of these and other conditions or restrictions. To date, the Bush administration has carried India’s water. The current U.S. draft proposal calls for a “clean” exemption, and the bilateral U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement contradicts the Hyde Act in several areas.

But at a hearing Feb. 13, the new chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), challenged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on this approach, noting that would give other nuclear suppliers, such as France and Russia, a commercial advantage and undermine U.S. nonproliferation objectives. Rice told Berman that the United States would pursue India-specific nuclear trade guidelines that are “completely consistent” with the Hyde Act.

Days later, India’s special envoy, Shyam Saran, contradicted Rice, saying that “it is our expectation that there would be a fairly simple and clean exemption from these guidelines, without any conditions or even expectations regarding India’s conduct in the future.” He asserted that India has “no problem with permanent safeguards provided there are permanent supplies of fuel.”

Saran noted that, in the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation agreement, the Bush administration pledged to help India amass a strategic fuel reserve and provide fuel supplies for the lifetime of its safeguarded reactors. Yet, at the urging of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the Hyde Act stipulates that fuel supplies should only be “commensurate with reasonable reactor requirements.”

Now is the time for Congress and responsible members of the NSG to hold the Bush administration to Rice’s pledge to support international guidelines for trade with India that, at the very least, incorporate the minimal requirements mandated by U.S. law. If India’s leaders cannot even abide by these minimal standards and decide to reject the deal, that is their choice. Additional concessions to India will only further compromise the already beleaguered global nonproliferation system.

Two and a half years after President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced their proposed U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal, the ill-conceived arrangement faces a highly uncertain future. In the next few weeks, decisions will likely be made at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that will determine whether the deal occurs at all and, if so, at what cost to the global nuclear nonproliferation system.

As soon as this month, the IAEA Board of Governors may be convened to consider a new India-specific safeguards agreement. If approved, the 44 other members of the NSG might then act on a U.S. proposal to exempt India from long-standing guidelines that require comprehensive IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply. If these bodies agree, the United States and other suppliers could finalize bilateral nuclear trade deals with India. (Continue)

White House Aims to Expedite Arms Exports

Jeff Abramson

On Jan. 22, President George W. Bush issued a directive designed to expedite export licensing of defense equipment, services, and technical data. The directive may ease criticism from industry and Congress that the U.S. export controls system is unnecessarily time consuming, but few specific details about the directive are available.

The full text of the National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) is not publicly available, but an overview of the directive exists as a one-page fact sheet from the Department of State. It outlines a number of measures to expedite license applications for items on the U.S. Munitions List. According to U.S. law, direct commercial sales of items on that list, whether to foreign governments or companies, must be approved by the U.S. government. This is done through the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).

At a meeting Feb. 26, Acting Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security John Rood estimated that direct commercial sale licenses for defense articles and defense services for permanent export could be valued as high as $96 billion and that 85,000 licenses could be processed in fiscal year 2008, which ends Sept. 30, 2008.

Lawmakers have raised concerns that sales were being unnecessarily delayed. During a July 2007 hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Chairman Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) commented that “[l]ast year, the backlog of unprocessed licenses at DTTC reached 10,000, a number unheard of in prior years.” Sherman singled out a shortage of manpower as one cause. “One aspect of the problem is clear, there is simply not enough personnel to handle the problem,” he said.

A November 2007 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concurred with Sherman’s assessment by identifying “human capital challenges.” It noted that, between October 2002 and September 2006, the number of case officers remained relatively constant (35) but the number of cases processed rose by 20 percent and median processing time doubled.

The directive appears designed to address some of these concerns by mandating the commitment of additional funding to expedite license processing. At the February meeting, Rood underscored the pending creation of a self-financing mechanism for the DDTC that could provide as much as 75 percent of the funding for the directorate. At the same meeting, Frank Ruggiero, deputy assistant secretary for defense trade and regional security, stated that achieving the directive’s goals would “most certainly require additional hires.” Exact details about these changes are not yet available, but Rood expects to submit a financial and personnel resources plan to the Office of Management and Budget by March 22.

The directive appears to address other suggestions from the GAO, a congressional watchdog agency. The GAO had faulted the DDTC’s electronic filing and processing system, D-Trade, saying that it had not significantly improved processing times and that it lacked tools to aid officers. The recent presidential directive states that the “electronic licensing system,” presumably including D-Trade, will be upgraded so that all agencies can access the same data. A plan for electronic interoperability is due by July 22, according to Rood.

The State Department also accepted the GAO’s recommendation to conduct systematic assessments to “identify and address inefficiences and challenges in the arms export process.” Rood said that data is now reviewed weekly and key metrics are improving “substantially.” He reported that the number of cases kept open more than 60 days is reduced to 20, down from 400, and the total number of open cases currently stands at 3,400, down from 7,500 in April 2007 as noted by the GAO.

The presidential directive also calls for a number of procedural changes. It says that guidelines would be issued that require a decision on license applications within 60 days, barring some exceptions. It mentions that a multiagency working group will be established to address enforcement investigations.

It also indicates that an interagency dispute mechanism will be created to resolve jurisdictional issues between the Departments of State and Commerce. That mechanism is to be established by March 1 and will be chaired by Ruggiero, according to Rood.

The Commerce Department maintains the Commerce Control List, which governs exports of goods, technology, and information that have both military and civilian uses. At times, there are disputes as to whether an item should be considered a defense item and controlled by the State Department or a dual-use good controlled by the Commerce Department. These jurisdictional questions can delay license processing.

In a separate NSPD issued Jan. 22, the president dealt with dual-use goods. The publicly available two-page fact sheet of that directive calls for a greater differentiation among foreign end-users. It was hailed by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) which, in partnership with the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness, sent 19 recommendations for export reform to the president in 2007. According to a side-by-side comparison released by NAM, the president’s directive could support at least 16 of the recommendations, including license exceptions for the transfer of controlled items within companies and favorable treatment for foreign end-users with strong compliance programs.

To date, however, the full directives have not been released and many of the implementation details are still pending, making it difficult to determine exactly what they include and whether they will be sufficiently strong to protect against possible diversion of defense items and technology. Similar concerns have been raised in relation to separate defense trade cooperation treaties with Australia and the United Kingdom that the Bush administration submitted to the Senate last year. Those treaties would create licensing exemptions for a community of preapproved defense firms. (See ACT, September and October 2007.)

On Feb. 14, U.S. and British officials signed an implementing agreement and made it publicly available. A number of key lists, however, remain unpublished, including approved operations, programs, and projects as well as those defense articles that would be exempt from the treaty.

The Senate was not expected to act on the treaties until the implementing agreements were shared. On Feb. 21, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide told Arms Control Today that the committee needs to study the arrangement with the United Kingdom and is still waiting for implementation details of the proposed treaty with Australia. The committee has yet to express any views on the subject.

On Jan. 22, President George W. Bush issued a directive designed to expedite export licensing of defense equipment, services, and technical data. The directive may ease criticism from industry and Congress that the U.S. export controls system is unnecessarily time consuming, but few specific details about the directive are available. (Continue)

Rice’s Pledge to Make Global Rules on Nuclear Trade with India “Consistent” with U.S. Law Requires Shift in U.S. Policy



For Immediate Release: February 14, 2008
Press Contacts: Daryl Kimball, (202) 463-8270 x107

(Washington, D.C.) Responding to a question from Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) at a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that she would support an India-specific exemption from the international nuclear trading guidelines of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that is “completely consistent” with the conditions and restrictions established in a 2006 law approved by Congress.

The law, known as the Henry J. Hyde Act, would grant the U.S. president limited and conditional authority to waive the longstanding U.S. legal restrictions on nuclear trade with India, which has tested nuclear weapons, has not joined the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and does not allow comprehensive international nuclear safeguards.

“Rice’s pledge to support NSG guidelines that are consistent with the minimal but vital conditions established for U.S. nuclear trade with India requires a shift in the Bush administration’s policy. Such a shift would be an overdue step in the right direction,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association (ACA).

“At present, India is seeking an NSG exemption without conditions. The current draft U.S. proposal at the NSG supports India’s demand and, if adopted, would mean that other NSG states do not have to adhere to the same restrictions and conditions on nuclear trade with India that apply to the United States,” Kimball said. The March 2006 U.S. pre-decisional draft proposal for exempting India from NSG trade guidelines is available from www.armscontrol.org/projects/India/20060327_DraftNSGProposal.asp

“We expect that Secretary Rice will remain faithful to her pledge to Congress and adjust the U.S. approach at the NSG so that other states’ terms of trade with India must meet the same standards established in U.S. law and policy,” Kimball said.

The NSG was established in response to India’s 1974 nuclear test explosion, which utilized plutonium harvested from a foreign-supplied reactor in violation of peaceful nuclear use agreements with the United States and Canada.

“In response to Rice’s comments, we expect the member states of the NSG to insist that any decision to modify their rules on nuclear trade with India should explicitly prohibit the transfer of sensitive uranium enrichment, plutonium reprocessing, or heavy water production equipment or technology. NSG states should also stipulate that any exemption from NSG trade guidelines that might be granted to India would be revoked if that nation resumes nuclear testing,” Kimball suggested.

