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"ACA's journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent."

– Hans Blix
Former IAEA Director-General
United States

Joint Statement Between the United States and the Russian Federation Concerning Strategic Offensive and Defensive Arms and Furth

June 20, 1999

Confirming their dedication to the cause of strengthening strategic stability and international security, stressing the importance of further reduction of strategic offensive arms, and recognizing the fundamental importance of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) for the attainment of these goals, the United States of America and the Russian Federation declare their determination to continue efforts directed at achieving meaningful results in these areas.

The two governments believe that strategic stability can be strengthened only if there is compliance with existing agreements between the Parties on limitation and reduction of arms. The two governments will do everything in their power to facilitate the successful completion of the START II ratification processes in both countries.

The two governments reaffirm their readiness, expressed in Helsinki in March 1997, to conduct new negotiations on strategic offensive arms aimed at further reducing for each side the level of strategic nuclear warheads, elaborating measures of transparency concerning existing strategic nuclear warheads and their elimination, as well as other agreed technical and organizational measures in order to contribute to the irreversibility of deep reductions including prevention of a rapid build-up in the numbers of warheads and to contribute strengthening of strategic stability in the world. The two governments will strive to accomplish the important task of achieving results in these negotiations as early as possible.

Proceeding from the fundamental significance of the ABM Treaty for further reductions in strategic offensive arms, and from the need to maintain the strategic balance between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, the Parties reaffirm their commitment to that Treaty, which is a cornerstone of strategic stability, and to continuing efforts to strengthen the Treaty, to enhance its viability and effectiveness in the future.

The United States of America and the Russian Federation, recalling their concern about the proliferation in the world of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including missiles and missile technologies, expressed by them in the Joint Statement on Common Security Challenges at the Threshold of the Twenty First Century, adopted on September 2, 1998 in Moscow, stress their common desire to reverse that process using to this end the existing and possible new international legal mechanisms.

In this regard, both Parties affirm their existing obligations under Article XIII of the ABM Treaty to consider possible changes in the strategic situation that have a bearing on the ABM Treaty and, as appropriate, possible proposals for further increasing the viability of this Treaty.

The Parties emphasize that the package of agreements signed on September 26, 1997 in New York is important under present conditions for the effectiveness of the ABM Treaty, and they will facilitate the earliest possible ratification and entry into force of those agreements.

The implementation of measures to exchange data on missile launches and on early warning and to set up an appropriate joint center, recorded in the Joint Statement by the Presidents of the United States of America and the Russian Federation signed on September 2, 1998 in Moscow, will also promote the strengthening of strategic stability.

Discussions on START III and the ABM Treaty will begin later this summer. The two governments express their confidence that implementation of this Joint Statement will be a new significant step to enhance strategic stability and the security of both nations.

U.S. 1998 Data for the UN Conventional Arms Register

U.S. 1998 Data for the UN Conventional Arms Register

On May 28, the United States reported its 1998 exports and imports of major conventional weapons to the voluntary UN Register of Conventional Weapons. Now in its seventh year, the register calls on countries to annually provide information on their trade in tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships and missiles and missile systems. Countries may also volunteer information on military holdings, procurement through national production and relevant arms transfer policies for the preceding calendar year. The register aims to promote transparency in armaments with the purpose of revealing destabilizing accumulations.

During 1998, the United States, according to its UN register data, exported 2,700 major conventional weapons to 28 countries and Taiwan. In comparison, the U.S. totaled 4,759 exports to 27 countries and Taiwan in 1997. The leading individual importer of U.S. arms in 1998 was Taiwan with 355 imports, while Europe, 1,067 imports, took delivery of the most weapons regionally.

Like 1997, missiles ranked as the top U.S. weapons system export at 1,749 deliveries, though the total fell well below the 1997 mark of 3,072, of which 1,502 went to Israel. While exports of battle tanks, ACVs, artillery and attack helicopters were lower than in 1997, exports of combat aircraft and warships increased.

U.S. imports for the year consisted of a single amphibious reconnaissance vehicle from Bosnia-Herzegovina. —For more information contact Wade Boese.


Region/Country Battle Tanks ACVs Heavy Artillery Combat Aircraft Attack Helicopters Warships Missiles & Launchers TOTAL
Africa 35
Egypt     24   7 4   35
Asia 876
Indonesia       2       2
Japan     12       327 339
Singapore       33     52 85
South Korea   59 10         69
Taiwan 120   28 52   2 153 355
Thailand   24         2 26
Europe 1067
Austria     12         12
Denmark     4         4
Finland       13     64 77
Germany             32 32
Greece     12 10 2   50 74
Netherlands         4   100 104
Norway     6       144 150
Sweden             213 213
Switzerland             37 37
Turkey   158   60     120 338
United Kingdom             26 26
Middle East 689
Bahrain             4 4
Israel     20 22     143 185
Jordan             150 150
Lebanon   73           73
Oman             110 110
Saudi Arabia   127   25       152
United Arab Emeriates             15 15
Other Regions 33
Argentina       15       15
Australia         10     10
Canada             7 7
New Zealand         1     1
TOTAL 120 441 128 232 24 6 1,749 2,700
...
U.S. Military Holdings and Procurement Through National Production
Category Military Holdings

1998 (1997)

Procurement

1998 (1997)

