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Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016
Strategic Policy

Arms Experts Urge Russia and United States to Take Time Out and Start Talking

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Press Release

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2007
Press Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association, (202) 463-8270 x107 or Wade Boese, (202) 463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.): Russian President Vladimir Putin has now added scrapping a treaty limiting conventional armaments in Europe to the list of possible Russian responses to U.S. plans to station missile interceptors and a missile-tracking radar in Eastern Europe. A trio of arms control experts recommended today that Washington halt its European missile defense deployment plan and instead focus on engaging with Moscow to reassess and reenergize efforts to help transform their strategic relations from competition to cooperation, in part, by adopting a more ambitious arms control agenda.

The Bush administration has erroneously asserted that arms control is unnecessary between friends and can serve as a source of tension. Although the United States and Russia are no longer foes, unfortunately, they are not yet allies, and their arms holdings and deployments continue to engender distrust. Indeed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated in a Rossiiskaya Gazeta interview published Feb. 21 that the U.S. approach of not seeking to “restrain each other” is dangerous because “it carries the risk of generating the same old arms race, since neither of us is likely to want to lag behind too much.”

Russia’s harsh reactions to U.S. plans to base 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic underscore the poor state of affairs. Putin announced last week that Russia will suspend and potentially end its adherence to the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which caps the amount of tanks, artillery, and other conventional weaponry that its 30 states-parties deploy in Europe. This declaration followed the Kremlin’s threats to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which prohibits U.S. and Russian possession of nuclear and conventional ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 to 5,500 kilometers. And, as a report in the forthcoming May issue of Arms Control Today details, Russia also is warning that a proposed U.S.-Russian center to share information on missile launches worldwide could be shelved.

“Rather than responding to the proposed U.S. missile interceptor plan with threats and backward steps on important agreements, Russia should offer positive alternatives,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the nongovernmental Arms Control Association (ACA). He noted, “The two sides have a responsibility to pursue a mutually beneficial agenda, including accelerating reductions in strategic nuclear weapons levels, accounting for and reducing tactical nuclear weapons, decreasing the alert status and role of existing nuclear forces, and boosting transparency.”

U.S. and Russian experts are currently discussing measures to succeed their historic 1991 strategic nuclear reductions agreement, START, but neither side wants to extend the accord past its scheduled expiration on Dec. 5, 2009. Russia recently claimed holdings under START of 4,162 deployed strategic warheads, while the United States reported a total of 5,866 warheads. The two countries are supposed to further reduce their nuclear forces under the May 2002 SORT agreement to less than 2,200 “operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads” apiece by Dec. 31, 2012. On that date, however, SORT expires, and neither country’s forces will be limited any longer.

Kimball recommended one of the first steps of a reinvigorated U.S.-Russian strategic dialogue should be U.S. agreement to pursue Russia’s offer on negotiating a new strategic agreement to reduce deployed U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads to less than 1,500 apiece. U.S. officials have said they oppose another legally binding arrangement, but Kimball argued that a new treaty is “necessary to restore confidence that each country will continue to get rid of obsolete weapons that were originally built to deter and destroy the other.”

Jack Mendelsohn, an ACA board member and former U.S. arms control negotiator, criticized the Bush administration for continuing to use missile defense as an excuse to unravel arms control agreements undertaken by Presidents John F. Kennedy through Bill Clinton. “This administration has trashed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, wasted billions of dollars on a missile defense system of questionable capability and dubious strategic value, and is now jeopardizing stability in Europe in order to counter a non-existent Iranian ICBM threat. Congress should rein in this administration and cut off funding for this program,” said Mendelsohn.

ACA Research Director Wade Boese added, “Russia should keep in mind the adage that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ when formulating its responses to the U.S. anti-missile plan.” He said, “Russia should remain party to and fully implement the INF and CFE treaties, including commitments to withdraw militarily from Georgia and Moldova.”

Additional information on all the treaties mentioned above and developments in the U.S.-Russian strategic relationship can be found at <www.armscontrol.org/country/russia>.

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Global Strike Still on Pentagon Wish List

Wade Boese

Picture a grim scenario: U.S. intelligence learns that terrorists in a remote location are preparing an attack against the United States . The window of opportunity to react is a few hours at most, and no U.S. air, ground, or sea forces are close enough to act. The only current options, according to Pentagon officials, are to do nothing or fire a nuclear-armed, long-range ballistic missile.

The commander in charge of deployed U.S. nuclear weapons, Strategic Command chief General James Cartwright, says neither option is attractive. He wants another alternative: long-range ballistic missiles carrying conventional warheads.

Lawmakers last year were largely unconvinced of the wisdom of such a step, however, fearing particularly that Russia might mistake the launch of a conventional ballistic missile for a surprise nuclear attack requiring instant retaliation. They trimmed funding for the project from $127 million to $25 million and called for further study of the concept. (See ACT, November 2006. )

The studies are unfinished, but Cartwright and the Pentagon are back this year, asking Congress for $175 million to proceed with the project as part of the fiscal year 2008 budget request. The initial phase calls for substituting conventional warheads for nuclear warheads on two submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) for each of the dozen deployed U.S. ballistic missile submarines. The boats would continue to carry 22 nuclear-armed SLBMs apiece.

Testifying March 8 before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Cartwright said the Pentagon still needed a way to hit targets worldwide with a conventional warhead in under an hour. Surveying both offensive and defensive military assets, Cartwright asserted that “where we have a hole…is in the prompt global strike side of the equation.” This void could be filled in two years with the SLBM conversion, according to Strategic Command.

In his prepared remarks, Cartwright noted that “use of a nuclear weapon system in prompt response may be no choice at all.” Cartwright later testified that something “below the nuclear threshold” was required for “fleeting, high-value, high-regret factor-type threats.”

Legislators remain wary. Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), the subcommittee chair, told Cartwright that prompt global strike is a “powerful concept, but there are a number of important questions that need to be answered before moving forward with any particular program.”

Aside from the worry that Russia and, perhaps someday, China might misinterpret a U.S. conventional missile launch as nuclear, some analysts and congressional aides have expressed other concerns. For example, they note that a launch order would be heavily reliant on intelligence, which can be limited or faulty, as demonstrated by the incorrect allegations about Iraqi unconventional weapons. In particular, the skeptics dread that the possibility of error could be magnified by the abbreviated timeline in which military and political leaders might need to make a decision. They also fear that providing a new use for ballistic missiles might enhance their perceived utility at a time that the United States has been seeking to stop their spread.

Congress has tasked the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the need for a prompt global strike capability and how best to achieve it in varying time frames: one to two years, three to five years, and more than five years. The academy's Naval Studies Board initiated the 15-month, $5 million study earlier this year. Lawmakers had requested a preliminary report by March 15, but one has yet to be submitted.