The Hyde Act establishes several common sense restrictions and conditions on nuclear trade with India, including:
• The immediate termination of all NSG trade with India if New Delhi resumes nuclear testing or violates its safeguards commitments. India, which has not signed the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, is seeking terms that would allow continued nuclear trade even if India resumes testing.
• A requirement that the IAEA-India safeguards agreement applies in perpetuity to all nuclear materials, equipment, and technology and all civilian nuclear facilities in India. New Delhi is seeking an unprecedented “Indian-specific” safeguards agreement that would allow it to remove certain reactors from safeguards if fuel supplies are interrupted, even if that is because it resumes testing.
• A clear prohibition on the transfer of enrichment, reprocessing, and heavy water production technology to India. IAEA safeguards cannot prevent India from using knowledge gained from the importation of these sensitive technologies in its nuclear weapons program.
• A stipulation that NSG states may not grant India consent to reprocess the nuclear fuel they supply except in a facility under permanent and unconditional safeguards. Reprocessing allows for the harvesting of plutonium for weapons and is not essential to India’s ability to generate nuclear power.

“If the administration fails to support an NSG policy with the conditions established in the Hyde Act, other less constrained suppliers such as Russia and France will gain commercial advantage and undermine U.S. nonproliferation objectives,” Kimball said.

Kimball and other nonproliferation experts have called on Congress to support a resolution (H. Res. 711) introduced in October by Rep. Berman and his Republican colleagues, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that calls on the president only to pursue changes to NSG guidelines that are consistent with the restrictions and conditions established in the Hyde Act.

Following the adoption of the Hyde Act in late-2006, Washington and New Delhi negotiated a bilateral nuclear trade agreement in mid-2007. Before the United States or other nuclear suppliers can finalize bilateral nuclear trade deals with India, the IAEA Board of Governors must approve a new “India-specific” safeguards agreement covering several additional power reactors that India has agreed to classify as “civilian.” After three months of talks, Indian and IAEA officials have not come to terms on that agreement.

If the safeguards agreement is approved, NSG members would then be asked to act on the proposal to exempt India from longstanding NSG guidelines that require comprehensive IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply.

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting effective arms control policies. For more information on the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal see www.armscontrol.org/projects/india/

Country Resources:

Interview with U.S. Ambassador Donald A. Mahley, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Threat Reduction, Export Control



Interviewed by Oliver Meier

Representatives of states-parties to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention will gather April 7-18, 2008 in The Hague for the second review conference of the chemical weapons ban.  Participants will have to take stock of developments since the last review conference in 2003 and will discuss measures to adapt the treaty to current and future scientific and political developments.

On February 8, 2008, Arms Control Today International Correspondent Oliver Meier interviewed Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Threat Reduction, Export Controls, and Negotiations Donald A. Mahley about U.S. priorities for that meeting. Ambassador Mahley is the managing director of the United States National Authority, which is responsible for implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

ACT: What are the key U.S. priorities for the forthcoming CWC review conference and what obstacles do you foresee to achieving those priorities?

Mahley: We’re still working on the details of what our specific objectives are for the review conference, but I think our priorities for the review conference are probably fairly straightforward. We want to make sure that the convention continues to work in as efficient and effective manner as it has up until now, that we avoid any kind of disputations or other kinds of things that are going to disrupt the conference, [and] that we maintain the idea that OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter has done a lot of work to put in place a lean and mean organization. We are very pleased that we have been able to have for the last few years nominal zero-growth budgets. That’s been a great strain in terms of trying to get as much done as you can, but we certainly want to make sure that we don’t set in the review conference either a principle or a trend that we’re going to start expanding the budget of the OPCW by a great deal.

We’d also like to see if we can’t get some redirection in some of the efforts of the OPCW more into the idea of where the threat really occurs now and the unscheduled producers in some of the Third World countries. Quit trying to re-inspect so much all of the schedule 1 and schedule 2, particularly schedule 2 plants, in western countries where I think the size and the surveillance we’ve already done of those is a very clear indication that those aren’t a potential proliferation threat for chemical weapons.[1]

And I think that’s probably what our priority objectives are in terms of trying to get something out of this.

What do we see as potential obstacles to that? One, we think there are probably some states that have a different agenda with the review conference that is going to be both more accusatory and more disruptive. One of the things, for instance, is what do we think the review conference ought to do about 2012—the destruction deadline?[2] We don’t think that this is the time to try to address 2012. 2012 is there. We’ve all taken a look at the enormous technical obstacles in terms of destruction that are between here and 2012 and what I think this review conference ought to do is to set the groundwork for a work program to be able to find constructive ways to address the 2012 question before we get to 2012, but it’s too early to try to do something that will formally address that issue at this review conference. I think it’s going to be a potential dispute and obstacle.

It’s also the case that we continue to be against the idea of trying to turn the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW into something other than a nonproliferation and arms control agreement, which is what it really is. If there are countries that are trying to push an agenda other than that then that will probably be an obstacle to the review conference.

ACT: Iran at the last two conferences of states-parties has proposed to establish a “chemical weapons victims international funding and assistance network”.[3] What’s your view on this proposal and do you expect the review conference to address it?

Mahley: I certainly expect the review conference to address it because it’s been placed on the agenda. I would argue that while we are certainly sympathetic to victims of chemical weapons, that the review conference and the OPCW are not specifically designed to, nor are they necessarily the place to, try to do something like setting up funds or disbursing funds or doing anything along that line with respect to victims. There are humanitarian agencies that exist in the world which can take that issue up. There are other ways to try to address the question rather than trying to turn that to being a function of a nonproliferation organization.

ACT: In 2005 the U.S. noncompliance report voiced concerns regarding compliance of China, Iran, Russia, and Sudan with regard to the CWC.[4] Does the United States still maintain that these states may be pursuing chemical weapons-related efforts or programs? Are there other countries you suspect of being interested in chemical weapons? Does the United States intend to name noncompliant CWC parties at the review conference?

Mahley: I cannot address the last question because I don’t think we’ve made a decision on that yet. That will be determined probably much closer to the review conference about whether or not we’re going to try to address countries on it. Again, it is our view that the CWC has been working reasonably well.

We continue to have concerns about the fact that countries in many ways are not complying with all the responsibilities under the convention, are not complying with the responsibilities towards the objectives of the convention, and are certainly not transparent in some of the things they are doing nationally. Those remain concerns for the United States. I wouldn’t want to try to go into a list of countries here, but let me say that we continue to uphold the same conclusions that we’ve reached and agreed on nationally in our noncompliance report. I think we’re still debating whether or not the review conference is a forum at which we wish to make that a major issue. Certainly, we are going to note it. For the United States to go to this review conference and not note that we still have real concerns about the compliance of some states with their international obligations as put in the review conference; we’re not going to ignore that. How we want to do that is something that I think we’re still debating.

ACT: If the United States still has concerns about compliance, why has the United States never requested a challenge inspection[5] to clarify such compliance concerns? Under what circumstances do you envisage that such an inspection could be requested by the United States?

Mahley: I think I can answer the second half of that question quicker than I can answer the first half of that question. The second half of that question is that we still believe the challenge inspection is a very important deterrent element of the CWC. Certainly at any time that the United States believed it had actionable evidence that would be susceptible to demonstration by a challenge inspection we would be in the forefront of calling [for] such an inspection.

Now, what you have to worry about, however, is when you look at the international reactions of other countries to other areas of concern that we have about compliance with international obligations and some of the ways in which the countries have not reacted to what was fairly compelling evidence, then we have a question about whether or not a challenge inspection is likely to create the kind of reaction on the part of some of those other countries that would be indicative of doing anything effective about the noncompliance situation that was at hand.

When we talk about the compliance concerns that we have, one of the things you have to be fairly careful about in calling a challenge inspection is that those compliance concerns are things that would be competently reflected in the results of a challenge inspection. If you have a concern that a country has a stockpile of weapons or agents that they shouldn’t have under the convention, then until you’ve got a location for that it doesn’t do you any good to simply call challenge inspections willie-nillie. If you call a challenge inspection for the wrong place, then the country, even though it may still have that stockpile, is going to claim that it has been exonerated by the international community and therefore you can’t list them as a concern anymore. That’s again not a path that we are going to follow.

ACT: You said it was too early for the review conference to address deadlines for chemical weapons stockpiles. Nevertheless, it seems likely that neither the United States nor Russia will be able to meet the 2012 deadline. The review conference somehow has to address this fact, particularly since it’s likely to be the last review conference before the 2012 deadline expires. Two options  have been mentioned, one  is amending the CWC, the other is invoking Article 8, paragraph 36 which gives the executive council of the OPCW the power to adapt relevant provisions.[6] Are these options that you think might be relevant for addressing the 2012 deadline?

Mahley: I don’t think that anybody has coherently looked at how best to address the 2012 deadline other than to wring their hands about the fact that they think it is an impending crisis looming on the horizon. That’s why I say that this review conference is too early to try to address that. I do not believe, frankly, that the appropriate groundwork has been laid to come up with a set of proposals or suggestions about how to effectively and rationally to address that.

I will put down one marker right now. The United States does not believe that an amendment conference for the Chemical Weapons Convention is either a suitable way to address that issue nor is it something that we would support. Amendment conferences get to be very tricky and take a chance of doing a couple of things that are very bad. [They] either undercut the regime that you have now or put in place a two-tiered regime depending on who’s ratified the amendment to the convention. We are simply not of the view that that would be an effective answer to any of the problems that we’ve currently seen listed.