I. Battle Tanks 8,599 (8,971) 0 (0)
II. Armored Combat Vehicles 20,978 (22,747) 0 (0)
III. Large-Caliber Artillery Systems 8,919 (9,879) 0 (117)
IV. Combat Aircraft 2,970 (3,919) 20 (21)
V. Attack Helicopters 2,505 (2,816) 15 (7)
VI.Warships 329 (347) 9 (5)
VII. Missiles and Missile Launchers 120,951 (121,666) 0 (1,231)

Kerrey Amendment on Nuclear Reductions Defeated

On May 26, the Senate defeated an amendment to the fiscal year (FY) 2000 defense authorization bill that would have removed the provision, in effect since 1998, barring U.S. nuclear arms reductions below START I levels until START II enters into force. Nevertheless, the Senate's version of the defense bill (S. 1059), which was approved on May 27, allows the U.S. Navy to remove the four oldest Trident ballistic missile submarines from service—a move that could save about $5 billion to $6 billion through FY 2005. However, the House version (H.R. 1401), which had not been voted on as of the end of May, mandates that those four boats fulfill their nuclear roles unless certain conditions have been met. The status of the Trident force will have to be resolved in a House-Senate conference.

Under S. 1059, the United States cannot retire or dismantle any of the following strategic nuclear delivery systems until START II enters into force: 76 B-52H bombers, 14 Trident submarines, 500 Minuteman III ICBMs and 50 MX ICBMs. (The House version specifies 18 Trident submarines.) Concerned that this provision forces the Russians to sustain a larger nuclear arsenal than they can control, Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) offered an amendment to delete it from the bill—a measure that failed by a 56-44 vote. Those in favor of keeping the restriction, such as Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), argued that it is needed in order to maintain pressure on the Duma to ratify START II.

Although welcoming the Senate's decision to reduce the number of Trident submarines, the Clinton administration said on May 24 that it wants the provision mandating START I levels to be repealed because it "unnecessarily restrict[s] the president's national security authority and ability to structure the most capable, cost effective force possible."

U.S. Says N. Korea Site Nuclear Free; Perry Visits Pyongyang

Howard Diamond

FOLLOWING THE determination by a U.S. inspection team that a North Korean underground construction site did not contain facilities relating to nuclear weapons, presidential envoy William Perry met with senior North Korean officials during his May 25 to 28 visit to discuss the possibility of a major shift in relations between Pyongyang and Washington. The inspection of the site in Kumchang-ni was described by the Clinton administration as essential to preserving the 1994 Agreed Framework and a prerequisite for any hopes of improving relations between the two states.

Perry, President Clinton's special coordinator for North Korea policy and former secretary of defense, described his meetings with senior North Korean political, diplomatic and military figures as "very intensive, extremely substantive, and quite valuable in providing me with insights in [North Korean] thinking on key issues of concern." Perry's delegation, which included State Department Counselor Ambassador Wendy Sherman and five other current and former U.S. officials, was the highest ranking U.S. group to ever visit North Korea.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul on May 29, Perry indicated he had fulfilled three goals during his trip to Pyongyang. According to Perry, he was able to "establish meaningful relationships with a wide range of senior [North Korean] officials," and "reaffirm" Pyongyang's commitment to "the current elements of our relationship," including the 1994 nuclear agreement. Most importantly, Perry said he was able "to explore [North Korean] thinking about the possibility of a major expansion in our relations and cooperation, as part of a process in which U.S. and allied concerns about missile and nuclear programs are addressed." Perry said he had not received "a definitive [North Korean] response to this idea," and suggested "it will take some time for [North Korea] to further reflect on the views I expressed." Perry refused to go into detail on the nature of his proposals to Pyongyang and did not take questions.

Appearing with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on May 17, South Korean Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Young said Perry was carrying to Pyongyang "a comprehensive package proposal…full of attractions and full of incentives." Hong added, "it is a package of incentives and disincentives and a package of carrots and sticks." Albright also announced that the United States would donate 400,000 tons of emergency food aid in response to the World Food Program's April appeal, bringing the annual total of U.S. food aid to North Korea to 600,000 tons. The United States donated 500,000 tons of food to North Korea in 1998.

Korea policy experts have speculated that Perry's trip was meant to test North Korea's willingness to deal over its development and export of ballistic missiles in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions, normalization of diplomatic relations including the exchange of ambassadors, and potentially even some form of security guarantees—all steps that can be taken by the president with limited congressional involvement. The terms of such a "grand bargain" have been discussed in Washington since the adoption of the Agreed Framework, which anticipates such improvements in U.S.-North Korean relations.

A dramatic shift in U.S. policy will probably not come easily. Perry's appointment as policy coordinator in November 1998 followed North Korea's August 1998 launch of its three-stage Taepo Dong-1 missile over Japan and allegations that the underground construction site in Kumchang-ni was part of an ongoing nuclear weapons program. Angered by Pyongyang's provocations, and convinced the Clinton administration's Korea policy was failing to meet U.S. security concerns, Congress threatened to cut-off financial support for the nuclear accord. The administration salvaged the funding by agreeing to conduct a high-level review of its policy. However, doubts remain in Congress about whether engagement with North Korea can work.

Administration critics insist, notwithstanding its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Agreed Framework, that Pyongyang remains committed to building nuclear weapons and developing and exporting long-range ballistic missiles. While unwilling to accept that Pyongyang can only be dealt with using sticks, Washington has limited its dealings with North Korea to technical-level, issue-by-issue discussions that have been prone to frequent breakdowns and long lapses without progress.