The Pentagon is exploring other prompt strike capabilities aside from converting SLBMs, but they are longer-term possibilities. Cartwright noted that Air Force Space Command is developing a long-range ballistic missile option for launch from the United States .

Lt. Col. Randi Steffy, chief of operations for U.S. Strategic Command public affairs, told Arms Control Today in a Feb. 21 e-mail that the SLBM conversion is “only the first step in a larger plan for prompt global strike.” Steffy added that the command supports the development of such capabilities “in whatever form is deemed appropriate by Congress.”

Moving Nonproliferation Forward

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Confronting Today’s Threats. Edited by George Bunn and Christopher F. Chyba

Barclay Ward

Notwithstanding occasional hand-wringing about the nuclear nonproliferation regime and assertions that it has now failed, this regime has done exactly what was expected of it when it was forged nearly 40 years ago. It has prevented widespread nuclear proliferation.

To be sure, the September 11 terrorist attacks, North Korea’s recent nuclear test, Iran’s nuclear program, and the proliferation network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan highlight some fundamental challenges to the nonproliferation regime that require urgent attention. Yet, over the years, the regime has proven largely successful because it has adapted to new challenges. Since amending the bedrock nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is a near impossibility, a number of additional, tailored structures have been grafted onto the original regime. Formation of the Zangger Committee and then the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to control the export of sensitive nuclear technology, security assurances by the nuclear-weapon states, and the gradual spread of nuclear-weapon-free zones were some of the early additions.

The last decade has offered up an especially rich assortment of initiatives necessary to extend the regime’s capabilities to meet new­ and sometimes old challenges. These initiatives have included the 1997 Model Additional Protocol, whose adherents pledge to permit increased International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections; the U.S. Nunn-Lugar program, to help former Soviet states and possibly other states dismantle and secure nuclear weapons and material; the Proliferation Security Initiative, to work with like-minded states to interdict shipments related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD); and UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to exercise control over nuclear and other materials related to weapons of mass destruction.

These initiatives have been a response in part to concerns about the misuse of peaceful nuclear fuel-cycle technology and the increasing threat of substate actors, such as terrorists, and individual proliferators, such as Khan. At the same time, the perennial issue of nuclear disarmament continues to rumble in the halls of NPT conferences.

How far these initiatives can advance depends in part on the actions by the United States and other nuclear-weapon states in handling their own nuclear weapons. They need to demonstrate their commitment to the treaty by carrying out measures in accord with the treaty’s Article VI, which calls for steps toward nuclear disarmament. To the extent that such states can persuade non-nuclear-weapon states that they have reduced the role that nuclear weapons play in deterrence, the easier it will be to persuade them that they are fulfilling this commitment. Moreover, de-emphasizing nuclear weapons would help support the argument that the security interests of non-nuclear-weapon states are better served without nuclear weapons than with them.

The authors of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy examine these and other related issues in a nonpolemical, balanced way. This valuable book delivers more than what the title might suggest, as the scope of the book extends well beyond a narrow assessment of U.S. nuclear policy to a broader assessment of how that approach affects the nuclear nonproliferation regime and the overall state of the regime itself.

One focus of editors George Bunn and Christopher F. Chyba is the danger of non-nuclear-weapon states developing and mastering critical elements of the full nuclear fuel cycle, including enriching uranium to produce fuel or separating plutonium from spent fuel (reprocessing). Unfortunately, such technology, even if ostensibly acquired for peaceful purposes, can also have a direct military application and provide the fissile material for nuclear weapons. North Korea is a classic example. Iran is another candidate.

A sensible solution to this not-new problem is to find an effective way of restricting the spread of these sensitive technologies. In 2004, President George W. Bush proposed limiting exports of uranium and reprocessing technologies to those countries that already had fully functioning facilities. A year later, an IAEA experts group identified a number of other possibilities for consideration, and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has proposed a moratorium on building new enrichment facilities. The Group of Eight has supported a moratorium on exports of sensitive technologies to new programs.

The idea that enrichment and reprocessing should be restricted is neither new nor particularly radical. A great deal of attention was given to this problem in the 1970s. In his chapter on the history of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, Bunn who was one of the U.S. negotiators of the NPT, recalls that, in the first draft of the treaty, neither the United States nor the Soviet Union favored the spread of these technologies. The final wording of Article IV, recognizing the “inalienable right” to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, reflected an effort to attract support from the developing world.

Even so, the NPT, while recognizing the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, restricts the exercise of that right by tying it to the fulfillment of the treaty’s two nonproliferation provisions, in particular the commitment under Article II not to seek to acquire nuclear weapons. The hitch is being able to come to a common understanding in the international community on precisely when a state has crossed the line. Given that conundrum, the international community needs to reach agreement on effective means to restrict the spread of these sensitive technologies. There are many ideas on the table right now—the chapters by Chyba, Chaim Braun, and Bunn explain them well—and they should all be considered. The time has come to reach an agreed conclusion.

Substate actors such as terrorists or proliferators were simply not taken into account in the treaty’s establishment. The NPT applies only to states, as does the NSG and many other initial elements of the regime. Moreover, many states are not members of the NSG, and states such as Pakistan are neither parties to the NPT nor members of the NSG and are not, therefore, legally bound to observe norms accepted by others. To be sure, the danger of terrorists acquiring nuclear materials was recognized well before the September 11 attacks, and in part the Nunn-Lugar program was initiated to reduce the risk that nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union could fall into the wrong hands.

Nevertheless, it is not enough. We now know that. Khan, operating his vast international network from his home base in Pakistan, did quite well for himself, selling enrichment technology and equipment to eager customers such as Iran. We need a systematic global effort to prevent other Khan-type networks from emerging. This is one objective of Resolution 1540, which calls on states to maintain controls over their nuclear and other WMD materials and, above all, to keep such materials out of the hands of terrorists. The resolution also established a committee of the UN Security Council to monitor the resolution, principally through reports on implementation that states are required to submit. Compliance has been mixed so far, which, as Chyba, Braun, and Bunn point out, raises the yet unanswered question of enforcement.

The Model Additional Protocol has been one of the most important initiatives in the last decade, permitting IAEA inspectors to go beyond declared facilities and to take advantage of environmental sampling and other new technologies. There has been much debate in the nonproliferation community over the question of whether a country’s individual adoption of an additional protocol to their safeguards agreement should be required of non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT or whether it should be voluntary. So far, it has been voluntary, and to date, many NPT parties have not yet brought an additional protocol into force. So, the Model Additional Protocol represents a huge potential advancement of the regime, but the present reality still falls short.