I think the review conference ought to address the 2012 question in the fashion of setting down a work program and perhaps even establishing a working group to look specifically at the 2012 question as it gets nearer. I recognize that on the five-year schedule the next review conference would not occur until after 2012. But, number one, there is nothing in the convention that restricts review conferences to every five years. So there’s nothing that says you couldn’t call an extraordinary review conference, or any other conference of states-parties which has full vested power in terms of acting on the treaty. At some point before 2012 when you had for that conference an agenda for proposals, you could then rationally discuss how to address the 2012 question.[7]

The second thing is that I really want to make the point that 2012 is a date which was set in a time when the best minds looking at the best technologies thought was extraordinarily long in terms of destroying chemical weapons. What we have discovered since that was set in print and agreed to in 1992 is that destroying chemical weapons is a much more complicated event, particularly if you’re going to do it an ecologically safe and secure fashion. So, one of the questions you have to ask is whether or not those stockpiles that may remain after 2012 [are a threat.] Assuming that all of the possessor states that still have stockpiles in 2012 maintain their commitment, as they currently express it, toward the rapid and complete destruction of those chemicals in a verified and ecologically safe fashion. and if those stockpiles are identified, secured and under constant supervision for the OPCW, it’s not clear to me that that constitutes a particularly acute threat with respect to chemical weapons proliferation.

ACT: The purpose of such a work program or working group that you have proposed would be to set the parameters for dealing with a stockpile remaining after 2012?

Mahley: It could address a number of issues. It could address, first of all, the question about what is the compliance penalty. Given [the] statutory nature of the treaty, after the 28th of April 2012, the possession of chemical weapons is going to be [a] violation of your obligations. Now, that in some ways is a technical violation. I don’t want to get into a legal argument here. Assuming that [the chemical weapons] are all secured and that they are all under observation and rapidly moving their way toward destruction facilities, it’s not clear that that’s as bad as having an illicit program in terms of compliance. So, is there something that the states-parties ought to agree on in terms of what kind of a status that places those countries [in] that are still possessing chemical weapons under a destruction program as opposed to flat out noncompliance in the most rigorous sense of the word? Is there some recognizable program to which you could get a commitment from the possessor states that would give a very clear line about the rapid completion of the destruction program after 2012? Could [that] then become a supplemental commitment?

Now, I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. I don’t know what is legally feasible. I don’t know what is politically feasible, but that’s the kind of thing that I think that you ought to set up. Have a group to study very carefully—with probably a two- or three-year limit in terms of their study—to come back to the executive council and the regular conference of states-parties with proposals.

ACT: There have been statements by U.S. officials that the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles will probably not be completed before 2023. Congress, in the context of the 2008 defense appropriations bill, requested the Department of Defense to complete destruction by 2017. Do you think that’s a realistic goal and what do you think it would take to make that 2017 deadline?

Mahley: I think that’s something that you would have to ask the Department of Defense who have the responsibility for it and are doing the technical studies to try to determine the feasibility of that deadline.

ACT: The United States has appropriated more than a billion dollars for chemical weapons destruction in Russia, primarily for the construction of the nerve agent destruction facility at Shchuch’ye. That project is only half finished and the administration wanted to turn over responsibility for the second half of construction to Russia. What do you believe are the main reasons for the delays in Russia’s chemical weapons destruction? To what extent do you think Russia still needs international financial support to fulfill its treaty commitments? What can the review conference do in this context to address Russia’s delays in chemical weapons destruction?

Mahley: To go to the last question about Russia’s delays, I think that one of the things [the] review conference can do is to make [it] unequivocally clear to the Russian Federation that they are going to continue to be held to the same standards as everyone else in the world in terms of the destruction of their chemical weapons and that they must continue to view and operate on that as a real priority in terms of the Russian government’s actions.

Now, what do I think are the reasons for the delays? Without knowing all the details of Russian destruction and Russian management, I suspect that they have run into some of the same kinds of difficulties that the United States has run into. In the sense that these are technically complex machines and systems that have to do the destruction of chemical weapons, you can’t always just build [them the] first time out and just put them down on the ground and [think that] they’re going to run forever without requiring maintenance and shutdown and various things. Those are always the kinds of delays that get involved with it.

I also think that in the Russian case, for a number of years, destruction of chemical weapons simply was not a priority for the Russian government. While recently it appears that they have indeed made chemical weapons destruction a priority requirement and have been moving out smartly in terms of trying to get some real work done on it, they nonetheless have a much later start than the United States had. They are in some respects playing catch-up.

ACT: What steps should be taken by the review conference to convince more hold-out states to join the CWC and what is the United States specifically doing to persuade allies such as Israel, Egypt, and Iraq to accede?[8]

Mahley: Iraq is I think a fairly straightforward case. Iraq has pledged to accede and that’s simply a matter of getting the various documentation and other requirements done so that they can effectively accede to the convention. I would expect that to happen in the not too distant future.

With other allies we continue to place that on the agenda when we have nonproliferation discussions with those countries. [We] try to convince them that in reality having a chemical weapons capability is not a particularly effective instrument of national policy. It doesn’t necessarily act as a deterrent to other action because there is increasing doubt in the mind of the world about whether or not you would ever employ it. Therefore by joining the CWC they are not, in reality, going to be forfeiting any national security objectives and national security options.

Now, making that argument in a region [that] is as complex and interconnected as the Middle East obviously is not always particularly persuasive or effective, but the United States continues to push that point.

The OPCW has done a number of things in terms of laying out in seminars to various countries that are not now members all the ways in which the OPCW operates, all of the procedures that they follow, all of the qualifications that they have in terms of executing their job, a full description of what their job is. That’s about all you can do to try to convince these folks that there is an effective and competent organization that they would be joining. The rest of it then becomes a matter of political will. How you create that political will, I don’t have any great secrets for. If I did, I’d probably be making more money than as a United States government employee.

ACT: Do you think that today OPCW inspectors would be able to detect a clandestine chemical weapons program run by a state-party?

Mahley: I think I’d have to ask that that question be clarified. Do I think that the OPCW inspectors would be able to detect a clandestine program run by a state-party? If by that you mean, are they going to go out and find the intelligence information that says that we believe there is a clandestine program in that party, no, because that’s not their job. Their job is to go conduct inspections.

Do I believe that they are capable of detecting a clandestine program if one were being conducted, for example, at a facility that they were inspecting on a routine inspection because it’s a dual-capable facility? I think there’s a very good chance of that.

Would they be able to detect a clandestine program were there one present if this were the result of the challenge inspection? I think that’s a variable answer. It’s a variable answer that’s not a question of the competence of the OPCW.  It’s a question of the entire issue of how one in a confrontational, as opposed to cooperative, fashion might be able to conceal from any set of inspectors the presence of a clandestine program. Certainly there is a chance that one could do that, even under a challenge inspection. In that case, I don’t think the OPCW inspectors would be at any greater advantage or disadvantage than any other team of inspectors.

ACT: At last year’s conference of states-parties Paula de Sutter said “We have to make sound recommendations that will ensure that verification keeps pace with changes in both the industry and the chemical weapons threat.”[9] What measures specifically would the United States like to see adopted by the review conference to increase the likelihood of detecting prohibited chemical weapons-related activities?

Mahley: That’s not necessarily an issue of what are you going to be able to adopt. Do we want to make sure that OPCW inspectors continue to receive training even during the time that they’re inspectors so that they remain abreast of the kind of changes that take place in the chemical industry? Certainly we do. Certainly we encourage the OPCW to do this. Certainly we believe that the OPCW does this to the extent that they can. We want to keep that up and we certainly think that there need to be budgetary provisions to do it.

The executive council needs to remain aware as much as the OPCW technical staff needs to remain aware of the changing nature of the chemical weapons threat. By that we mean not only the technological changes that make it possible to produce chemical weapons in a much smaller and more covert environment than the traditional manufacture of thousands and tons [of weapons and material] at large plants with specialized equipment. The threat now involves not only rogue states, but the nonstate actor. [For the] nonstate actor the quantity, for example, of chemical agent that a terrorist group would need in order to have something to effectively fulfill its objectives is considerably less and potentially of lower quality than the chemical agent that a state would want as part of a program that was going to be an adjunct to their military forces.

ACT: Do you think the overly narrow focus of many states on the schedules of chemicals that cover only a fraction of toxic chemicals and precursors of potential chemical weapons concern has reduced the effectiveness of the CWC? How can this problem be addressed without actually amending the schedules?

Mahley: Remember that the schedules have nothing to do with what’s defined as a chemical weapon. Schedules are matters of defining what facilities are subject to verification inspections and certainly all of the chemicals that are on the schedule are and remain toxic chemicals and potential precursors to chemical weapons or chemical agents. And therefore, they should indeed remain subject to inspection.

It’s also the case that you have the discrete organic chemicals which are a larger group and which have some greater flexibility in them already. One of the reasons that the United States believes that we ought to be shifting focus to that group as part of the inspection program under the OPCW is that that provides you with the flexibility to get out into facilities that are capable [of producing], and in some cases have possession of, stockpiles of other chemicals that go off the schedules. Therefore [they] are part of the potential threat in the expanded realm of chemical agents.

