"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018

U.S., Russian Academies Report on Nonproliferation Efforts

Christine Kucia

Recommending the appointment of a single senior official both in the United States and in Russia “to reduce the continuing impediments to the implementation of joint nonproliferation and threat reduction programs,” the U.S. National Academies and the Russian Academy of Sciences publicly reported February 5 on the early stages of a joint project aimed at reducing the risk posed by unsecured nuclear materials in Russia.

John Holdren and Nikolai Laverov, the U.S. and Russian co-chairs of the Joint Committee on U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, created by the two quasi-governmental academies, issued the proposal in a December 4, 2002 letter. Tasked with reviewing cooperative efforts between the two countries to protect nuclear weapons and materials, especially in light of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the committee has completed the first phase of its work, identifying the key issues that Russia faces in securing its resources and disposing of excess materials in a safe, timely manner.

Citing obstacles in both countries to addressing the problem, the report recommends a “nonproliferation czar” in each country “who has the full-time responsibility for leading and coordinating each government’s efforts to prevent nuclear weapons, nuclear-explosive materials, and the technologies and expertise for making these from falling into the hands of terrorists or countries of proliferation concern.” These officials would have access to the leadership in their respective countries and would regularly report to the presidents on progress and difficulties in assuring the safety of nuclear materials.

“Creating this position would mean fewer unnoticed opportunities, more coordination, and more cooperation,” Holdren said in a February 25 interview. Yet, “this is the hardest recommendation for both countries to take forward” because of complications in reorganizing government agencies and shifting authority among existing positions, he explained.

The proposal for a nonproliferation czar is not a new one. A task force chaired by Howard Baker and Lloyd Cutler recommended in January 2001 that a “high-level position in the White House is needed to coordinate policy and budget for threat reduction and nonproliferation programs across the U.S. Government.” According to Holdren, however, this and similar recommendations over the past several years have fallen on deaf ears in both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Streamlining the agencies and decision-making process involved in the implementation of Russia’s nonproliferation programs would likely be welcomed by the governments supplying assistance to Moscow. For example, progress in securing agreements to fund programs under the Group of Eight partnership, which will provide Russia with $20 billion of funding for threat reduction programs for weapons of mass destruction over the next 10 years, has been stymied by difficulties dealing with Russian government agencies. (See ACT, November 2002.)

The joint report also recommends increased priority for safeguarding stocks of highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium by consolidating storage sites; promoting greater international cooperation to expedite Russian nuclear submarine decommissioning; and improving understanding on nonproliferation efforts, including public education and training for workers in the nuclear weapons industry.

“It’s remarkable and positive that a senior and experienced group of Americans and Russians could have so readily reached an agreement on what more needs to be done on nonproliferation,” Holdren said. “It’s a message for political leaderships: we’ve come a long way in cooperating, but we still have a long way to go.”

Proposals for further work by the committee will be taken up in the next phase of the project. The committee will begin work in the next few months on a detailed study of impediments to U.S.-Russian cooperation and a study of best practices and how to propagate them globally. The studies are slated for completion in the next two years.

Recommending the appointment of a single senior official both in the United States and in Russia “to reduce the continuing impediments to the implementation of joint nonproliferation...

Russia Considers Missile Defense

Wade Boese

Long opposed to U.S. missile defense plans, top Russian officials voiced interest throughout January in exploring missile defenses on their own or in cooperation with the United States. But Russia has little money to spend on such a project, and discussions of joint U.S.-Russian missile defense work have been tentative and yielded little.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov all said separately in January that Russia is interested in building missile defenses and would not rule out developing systems in conjunction with the United States. Sergei Ivanov, however, was quoted by various news agencies January 15 cautioning that Russian efforts would be governed by “common sense, technical possibilities, and the state of our economy.”

Russian total annual defense expenditures in recent years have been estimated at roughly $40 billion. The United States is proposing to spend more than $9 billion on missile defenses alone in fiscal year 2004. (See ACT, March 2003.)

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow said at a January 9 speech in Washington, D.C., that not much progress has been made between the United States and Russia in moving toward greater cooperation on missile defenses. “Dialogue on missile defense cooperation, which has been launched, still remains handicapped by Russian military suspicions that we are just trying to steal some of their technology,” Vershbow reported.