Perry is expected to complete his policy review in June, and has said he will return to the private sector. Ambassador Sherman is likely to be named as the administration's North Korea policy coordinator. A former assistant secretary of sate for legislative afairs, Sherman has a close relationship with Secretary Albright, which could prove critical in keeping high-level attention on the issue.

Kumchang-ni and KEDO

After months of negotiations, North Korea agreed in March to allow the inspection of the underground site in Kumchang-ni after dropping its initial demand for $300 million in compensation. Instead, the United States will provide North Korea with a pilot agricultural program to help grow potatoes and is continuing to provide large quantities of food aid, which it insists is given on a strictly humanitarian basis.

The Kumchang-ni site was examined by a team of 14 U.S. scientists and proliferation specialists, May 18 to 24. State Department spokesman James Rubin said May 28 that the U.S. team found "an extensive, empty tunnel complex," and that "a full technical analysis is underway to determine…what the site might have been intended for." Rubin added that "based on what we know thus far, there is no basis to conclude that North Korea is in violation of the Agreed Framework." The conclusions of the technical review will probably be released at the end of June.

Questions, however, about whether North Korea moved key pieces of equipment prior to the visit are likely to linger, with skeptics arguing that U.S. satellites showed increased vehicle and personnel activity before the inspection. According to Rubin, the site "was at a stage of construction prior to the time when any relevant equipment, other than construction equipment, would be expected to be present." Washington's access arrangement with Pyongyang provides for an additional inspection next year and annually beyond that if requested by the United States.

The Kumchang-ni inspection will help the administration to fulfill the security-related conditions set by Congress for U.S. financial support of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the international consortium created to implement the 1994 nuclear accord. For FY 1999, Congress provided $35 million to support KEDO's annual obligation to provide North Korea with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil while two light-water reactors (LWRs) are being built. For the past two years, KEDO has failed to deliver the required quantity of fuel oil by the end of its scheduled delivery year, which ends in late October. Since completing 1998's deliveries early this year, KEDO will have delivered 140,000 tons of this year's required heavy fuel oil by mid-June.

KEDO continues site development work in Sinpo, North Korea where the two 1,000-megawatt (electric) LWRs called for in the nuclear accord will be built, and appears to be closing in on completing the financial arrangements for the $4.6 billion project. On May 3, KEDO signed an agreement with the government of Japan, whereby Tokyo will pay the interest on a $1 billion loan to KEDO from the Japanese Import-Export Bank that will fulfill Japan's commitment to fund a "significant" portion of the LWR project. KEDO continues negotiations with the Japanese Import-Export Bank on the terms of the loan, and is in similar talks with the government of South Korea and the South Korean Import-Export Bank.

Seoul has committed itself to a "central" role in the LWR project and has pledged to pay 70 percent of the project's actual cost. The United States, while funding much of the oil program, has committed itself only to taking responsibility for finding any additional funds that might be required to complete the LWR project. Once the financial arrangements are settled, KEDO hopes to sign the prime, or "turn-key," contract for the LWR project with its prime contractor, the Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO). Completion of the prime contract would allow KEDO to order long-lead time items for the LWRs and to accelerate the pace of construction at the site in North Korea.

U.S. Reports 1998 Arms Transfers to UN

On May 28, the United States reported to the UN Register of Conventional Arms that it had shipped 2,700 major conventional weapons to 28 countries and Taiwan in 1998. The voluntary register, established in January 1992, calls on all countries to report annually on exports and imports of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile systems. Information on military holdings, procurement through national production and arms trade policies can also be volunteered.

The 1998 U.S. total fell well below the 1997 mark of 4,759 weapons exports. Much of the difference can be accounted for by the 1997 delivery of 1,502 missiles to Israel in comparison with 143 in 1998. Moreover, total ACV and artillery exports dropped by more than half from 1997. Exports of combat aircraft, including 155 F-16 and 47 F-15 fighters, climbed by 27 in 1998 to 232. Missiles, mainly air-to-air, accounted for nearly two-thirds of all U.S. arms exports.

Taiwan topped U.S. arms recipients for 1998 with 355 weapons, including 52 F-16 fighters and 120 tanks. Japan (339 weapons, all but 12 of which were missiles) and Turkey (338 imports) vied for second place. Israel ranked first among Middle East recipients with 185 weapons acquisitions.

Regionally, Europe took delivery of the most U.S. weapons in 1998 with 1,067, almost three-quarters of which were missiles. With 689 imports, the Middle East and North Africa, the leading recipient in 1997 and 1996, dropped to third behind Asia, which received 876 weapons.

CD Remains in Stalemate; U.S. Criticized for NMD Plans

Wade Boese

HALFWAY THROUGH its 1999 negotiating session, the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) is no closer to beginning negotiations than when the session started in January. Differences on nuclear disarmament and preventing an arms race in outer space are holding up agreement on an initial work program—thereby blocking all negotiations, including talks on banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, which no delegation opposes. A May 27 Chinese statement describing those three issues, as well as negative security assurances, as "inter-related" points to a continued impasse as the United States opposes negotiations on nuclear disarmament and outer space. The U.S. negotiating priority at the CD remains the fissile material cutoff talks.

In August 1998, the CD started negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty, but the talks ended in September with the close of the 1998 negotiating session. Frustrated by the failure to renew negotiations this year, the United States, Britain and France proposed on May 20 a new work program that includes an unprecedented move to exempt the cutoff talks from the conference's rules of operation. The three nuclear-weapon states proposed establishing an ad hoc committee on a fissile cutoff treaty that would run for successive CD sessions until negotiations are completed. Currently, annual authorization is required for any conference subsidiary body, which, in the past, expired with the end of each year's negotiating session.