ACT: Many nongovernmental organizations and some states-parties argue that scientific and technological developments makes it necessary that the review conference address the increased interest in so-called nonlethal chemical agents. How should the review conference address this topic and what action should be taken to ensure that the norm against the hostile use of chemical agents is not undermined by the development of novel incapacitating agents?[10]

Mahley: I’m not sure that this is a problem that the Chemical Weapons Convention is deaf, dumb, and blind about. Certainly the issue of incapacitants is different than the issue of riot control agents. Riot control agents, as an exception to the Chemical Weapons Convention, are very carefully defined. Most of the incapacitants, in terms of human effects that you talk about technology now developing, do not fall in the realm of riot control agents. They fall in the realm of nonlethals. Nonlethals are still in the Chemical Weapons Convention [considered] chemical weapons. The only exception is the law-enforcement exception. So it’s not clear to me that this is something in which you say “oh my, the convention needs to be changed.” I don’t think the convention needs to be changed at all.

If anything, in the review conference [there] needs to be a relatively brief discussion reminding people of what the convention itself says. [It] says that those kind of nonlethals are not legitimate chemicals to be had for military purposes.

ACT: Do you think there’s a necessity to talk about what military purposes means today because the context has changed to some degree? We have international police operations, if you like, where such agents may be used. That is a development that may not have been foreseen at the time when the convention was negotiated.

Mahley: I think that would be a discussion that is likely to [cause] the review conference [to] become less focused, rather than more.

ACT: Is the United States ready to discuss the issue of restricting trade in schedule 3 chemicals with non-states-parties and if the United States isn’t, why not?[11]

Mahley: Well, I don’t think I’m in a position to discuss that because I don’t think we’ve made up our minds yet.

ACT: Do you believe the OPCW’s ability to monitor trade and dual-use chemicals needs to be increased and how could this be achieved?

Mahley: The OPCW is not designed to be a trade monitoring organization. Trying to create a bureaucracy, which would then also create an enormously larger set of declarations that countries would have to do, is not necessarily in our view either an efficient or effective way to try to exercise that kind of control of trade. We think there are responsibilities that are very clearly laid out in the convention about trade and chemicals. Those responsibilities that are clearly laid out are a matter of national enforcement. We would therefore turn to national authorities to do the things that they need to do, which is a part of the convention responsibility, to implement the right legal framework to give them both the data set and the enforcement capability to go out and control that kind of trade as they see fit to fulfill their obligations.

ACT: The administration continues to highlight the importance of the Proliferation Security Initiative[12] in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, but all publicly known cases of PSI interdictions relate to nuclear technology. Have there been any successful cases in which the PSI has sought to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons to your knowledge?

Mahley: No comment.

ACT: Regarding national implementation, what role is there for the CWC in reducing the threat from chemical weapons terrorism? How can this role be strengthened from your perspective?

Mahley: I think the Chemical Weapons Convention’s role in preventing [the] spread of chemical terrorism is embodied in the Chemical Weapons Convention obligation to each state-party that they do all the things necessary in terms of national implementation to prevent any person within their jurisdiction or control from developing, producing, stockpiling, and [breaking] all the other prohibitions [related to] chemical weapons. That means that each country that is a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention has not only an obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 1540[13], but also a requirement under the Chemical Weapons Convention, to have in place an effective legislative package and enforcement capability to prevent terrorists from being able to do chemical weapons things within their territory or jurisdiction of control. That’s the way in which you get at terrorism.

The problem with the convention and using the OPCW for terrorists directly, is (as I have said in other fora at other times) that no terrorist group, to the best of my knowledge and belief, has signed the CWC and assumed its obligations. So therefore, that’s not a question in which the OPCW is the appropriate enforcement mechanism. The OPCW is not an enforcement body at all, as a matter of fact. It’s not the case [that] the convention, acting as a convention, is going to take action against the terrorists. The sovereign countries in whose territory the terrorists are operating are going to take action against the terrorists.

ACT: Ambassador Eric Javits, the head of the United States delegation to last year’s conference of states-parties, suggested that CWC member states should prioritize national implementation assistance efforts on those 20 states-parties “that lack effective implementing measures, but have more activities relevant to the convention within their territories”.[14] Can you cite some examples of states that you believe to be particularly important in this regard and what kind of obstacles do you foresee for putting this proposal into practice?

Mahley: I’m not going to try to cite countries because I’m not going to get into a list of countries. I will simply say that the obstacles to that are getting national implementing legislation and effective enforcement in place in all the countries [that] I believe have a pretty thorough understanding of what their obligations are. Now, if there are those who don’t [understand their obligations], then the first priority has got to be education to try and educate them. [For] those that understand it and haven’t done so yet, it is really a question that they either lack the resources or they lack the training.

What we can do, and what the United States for example bilaterally has done with a fair amount of effectiveness in a number of countries, is we send out teams that sit down with people in their executive branch. [The teams] suggest to them ways in which they might formulate national laws if they don’t have national laws, talk to them about how they can convince their parliaments to enact those kind of laws, and then what kind of  organizational structures and training programs they need to set up in order to get enforcers that are competent to go out and enforce those laws once they’re on the books.

The second part is we have training programs. Once we have the organizational structure set up, we are prepared to send resources and actually conduct training programs to make the officials [who] are going to be enforcing the laws more effective in their understanding of what constitutes a chemical weapon and how that works.

Those are the kinds of things that we think we can ask other countries to join us in doing. Frankly, we’ve had some favorable response from countries in the European Union in those kind of outreach programs to try to set up those kind of assistance activities.

ACT: How can the 1540 committee help states live up to their CWC obligations? How can the committee be strengthened so that it can fulfill its mandate better?

Mahley: I’m not an expert on the 1540 committee, I want to emphasize, but I think that the way that can work is to simply point out that the chemical weapons arena is an integral part of what they, as the 1540 committee, are trying to get countries to do. Because they’ve got the UN umbrella over them, they have the ability to appeal to countries on a completely different plane—or to a completely different set of bureaucrats, at least—to offer assistance [to other countries] and to put some emphasis within their own juridical systems on trying to get these kinds of laws and regulations and enforcement mechanisms in place. In that sense, I see the 1540 committee as a complement to the efforts that the Chemical Weapons Convention takes on. The 1540 committee obviously has a much broader mandate in terms of all the weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, as opposed to just chemical weapons.

ACT: If you look ahead to the review conference what would be the three specific recommendations coming out of that meeting that you would like to see  to strengthen the CWC?

Mahley:I really don’t have that down to a focus yet where I’m prepared to say which ones we want and which ones we don’t want out of that. So, I’m going to have to pass on that one.

ACT: Thank you very much.

1. The CWC verification system is based on three “schedules,” or lists of toxic chemicals and their precursors that have been developed and manufactured in the past for military purposes. Schedule 1 consists of chemical warfare agents and precursors that have no significant commercial applications, although they may be synthesized in small quantities for scientific research, pharmaceutical development, or chemical defense. Schedule 2 lists toxic chemicals and precursors that have commercial applications in small quantities. Schedule 3 contains toxic chemicals and precursors that have commercial applications in large quantities. The primary focus of routine inspections of the chemical industry under the CWC is on declared production facilities that manufacture the dual-use chemicals listed on Schedules 2 or 3. Several Western states, including the United States, would like industry verification to focus more closely on other chemical weapons facilities (OCPFs), some of which in their assessment are easier to misuse for chemical weapons production facilities. Such a shift would result in an increase in the relative share of inspections in non-Western countries.

2. The convention requires states-parties to destroy their chemical weapons by 2007, 10 years after the CWC’s entry into force. It is possible to request an extension of this destruction deadline by up to five years, until 2012. The conference of states-parties on December 8, 2006, approved requests for extensions of the final date for the destruction of the declared chemical weapons stockpiles. The following deadlines for complete destruction are now binding: India—April 28, 2009; Libya—December 31, 2010; Russia—April 29, 2012; South Korea—December, 31, 2008; the United States—April 29, 2012.

3. At the 12th conference of states-parties to the CWC, held in November 2007,  Iran proposed that states parties establish a “Chemical Weapons Victim's International Funding & Assistance Network”, a proposal first mentioned by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the 2006 conference of states-parties. See ACT, December 2007.

4. At the first review conference, the United States asserted that more than a dozen countries possess or are actively pursuing chemical weapons. It voiced specific concerns about the compliance of Iran and Sudan, which are members of the CWC, as well as nonmembers Libya, North Korea and Syria. The 2005 State Department report on “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments” raises compliance concerns regarding China, Iran, Russia, North Korea and Syria. Libya acceded to the CWC in 2004, North Korea and Syria are nonsignatories.

5. Article IX of the convention grants CWC states-parties the right to request a challenge inspection of any site, declared or undeclared, on the territory of another member state “for the sole purpose of clarifying and resolving any questions concerning possible non-compliance.”

6. The relevant paragraph states that when considering “doubts or concerns regarding compliance and cases of non-compliance... the Executive Council shall consult with the States-Parties involved and, as appropriate, request the State-Party to take measures to redress the situation within a specified time.”

7. Article VIII.12 of the CWC provides for the possibility of a special session of the conference of states-parties to be convened, outside the regular annual cycle of such meetings.

8. Of the seven states that have not signed the CWC, four are in Middle East (Egypt , Iraq , Lebanon , and Syria ). Israel has signed but not ratified the convention.

9. Statement by Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation Paula A. DeSutter, United States Delegation to the 12th Conference of States Parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, November 6, 2007.