Russia, however, is not singularly at fault. “Both sides need to overcome inhibitions to more substantial cooperation on missile defense which could encompass joint early warning and even joint development of the architecture and the systems,” Vershbow noted.

Past U.S.-Russian efforts at joint cooperation on missile defenses have fared poorly. A joint project to design two satellites for observing global missile launches, the Russian-American Observation Satellite, has floundered since being initiated in 1992; and Russian offers to explore theater missile defenses with NATO made little headway because of difficulties in moving from general concepts to specific details.

Russia deploys nuclear-armed missile interceptors around Moscow, but the defense is not considered to be operationally sound. Russia began deploying the system in the 1960s and kept it as the one legal exception granted by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which had forbidden the United States and Soviet Union from deploying nationwide strategic ballistic missile defenses.

Long opposed to U.S. missile defense plans, top Russian officials voiced interest throughout January in exploring missile defenses on their own or in cooperation with the United States...

U.S., Russian Legislatures Take Up SORT Ratification

Christine Kucia

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution to ratify the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) on February 5, but in January a committee of the Russian Duma rejected President Vladimir Putin’s draft of a ratification document, returning it to him with several conditions. The treaty’s flexible language and minimal accounting and verification measures remain outstanding concerns that lawmakers in both countries are trying to address.

SORT, signed by Putin and President George W. Bush in May 2002, stipulates that the United States and Russia must cut their deployed strategic nuclear arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads over the next 10 years. Roughly 6,000 nuclear weapons are deployed at present in each country. Only three pages long, the treaty forgoes verification and accounting procedures that earlier bilateral agreements included to ensure each party’s compliance. SORT also does not outline interim deadlines for the reductions, making its expiration date—December 31, 2012—the only day on which the cuts must be in effect. (See ACT, June 2002.)

As of February 28, the full Senate was still awaiting the opportunity to vote on SORT after the Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved a resolution of ratification. The resolution includes two conditions that apply only to U.S. enactment of the treaty’s provisions. It mandates an annual report outlining ways that the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which provides U.S. assistance to help secure and destroy Russian weapons of mass destruction, can assist Russia with its treaty implementation efforts. The resolution also calls for an annual update on the status of U.S. treaty implementation, including strategic force levels, planned reductions each calendar year, and verification or transparency measures that have been or might be employed.

The Senate’s resolution also outlines several declarations that are not binding on the president but which offer recommendations to strengthen the treaty and the U.S.-Russian relationship further. The declarations urge the president to complete the nuclear weapons reductions outlined in SORT prior to the treaty’s expiration; to continue to reduce U.S. strategic nuclear force levels, as national security requirements allow; to increase bilateral transparency on tactical nuclear weapons; and to consult with the Senate prior to a decision to withdraw from the treaty.

Despite these additions to the treaty, some senators expressed concern that SORT remains weak, lacking measures to destroy warheads removed from deployment, assure both countries that the reductions are being undertaken, and guarantee avenues for future arms control negotiations. Committee chair Richard Lugar (R-IN) assured his colleagues, “Our agreements need not be based on mutual suspicion or an adversarial relationship.” Senator John Kerry (D-MA), however, characterized the treaty as “lofty rhetoric and little real accomplishment,” according to a February 6 New York Times article.

Now that the Foreign Relations Committee has completed its work, Senate Republican leaders indicated that they are eager to bring the treaty to a vote on the floor soon. Ratification of SORT would require 67 votes from the 100-member Senate.

The Russian Duma also struggled with SORT’s brevity and lack of accounting measures during its deliberations on the treaty earlier this year. According to a January 17 Itar-Tass article, the Duma’s defense committee rejected a ratification document that Putin submitted on December 7, 2002. Finding that the document “fails to provide for comprehensive verification procedures of its implementation, in terms of quality and time,” the defense committee called for a working group to draft new language for the resolution.

On February 11, the Duma sent the bill back to Putin with conditions that the Russian government would have to follow. According to a February 11 Interfax report, the Duma stipulated that U.S. deployment of a missile defense system that could threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent would prompt Russia’s withdrawal from the treaty. This condition underscores Moscow’s concern with U.S. missile defense development in the absence of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which became null after the United States withdrew from it on June 13, 2002.