U.S. Ambassador to the CD Robert Grey said on May 20 that the three sponsors could not believe that the international community wanted fissile cutoff talks to "proceed in fits and starts." He further charged that it would be "irresponsible for the conference to make limited progress this year" and then delay renewing negotiations next year.

However, without an annual means to withhold consent on conducting cutoff talks, other delegations would lose leverage to push Washington on issues that it refuses to negotiate on, such as nuclear disarmament. Because the conference operates by consensus, the May 20 proposal is unlikely to win approval.

U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plans and the new NATO "strategic concept" (see story) drew heavy fire within the conference beginning on May 11, the first plenary of the second of three working parts of the 1999 negotiating session. Moscow warned Washington that deployment of an NMD system could trigger a new strategic arms race, including in outer space, and undermine the existing non-proliferation regime. China echoed Moscow's fears about a new arms race, while Pakistan charged that deployment of an NMD, as well as theater missile defenses, could have "grave consequences in South Asia and elsewhere." Pakistan further claimed that NATO's new strategic concept would "set back" disarmament and non-proliferation.

China, alluding to U.S. NMD plans, charged on May 27 that one country has "ambitious programs" to extend weapons systems into outer space. Perhaps as much a by-product of souring Sino-U.S. relations—particularly after the May 7 NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade—as of anxiety with U.S. NMD plans, Beijing has stiffened its position for an outer space ad hoc committee, which China noted is only opposed by one country. China's ambassador to the CD, Li Changhe, warned that the conference's work program needed to be treated as a whole and that "singling out any one of the items while excluding the others is unjustified and unhelpful." Washington contends that there is no arms race in outer space.

The current working period of the 1999 negotiating session ends June 25, and the final part is scheduled from July 26 to September 8. A member of one CD delegation noted that most members are simply "watching and waiting."

Ottawa Convention States-Parties Hold First Conference; U.S. Attends

Wade Boese

AT THE FIRST meeting of the states-parties to the Ottawa Convention banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines (APLs), representatives of 96 signatories met to start putting the convention, which entered into force on March 1, into practice. While states-parties were unable to resolve a number of cases of alleged non-compliance at the May 3-7 meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, participants did agree on a common format for annual country reports and a future work program. Delegations from 13 non-signatory states, including the United States and China, also attended the meeting.

Opened for signature in December 1997, the convention, now ratified by 81 states, requires states-parties to destroy stockpiled APLs within four years and all APLs, even those planted, within 10 years. States can request a renewable, 10-year extension to complete the task, and may retain a small APL stockpile for demining research and training. Annual reports detailing characteristics, location, quantities and types of stockpiled and planted mines, as well as the status of destruction programs, are also mandated.

In a May 7 final declaration, states-parties and signatories reaffirmed their "unwavering commitment to the total eradication" of APLs. Addressing charges that three treaty signatories—Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal—were continuing to use landmines, the declaration called on all 135 signatories to "respect and implement your commitments." Senegal (a state-party) denied the accusations, but Angola (which has not yet ratified) said that it would continue to use APLs in its on-going civil war.

Though the convention lists a series of steps to investigate suspected non-compliance, there is no mechanism to enforce compliance and no mandated action for treaty violations. The first step in initiating an inquiry into suspected non-compliance, a "request for clarification," has yet to be submitted by any party regarding the three accused countries.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette, in a May 3 press conference, emphasized that states-parties had to determine how to make signatories respect their obligations. The Maputo declaration cautioned, however, that "assistance and cooperation will flow primarily to those who have forsworn the use of these weapons forever through adherence to and implementation of the Convention." A senior Canadian official involved with the landmines issues said that the goal is not to further penalize countries suffering from landmines, but to change country behavior through engagement.

In Maputo, the states-parties agreed on a common format for the treaty's annual reports and to make them public. The participating delegations also set out a work program for meetings of so-called Standing Committees of Experts on mine clearance; victim assistance and mine awareness; stockpile destruction; technologies for mine action and the general status and operation of the convention. These meetings, which will take place prior to the next states-parties meeting September 11-15, 2000, will be open to signatories, non-signatories, non-governmental organizations and demining organizations.

Sensitive to criticism that the Ottawa Convention has resulted in more talk than action, the Canadian official said that "every effort is being made to ensure that money is making its way into the field rather than meetings." Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy, in a May 3 address to the Maputo conference, noted that since the Ottawa process started in 1996, 20 countries have destroyed 14 million stockpiled landmines and that at the convention's signing more than a half billion dollars for mine action was pledged.

The United States at Maputo

While opting not to attend Maputo as an observer, Washington participated as a special guest of Mozambique. Under the convention, signatories and observers are apportioned a share of meeting costs based on the UN scale of assessment, which would have resulted in an estimated bill of approximately $400,000 for the United States.

In a speech read to the meeting, President Clinton reiterated U.S. pledges to end the use of all APLs outside Korea by 2003 and to sign the convention by 2006 if Washington successfully identifies and fields suitable alternatives to its APLs and mixed anti-tank systems (combinations of anti-vehicle and anti-personnel devices). Current U.S. landmine stockpiles consist of 1 million mixed anti-tank systems; 9 million self-destructing APLs; and another 1 million non-self-destructing APLs that are retained for Korea, being withdrawn from Cuba or required for training purposes.