10. Article VI of the CWC gives states-parties the right to maintain toxic chemicals for purposes not prohibited under the convention, including “law enforcement, including domestic riot control.” Whether the CWC permits the development and use for domestic law enforcement purposes of incapacitating agents with long-lasting effects, in addition to riot-control agents with transient effects, such as CS tear gas, is a matter of intense debate. See Kyle M. Ballard: “Convention in Peril? Riot Control Agents and the Chemical Weapons Ban”, Arms Control Today, September 2007.

11. Article VI of the CWC specifies a number of restrictions on trade, keyed to the treaty's three schedules of chemicals (see endnote 12). With the entry into force of the convention in April 1997, transfers to non-states-parties of the chemical warfare agents and precursors listed on Schedule 1 were banned immediately, and trade with non-states-parties in chemicals listed on Schedule 2 have been prohibited since April 2000. In 2003 the OPCW Conference of the States-Parties to the CWC considered a possible ban on exports to non-states-parties of Schedule 3 chemicals but could not agree by consensus. At present, the CWC allows exports of Schedule 3 chemicals to non-states-parties only if the recipient provides an end-use certificate clarifying the intended use and pledging not to make any further transfers. See Jonathan B. Tucker, "Strengthening the CWC Regime for Transfers of Dual-Use Chemicals," The CBW Conventions Bulletin, Vol. 75, March 2007, pp. 1-7.

12. President George W. Bush announced May 31, 2003 that the United States would lead a new effort, the Proliferation Security Initiative , to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction and related goods to terrorists and countries of proliferation concern. See Mark J. Valencia, “The Proliferation Security Initiative: A Glass Half-Full,” Arms Control Today, June 2007, p. 17.

13. On April 28, 2004, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1540 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The resolution mandates that all states establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials, and adopt legislative measures in that respect. In that context, the council also established a committee comprising all council members (the 1540 Committee) that would report on the implementation of the resolution.

14. Statement by Ambassador Eric M. Javits, United States Delegation to the 12th Conference of States Parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, November 5, 2007.

Interviewed by Oliver Meier

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Proposed U.S. Arms Export Agreements From January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007

February 2008

Contact: Jeff AbramsonNon-Resident Senior Fellow for Arms Control and Conventional Arms Transfers, [email protected]

During 2007, the Pentagon notified Congress of an estimated $39 billion in proposed, government-to-government, conventional arms transfer agreements with 23 countries and Taiwan.

The United States conducts government-to-government transfers through the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Not all notified sales result in final transactions. Under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress must be notified of proposed sales of “major defense equipment,” as defined on the U.S. Munitions List, that equals or exceeds $14 million; defense articles and services that are not defined as “major defense equipment” which total $50 million or more; and construction or design services amounting to or surpassing $200 million.[1] However, if the proposed sale involves NATO members, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand, the notification thresholds are $25 million for major defense equipment, $100 million for other defense articles and services, and $300 million for construction or design services.[2] Once notified, Congress has 30 calendar days (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand) to block a sale by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, though it has never stopped a sale once formally notified.

The proposed 2007 arms sales total was $2.4 billion higher than the 2006 sum of almost $37 billion and more than three times the 2005 tally of $12.3 billion. Eleven countries requested more than a billion dollars worth of U.S. arms. They were Australia, Egypt, India, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United Kingdom.

The UAE requested the highest value of U.S. arms, asking for $10.4 billion in possible purchases. Its inaugural bid to acquire short- and medium-range anti-missile Patriot systems accounted for $9 billion of the UAE total. The UAE, which several years ago acquired 80 F-16C/D fighters from the United States, sits across the Persian Gulf from Iran, a country steadily working to enhance its ballistic missile capabilities. Another Iranian neighbor, Iraq, ranked second in total possible U.S. weapons purchases. Iraqi requests, however, were more focused on procuring weapons, ammunition, and equipment to bolster its ground forces to battle anti-government and anti-U.S. forces inside Iraqi borders. Other top potential buyers from the Middle East region include Israel ($2.5 billion), Kuwait ($1.7 billion), Egypt ($1.27 billion), and Saudi Arabia ($1.25 billion).

After a two-year absence, Taiwan returned to the top ranks of U.S. arms buyers by moving forward on a nearly $2-billion purchase of a dozen anti-submarine aircraft first offered in 2001 by the United States. Taiwan also requested upgrades to its existing Patriot systems and a variety of missiles and bombs to arm its combat aircraft. China strongly objects to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing contends is a renegade province that must eventually come under Beijing’s control. It has not ruled out the use of force to achieve that objective, particularly if Taiwan asserts its independence.

As in past years, a significant portion of the proposed deals were requests for upgrades, modifications, and support for previously purchased aircraft, armed vehicles, and missile systems. Still, many countries sought an array of new aircraft and missile purchases. Below are the six countries that sought the highest values in U.S. arms exports in 2007 and some of their specific requests.


Total Value


The United Arab Emirates

$10.4 billion

  • 288 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors
  • 9 Patriot Fire Units, including 10 phased array radar sets, 10 engagement control stations on trailers, and 37 launching stations.
  • 216 Guidance Enhanced Missile-T (GEM-T)
  • 224 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles
  • 200 Guided Bomb Unit Joint Direct Attack Munition Tail Kits
  • More than 1,100 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs.


$4.45 billion

  • 980 High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles
  • 123,544 M-16A4 rifles and various ammunition
  • Upgrades for 30 UH-1 Huey helicopters, various armored vehicles, and trucks
  • Logistics support for three C-130E aircraft
  • Various medical supplies, equipment, and training
  • Miscellaneous spare parts and ammunition


$3.76 billion

  • 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets
  • Armaments for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, including 47 AIM-9X SIDEWINDER missiles


$3.72 billion

  • Upgrades and refurbishments for three existing Patriot anti-missile fire units
  • 144 SM-2 Block IIIA STANDARD ship-based missiles
  • 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft with T-56 engines
  • 60 AGM-84L HARPOON Block II missiles
  • 218 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and 235 AGM-65G2 Maverick missiles


$2.89 billion

  • 24 T-6B Texan aircraft
  • 24 F-16C/D Block 50/52 combat aircraft with engines
  • 60 M109A5 155mm self-propelled howitzers


$2.5 billion

  • 2,000 Radio Frequency TOW 2A anti-tank missiles
  • 1,700 HELLFIRE missiles of various types
  • 100 Patriot Guided Enhanced Missiles Plus (GEM+)
  • 90,000,000 gallons of JP-8 aviation fuel and 42,000,000 gallons of diesel fuel
  • 200 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles
  • 500 AIM-9M SIDEWINDER missiles
  • 30 RGM-84L HARPOON Block II missiles
  • 3,500 MK-84 general purpose bomb units


1. The Department of State is also required to report to Congress any commercial sales it approves of “major defense equipment” that amount to $14 million or more, defense articles and services that equal or exceed $50 million, and any items defined as “significant military equipment.” As in the case of FMS sales, Congress can block the sale with a joint resolution of disapproval within 30 calendar days of notification (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand). There are no official compilations of commercial agreement data and it is often incomplete and less precise than data on government-to-government transactions (Grimmett, Richard F., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1999-2006, Washington, D.C., Congressional Research Service, September 26, 2007, p. 20). The annual Section 655 report, prepared by the State and Defense Departments for Congress, details commercial licenses approved, but states have four years to act under the licenses. The State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls has final responsibility for license applications for commercial defense trade exports and all issues related to defense trade compliance, enforcement, and reporting.

2. Congress approved the higher notification thresholds for NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand in legislation passed in September 2002.

Sources: Congressional Research Service, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and Department of State.

Conventional Arms Issues

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Congress Slows Saudi Arms Sale

Wade Boese

Stiff congressional opposition to a summer 2007 proposal to sell sophisticated munitions to Saudi Arabia led the Bush administration to delay moving ahead on the deal for months, setting up a possible early 2008 showdown between lawmakers and the White House. During the delay, Congress did not contest other proposed arms sales worth billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and its neighbors.

Last July, the Bush administration announced plans to offer a broad package of arms to Saudi Arabia and the five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The administration claimed the weapons would help bolster the countries against Iran and solidify their ties with the United States. (See ACT, September 2007. )

Administration officials anticipated the deals would be wrapped up quickly and ready for congressional review last September. The 1976 Arms Export Control Act requires most major arms sales valued at more than $14 million to be notified to Congress, which has 30 days to block a transaction. A higher $25 million notification threshold exists for deals with NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, and Congress only receives 15 days to conduct a review. Two-thirds of each chamber would need to support a joint resolution of disapproval to protect against a presidential veto of a legislative arms sales rejection.

Some lawmakers did not wait for an official notification to protest. Led by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), 16 representatives announced July 31 that they would seek to block the reported inclusion of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) in the package to Saudi Arabia. Those systems improve the accuracy of bombs by enabling them to be directed by satellites.

The initial dissent was followed quickly by a bipartisan August letter from 114 House members to President George W. Bush objecting to the JDAM sale and then a second opposition letter Nov. 15 signed by 188 representatives, many of whom had signed the earlier letter. Some lawmakers argued that Saudi Arabia is undeserving of advanced U.S. weapons for failing to crack down on anti-U.S. extremists, particularly those crossing into Iraq. Other legislators cautioned the arms might fall into the “wrong hands” and be turned against U.S. troops or allies, particularly Israel.