In addition, the Duma called for additional funding for strategic nuclear forces to guarantee that they are maintained at levels consistent with national security requirements; a report from the president on strategic force deployments; and parliamentary participation in plans to develop, modernize, or dismantle weapons.

Putin will review the Duma’s version of the ratification document and must send it back to the legislature—either with the Duma’s changes or with Putin’s own revisions—and the Duma will decide again whether to approve the president’s document. Andrei Nikolaev, chair of the defense committee, told Interfax January 22 that the treaty could be ratified in late March or early April.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution to ratify the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) on February 5, but in January a committee of the Russian Duma...

China Buying Russian Combat Jets

China will acquire a third batch of advanced Su-30MKK fighter jets from Russia in a deal initially reported in January. The precise details of the buy remain secret, but China is expected to receive roughly two to three dozen of the combat aircraft, which will be armed with anti-ship missiles.

U.S. government officials would not confirm the new deal, which was reported by the Russian press and a trade journal, Jane’s Defense Weekly. The reported buy adds to China’s two previous purchases of the aircraft, totaling 76 Su-30MKKs, in 1999 and 2001. Since 1991, China has received between 48 and 72 Russian Su-27 combat aircraft, and it reached a 1996 deal to co-produce another 200 Su-27s in China, which the Pentagon said in July 2002 is “proceeding, albeit very slowly.” The uncertainty surrounding the exact number of aircraft delivered reflects the secrecy with which Russia and China attempt to conduct their arms trade.

China is a leading buyer of Russian arms, signing deals not only for combat aircraft but also for four Sovremennyy-class destroyers, armed with potent supersonic, sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, and four Kilo-class submarines in recent years. In its annual submissions to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, Moscow has reported exporting 104 combat aircraft, five attack helicopters, six warships, and 431 missiles and missile launchers to China between 1992 and 2001.

In a July 2002 report on Chinese military power, the Pentagon noted that Beijing is edging closer to Taiwan in terms of advanced, “fourth-generation” combat aircraft through China’s purchase of Russian fighters. Taiwan is estimated to have more than 300 fourth-generation fighters, including approximately 150 U.S. F-16A/B fighters, whereas China currently possesses around 100 modern combat aircraft.

Shirley Kan, a national security policy specialist at the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, said in a February 21 interview that she could not verify that the reported deal had been finalized, but she added that China has accelerated its military modernization effort, raising serious questions about continued stability in the Taiwan Strait and Beijing’s interest in reducing tensions with Taiwan.

CTR Programs Get Boost With Budget Request

Christine Kucia

Placing greater priority on Russian chemical weapons demilitarization, the Department of Defense requested an increase of more than $34 million in its fiscal year 2004 budget for the U.S.-Russian Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. The total request is $450.8 million, compared to the $416.7 million that Congress allocated in fiscal year 2003.

The request, made February 3, included $200.3 million in fiscal year 2004 funding for chemical weapons destruction in Russia, a substantial increase over the $132.9 million that was allocated for the project in fiscal year 2003. In addition, the nuclear weapons security and transport budgets would grow by almost $12 million to $71.2 million. Extra funding was available, in part, because other CTR programs have completed their work.

In another step forward for CTR, President George W. Bush signed waivers January 10 that released fiscal year 2003 funding for all CTR programs, including chemical weapons-related efforts, which are subject to additional conditions for funding approval and have their own waiver. Congress granted the president authority in November to waive the congressionally mandated condition that the administration certify Russian compliance with its arms control commitments prior to the release of CTR funding—a requirement that has been the subject of recurring debate in Congress.

Some lawmakers have questioned funding for CTR programs in light of concerns that Russia is not complying with certain arms control treaties or is not fully committed to its nonproliferation programs. In particular, questions about whether Russia has fully declared its chemical stockpile have led lawmakers in previous years to block chemical demilitarization funding until the extent of Russia’s stockpiles can be verified.

The congressional authority allows Bush to waive certification for up to three years for general CTR activities. Congress, however, allowed a waiver for only fiscal year 2003 funding for the chemical demilitarization program. (See ACT, December 2002.)