Clinton's prepared speech also noted that Washington plans to dedicate $100 million to humanitarian demining activities in 2000 on top of the more than $300 million spent on demining activities in over 30 countries since 1993.

Why China Won't Build U.S. Warheads

Richard L. Garwin

Back to Cox Report Main Page

Despite the uncertainty as to how much information on U.S. thermonuclear weapons has actually been compromised, the charges in the Cox Report are sufficiently serious that one should examine the extent to which the acquisition of such information by China would impair U.S. security. The report focuses primarily on the alleged compromise of design information on the W-88 thermonuclear warhead for the Trident-II (D-5) submarine-launched ballistic missile, and to a lesser extent the W-70 enhanced radiation warhead. The important questions are: What can China do with this information that it could not have done without it, and does it matter to the United States?

A great deal of unclassified information is available on the W-88. It is a modern two-stage thermonuclear weapon that is packaged in a conical reentry vehicle (RV) less than six feet tall with a base diameter of only 22 inches. The explosive yield of the W-88 warhead is about 500 kilotons—some 30 times that of the weapons that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

According to the Cox Report, the hard information about China's knowledge of the W-88 comes from a document provided by a "walk-in" who provided the CIA in 1995 with a classified Chinese document containing some still-classified information about the W-88. As noted in the intelligence community's Damage Assessment, it is not known whether China acquired "any weapon design documentation or blueprints."

In order to put in perspective the value of any such information to China, one should review the history and probable status of its nuclear weapons program. China tested its first fission weapon in 1964 (an implosion device fueled by uranium-235) and its first two-stage thermonuclear weapon a little over two years later. This was remarkable progress. All told, China conducted 45 nuclear tests (the same number as Britain) during its 33 years of testing, which ended in July 1996.

The Damage Assessment states: "China has had the technical capability to develop a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) system for its large, currently deployed ICBM for many years, but has not done so. U.S. information acquired by the Chinese could help them develop a MIRV for a future mobile missile." In other words, while still-classified information on the W-88 might be helpful, there is no reason to believe that China could not have built perfectly adequate warheads for its mobile missiles or a MIRVed missile from nuclear technology that it developed itself, supplemented by facts long declassified about U.S. and other nuclear warheads.

But there are reasons why Beijing would not have sought to build MIRVed missiles in the first place. As stated by the Cox Committee, China has under development a mobile ICBM, the DF-31, which is a smaller missile than its current ICBM, the DF-5A. But, if the motivation for this mobile missile is simply (as suggested by both the Cox Report and the Damage Assessment) a desire to have a secure second-strike capability, multiple warheads may not be necessary or even desirable, since this would increase the value of a missile as a target in a foreign pre-emptive strike.

China's current nuclear doctrine does not require the deployment of large numbers of MIRVed missiles. The United States and Russia deployed thousands of highly accurate RVs in order to be able to destroy with some confidence hardened targets such as missile silos. China's deterrent doctrine requires simply the ability to destroy in a retaliatory strike a modest fraction of the population and industry of a potential enemy. Were China intent on developing a counterforce capability, it could long ago have increased its ICBM force beyond the 20 or so silo-based missiles that can now deliver warheads to the United States. It is likely therefore that the impetus behind the mobile ICBMs is (as the Cox Report implies) to make China's strategic nuclear force more survivable against nuclear attack by the United States.

Moreover, MIRVs are also not the optimal weapons if China anticipates encountering a U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system such as that currently proposed to protect all U.S. territory with hit-to-kill exo-atmospheric interceptors. Instead, China is far more likely to use effective countermeasures (such as light-weight decoy balloons) rather than multiple RVs on its future missiles.

The advanced features of the W-88 come at a price. Its narrow conical RV (the Mk-5) poses serious constraints on the design of the nuclear warhead that it carries. Either substantial payload capacity must be devoted to tungsten or uranium ballast in the nose of the RV, or increased development costs and compromises must be made so that the warhead itself is of small enough diameter to fit well down within the cone. The primary reason for such a narrow cone is to achieve very high accuracy on reentry, in the face of winds. Unless China's strategic nuclear force were to grow greatly in warhead numbers to a point where it could threaten the survival of the U.S. ICBM silos, Beijing would have imposed a significant penalty on itself by deploying such sleek RVs. Very high accuracy is irrelevant to maintaining a countervalue ("city-busting") deterrent.

In addition, as a practical matter, for China to replicate the W-88/Mk-5 combination would require not only major advances in nuclear weapons design and fabrication, but also in much of the ancillary equipment such as firing and fuzing, electronics and tritium gas storage. The impediments to small, modern warheads may lie more in these technologies than in the primary and secondary explosive packages themselves. For all of the above reasons, my own judgment is that, even if China were confident that it had every detail of the W-88 and its Mk-5 reentry vehicle, it would not reproduce the weapon.

In a modern two-stage thermonuclear weapon, the energy released from a boosted primary nuclear explosive (mostly in the form of soft X-rays) is briefly contained within a radiation case. The energy and pressure of this radiation compresses, heats and ignites the secondary explosive. This process, from the implosion of the plutonium in the primary to the compression and ignition of the secondary, is the subject of calculation and experiment. In fact, much of the work on primaries is performed with "hydrodynamic experiments," in which high explosives are used to compress plutonium or simulant materials (with no release of fission energy), with the implosion imaged by intense pulses of penetrating X-rays. The process of compression and ignition of the secondary is also the subject of intense computational effort, but the speed and violence of this process is such that high-explosive experiments have no relevance.