A third letter to Bush, signed by 117 House members and sent Nov. 16, called on the administration to hold off an official notification until January 2008 so Congress could conduct a full review. There had been an informal notice three days earlier that the administration would provide the notification in December when Congress is frequently out of session. The administration responded favorably, according to a Dec. 4 statement by Weiner’s office, informing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that a notification would be postponed. It was made Jan. 14, triggering the 30-day review period.

A Department of State official told Arms Control Today Jan. 3 that the administration was trying to respond to congressional concerns. Lawmakers contend that if the deal goes forward, there should be strict conditions and U.S. oversight to ensure that the weapons are not diverted or misused.

While rallying against the JDAM sale, lawmakers let some deals to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states proceed. During the last four months of 2007, the Pentagon notified Congress of possible arms sales worth $1.25 billion to Saudi Arabia, $2 billion to Kuwait, and almost $10.2 billion to the UAE. The deals with the UAE include that country’s first potential purchase of short- and medium-range anti-missile systems. Specifically, the UAE could receive up to 288 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors and nine firing units.

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Transforming U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

Daryl G. Kimball

Effecting change in Washington, and nuclear weapons policy in particular, is exceedingly difficult, requiring strong presidential leadership and a working bipartisan majority. Yet, recent congressional actions and trends will give the next occupant of the White House a rare opportunity to initiate sweeping changes in outdated U.S. nuclear weapons and arms control policies.

Congress in December struck down the Bush administration’s ill-conceived plan for new “replacement” nuclear warheads and an additional plutonium pit production facility to help build them. Although President George W. Bush may try to revive these projects and insist that the nuclear arsenal is as small as possible, there is growing support and a strong security rationale for fewer, not newer, nuclear weapons.

Rejecting administration arguments for new replacement warheads, appropriators led by Reps. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio), Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and others denied the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) $89 million request for the program. In a July 2007 paper, the administration claimed the delays in the replacement warhead program would “raise the prospect of having to return to underground nuclear testing to certify existing weapons.”

In an August letter, Visclosky and Hobson shot back, saying “[i]t is irresponsible for the administration to make such an assertion.” They correctly noted that that “there is no record of congressional testimony or reports sent to Congress by the Administration claiming…that a resumption of testing to verify the performance of warheads would be a necessity.” Indeed, the latest studies on warhead aging show that weapons plutonium lasts for 80 or more years without significant degradation.

NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino acknowledged he was “concerned…about some misunderstandings…about our views on the possible need for nuclear testing.” In a December letter to Congress, he wrote, “Let there be no doubt: today’s nuclear stockpile is safe and reliable and has not required post-deployment nuclear testing to date, nor is nuclear testing currently anticipated or planned.”

Bottom line: The existing Stockpile Stewardship Program works. Through regular surveillance and periodic upgrades of the conventional explosives and non-nuclear components, the weapons labs can reliably maintain a smaller U.S. arsenal under the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which should be reconsidered by the Senate and ratified in the next presidential administration.

Reflecting bipartisan frustration with Bush’s nuclear policies, Congress also mandated a top-to-bottom review of the role and size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal by the end of 2009. This represents an opportunity that the next president must not squander.

Previous Bush and Clinton administration nuclear posture reviews fell woefully short. Each version only slightly modified previous Cold War targeting plans and policies. As a result, the number of deployed nuclear weapons were trimmed, but the force is still enormous. The 1994 nuclear posture review endorsed a force reduction from 3,500 deployed strategic warheads to 2,500. Bush’s 2001 review called for a force of 1,700-2,200 such warheads by 2012.

Breaking with past policy, the Bush administration also embraced the idea that the U.S. arsenal should not be governed by any new treaty-mandated timetables and verification arrangements. The emphasis on flexibility has lessened predictability and increased Russia’s sense of vulnerability, adding to U.S.-Russian friction on a range of arms-related issues.

Washington’s reluctance to pursue deeper reductions, definitively end new warhead production, and ratify the CTBT has also eroded confidence that the nuclear-weapon states intend to fulfill their nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty commitments to take concrete steps toward disarmament. This has complicated efforts to repair the beleaguered nonproliferation system.

These policies can and must change. The current U.S. nuclear posture does not match the post-September 11 threat environment in which nuclear weapons are a greater security liability than an asset. The next administration must recognize that there is no plausible threat scenario that justifies the possession of more than a few hundred nuclear warheads, let alone 2,200. New nuclear weapons are unnecessary and provocative. The United States should not be threatening terrorists or non-nuclear-weapon states with nuclear weapons, but rather should be doing all it can to keep nuclear weapons material and technology out of their hands.

Early on, the next president must begin work with Russia to negotiate a new treaty that locks in far deeper, verifiable reductions in each nation’s nuclear and missile forces before START expires at the end of 2009. As Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said last October, “[T]he administration must reject the arguments from some that suggest the U.S.-Russian relationship has moved beyond the need for legally binding treaties.”

These and other developments open the way for the next president to pursue a new approach to nuclear weapons policy and restore U.S. global leadership that is needed to win support from other states to bolster nonproliferation efforts and eliminate the nuclear weapons threat.

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Effecting change in Washington, and nuclear weapons policy in particular, is exceedingly difficult, requiring strong presidential leadership and a working bipartisan majority. Yet, recent congressional actions and trends will give the next occupant of the White House a rare opportunity to initiate sweeping changes in outdated U.S. nuclear weapons and arms control policies.

Congress in December struck down the Bush administration’s ill-conceived plan for new “replacement” nuclear warheads and an additional plutonium pit production facility to help build them. Although President George W. Bush may try to revive these projects and insist that the nuclear arsenal is as small as possible, there is growing support and a strong security rationale for fewer, not newer, nuclear weapons. (Continue)

Questionable Reward: Arms Sales and the War on Terrorism

Rachel Stohl

In November 2007, Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, invoked emergency rule, suspended the constitution, and arrested thousands of opponents and human rights advocates. As other countries, such as the Netherlands and Switzerland, immediately suspended military aid and weapons deals, the United States, which has given Pakistan more than $10 billion in military assistance since September 11, 2001, decided it would review U.S. arms transfers to Pakistan. Washington also indicated it would likely not prevent any weapons transfers, asserting such a decision could undermine counterterrorism efforts.[1]

U.S. policy toward Pakistan is part of a larger trend of U.S. arms export policy since the September 11 attacks, whereby the United States has made the “global war on terror” its priority in determining arms transfers and military assistance. In the last six years, Washington has stepped up its sales and transfers of high-technology weapons, military training, and other military assistance to governments regardless of their respect for human rights, democratic principles, or nonproliferation. All that matters is that they have pledged their assistance in the global war on terrorism.

U.S. Arms Sales and Export Policy Before and After September 11

To be sure, the United States traditionally has used arms sales to “reward” those countries willing to support its policies. The claimed motivations of such policies have changed over time from anti-communism to democracy building to anti-terrorism. The basic notion of using arms sales as a means of promoting loyalty to U.S. goals has been consistent.

Throughout this period, the United States has dominated the global arms market and continues to do so today. In 2006, Washington concluded the largest number of new arms deals ($16.9 billion worth in 2006, 41.9 percent of the global total) and made the most actual arms deliveries ($14 billion, nearly 52 percent of global arms deliveries).[2] The United States’ closest competitors were Russia and the United Kingdom, which made $8.7 billion and $3.1 billion in new deals, respectively, and delivered $5.8 billion and $3.3 billion worth of weapons. The United States has also regained its position atop exporters to the developing world, the largest purchasers of arms. Although the total global value of arms agreements fell in 2006, the United States saw multibillion-dollar increases in the value of its arms transfer agreements worldwide and with the developing world.

Post-September 11 Policy Changes

Nonetheless, there have been important changes since the September 11 attacks, with the United States finessing its arms export policies to support its war on terrorism. The most significant changes have involved the lifting of sanctions, the increase of arms and military training provided to perceived anti-terrorist allies, and the development of new programs focused and based on the global anti-terrorist crusade. To understand and document this trend, the Center for Defense Information has analyzed military assistance data (using U.S. government data solely) for 25 countries[3] that have been identified by the United States as having a strategic role in the war on terrorism. These countries include those that reflect the counterterrorism priorities of the United States—17 are “frontline” states identified by the Bush administration as “countries that cooperate with the United States in the war on terrorism or face terrorist threats themselves”—and others strategically located near Afghanistan and Iraq.

Lifting Sanctions

Immediately after the attacks of September 11, the Bush administration proposed allowing arms sales to potential anti-terrorist allies that had previously been blocked from weapons transfers because they had committed significant human rights violations, lacked sufficient democratic institutions, had been involved in acts of aggression, or had tested nuclear weapons. Congressional opposition prevented these sanctions from being lifted en bloc, and as a result, decisions to lift sanctions were made on a case-by-case basis. To date, the United States has completely lifted pre-September 11 sanctions on Armenia, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Montenegro and Serbia). Since September 11, 2001, additional military assistance restrictions to Thailand and Indonesia have been waived.