Even if all states were to adopt an additional protocol, the authors of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy advocate looking for other safeguards to complement those of the IAEA. An example would be the Quadripartite Agreement, involving Brazil, Argentina, a binational agency, and the IAEA. Similarly, during negotiations for the NPT, members of the European Community argued that they already had Euratom safeguards on their facilities and the final treaty language on safeguards permits Euratom safeguards to be applied within the framework of IAEA safeguards. Above all, frequency and continuity of safeguarding is important, but if we expect the IAEA to do the safeguarding job we are demanding, the agency needs far greater financial support in this area.

The most severe criticisms in U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy are of just that: U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The authors take a dim view of what they see as efforts to think up new missions for nuclear weapons and of the corollary idea that such new missions will require new weapons. The chapters by W. K. H. Panofsky and Dean Wilkening and by Roger Speed and Michael May present a balanced, factual consideration of policy and weapons development. Much attention is given to such documents as the Nuclear Posture Review of 2002 and the U.S. National Security Strategy released the same year. Do we really need a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator to hit deeply buried targets? The authors doubt it. Do we need new low-yield weapons? Again, doubt. Will a national missile defense adequately protect the U.S. homeland? Not likely, the authors conclude. Better container security at ports would probably be more immediately effective.

One of the tough tasks is persuading the rest of the world that the United States is truly committed to eliminating or at least greatly reducing the numbers of nuclear weapons. U.S. officials point to the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty and the substantial reduction of deployed strategic weapons anticipated on December 31, 2012. They urge a continuation of the nuclear test moratorium. They plug for a fissile material cutoff treaty. Almost all states agree to these measures, although in the case of fissile material cutoff, some find the absence of verification provisions puzzling.

But, states receive a mixed signal when they also read the heavy emphasis on military capabilities in the U.S. National Security Strategy, the announcement of U.S. readiness for preemptive action (really preventive war, the authors observe), statements in the nuclear posture review that new weapons might be needed, and Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1999. A quick scan of plenary statements at NPT conferences reveals that not all are convinced of the U.S. commitment to nuclear disarmament as called for in Article VI of the NPT.

As the authors note, it is not likely that non-nuclear-weapon states will decide to seek nuclear weapons simply because the United States and the other nuclear-weapon states still have them, but it is possible that they could use the continued possession of them as an excuse to duck out of their nonproliferation commitments. More worrisome to the authors is that the muscular tone of our policy pronouncements coupled with our unmatched conventional military capabilities might not necessarily dissuade states from pursuing nuclear weapons. In the opening chapter, Christopher Chyba and Karthika Sasikumar quote the Indian army chief of staff drawing a lesson from the 1991 Persian Gulf War: “Don’t fight the Americans without nuclear weapons.”

In truth, it is difficult with accuracy to predict the impact that specific policies of the nuclear-weapon states will have on the nonproliferation regime. For example, the demise of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty did not appear to stir up the hornets’ nest, as had been predicted. What the non-nuclear-weapon states seem to want most is a sense of genuine commitment to disarmament by the nuclear-weapon states and discernible movement in that direction. Moreover, it is difficult to assess the future viability of some of the pronouncements of the U.S. National Security Strategy and the nuclear posture review. To date, for example, the use of preemptive war to prevent nuclear proliferation has not been convincing.

Two final points: First, given the necessary initiatives of the past decade as well as the issues currently being discussed, we are looking at a nonproliferation regime that has the potential to be even more effective than it has been in its past. Whether reality matches potential, however, depends principally on governmental will in the international community, and right now a great deal more needs to be demonstrated. U.S. leadership is critical. As the authors of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy point out, the United States has always been at the forefront of the nonproliferation regime, and it is imperative that we remain fully committed. Second, as we grapple with new and old issues and launch initiatives, we need to avoid losing our focus and keep in mind that, by themselves, these initiatives are not a substitute for all that has gone before but form an integral part of the ever-evolving nonproliferation regime.


Barclay Ward is emeritus professor of political science at The University of the South.


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A Review of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Confronting Today’s Threats edited by George Bunn and Christopher F. Chyba

The Future of Nuclear Arms Control

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Friday, January 19, 2007
9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, D.C.

PANELISTS:

STEVE ANDREASEN
LECTURER
HUBERT HUMPHREY INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

MATTHEW BUNN
SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
HARVARD UNIVERSITY’S BELFER CENTER

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL POLICY
CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS

JACK MENDELSOHN
ADJUNCT PROFESSOR
GEORGE WASHINGTON AND AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES

DARYL G. KIMBALL
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION

Transcript by
Federal News Service,
Washington , D.C.

DARYL G. KIMBALL: Good morning, everyone. Please settle in. We’re going to get started. Good morning friends and welcome this morning to our Arms Control Association annual event. I’m Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. This morning we have a panel discussion on the topic of the future of nuclear arms control. Later today at our luncheon event, our speaker Congressman Howard Berman will deliver a keynote address on strengthening U.S. nonproliferation policy.

I’m going to provide a little introduction for this panel this morning and then we’re going to get rolling. We have another room back there. I want to welcome the people in the back bench. We’ll get questions from you at the end. Don’t worry. For 35 years, the Arms Control Association has focused primarily on the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous and devastating weapons: nuclear weapons. ACA was formed to widen support for and to strengthen the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and to push for reductions in nuclear arsenals, to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons-related technology, and to better secure nuclear bomb material. Over this 40-year period, this arms control nonproliferation strategy has largely worked.

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has made the world safer by significantly raising the political cost for states to pursue nuclear weapons. It’s raised the technical barriers to the development of nuclear weapons. It’s established global norms against the acquisition, trade, testing, modernization and use of nuclear weapons. But despite all these very significant accomplishments, the NPT, indeed the entire nonproliferation system, is in trouble as the people in this room know very well, and the readers of Arms Control Today know very well. We’re here this morning—the Arms Control Association, two of my board members, and important colleagues of the Arms Control Association—to issue something of a call for renewed American commitment at the highest levels to strengthen the nonproliferation system through more effective U.S. diplomacy and leadership on nuclear arms control.

Just in this decade alone—since the year 2000 that is—we’ve seen new and more deadly forms of terrorism, a Pakistan-based nuclear black market network, violations of IAEA safeguards by Iran, the unfreezing of North Korea’s bomb-making effort, and, of course, North Korea’s nuclear test explosion last year on October 9th. Perhaps today’s most dangerous and greatest threat stems from the existing global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, and those stockpiles are still growing. At least three countries (India, Pakistan, and North Korea) continue to produce fissile materials for weapons. In the former Soviet republics and other countries, nuclear materials of various types are not sufficiently safeguarded and protected against the threat of theft or sale to third parties.