Over the decades, computer codes have been used to gain an understanding of this process. The design of a thermonuclear weapon is an interplay between invention and experiment, but because full-scale nuclear explosions provide only limited diagnostic opportunities, computer models that are believed to incorporate the essential phenomena have been used to develop intuition and to design something that is verified (or contradicted) by test. Quite distinct computational codes are suitable for the implosion of the primary before there is any significant fission energy, for the explosion of the primary, for the transfer of the radiation from the primary to the region of the secondary, for the implosion of the secondary, and for the explosion of the secondary.

Calculations for the early implosion weapons could be "one dimensional" because everything (temperature, pressure, density, neutron numbers, flow of radiation) depended only on the radius, while for a two-stage thermonuclear weapon two-dimensional calculations are both necessary and sufficient because there is an axis of symmetry in a normal two-stage device. With a two-stage weapon, the very complex calculations involved are only approximate, and comparison with results from actual testing is necessary to fix some parameters in the calculation. For the United States, our knowledge of secondaries comes from complex computer codes and from the experience gained from a good fraction of the 1,030 U.S. tests conducted since 1945.

Following the release of the declassified Cox Report, it was revealed that a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist with access to the computer codes for the simulation of thermonuclear warhead explosions downloaded some of these codes from a classified computer at the lab to an unclassified computer, where they might have been accessed by unauthorized users including China. It has not been made public, and may not be known, whether any detailed design information accompanied these codes. However, even if the information that was transferred comprised the so-called "legacy codes" for U.S. weapons and if that included the programs that were actually used to simulate explosions in connection with the design of the W-88, it is not at all clear that such a transfer in 1998, for instance, would greatly enhance China's future design capability.

In a letter published in The Wall Street Journal on May 17, 1998, Harold Agnew states: "The design of the W-88...is actually quite old. The basic test was done by the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory...when I was director, and I retired 20 years ago. It is a 'delicate' and neat package." He goes on: "No nation would ever stockpile any device based on another nation's computer codes." In my view, even the United States, with its extensive experience in designing and building advanced thermonuclear weapons, would place little confidence in a boosted primary unless it had been demonstrated in a full-yield nuclear explosion.

A great deal of computer code development has taken place totally outside the nuclear powers' weapons establishments in conjunction with, for example, astrophysics and inertial confinement fusion research, which is also conducted in non-nuclear-weapon states such as Germany and Japan. U.S. nuclear weapons designers benefit greatly from these unclassified efforts elsewhere, and feel it essential to participate in similar activities in the United States such as at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They can then apply these and other classified computational techniques and experimental experience to the U.S. stockpile stewardship program. Chinese designers also benefit from this foreign, unclassified, and open research and publication, which has substantially advanced the state of the computational art beyond what it was in the 1970s.

In discussing China's acquisition in the 1980s of design information on the W-70, which is described as "an enhanced radiation nuclear warhead or 'neutron bomb,'" the Cox Report asserts: "The U.S. has never deployed a neutron weapon." In fact, the United States deployed 80 SPRINT ballistic missile defense (BMD) interceptors with W-66 enhanced radiation warheads for use with the Safeguard ABM system at Grand Forks, North Dakota, in the mid-1970s. As stated by Cox Committee member Representative John Spratt (D-SC) in a May 25 statement on the panel's report, the United States also manufactured and stored in Army depots hundreds of such warheads: the W-70 on the Lance tactical missile and the W-79 on an 8-inch artillery round. Because China has no BMD system and would hardly plan intercepts within the atmosphere (to defend hardened targets), that application of the enhanced radiation weapon is irrelevant to its needs. Similarly, it is most unlikely that China will fight troops in combat with neutron bombs rather than with cheaper weapons of higher yield and greater destructive power.

Despite these reservations about the utility to China of the information regarding the W-88 and W-70, one cannot condone the fact that the Department of Energy (DOE) made such minimal investments and such little use of information technology to protect classified information. In particular, elementary cyber-security, such as implementing an access log and a transaction log of users on classified systems, would help to deter and to impede the transfer of classified material to unclassified computers. It would also help to catch the perpetrator if such actions were not deterred. It seems clear that insufficient attention was paid to preventing intentional or unintentional transmittal of classified information to unauthorized persons in ways that would not significantly interfere with efficient operation of the laboratory. Counterintelligence was clearly inadequate as well.

Interestingly, there is no claim that foreign visitors to the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories acquired classified information. Rather, the instances cited in the Cox Report deal with U.S. citizens who are said to have intentionally provided classified information to China. But cutting off all contact with scientists from Russia, China or certain "sensitive countries," as some in Congress have proposed, is not the solution. The United States gains a great deal of information through these and reciprocal unclassified visits and interchanges, and it is impossible to further some of the highest priority goals of the United States—that of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, for instance—without substantive visits of technical personnel back and forth. Paying more attention to the avoidance of inadvertent disclosures and to the deterrence of intentional but unauthorized transfer of information is essential. We need rapid and effective action to prevent such transfers in the future, but it should not be action that is faster than thought.

If the Cox Report results in more effective security against unauthorized transfer of classified information from DOE, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community, it will have had a salutary effect. However, the alleged acquisition by the Chinese of the particular nuclear weapon information in regard to the W-88 and W-70 would not appear to directly impair U.S. security. To build nuclear weapons on the basis of this information, China would need to make massive investments and would acquire a capability not particularly helpful to them.