“We will need to extend the chemical weapons destruction waiver beyond this year so that these deadly weapons can be destroyed,” said Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-author of the legislation creating the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in 1991. If passed, such changes would be included in the fiscal 2004 Defense Appropriations Act.

“Russian stockpiles of weapons and materials are the most likely source for terrorists attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Destroying these weapons at the source is imperative to our national security,” Lugar stated.

Placing greater priority on Russian chemical weapons demilitarization, the Department of Defense requested an increase of more than $34 million in its fiscal year 2004 budget...

Flawed Nuclear Treaty Up For Senate Review



Senators Hold Key to Ensuring Authentic Arms Reductions

For Immediate Release: January 31, 2003

Press Contacts: Wade Boese, (202) 463-8270 x104; Christine Kucia (202) 463-8270 x103

(Washington, D.C.): With critical concerns and questions surrounding the U.S.-Russian Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) still unresolved and unanswered, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should remedy the treaty's considerable flaws and weaknesses when it reviews the treaty next week, experts from the Arms Control Association (ACA) said today.

"Agreements to reduce American and Russian nuclear arsenals are welcome, but they should be permanent reductions that are verifiable by both sides, adhere to a clear schedule, and serve as a platform for future talks about further reductions," said Daryl G. Kimball, the Association's executive director.

Signed in May 2002, the agreement requires each side to reduce its number of deployed strategic warheads from today's 5,000-6,000 to no more than 2,200 by the end of 2012, when the treaty will expire. Under the treaty each side is expected to reduce its deployed strategic forces by removing warheads from missiles, bombers, and submarines.

However, because the accord does not require any warheads or delivery vehicles to be destroyed, the United States will have the flexibility to deploy approximately 4,200 strategic warheads in as little as three years after the treaty expires. Either party may withdraw from the treaty with three months' notice.

In addition, the United States and Russia have not yet agreed upon a common definition of how to count "deployed" warheads. Moreover, the treaty provides no new verification measures for either party to be confident that the other is carrying out its pledged reductions. As a result, the U.S. intelligence community has determined that the United States will not be able to verify Russian compliance with high confidence.

"The new treaty does not significantly alter the number of existing nuclear delivery systems and therefore only marginally affects the residual nuclear potential of the United States and Russia," observed Jack Mendelsohn, an ACA board member and former member of the U.S. Strategic Arms Limitations Talks and START negotiating teams. "It creates thousands of 'phantom warheads' undercutting its own verifiability, and it contains no reduction schedule, making it difficult to predict force levels over the next decade," he added.

"Since verification of the SORT reductions will depend on the framework established by the 1991 START I agreement, the United States and Russia must enhance and extend those mechanisms, which are slated to expire in 2009-three years before SORT is to be fully implemented in 2012," said Christine Kucia, Arms Control Association research analyst. "Congress should require that the President work toward an agreement with Russia on additional transparency measures so that both sides can be assured that the arsenals are properly safeguarded and are not a proliferation risk," Kucia added.

"Given that the SORT agreement will leave enormous numbers of deadly U.S. and Russian warheads and missiles intact, it is in the nation's interest for the Senate to condition ratification on the pursuit of additional reductions of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons," said Kimball.

The United States currently deploys approximately 6,000 strategic nuclear warheads on its strategic triad of land-based missiles, submarines, and bombers. Washington is also currently estimated to have approximately 1,000 tactical nuclear warheads and more than 5,000 total nuclear warheads in spare and reserve stockpiles. Russia currently deploys an estimated 5,500 strategic nuclear warheads on its strategic triad of land-based missiles, submarines, and bombers. Russia also deploys an estimated 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons and is believed to stockpile another 11,000 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads.

"It is imperative that the Senate address these shortcomings, or both sides will be left with a treaty that is flawed and amounts to little more than a gentleman's agreement between Presidents Bush and Putin," Kimball said. "We encourage the Senate to approve meaningful conditions on the treaty that help ensure that the weapons are dismantled and destroyed in a mutually verifiable way and to keep the door open for further, verifiable U.S.-Russian nuclear arms reductions," he added.

For more information on the SORT agreement and nuclear weapons, see the Association's Web site at http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/ussp/ or http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/sr/.