Another significant problem, of course, is that additional countries, such as Iran, could acquire the capacity to produce fissile materials for weapons purposes under the guise of peaceful nuclear endeavors. This is the so-called loophole in the NPT in Article IV which protects the right of non-nuclear-weapon states to pursue peaceful nuclear technology. At the same time, the United States and other nuclear suppliers are seeking to relax the existing controls on the spread of nuclear technology to states such as India that don’t accept full scope IAEA safeguards. During the congressional debate last year, the Arms Control Association and our luncheon speaker Congressman Howard Berman argued that absent a commitment from India to stop fissile material production for bomb purposes that such trade with India could allow it to accelerate its nuclear bomb production program and encourage other countries to ignore the nonproliferation rules.

Finally, one of the other challenges out there that we’re going to address this morning is the lack-luster progress on nuclear disarmament. As we’ve discussed at Arms Control Association events before, the United States and Russia now are not engaged in further strategic nuclear arms reductions or tactical nuclear arms reductions talks. France, the United Kingdom, and China are modernizing their arsenals, and China is increasing the size of its arsenal. The United States, Russia, and China are at loggerheads about negotiating priorities at the Conference on Disarmament and, as a result, talks on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) have been blocked. Despite the fact that the United States can maintain its nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing, the Bush administration has refused to reconsider the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

So as a result of all of this and other factors, many countries doubt the intention of the five original nuclear armed states to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations under the NPT. That shrinking faith clearly erodes their willingness to fulfill their own treaty obligations much less agree to strengthen the regime as the current situation really demands. It’s no wonder that just this week our colleagues at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the atomic clock two minutes closer to midnight. I think everyone in this room would agree that the adjustment is appropriate. I would say it’s perhaps overdue, because for some time already the people on this stage and in the Arms Control Association have been ringing the alarm bell.

In fact, way back in 2004, the UN secretary-general’s high level panel report, A More Secure World warned, “we are approaching a point at which the erosion of the nuclear nonproliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation.” Partly in response to that situation, Joe Cirincione, then at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Arms Control Association put together a campaign to strengthen the NPT that was something of success in raising awareness about these dangers. We put forward a program of action that was endorsed by several leading former U.S. government policy makers. But, unfortunately, the NPT Review Conference in 2005 was a bust, and U.S. policies at that conference were a major factor leading to its breakdown.

But our focus today is not just on the problems. This is just sort of a preface to lead into what our speakers are going to talk about. What we want to do is outline some of the practical steps in several of these areas—not all of them—that we think can and must be taken to reverse these negative nuclear proliferation trends. As you will hear, we will be calling upon this government, the next administration, and the Congress to renew the U.S. commitment to strengthening the nonproliferation regime in all of its aspects. I think it’s also clear given the last few years that we can’t afford to squander further opportunities to build consensus here in the United States and internationally to move forward to deal with these problems. As you will hear, we think the effective strategies exist and there may be a new political consensus emerging around many of the ideas that we’re talking about today; in fact that we’ve been talking about for some time.

Our panel today includes Matt Bunn who’s here on my right. All these people are to my right I suppose. That’s just geographically speaking. (Laughter.) Matt Bunn is senior research associate at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He’s also a member of our board. Matt is going to outline the steps that can be taken to better secure nuclear material worldwide in order to help prevent catastrophic nuclear terrorism, to strengthen export controls, to address the risk associated with the further spread of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies, and maybe a couple of other things in between.

Matt will be followed by Joe Cirincione, who is senior vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress. For those of you who paid careful attention to your programs when we sent out our announcement, you noticed that Joe Cirincione is not Ambassador Gallucci, although they both are of Italian origin. We learned unfortunately just a couple of days ago that Ambassador Gallucci had a family emergency he had to deal with in New York. That takes him away from us this morning. Joe has been very gracious to fill in for the ambassador to speak about what Joe sees as more effective strategies to deal with the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.

We also have with us today Jack Mendelsohn, ACA’s former deputy director and a member of the U.S. SALT II and START I delegations. Jack, who’s been in this business for a long time and who’s been with the Arms Control Association for a long time, is going to outline his views about the need for and the opportunities ahead for further U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions and adjustments to their respective nuclear postures.

While we may have lost Ambassador Gallucci, we’ve gained Steve Andreasen this morning. He also agreed to join us on short notice. Steve, among other things, served as director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council for the Clinton administration. He is going to provide us with some further background and perspective on a very important op-ed that was published on January 4 in The Wall Street Journal that was written by George Shultz, Bill Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn. They were joined by others. Steve was one of the others whose name was attached to that op-ed. He was a participant at the Hoover Institution meeting in October that helped catalyze and lead to that op-ed.

Following all of their remarks, we’re going to take your questions as we usually do. We will hold off on those questions until all of them are finished. Starting off this morning will be Matt Bunn.

MATT BUNN: Thanks very much, Daryl, for that very gracious introduction. It’s a pleasure to be here. I just want to emphasize what Daryl said about how successful the nonproliferation effort has been. Twenty years ago there were nine states that had nuclear weapons. Today there are nine states that have nuclear weapons. South Africa dropped off, but North Korea added itself. The fact that we have managed to weather the collapse of an empire armed with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and 20 years of the A. Q. Khan network marketing the world’s most dangerous nuclear technologies to everyone without any net increase in the number of states with nuclear weapons is quite amazing.

There are more states today that started nuclear weapons programs and gave them up than there are states that have nuclear weapons. So we have been successful more often than not. I think if we change our policies now and take some effective actions today, there’s at least a chance that 20 years from now we will still have no more than nine states with nuclear weapons, and maybe even be set on a path toward reducing that number. I think we, as a community, shouldn’t be about managing a slow defeat. We should be about trying to achieve victory. It is not yet out of our grasp. The nonproliferation regime has taken a lot of severe blows, but there’s a lot that we can do and we need to do now.

Now, I’m going to talk mainly about technology controls. But I just want to make the point that technology controls largely buy time. Unless you use that time with effective political engagement to convince states that they don’t need nuclear weapons, you’re not going to achieve victory in the end. It’s not that I don’t think that political engagement is important, that simply wasn’t my assigned job on this particular panel.

The first thing we need to do absolutely is keep nuclear weapons and the materials needed to make them out of the hands of terrorists who have been actively attempting to get them. A great deal is being done already. There are dozens of programs in place in several agencies of the U.S. government that are making important progress.

In Russia, I would say the most egregious problems of the 1990s have been fixed. I think it’s very unlikely that there’s any place in Russia today where the kinds of things that did happen in the 1990s still occur: say a single guy walking through a gaping hole in a fence and walking up to a shed and taking highly enriched uranium and walking off without anybody noticing for several hours. That wouldn’t happen today. But the threats in Russia are so big from organized conspiracies of insiders, who are stealing practically everything that’s not nailed down, and substantial outsider attacks of scores of heavily armed people with machineguns that there’s still reason to be worried. There are still upgrades yet to be done in Russia. There is a major problem—as we have in the United States as well but even more severely in Russia—with security culture, guards patrolling with no ammo in their guns, and propping open security doors. There is also the issue of whether the upgrades that we’ve achieved will be sustained as U.S. assistance phases down.