These countries have been identified as key allies in the global war on terrorism, but each has troubling recent pasts, which led to them being placed on the list in the first place. Not only is each country involved in interstate or intrastate conflicts, but India and Pakistan have been criticized for their evolving nuclear weapons programs, Pakistan’s and Thailand’s military governments attained power as a result of coups, Azerbaijan has been embroiled for well more than a decade in a shaky cease-fire with Armenia, the stability of Tajikistan remains questionable, and the human rights record of Indonesia’s military remains of great concern. Although sanctions have been removed, the conditions in these countries have not improved and in many cases have become worse. Nonetheless, arms transfers and other military assistance to all have increased. In addition, the human rights records of many of these countries have actually worsened, with increasing abuses by government and security forces. U.S. transfers could fuel these human rights abuses and continuing conflict. If the events of September 11, 2001, had never happened, these countries would likely still remain under strict U.S. sanctions.

Increasing Arms and Training to Anti-Terrorism Allies

The second policy shift has been the Bush administration’s commitment to using U.S. weapons to arm potential allies in the war against terrorism. On the six-month anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush declared that the United States was willing to provide training and assistance to any government facing a terrorist threat, stating that “America encourages and expects governments everywhere to help remove the terrorist parasites that threaten their own countries and peace of the world. If governments need training, or resources to meet this commitment, America will help.”[4]

In addition to the six countries that have had their sanctions lifted, the United States has provided military assistance to some countries that it had not aided previously in this way. For example, Yemen has received grants to acquire U.S weaponry for the last six years, but none in the 11 years prior to 2001. Turkmenistan is now buying U.S. weaponry, and Kyrgyzstan is now permitted to make commercial purchases of U.S. weapons. Even more telling, 18 of the 25 countries in this series received more military assistance and 16 concluded more arms sales with the United States during the five years after the September 11 attacks than they had during the period following the end of the Cold War (fiscal years 1990-2001).

In the first five years following September 11, 2001, the United States sold nearly five times more weapons through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) to these 25 countries than during the five years prior to that date. From fiscal year 2002 through fiscal year 2006, FMS to these countries increased from about $1.7 billion to $5.3 billion. DCS for these 25 countries have also reached new highs, rising from $72 million during fiscal years 1997-2001 to more than $3 billion during fiscal years 2002-2006. Pakistan had the largest increase in military sales (FMS and DCS) in the five-year period, signing agreements for $3.6 billion in U.S. defense articles. Other beneficiaries of the war on terrorism arms sale bonanza were Bahrain, which saw an increase of $1.6 billion, and Algeria, which saw an increase of nearly $600 million.

In Iraq, we have witnessed some of the drawbacks of this rush to arm and equip countries. In July 2007, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that revealed that nearly 200,000 weapons and other military equipment that the United States had provided to Iraqi security forces had not been accounted for. Among the weaknesses noted by the GAO was that the Department of Defense, which oversees the Iraqi train-and-equip program, neglected to implement basic accountability procedures to keep track of the distribution of weapons issued in 2004 and 2005.[5] Today, the United States has not enunciated a clear plan to remedy these kinds of problems. Yet, as recently as September 2007, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, urged Washington to increase weapons sales to Iraq as soon as possible.

The United States has also viewed military training as an important aspect of its focus on fighting terrorism. A telling statement for the direction of U.S. policy was made in March 2002, when Bush emphasized U.S. reliance on training programs. He said, “We will not send American troops to every battle, but America will actively prepare other nations for the battles ahead.”[6] Since September 11, 2001, the United States has offered military training to many countries that have experienced terrorism on their own soil, are struggling with the presence of terrorist networks, or are essential to U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

The overall funding for the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program has grown dramatically since 2001. For the 25 countries, the IMET program grew from $39 million in the five years prior to September 11, 2001, to $93 million in the five years after the attacks. That has also meant that the 25 countries are receiving an even greater percentage of total U.S. military training funds. In 2001 the 25 countries received 15 percent of total IMET funds, but by 2006, their share had jumped to nearly 25 percent.

Although some of these countries are clearly involved with U.S. efforts to defeat al Qaeda and other terrorist networks, with others, such as those in Africa and Asia, the United States is gambling that military training will buy allies in the long run. Military training in many instances promotes the readiness, efficiency, and effectiveness of foreign military troops. It may also worsen the situation in countries plagued by terrorism if a well-armed and unaccountable military is not kept in check with human rights training and the country does not receive assistance building legal and judicial structures. Economic and social aid should also be offered concurrently to help strengthen and promote internal stability. Moreover, in some countries, such as Colombia, Nepal, and the Philippines, what is being described as counterterrorism training is in practice counterinsurgency training. The United States is involving itself in internal conflicts around the world and is in practice encouraging countries to continue their internal struggles that predate September 11, 2001. Not every insurgency is a threat to U.S. security, and some may in fact have very little to do with halting the spread of terrorism worldwide.

The Bush administration argues that professionalizing the world’s militaries will help prevent human rights abuses down the road. Yet, the Department of State reveals in its annual human rights report that “serious,” “grave,” or “significant” abuses were committed by the government or state security forces in more than one-half of the 25 countries profiled in 2006 alone.[7] In many cases, U.S. military assistance to these countries is growing at the same time as human rights conditions are worsening. Ethiopia, which is carrying out a brutal counterinsurgency campaign within its own borders, also launched an invasion of Somalia in December 2006 blamed for the deaths of scores of civilians and the displacement of at least 100,000 Somalis in indiscriminate violence in and around Mogadishu. Chad, which suffers from widespread turmoil and corruption, employs child soldiers in the ranks of its national army and is at a minimum tacitly involved in the ongoing regional conflicts in the Central African Republic and Sudan. By providing military assistance with a disregard for human rights conditions, the United States is not only giving up the opportunity to use military assistance as leverage to improve human rights conditions, but is also rewarding abusive governments for their unconscionable actions.

Moreover, in some of these countries, the military has contributed to domestic political turmoil and instability. In 2006 and 2007, Chad, Nepal, Pakistan, and Thailand dealt with pervasive and significant upheaval. Nepalese security forces opened fire on peaceful strikes and anti-government demonstrations. Chad’s government barely survived a coup attempt. Thailand’s government was taken over in a “peaceful” military coup. The Musharraf government’s continuing battle against reform and political challengers led to the imposition of emergency rule, a move that abandons any pretense of democratic principles.

Establishment of New Programs

The third significant policy shift has been the creation of new Defense Department programs that provide training and weapons for counterterrorism operations outside traditional avenues of support. The Pentagon has long sought the freedom to provide military assistance without human rights conditions or other restrictions under current U.S. law as enunciated in the Foreign Assistance Act. In fiscal year 2002, the Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) was created by Congress through the defense appropriations act with a mandate to provide nonlethal anti-terrorism training. In fiscal year 2004, it began offering lethal training. In fiscal year 2006, Congress authorized the Defense Department to use $200 million of its operation and maintenance funds to equip and train foreign militaries for counterterrorism operations, so-called Section 1206 authority.

Creating these parallel training authorities and funding them through the defense budget allows the Pentagon to bypass the Foreign Assistance Act and limits congressional oversight and the normally more cautious State Department from these decisions. In particular, it could help to sidestep restrictions on training or arming human rights abusers. For example, it could be argued that the CTFP essentially serves the same purpose as the State Department’s IMET program but without any of the oversight or conditions.

The newly created Defense Department programs have provided training and equipment to all but four of the 25 countries examined. These programs come in addition to the aid provided through the five traditional major military assistance programs. For example, Yemen received more than $4 million in Section 1206 funding in fiscal year 2006 and an additional $200,000 in CTFP funding in fiscal year 2005, as well as $19.6 million in the five traditional types of aid in fiscal year 2006 and $14.6 million in such aid in fiscal year 2005.

Implications of Post-September 11 Policy Changes

Although the dollar value of the increased support for these countries could be seen as relatively insignificant compared to the considerably greater military assistance given to NATO allies or countries in the Middle East, the relative shift from no or very few sales to millions or billions in military assistance in some cases matters greatly. After all, these sales are likely to mark only the beginning of U.S. military and defense industry ties with these questionable and challenging allies. The U.S. defense industry often relies on initial sales in order to encourage future sales; develop maintenance, consulting, or upgrades contracts; and set the stage for larger-ticket items down the road. Using the war on terrorism as their entrance card, these traditionally undesirable partners have gotten their feet in the door and will likely enjoy long-term military relationships with the United States. Indeed, for the most part, sales and training to these countries have grown every year. The United States must question whether these new allies and these transfers are consistent with long-standing principles and tenets of U.S. law.

Second, these transfers could pose significant risks to long-term U.S. security and stability. From the outset, much of this military assistance is inconsistent with U.S. efforts to spread peace and democracy throughout the world. Beyond the theoretical or principled contradiction, however, the reality is that once these weapons leave U.S. possession and training courses are completed, the United States cannot control how or by whom the weapons are used or the training is implemented. The situation in Iraq demonstrates this reality: U.S. weapons intended for Iraqi security forces have ended up in the hands of insurgents in Iraq and Turkey. In many cases, the countries receiving U.S. military assistance have only pledged assistance to the war on terrorism and may in fact behave in ways the United States opposes. Yet, little can be done in response beyond limiting future weapons and training.