Most importantly, China would need to test such weapons before deploying them—partial design information and computer codes alone are not sufficient. It would be a mistake to imagine that leakage to China of classified nuclear weapons information could be compensated by further U.S. nuclear weapon development, which would also require testing. A newly nuclear state acquiring 1950s or 1960s nuclear weapon technology and design information from either the U.S. or China (or from Russia) is probably the greater danger. But these implosion weapons would also require tests to merit any confidence. The most effective U.S. response to the threat posed by the possible leakage of sensitive nuclear weapon design information to either other nuclear-weapon states or countries with nuclear ambitions is to prohibit their nuclear testing by ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and exerting every effort to bring it into force as soon as possible.

 


Richard L. Garwin is IBM fellow emeritus at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York.

India, Pakistan Test New Missiles; U.S. Urges Restraint

Howard Diamond

BUILDING ON their tit-for-tat nuclear tests of May 1998, India and Pakistan conducted test flights of new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles on April 11 and on April 14 and 15, respectively, bringing both states closer to deploying strategic arsenals based on ballistic missiles. In keeping with the February 1999 Lahore Declaration, both states informed each other in advance of their tests, and also gave advance notice to the five permanent (P-5) members of the UN Security Council. (See ACT, January/February 1999.) Depending on their payloads, India's Agni-2 and Pakistan's Ghauri-2 and Shaheen-1 missiles could enable both states to reach important new targets: Islamabad may be able to strike all of India, and New Delhi, already capable of striking any target in Pakistan, may be able to reach Beijing and Shanghai.

The P-5 states, Japan and Australia have condemned India's missile test and Pakistan's two tests in response. China, which New Delhi has identified as its primary security concern, warned on April 13 that the Agni-2 test "could trigger a new round of arms race in South Asia," and called on India and Pakistan to resolve their differences "through continuous patient, frank and meaningful dialogue." The statement from Beijing's Foreign Ministry made no reference to any effect the Agni-2 test would have on China's own strategic modernization efforts.

When asked on April 14 about Pakistan's response to New Delhi's missile test, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh asserted, "There is no arms race. There is no danger." Islamabad's Foreign Ministry issued a statement later that day saying, "Pakistan does not want a nuclear and missile race in South Asia" and called on New Delhi to accept Pakistani proposals for a strategic restraint regime. New Delhi has resisted regional and international efforts to limit its nascent nuclear arsenal, insisting that no limitations are feasible without including China.

At an April 14 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth said that India bore a "special responsibility" for preventing a South Asian arms race, noting that in both the nuclear and missile areas Pakistan "is responding" to Indian actions. "Both sides have said they want to meet their security requirements at the lowest possible level," Inderfurth said. "We would now like to see concrete steps from both countries that they intend to do so."

According to a U.S. official, the Clinton administration has restrained its criticism of the tests, recognizing both countries' stated intentions to develop nuclear deterrent capabilities. Washington has "urged both sides not to test or to do anything to provoke the other" and is trying to persuade the South Asian rivals to accept the need for a stable "minimum deterrent framework," the official said. In discussions with U.S. officials, both India and Pakistan have so far resisted requests to define their concepts of credible minimum deterrence or discuss stable basing modes.

Extended Range

According to reports in the Indian press, tests of the Agni-2 had been canceled in late-January and early-March for a combination of political and technical reasons. The January test would have conflicted with the arrival of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott for non-proliferation talks with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, and the March test would have come too soon after the successful Indian-Pakistani summit in Lahore. The nature of the so-called "technical hitches" referred to by officials from India's Defense Research and Development Organization as having influenced the two postponements was unclear. India has developed the nuclear-capable Prithvi family of 150-, 250- and 350-kilometer-range ballistic missiles and is alleged to be interested in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, sometimes referred to as the Agni-3.

According to New Delhi, the Agni-2 missile traveled over 2,000 kilometers and has an estimated range of 2,500 kilometers. Indian officials said the tested missile had a payload of 1,000 kilograms. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said the Agni-2 could carry a "special weapons payload" and that a decision on whether to deploy a nuclear or conventional warhead "would depend upon the circumstances." Fernandes noted the Agni-2 was rail mobile and could be deployed to "rugged areas" on a "very compact system." With the single test flight, India has "reached the point of operationalization of the Agni-2 as a weapon system," Fernandes said.

Reports in the Indian press offered some additional details about the missile. Unlike its predecessor, the two-stage solid-liquid Agni-1, the Agni-2 used two solid stages which would make the missile easier to deploy and keep ready for launch on short notice. The Agni-2 may also be highly accurate. Flight control was claimed to have been aided by an on-board computer using information from global positioning system (GPS) satellites. The 1,500 to 2,000-kilometer-range Agni-1, which New Delhi has consistantly labled as a technology demonstration project, reportedly uses an on-board computer for terminal guidance of a separating reentry vehicle. India last tested the Agni-1 in February 1994.

Pakistan's Response

Responding to the Agni-2 test—despite international pleas for restraint—Islamabad test-fired its Ghauri-2 missile on April 14 and its Shaheen-1 missile on April 15. A statement from Islamabad on April 14 claimed the missile tests "strengthened national security and will help in maintaining a strategic balance in South Asia." The Ghauri-2 was tested to a range of 1,400 kilometers, but Pakistan claims the missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and can fly up to 2,300 kilometers if its 1,000-kilogram payload is reduced. The technical differences between the Ghauri-1 and -2 remain unclear.