This is not a Russia problem, but a global problem. There are weapons and bomb material in dozens of countries around the world. I am particularly concerned also about Pakistan. They have a relatively small stockpile that’s believed to be heavily guarded, but they have immense threats from nuclear insiders with a demonstrated willingness to sell practically anything to practically anybody and from large remnants of al Qaeda still operating in the country and other Jihadi groups closely connected to the Pakistani security forces. Research reactors fueled with highly enriched uranium are another problem that exists in dozens of countries around the world. Many of them have only the most minor security measures in place.

We need to forge effective global standards that will ensure that all stockpiles and nuclear weapons and the materials to make them are protected against the kinds of threats that terrorists and criminals have shown that they can pose. This needs to be a top national security priority that’s addressed at every opportunity and at every level with every state that has either stockpiles to secure or resources to help secure them. While there is a lot of good work underway, we haven’t got sustained top level priority.

One key thing we need to do is put a single leader in the White House at a level with direct access to the president to get presidential decisions when they’re needed. This person should have the responsibility for leading and coordinating this whole panoply of disparate efforts and keeping them on the front burner at the White House every day.

Secondly, we need much stronger controls on the nuclear technologies that can be used to make the highly enriched uranium or plutonium that could be used to make a nuclear bomb. It is quite remarkable that the A. Q. Khan network was able to operate for decades in dozens of countries around the world, some of them allegedly with strong export controls, or so we thought before the network was finally exposed and at least pieces of it brought down. They were marketing the technology of choice for the determined nuclear proliferators, the uranium enrichment centrifuge, and actual bomb designs.

As Mohamed ElBaradei, the head the International Atomic Energy Agency has said, this shows that the global nuclear export control system is, in his words, broken. We need to move quickly to improve enforcement and intelligence in countries that do have export controls in place, and to put controls in place in countries without them. No one had ever worried about exports controls in Malaysia or in Dubai because they didn’t have nuclear technologies. But they turned out to be key nodes of the A. Q. Khan network. The next time it might me Thailand or Nigeria for all we know.

Unfortunately, we still have today an export control assistance program that’s targeted on 20 or 30 particularly important key countries whereas we have pushed through a very useful UN Security Council measure, Resolution 1540, which legally requires more than 190 countries to put in place effective export controls. That needs to change. We need to actually make use of that Security Council resolution. At the same time, we need to reduce the incentives that countries have to get enrichment or reprocessing technologies as part of their civil nuclear program. If they do get those technologies then that brings those countries much closer to the edge of a nuclear weapons capability and makes it much more probable that they might decide at some point to cross over that line.

The key thing that needs to be done there is to set up a web of reliable fuel supply assurances with fuel banks and guarantees from major suppliers that will give countries confidence that if there’s ever an interruption that they will have the fuel that they need even if they don’t establish their own enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. This is important, but I don’t want to exaggerate how important it is. There are some people in the foreign policy realm who see that there’s a nonproliferation problem and say we’ll give countries these assurances and that will solve the problem. That’s just not the case. It will help some in a few cases and is therefore worth doing. But it is by no means a panacea for nonproliferation.

I should say in that respect that for the United States to reverse course and begin reprocessing its own spent nuclear fuel isn’t going to help. For decades, our message has been to other countries, “we, the country with the most nuclear reactors in the world aren’t reprocessing, and you don’t need to either.” That message has had some effect. It didn’t solve all reprocessing problems around the world, but it had some effect. As that message changes to “reprocessing is essential to the future of nuclear energy, but we’re not going to let you have the technology,” that’s going to be very much more difficult to sustain with non-nuclear-weapon states around the world. It’s going to be much more difficult to convince South Korea and Taiwan not to pursue reprocessing if we move that direction.

We need stronger inspections. The International Atomic Energy Agency needs more resources. It needs more authority. People often don’t realize for example that the IAEA currently doesn’t really have any legal authority to inspect for nuclear weaponization activities. Their authority is about nuclear material. They need more access to information. We are now tasking them to try to figure out what’s going on with nuclear issues generally in a state rather than just what’s going on at the declared facilities. For example, when countries deny a state an export, say North Korea’s shopping for aluminum tubes or something, and Germany stops a shipment of a couple of thousand of aluminum tubes to North Korea that in this case, by the way, really were the right size and shape for centrifuges unlike the Iraqi aluminum tubes, the IAEA ends up reading about it in the newspaper. That’s foolish. We need to create a system where the IAEA has the resources, the authority, and the information it needs.

We need better enforcement when countries violate the regime. Fundamentally, if we’re going to take all these measures we’re going to have tougher security. If we’re going to have more stringent export controls, if we’re going to have stronger inspections, if we’re going to have tougher enforcement, those all involve costs, constraints, and inconveniences for everybody else. We’re not going to get the votes and the political support needed to get those measures put in place that are urgently needed to strengthen the regime unless we, the United States, are willing to accept some constraints on our own nuclear forces and behavior and we’re willing to live up to our NPT Article VI commitment to negotiate in good faith toward nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, that has been very much weakened in this administration. I think that has got to change if we’re going to continue to have nonproliferation victories in the future. I’ll stop there.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE: Thank you very much. That was terrific. It’s a pleasure to follow you, Matt. And let me just underscore the first points you made about the strategic imperative of a campaign to end nuclear terrorism. I believe this is a winning issue in the presidential campaign of 2008 and the first candidate who takes this up is going to enjoy a significant boost in popularity. The first candidate who says that he or she will make it a priority to eliminate the possibility of nuclear terrorism in their first four years in office will immediately jump to the front of public attention. This is a doable mission, it’s a necessary mission, and we have the resources to do it. We simply have lacked the political will to do so.

But let me turn now to the two more difficult problems. Stopping nuclear terrorism is a relatively easy problem to solve in the panoply of problems we have. The two more difficult ones are stopping new states from acquiring nuclear materials and weapons. I want to talk about North Korea and Iran. I’ll take the easier one first and that’s North Korea.

North Korea remains a deal waiting to be made. It has been there for us for the last 10 years. The Clinton administration made tremendous progress in this regard, but failed to seal the deal before they left office. They teed it up for the Bush administration and I believe if Secretary of State Colin Powell had been allowed to do what he wanted to do, which was “to continue the negotiation process begun by the Clinton administration,” we would not have a nuclear North Korea to worry about right now.