# # #

The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. Established in 1971,the Association publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

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START II and Its Extension Protocol at a Glance

March 2019

Contact: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

Updated: March 2019 

START II's ratification process began after U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the agreement on January 3, 1993. The United States ratified the original START II agreement in January 1996, but never ratified a 1997 protocol extending the treaty's implementation deadline or the concurrently negotiated ABM Treaty succession, demarcation, and confidence-building agreements.[1] On May 4, 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the resolution of ratification for START II, its extension protocol, and the 1997 ABM-related agreements. Russia's ratification legislation made the exchange of START II's instruments of ratification (required to bring it into force) contingent on U.S. approval of the extension protocol and the ABM agreements; Congress never voted to ratify the entire package.

Russia announced on June 14, 2002, that it would no longer be bound by its Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II commitments, ending almost a decade of U.S.-Russian efforts to bring the 1993 treaty into force. Moscow's statement came a day after the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, and a few weeks after the two countries concluded a new nuclear arms accord (SORT) on May 24. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which requires the United States and Russia to reduce their deployed strategic arsenals to 1,700-2,200 warheads apiece by December 31, 2012, effectively superseded START II's requirement for each country to deploy no more than 3,000-3,500 warheads by December 2007. Yet other key START II provisions, such as the prohibition against deploying multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), were not addressed in the SORT agreement.

Basic Terms[2]:

  • Deployment of no more than 3,000 to 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads on ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy (long-range) bombers by December 31, 2007.
  • "Deactivation" of all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles slated for elimination under the treaty by removing their nuclear reentry vehicles (warheads), or taking other jointly-agreed steps, by December 31, 2003.[3]

Additional Limits:

  • No multiple warheads (MIRVs) on ICBMs.
  • All SS-18 "heavy" Russian ICBMs must be destroyed.
  • No more than 1,700 to 1,750 warheads may be deployed on SLBMs.
  • Reductions in strategic nuclear warheads, as well as de-MIRVing ICBMs by "downloading" (permanently removing) warheads from missiles.


1. The START II extension protocol shifted the deadline for completion of START II reductions from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2007. The succession agreement formalized the former Soviet republics' status as parties to the 1972 ABM Treaty. The demarcation agreements clarified the demarcation line between strategic and theater ballistic missile (TBM) defenses. On September 26, 1997, the extension protocol was signed by the United States and Russia and the ABM-related agreements were signed by the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

2. START I definitions, limits, procedures, and counting rules applied to START II, except where explicitly modified. Unlike START I, which substantially undercounts weapons deployed on bombers, the number of weapons counted for bombers would be the number they are actually equipped to carry. Provided they were never equipped for long-range nuclear air-launched cruise missiles, up to 100 heavy bombers could be "reoriented" to conventional roles without physical conversion, which would not count against the overall limits. The reoriented bombers could be returned to a nuclear role, but thereafter could not be reoriented and exempted from limits.

3. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov codified the deactivation agreement through an exchange of letters in September 1997. Primakov's letter also contained a unilateral declaration that Russia expected START III would be "achieved" and would enter into force "well in advance" of the START II deactivation deadline.

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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The 1997 START II/ABM Package at a Glance

March 2019

Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

Updated: March 2019

In September 1997, representatives from the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine signed a package of agreements in New York designed to enhance the prospects for Russian ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II and to clarify issues pertaining to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Efforts to bring the package into force have been terminated, however, following the signing of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) between Moscow and Washington in May 2002, the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in June 2002, and Russia's subsequent announcement that it would no longer be bound by its START II commitments.

The package consisted of the START II extension protocol and associated agreements, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on ABM Treaty succession, the first and second agreed-upon statements on ABM-theater missile defense (TMD) demarcation, a confidence-building measures agreement related to TMD systems, and an agreement updating the regulations of the Standing Consultative Commission, a body composed of treaty party representatives that discusses implementing issues.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin transmitted these agreements to the Duma in April 1998. The Clinton administration stated that it would submit the START II documents, MOU on Succession, and both demarcation agreements to the Senate for its advice and consent on ratification after Russia ratified START II. The Senate failed to do so after Russia approved START II and the 1997 agreements in early 2000.