According to another U.S. official, however, there may not actually be a Ghauri-2 missile at all. Based on images of the tested missile, the profile of the flight test and the specifics offered in Islamabad's initial announcement of the test, the missile fired may have actually been a Ghauri-1. When asked for a rationale, the official suggested Islamabad was probably trying to maintain the appearance of keeping pace with the range of India's Agni-2. Pakistan last tested the 1,500-kilometer-range Ghauri-1 in April 1998. Following that test, the United States imposed sanctions on Pakistan and North Korea, claiming the Ghauri-1 was derived from the liquid-fueled 1,300-kilometer-range Nodong missile.

The Shaheen-1 was tested to a reported range of 600 kilometers, but is claimed to be capable of traveling 750 kilometers with a 1,000-kilogram payload. The road-mobile solid-fuel Shaheen is believed to utilize technology from China. According to the Pakistani newspaper The News, the Shaheen-1 is meant to counter India's Prithvi missiles. Pakistan has said it is prepared to test its 2,300-kilometer-range Shaheen-2 missile, but that with the Shaheen-1 test it has completed its current missile testing activities.

Hyping Chinese Espionage

Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

With little evidence and flawed logic, the Cox Report has concluded that China, exploiting purloined U.S. nuclear weapons design information, can now match U.S. nuclear weapons technology and emerge as a major nuclear threat to the United States. The report, presented in three lavishly illustrated volumes suitable for coffee table display, is clearly designed to hype a new Chinese nuclear missile threat rather than objectively examine the extent and implications of alleged Chinese nuclear espionage. Whatever the truth about the extent of the espionage, this extreme worst-case assessment is grossly misleading and threatens rational U.S. diplomatic and defense policy toward Beijing.

The report's case rests primarily on a reference in a classified Chinese document to certain aspects of the design of the Trident D-5 missile's W-88 thermonuclear warhead, which indicates Chinese access to classified information from an unidentified source. However, Cox Committee member Representative John Spratt (D-SC), in an act of considerable political courage, has revealed the paucity of evidence supporting the report's stark conclusions and pointed out that the Cox Committee had no evidence that the Chinese had actually obtained any blueprints or detailed engineering specifications on the W-88 or any other U.S. thermonuclear weapon. This important conclusion was also reached by the intelligence community in its damage assessment of the material presented in the classified version of the report.

While China would undoubtedly profit from the details of the W-88, Beijing would pay a steep price to make a "Chinese copy" of the sophisticated W-88, which does not match China's strategic requirements or its existing technology infrastructure. The W-88 is carefully designed to fit inside the D-5's slender reentry vehicle, which is necessary to achieve extremely high accuracy against hard targets. The Chinese ICBM force, numbering only 20 missiles, is clearly intended as a minimal deterrent against city targets where high accuracy is irrelevant. The report fails to recognize that China, with a substantial nuclear weapons program and 35 years' experience since its first test in 1964, already has the ability to develop small thermonuclear warheads based on its own technology. Such weapons would be suitable for China's anticipated, more survivable mobile ICBM or for future MIRVed missiles if it decides to develop them. Consequently, even if Beijing did obtain the detailed blueprints for the W-88, which is pure speculation, this would not change the limited Chinese nuclear threat to the United States that has existed for almost 20 years.

The report's feigned outrage with China's alleged efforts to steal U.S. nuclear secrets is an exercise in naivete or hypocrisy by members of Congress, who approve some $30 billion annually for U.S. intelligence activities and press for the increased use of spies. At the same time, while recognizing the pandemic nature of espionage, one cannot tolerate violations of trust by persons in sensitive positions or inadequate security practices that facilitate such actions. The report has created a cottage industry of recommendations on how to solve this difficult problem. But the answer certainly does not lie in creating insulated, Soviet-style nuclear cities where many of the brightest U.S. scientists would not work.

U.S.-Chinese relations have been dealt a serious blow by the report's implicit message that the United States should not do business with a country that presents a serious nuclear threat to U.S. security and engages in espionage against the U.S. nuclear establishment. However, there is no reason to believe China is any more of a threat today, or will be in the foreseeable future, than it has been for many years; and the charges of espionage, if true, are only the latest manifestation of an international environment where gentlemen read each other's mail whenever possible. Since President Nixon's opening of relations with China, every U.S. president has sought to improve U.S.-Chinese relations. In the interests of U.S. security, this policy should continue to be pursued on its own merits and not be undercut by hyped assessments of the Chinese nuclear threat or espionage activities.

If the Cox Committee is as concerned about Chinese espionage as it professes, it is puzzling that it chose to reject Spratt's proposal to recommend ratification of the CTB Treaty, which would prevent future Chinese tests from exploiting alleged purloined information. Experts agree that no rational state would risk producing thermonuclear weapons based on information, including even blueprints and full technical specifications, obtained from another state without tests, and would not rely on another country's computer codes to simulate the detonation of a device as a surrogate for actual testing. The U.S. Senate now has the opportunity and responsibility to correct this glaring omission by promptly ratifying the test ban treaty, which Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms has held hostage—to advance his own agenda—for nearly two years.

With little evidence and flawed logic, the Cox Report has concluded that China, exploiting purloined U.S. nuclear weapons design information, can now match U.S. nuclear weapons technology and emerge as a major nuclear threat to the United States.

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