But the administration took a dramatically different approach. The day after Secretary of State Colin Powell made that statement, President Bush undercut him and said that negotiations would have a decidedly different tone in his administration. He proved to be correct. He had no interest in negotiating a deal with North Korea. He thought we could achieve regime change instead. Rather than change regime behavior, we would simply change the regimes. This policy has been a demonstrable failure. We invaded the one country that didn’t have nuclear weapons and we caused the acceleration of nuclear programs in two countries that either had or wanted to have them, North Korea and Iran. Every single member of the axis of evil is a far greater threat to the United States today than it was six years ago.

Still, there’s a real possibility of getting a deal with North Korea. I am virtually alone in this prediction. I believe we will get a breakthrough in North Korea in 2007. I am encouraged by the talks of recent days, but I understand that it’s simply incremental progress. I’m guided in this regard by the wisdom of former State Department official Mitchell Reiss, who said that you can do business with North Korea, but it’s not going to be easy. We have to understand that we can make a deal with North Korea, but there’s nothing easy about it. Here is why I have optimism. I believe there are six trends that are all pointing toward a deal with North Korea.

One, the situation of North Korea itself. It is a poor, isolated country with nothing to export except fear and tyranny. It is in a weak strategic situation.

Two, there is unanimity among the other five nations involved in the six-party talks that North Korea should not proceed on this nuclear program. They differ in tactics about how to achieve that aim, but they are unified in efforts to stop North Korea. That unity recently extended to the Security Council, which passed a unanimous declaration condemning North Korea and then imposing sanctions on the regime for its October 9th nuclear test.

Three, China has played an increasingly helpful role in these negotiations. The October 9th test surprised and humiliated China and upset its greater strategic plans. It does not want North Korea destabilizing its border regions. It does not want North Korea provoking Japan. You may have noticed that after the October 9th test, Japan has started a public debate about whether Japan should get nuclear weapons. That’s the last thing China wants to see. It was because of these factors that China sent its state counselor, its third highest ranking official, to Pyongyang to read the riot act to the North Korean leaders. I don’t want to exaggerate the role that China can play here, but it is still a very strong role. I believe it is Chinese pressure that convinced North Korea to stop its testing of nuclear weapons. One test is not enough to validate a design, or to produce a usable nuclear weapon. Simply in that regard the pressure was helpful. I also believe it was Chinese pressure that brought North Korea back to the bargaining table and was useful in bringing the United States back to the bargaining table. The key breakthrough negotiations happened in Beijing. China is playing an increasingly constructive role here and we’re starting to see the result of it.

Four, the change in Congress. The Democratic control of Congress flips the pressures on the administration from what had existed. I believe it was the week after the election the House International Relations Committee held a hearing still under Republican rule, but it was dominated by members of Congress, led by Congressman Tom Lantos, criticizing the State Department witness, Undersecretary Nicholas Burns, about the negotiating posture toward North Korea and urging the United States to engage in direct talks with North Korea. So that’s a positive pressure point that’s changed.

Five, the change in the Department of Defense leadership. An opponent of direct negotiations with North Korea, Donald Rumsfeld, is now gone and we have in place a more pragmatic secretary, Robert Gates, who seems inclined to engage in the kinds of negotiations that had been verboten in the administration up until this point.

Six, the final indicator is the bleak political force of the president of the United States. In the end, it’s the president that has to decide whether he’s willing to make a deal or not. I cannot see another foreign policy victory that the president can pull out of the hat in 2007. It’s not going to happen in the Middle East and it’s not going to happen in Iraq. It could happen in North Korea. This could give his political fortunes a boost and be used to underscore the wisdom of the policies he’s been pursuing for the last six years whether that’s true or not.

I see all of these trends converging towards an agreement with North Korea despite the difficulty of dealing with that regime. The longer we wait to make the deal, the greater the price of that deal and the greater the risk that we won’t get any deal at all.

I would advise the administration to make an immediate tactical move to help convince North Korea that a deal is in its interest and that we are willing to do that. I suggest to the administration that it release some of the bank funds that it helped freeze in the Bank of Macau. This is a matter of just $24 million. This is a rather piddling sum to be holding up a nuclear deal, but it was the freezing of those assets that caused North Korea to walk away from the September 2005 deal that the United States had successfully negotiated. Our own auditors seem to have determined that somewhere between $8 million and $11 million of those funds are not connected to illicit activities, the alleged reason for the freeze. By releasing some of those funds, you could be making a small, but still significant gesture toward North Korea and expect to see North Korea reciprocate. It’s those kinds of baby steps that we have to take at this point, which if properly sequenced, could lead to a larger deal.

Iran is far more difficult. There are competing strategies out there on how to negotiate a deal. I would say there are currently four major contenders. The first strategy is muddling through. It’s the traditional default option in U.S. foreign policy. It’s particularly the policy option in a period of divided government as we are now. The Congress is held by one party, the administration held by another, and we have a doubly divided government. The administration itself is divided between pragmatists, who have been trying to negotiate deals with Iran and North Korea, and the hardliners, who have no interest in negotiating a deal and are still pushing for regime change through one means or the other.

Muddling through sometimes does work. Germany was united despite the absence of any coherent U.S. policy on how to unite Germany. Sometimes the fates do smile favorably in U.S. foreign policy. I think it would be a disaster in this regard. Muddling through will make the situation worse. Iran would perceive that it is growing stronger while the United States is growing weaker. They are probably right. Our allies will increase their distrust and lower their confidence in U.S. foreign policy. We cannot leave U.S. national security up to the fates.

The second option that’s being pursued is regime change either by aiding Democratic groups in Iran or by the squeeze strategy favored by the vice president’s office and some in the administration. What they’re trying to do with North Korea, they’re trying to do with Iran. Squeeze it, make it harder and harder for that regime to stay in business, and hope that that will cause an internal revolt of some kind that will change the regime. I believe that these mechanisms will take far too long to be implemented in order to bring about the kind of change we want to see in Iran. Democracy in Iran could take years to develop. A nuclear bomb program could be done in a much shorter time. Even if there is a democratic change in Iran, there’s no guarantee that that democratic government would abandon a program that actually enjoys fairly wide support among the Iranian populous.

The third option is military strikes on Iran. This is favored by the neo-conservative press. The same people who brought us the war in Iraq, now want to bring us the war in Iran. If you liked what they did before, get ready for what they want to do next. The Iraq war will seem like a warm-up act compared to the conflagration that will undoubtedly breakout if the United States or one of its allies should be so foolish as to launch military strikes against Iran.

But it’s not just the reaction of Iran that you have to worry about with regard to military strikes. The strikes will unlikely accomplish the objective. They’re almost certain to accelerate the program, not retard it. Whatever short term delay you could get by destroying one, five, a dozen nuclear installations would be more than made up by an end of any debate inside Iran about whether it should be pursuing a nuclear weapons program. There also would be a unifying of the population around an otherwise odious and unpopular regime and the determination by the Iranian leadership to get a nuclear weapon as quickly as possible by whatever means necessary, including some of the means that Matt Bunn has just outlined. There’s no rule that says that Iran has to make its own enriched uranium to get a bomb. It just has chosen so far to pursue that route for other reasons. It could accelerate those efforts. You could produce a nuclear bomb more quickly in Iran if you try to strike it.