Moreover, the United States suffers from the possibility of blowback—having these weapons used against U.S. troops, civilians, or interests down the road—a phenomenon the United States has experienced firsthand in Afghanistan and Iraq. Weapons provided to the mujahideen in the 1980s were used by the Taliban and today’s Afghan rebels. In Iraq, weapons provided to Saddam Hussein during the 1980s remain in circulation and in the hands of Iraqi insurgents. The Bush administration’s policy of arming these new allies for short-term gains could put the United States at considerable risk and result in the United States facing its own weapons as political alliances deteriorate. Because the United States has increased transfers and training to countries that have dismal records on democracy, human rights, and loyalty, it is not too far a stretch to believe that some of these new allies could turn against the United States in the future.

The track records of many of these recipients—poor human rights records, prior support for and harboring of terrorists, or consistently undemocratic regimes—have been ignored by the Bush administration in an effort to bolster the war on terrorism. In doing so, the United States loses the ability to encourage a change in these bad actors’ behavior and does not guarantee that these short-term allies will remain long-term U.S. partners. Furthermore, the instability in many of these countries also raises questions about their future allegiance.

Ironically, the provision of weapons, aid, and training to some states might even ultimately serve to undermine the U.S. goal of eradicating terrorism. Countries benefiting from new access to weapons and training may see the continuation of the war on terrorism to be in their own best interest. They may not seriously commit to fighting terrorism because an end to terrorist threats, either real or perceived, might mean a decrease in aid. Thus, the actual dedication of many of these countries to U.S. goals and policies may leave much to be desired.


Rather than continuing its current approach, the United States would be better served by abiding by its long-standing arms export laws to ensure that weapons exports do not undermine security and stability, weaken democracy, support military coups, escalate arms races, exacerbate ongoing conflicts, or cause arms buildups in unstable regions or are used to commit human rights abuses. Although the war on terrorism has taken center stage, these principles and values should not be given an end run. This may mean that even close allies, such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, which have worsening or no improvement in their human rights records, have their military assistance scaled back until substantial improvements are made. The United States should look at other ways of cooperating with new allies, such as economic and development assistance, and work to strengthen these partners’ democracies and institutions. More than ever, the United States needs strong partners that value human rights and the rule of law.

If arms and training are the only foreign policy tools the United States is willing to use, then they must be provided in line with U.S. law and under the strictest oversight and accountability. Programs should not be allowed to bypass U.S. law. New Defense Department programs should be scaled back and evaluated, rather than expanded, to ensure that they are upholding U.S. law. If the United States does sell weapons and provide training to questionable new allies, all effort should be taken to ensure that these weapons do not undermine U.S. security down the road.

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A Primer on U.S. Arms Export Policy

U.S. conventional arms export policy is codified in Presidential Decision Directive 34, set by President Bill Clinton in 1995. This directive guides U.S. arms exports decisions and establishes the foreign policy goals for U.S. conventional arms transfers. These include:

•  Ensuring that U.S. military forces enjoy technological advantages over potential adversaries;

•  Helping allies and friends deter or defend themselves against aggression, while promoting interoperability with U.S. forces when combined operations are required;

•  Promoting regional stability in areas critical to U.S. interest, while preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their missile delivery systems;

•  Promoting peaceful conflict resolution and arms controls, human rights, democratization, and other foreign policy objectives;

•  Enhancing the ability of the U.S. defense industrial base to meet U.S. defense requirements and maintain long-term military technological superiority at lower costs.

Still, the United States cannot necessarily sell weapons to any country that meets one of these conditions. Arms exports also must be consistent with three crucial laws and two implementing regulations.

The 1979 Arms Export Control Act (AECA) is one of the crucial laws. This statute stipulates the purposes for which weapons may be transferred (self-defense, internal security, and UN operations) and establishes the process by which the executive branch must give Congress advance notice of major sales. The AECA also requires a series of quarterly and annual reports from the Departments of Defense and State to Congress on overseas sales activity.

Executive Order 11958 delegates responsibility for the implementation of the AECA primarily to the State and Defense Departments. At the State Department, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls develops and updates the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which implements the AECA. These regulations contain a U.S. munitions list that covers all weapons regulated by the State Department. They also list those countries that are ineligible to receive weapons under U.S. law.

A second essential law is the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, which guides provision of economic and military assistance to foreign governments. For example, this act requires that weapon exports not undermine long-term security and stability, weaken democratic movements, support military coups, escalate arms races or exacerbate ongoing conflicts. Nor are the exported weapons supposed to cause arms buildups in unstable regions or be used to commit human rights abuses.

The third major law is the 1970 Export Administration Act, which governs shipments of dual-use goods, technology and information with both military and civilian uses. The act lapsed in 1994 but has been retained under the emergency powers of the president. It is administered by the Department of Commerce through the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which govern the sales activities of exporters of these items, as ITAR does for munitions. The EAR contain the Commerce Control List, which includes certain ballistic missile production technologies, dual-use chemicals, shotguns, and police equipment.

These laws govern many different types of arms sales and military assistance programs. The largest sales programs are:

•  Foreign Military Sales (FMS): government-to-government sales negotiated by the Pentagon, in which the weapons come from existing Pentagon stocks or new production;

•  Direct Commercial Sales (DCS): arms sales concluded between U.S. weapons manufacturers and foreign clients managed by the State Department.

The largest military assistance programs are:

•  Excess Defense Articles (EDA): surplus or obsolete U.S. weapons given away for free or at a dramatically reduced cost to foreign governments;

•  Foreign Military Financing (FMF): grants to foreign governments that are used to purchase weapons, training, and other defense articles and services from the United States;

•  International Military Education and Training (IMET): grants for members of foreign governments and militaries to participate in any of more than 2,000 courses in U.S. military management and technical training.

Although much smaller in dollar value, the United States also offers military training separate from or part of other arms packages. Military training is an important foreign policy tool used to bolster support for U.S. values and interests in foreign governments and military institutions, as well as to establish common military goals, procedures, and mechanisms. The utilization of military training to build military and political relationships is part of an emerging trend that began at the end of the Cold War. In the last decade, the United States has trained more than 100,000 foreign soldiers, police, and civilians annually through these programs. Such training programs, which take place within the United States and in about 150 countries around the world, range from English-language training and counternarcotics strategies to preparation of forces for peacekeeping operations.


Rachel Stohl is a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information (CDI), co-author of International Arms Trade (forthcoming), and co-author of Small Arms Trade (2006). Case studies of U.S. military assistance to each of the 25 countries discussed in this article are available at www.cdi.org.


1. Wade Boese, “U.S. Pakistani Arms Pipeline Stays Open,” Arms Control Today, December 2007, p. 29. Emergency rule lasted from Nov. 3 to Dec. 15, during which time Musharraf resigned from the military but retained his presidency.

2. Richard F. Grimmett, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1999-2006,” CRS Report for Congress, RL34187, September 26, 2007.

3. Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

4. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “President Thanks World Coalition for Anti-Terrorism Efforts,” Washington, DC, March 11, 2002  (hereinafter president’s remarks, March 11, 2002).

5. U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Stabilizing Iraq: DOD Cannot Ensure That U.S.-Funded Equipment Has Reached Iraqi Security Forces,” July 31, 2007.

6. President’s remarks, March 11, 2002.

7. U.S. Department of State, “2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.”

CFE Treaty Regime Remains Vital to Europe, Russia, and the United States



For Immediate Release: December 12, 2007
Press Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, (202) 463-8270 x107 and Wade Boese, (202) 463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.): The nonpartisan Arms Control Association (ACA) is disappointed today that Russia followed through on its threat to suspend implementation of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. ACA calls on all other states-parties to continue adhering to the accord and for Russia to renew its participation as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, ACA urges all 30 CFE states-parties, including Russia, to take the necessary actions to bring into force a 1999 updated version of the treaty, which would help ensure that dividing lines do not again descend across Europe.

Negotiated near the Cold War’s end, the CFE Treaty capped the amount of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, and other heavy armaments that its states-parties could deploy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. The agreement led to the destruction of more than 60,000 weapons and effectively eliminated the possibility of large-scale surprise attacks in Europe. It also established an extensive verification regime that fosters transparency and trust throughout Europe.

The 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty aims to extend and enhance this invaluable regime while updating some treaty limits and rules to account for the significant military and political changes that have occurred since the original treaty’s negotiation. All of the 1990 treaty states-parties must ratify the revised accord for it to take effect, but the United States and other NATO members are conditioning their approval on Russia fulfilling military withdrawal commitments from Georgia and Moldova.

Daryl G. Kimball, ACA executive director, recommended that “Russia must withdraw its residual forces from Georgia and Moldova, which are not vital to Russia’s security or security in those regions.” He suggested that Moscow seriously explore options to replace Russian personnel with international peacekeepers and use foreign assistance to help facilitate withdrawal activities.  

At the same time, Kimball urged NATO members to start their national ratification processes to demonstrate their commitment to the adapted treaty. Moreover, he called upon NATO countries to pursue future reductions in their permitted weapons limits, which in most cases far exceed actual arms holdings. Such a move, he said, could help ease Russian concerns about future NATO force buildups.

The Arms Control Association cosponsored a November international appeal to bolster the CFE Treaty regime. That appeal is at http://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2007/20071204_CFE_Appeal.asp, and a current list of signers can be found at the websites of the two appeal cosponsors: the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg.  

Additional information on the CFE Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty can be found at ACA’s CFE Treaty resource section at http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/ct/. In particular, an analysis of the Adapted CFE Treaty is available at http://www.armscontrol.org/act/1999_11/wbno99.asp.               

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