START II Protocol and Associated Agreements

  • START II Protocol: Extended the time period for the completion of START II reductions from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2007.
  • Albright-Primakov letters on early deactivation: Upon START II's entry into force, the United States and Russia would deactivate all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles slated for elimination under the treaty (e.g. SS-18, SS-24, and MX missiles) by December 31, 2003 by "removing their nuclear re-entry vehicles or taking other jointly agreed steps." Primakov's letter also contained a unilateral statement: "Taking into account the supreme national interests of the county, the Russian Federation proceeds from the understanding that well in advance of the above deactivation deadline the START III Treaty will be achieved and enter into force." Albright's letter took note of Russia's position.
  • Joint Agreed Statement: Allowed the United States to "download" (remove warheads from) Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) under START II any time before December 31, 2007, the deadline for all START II-mandated reductions. Previously, the United States was required to download its Minuteman IIIs by December 5, 2001, seven years after START I's entry into force.

MOU on Succession to the ABM Treaty

  • Designated the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine as the parties of the ABM Treaty. Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine would assume the rights and obligations of the former Soviet Union under the treaty. Thus they collectively would be limited to ABM deployment at a single site and a total of 15 ABM launchers at test ranges.
  • Broadened the ABM Treaty's membership because a number of ABM-related facilities, required to operate Russia's ABM system, were located outside Russian territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine also regarded ABM Treaty membership as a key element of their independent status. The United States viewed the MOU as important because it recognized the ex-Soviet states as bound by the treaty.
  • Although the Clinton administration argued that the ABM Treaty was in force because the power to determine succession lies within the executive branch, it agreed in May 1997 to submit the MOU to the Senate for approval in connection with the ratification of an unrelated agreement associated with the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. However, the MOU was never submitted.

First Agreed Statement on Demarcation

  • Permitted the deployment of "lower-velocity" theater missile defense (TMD) systems (those with interceptor velocities of 3 kilometers per second or less) provided that they would not be tested against ballistic missile targets with velocities above 5 kilometers per second or ranges that exceeded 3,500 kilometers.
  • Enabled the United States to deploy the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems, as well as the Navy's Area Defense system. Previously, the United States had reviewed these systems and declared them to be treaty-compliant.

Second Agreed Statement on Demarcation

  • Prohibited the parties from testing "higher-velocity" TMD systems (those with interceptor velocities above 3 kilometers per second) against ballistic missile targets with velocities above 5 kilometers per second or ranges that exceeded 3,500 kilometers.
  • Prohibited the development, testing or deployment of space-based TMD interceptor missiles, or space-based components based on other physical principles (such as lasers) which could be capable of substituting for such interceptor missiles.
  • Allowed each side to determine its own compliance with respect to higher-velocity TMD systems. The United States had determined that the Navy's Theater-Wide Defense (NTWD) system was compliant with ABM Treaty requirements.

Confidence-Building Measures Agreement (CBMA)

  • Ninety days after entry into force, the parties would conduct an initial exchange of information about TMD systems and components covered by the CBMA: U.S. THAAD and NTWD systems, as well as the Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian SA-12 systems. (Kazakhstan does not possess the SA-12.). This information would be updated annually.
  • Prior to testing, parties would notify one another of the test ranges that would be used to test a system governed under the CBMA. Ten days' advance notification was required prior to a TMD system test using ballistic missile targets.

Regulations of the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC)

  • The United States and Soviet Union established operating regulations for the SCC in 1973. These regulations were revised after Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine agreed to assume the rights and obligations of the former Soviet Union under the ABM Treaty.
Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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The START III Framework at a Glance

January 2003

Contact: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

Updated: January 2003

After the signing of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), it seemed unlikely that a START III agreement would be negotiated. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed SORT on May 24, 2002. The treaty calls for each country to deploy no more than 1,700-2,200 strategic warheads, effectively matching the limit of 2,000-2,500 warheads proposed for START III.1 SORT does not, however, address strategic nuclear warhead destruction or tactical nuclear weapons limits, both ground-breaking arms control measures that were suggested for inclusion in START III. Negotiations on START III were ultimately not successful and the treaty was never signed.

START III's Origins:

  • During their March 1997 summit meeting in Helsinki, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed on a framework for START III negotiations. At the Moscow Summit in September 1998, Clinton and Yeltsin reiterated their commitment to begin formal negotiations on START III as soon as Russia ratified START II.