Four, the exact opposite of the previous strategy, is a grand bargain where we resolve all the U.S.-Iranian issues in one grand package. This has a lot of attraction to it. It’s been articulated by a number of very knowledgeable individuals including former State Department and National Security Council official Flynt Leverett. I believe that it’s strategically correct that that is the way you have to solve the problem: put all these issues together. I just don’t think it is politically doable at this point. Neither the administration in Washington or in Teheran is interested in such a bargain.

So I am left with a more difficult, but ultimately workable solution that I call contain and engage. You have to increase the cost to Iran for pursuing that program, at the same time offering them a clearer path to greater security and, in fact, regional prominence, if Iran was to turn away from that path. You have to address some of the other issues at the same time, such as Iran’s regional ambitions, its relation to Israel, and its internal human right situation. But you don’t have to resolve all of those in order to get the fundamental national security objective we agree on, which is an end to the Iranian program.

In containing Iran, I would be following basically many of the steps the administration has been doing now: pursuing resolutions at the IAEA board of governors and bringing the matter to the UN Security Council. These resolutions have an impact. They’re derided by some for the relatively weak sanctions, but we’re seeing already the powerful political and financial impact these sanctions have. Stories in the press are now recounting the opposition that’s growing inside Iran to Ahmadinejad’s wild and reckless leadership in this regard. There is a political price that Iran in now paying for following the Ahmadinejad line. The UN sanctions help clarify that price and show the Iranian public and political leadership that this is not a winning strategy for them. I would also support the kind of unilateral sanctions the U.S. Treasury Department’s doing right now. Recently it cut off a leading state-owned Iranian bank from the U.S. financial system. This makes it much more difficult to do financial investment in Iran. It’s a cost to Iran that you want to increase. These are good things.

The key is not to depend on those sanctions to either stop the program or bring about political change. Iran is not in a pre-revolutionary situation. There is not going to be a repeated Iranian revolution. For any of those in the public who were thinking about that, they just have to look over the border to Iraq and see the chaos that can result from a regime transformation scenario. Instead, you have to be engaging simultaneously those parts of the Iranian elite and public that can make a difference. We should now be reaching out to the reformists and the pragmatists in the Iranian government, whether that’s through a private meeting with the UN ambassador in New York, Mr. Zarif, who’s a skilled negotiator and articulator of the Iranian position, entreats to Ali Larijani, the Iranian nuclear negotiator, or public appeals to the Iranian people to let them know that there is a path that could lead to increased security for Iran if it will just forgo nuclear weapons.

I would recommend at this point that members of Congress undertake such liaison directly. Now is the time for contact between members of the U.S. Congress and members of the Iranian parliament. Now is the time to be engaging in increased track two negotiations of all kinds to open up these channels to increase communication, increase our own understanding of what’s going on in Iran, and increase the Iranian understanding of the political forces now operating in the United States. By having a contain and engage strategy, you can adjust your mechanism. The more Iran engages, the less the containment operations have to be. The less it engages, the more the containment operations can be.

By having this kind of flexibility, you can prepare for the eventuality that negotiations don’t work or that Iran is simply not interested in negotiating at this point, which may be the case. You would then have to fall back to another level of containment of seeking to contain the overall program itself and constructing a regime that delays this program as long as possible or makes it as difficult as possible for Iran to get the materials that it needs for the program and to get the investment it needs to move its economy forward. I’ll leave it there and hand it over to Jack.

JACK MENDELSOHN: I thought that I would cast my presentation in the form of a letter to the next president about the sorts of options or moves that he or she—and I’ll try to remember to say he or she—might take during their administration. The letter is divided into two sections. The first part is going to talk a little bit about the area of declaratory policies of the United States. The second part will talk about classical arms control and force structure policies that the next president, whoever he or she might be, could consider. Some of these will be easier than others obviously, but let me just give you a shopping list of things that I think should be done and many of which I think are not that difficult to do.

First of all, to Mr. or Ms. President, declaratory policies. The network of policy statements designed over the last few decades to reassure other states about the obligations and intentions of the United States has been seriously frayed by the past administration. That’s an understatement, but the president will understand. The intent of these policy statements had been to reassure other nations that the United States is serious about restraining vertical and horizontal proliferation, as well as blocking the potential use of nuclear weapons as instruments of war or intimidation. If, as even this administration admits, nuclear weapons are the gravest threat that this nation faces, then it behooves us, Mr. President, to delegitimize nuclear weapons as instruments of war and to reassure nations they do not have to fear attack by the United States.

To this end, a new president should declare at the outset of his or her administration that, comparable to the international consensus on banning the use of chemical weapons and biological weapons, the United States does not consider nuclear weapons to be legitimate weapons of war and will not use them in combat except under a very special and a very narrow set of conditions.

Now, you can get your pencils and paper together. As a part of this delegitimization process, which I think is important to put up front in the next administration, the president should, one, recommit the United States as it is in the NPT to the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons—simple declaratory policy, a goal which the current administration has not addressed, but which all previous ones had.

Two, move the United States away from a preemption and preventive war policy or as explicit policy. By adopting this policy, the current administration has heightened concern among foe and friend alike that the United States will use nuclear weapons hastily, unjustifiably, or irrationally in a crisis or pre-crisis situation. As a result, the policy, Mr. President, has been much more provocative than protective and should be disavowed explicitly. This connection some of you may have seen in the sense of the House resolution recently submitted by Representative Lee, “disavowing the doctrine of preemption.” A somewhat larger leap that you might consider, which I think is important, however, is to abandon the policy of threatening the use of nuclear weapons against any potential threat, be it conventional, terrorist, chemical, or biological.

Following up on your basic statement on the delegitimization of nuclear weapons, you, as president, should announce that the United States is retaining nuclear weapons as deterrent forces and will consider them for use only in retaliation for a nuclear attack or as a last resort if the survival of the nation is at risk. The president could invite other nations to join in this declaration; perhaps in connection with the NPT Review Conference in 2010. In other words, as the current U.S. policy is nuclear weapons are fair to use against any threat, not just in response to a nuclear threat, Mr. President, you should restate the existing negative security assurances and perhaps put them into a legal treaty form in connection with the NPT Review Conference.