Basic Elements:

  • By December 31, 2007, coterminous with START II, the United States and Russia would each deploy no more than 2,000 to 2,500 strategic nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers. Russian officials stated that they were willing to consider negotiated levels as low as 1,500 strategic nuclear warheads within the context of a START III agreement.
  • The United States and Russia would negotiate measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads, as well as other jointly agreed technical and organizational measures to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions.
  • The United States and Russia would resolve issues related to the goal of making the current START treaties unlimited in duration.2

Other Issues:

  • The United States and Russia agreed that in the context of START III negotiations, their experts would explore (as separate issues) possible measures related to nuclear long-range sea-launched cruise missiles and tactical nuclear systems, including appropriate confidence-building and transparency measures.
  • The United States and Russia would also consider issues related to transparency in nuclear materials.


1. The Bush administration maintained that SORT specifies limits on "operationally deployed" strategic nuclear forces, a term that does not include warheads on bombers and submarines under refurbishment. Since those warheads were included under START counting rules, the ceiling specified in SORT and that proposed for START III were similar.

2. START I, which entered into force December 1994, runs for 15 years, but the treaty specifies that it can be extended for successive five-year periods if it has not been superseded by another arms control agreement. If it entered into force, START II would have remained in force as long as START I is in force.

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Russia Agrees to Use U.S. MOX Facility Design

Christine Kucia

To help meet their obligations under a fissile material agreement with Washington, Russian officials agreed in December to dispose of excess plutonium using a design of a mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication plant offered to them by the United States.

The U.S. Department of Energy confirmed that the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy accepted the U.S. offer of a Duke, Cogema, Stone & Webster (DCS) design for a MOX fuel facility at the December 3-4 meeting of the commission overseeing the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement. The plant will mix the plutonium with uranium to create MOX fuel, which is usable in nuclear reactors. The United States and Russia agreed in September 2000 to each dispose of 34 metric tons of plutonium no longer required for military purposes beginning in 2007.

“This will greatly accelerate the Russian disposition effort, help to ensure parallelism between the two programs, save money and time by avoiding the need to design Russian facilities for conversion and MOX fuel fabrication, and provide for greater material security,” Bryan Wilkes, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said December 20.

The decision to provide MOX technology to Russia is controversial, however, because of proliferation risks. Plutonium could be diverted during transport to a MOX site or during the MOX fuel cycle. It is also possible to separate MOX fuel for its components, which could be used to develop nuclear weapons, so the possibility that Russia might sell its MOX to other countries is a concern.

In addition, operating a MOX plant safely requires significant security measures, which could detract from efforts to secure nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons at other Russian sites, given Russia’s limited resources.

The alternative method for disposing of plutonium is immobilization, in which the plutonium is sealed in special glass containers that are then buried. Although immobilization poses some environmental hazards, it is not considered a proliferation risk.

Proposals to use MOX technology to dispose of plutonium in Russia have received only limited support from Group of Eight countries—the main contributors to dismantlement programs in the former Soviet Union. Lack of political and financial support in 2000 and 2001 led the German company Siemens AG to abandon plans to ship a prefabricated MOX plant to Russia, according to an August 2001 report in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Russia initially wanted to research and design its own MOX technology but could neither afford to fund the endeavor itself nor secure foreign assistance. Giving Moscow the facility design might help keep Russia closer to the plutonium disposition schedule set out in the 2000 agreement, but converting the plutonium to MOX fuel will likely cost much more than immobilization.

According to a February 2002 Energy Department report, the costs of processing the plutonium in a MOX facility are substantially higher than immobilization. Converting plutonium into MOX fuel could cost $3.3-5.4 billion for the United States, while immobilizing the material could cost in the $2.0-3.2 billion range. Despite the cost difference, the Bush administration in January 2002 reversed a Clinton administration decision to utilize both methods, opting instead to convert almost all of the required 34 metric tons of plutonium into MOX fuel. (See ACT, March 2002.)

The MOX program remains the more attractive option for Russia because the fuel can be reused in its own reactors or shipped to other countries—an option left open in the September 2000 agreement.

To help meet their obligations under a fissile material agreement with Washington, Russian officials agreed in December to dispose of excess plutonium...


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