The assurances are virtually worthless as they now stand because the United States and other nuclear nations have taken so many exceptions to them: use against chemical weapons, use against biological weapons, all options on the table, vis-à-vis terrorists, et cetera. The president should make it clear that the United States would use nukes only against other nuclear possessors. You should also make explicit as early as possible that the United States does not intend to resume nuclear tests. If the Congress seems politically amenable, the next administration or your administration should resubmit the CTBT for ratification. This no testing declaration could help—this is a footnote to the letter to the president—constrain the replacement warhead program to within design parameters that have a pedigree. This was actually a statement that occurred in an earlier ACA conference. But it will not eliminate the pressures for testing in the future if the new warhead program goes ahead.

To recap very quickly on the declaratory side, your administration should make explicit early in your term that the United States does not consider nuclear weapons to be legitimate instruments of war. Your policy should further reaffirm U.S. commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons as called for under the NPT and the withdrawal or disavowal of preventative or preemptive attacks on states, nations or territories. You should also state that you do not reserve the right to use nuclear weapons first, that you do not intend to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon members of the NPT, and that you do not intend to resume nuclear testing. It seems to me, Mr. President, that this would be a very straightforward, a very quick, and a very direct way of setting a new tone to your administration.

Turning now to the question of force structure policies in terms of strategic nuclear arms control. In addition to jumpstarting U.S. security policy with the set of basic declaratory policy statements on U.S. obligations and intentions as regards nuclear weapons, the next president will have to deal with some specific arms controls issues early in his or her administration. Two obvious ones that come to mind, the START Treaty expires on December 5, 2009 and the SORT, or Moscow, Treaty expires on December 31, 2012. Both fall within the next presidential term and raise a number of issues. Let me just mention what they are quickly and then go back and talk about them for a moment.

This is not the way the letter would go. It’s easier to present it that way. What warheads are actually to be counted under the Moscow Treaty? How is the warhead count to be verified? How quickly can the treaty levels be reached and what will the follow on to the Moscow Treaty look like? What warheads are actually to be counted under the treaty? The treaty says that strategic nuclear warheads are to be limited to 1,700-2,100, but the U.S. position, however, is that only “operationally deployed” warheads are included. So that has not been formally settled. In other words, there is a difference between the U.S. statement of operationally deployed and the classic way of counting warheads as demonstrated by START.

If you use the operationally deployed definition this means that four converted submarines, two submarines in overhaul, empty MX ICBM silos, nuclear-capable heavy bombers assigned to conventional units, spares and trainers, as well as empty downloaded space on MIRV missile platforms are not accountable. Given the current U.S. interpretation, U.S. force levels are currently 3,800 warheads. It’s quite low. It seems surprising to me, but this is using a new way of counting warheads under the Moscow Treaty. Basically, that’s the target figure that was indicated in the administration’s first Nuclear Posture Review. If the Russians agree to this definition, then force reconstitution—or flexibility as this administration likes to refer to it—becomes a problem.

On the other hand, this may not be insurmountable. It’s certainly an issue and in classic arms control vision it is a problem. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be one. First of all, it’s hard to see the circumstances that would lead to a justification for force increases even though you have the spaces and/or the platforms available. There are of course measures that can be taken to eliminate the possibility of this flexibility including actually agreeing to de-wire heavy bombers, and or agreeing to change the platforms on missiles so they no longer have a large number of empty spaces.

Second, how is the warhead count to be verified? The administration will have to address this. Until the end of 2009, the United States and Russia will rely on the START verification provisions to monitor the Moscow Treaty. After the year 2009, which is when START ends and the first year of your administration, the sides can agree to extend its verification provisions and or design new or additional ones for the Moscow Treaty. It is possible the sides could agree to the formulation of operationally deployed if there’s a mutually satisfactory way of verifying compliance. It’s quite conceivable that the Russians will not object to some of the U.S. position on operationally deployed. For example, submarine in dry dock without missiles could easily be not counted and the Russians probably would not be concerned about that. In any case, what is counted and how it is verified are related issues that need to be resolved in the first year of your term.

How quickly can or should the treaty levels of the Moscow Treaty be reached? If, as the U.S. intends, the low levels of warheads established by the Moscow Treaty are to be obtained primarily by downloading missiles and bombers and not by destroying launch vehicles, there’s little reason why the 1,700-2,200 limit can’t be reached prior to the 2012 date, say by the 2010 NPT Review Conference. A useful indication of U.S. commitment to strategic nuclear arms control would be an announcement by you that the United States intended to reach the 2,200 level well ahead of midnight on December 31, 2012.

What will the follow on agreement to the Moscow Treaty look like? The Moscow Treaty expires before you leave office, so some provision needs to be made for a follow on. The simplest arrangement would be to extend the treaty for a number of years. But that presents two problems, Mr. President. The general expectation is that the nuclear warhead reduction process will continue. After all, even your predecessor who banned the term arms control from his political vocabulary agreed to some reductions. Your administration may not have left any other mark on the arms control process other than in the strategic nuclear area. We do not know the outcome of the ratification process, if there is one, for the CTBT or the negotiation process for biological weapons monitoring, a fissile material cutoff treaty, and a space weapons treaty. They’re all unknown and of uncertain outcome.

A simple quick fix would be for you to announce that the United States intends to consider 1,700 warheads, the lower end of the permitted ban under the Moscow Treaty, as a ceiling, not a floor. We don’t intend at the present time to come under 2,200. Of course, 1,700 will not satisfy members of ACA, who will consider it still way too high. Incidentally, that figure coincides almost exactly with the number of ICBM silos and SLBM launch tubes limited in SALT I in 1972. That number was 1710. After 40 years, we’re right back to 1972, a nice point to make in 2012. The Russians would almost certainly agree to an even lower number—1,500 is the one that they most frequently use— and if you had a cooperative Congress that might be a good minimum target for you.

Another issue that you might address that treats in another fashion with the unnecessarily large U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals is the question of non-deployed nuclear weapons. The public is generally unaware of the large numbers of nuclear weapons around the world. About 27,000 are believed to exist in nine countries. Most of these weapons, 26,000, are in the U.S. or Russian arsenals. It would be in U.S. security interests to begin to deal with the non-deployed warhead overhang. In other words, limiting the residual number permitted and destroying the excess. This too could be considered a continuation in the reduction process as well as a significant increase in national security. Paradoxically, weapons that are deployed are generally secure from theft or diversion, but security problems, particularly in Russia, continue to exist with those weapons that are kept in storage or reserve. Reducing their numbers and continuing to assist Russia in securing the remainder works to the advantage of both parties.

Final point, non-strategic nuclear arms control. Mr. President, or Madame President, you should move briskly and forthrightly to withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons from abroad, i.e. those deployed under NATO, and engage Russia on limiting non-strategic nuclear weapons. In the early years of the Clinton administration, the Pentagon concluded that there was no longer any military requirement for these weapons in Europe. That was under the Clinton administration. The allies, however, were loath to break the nuclear umbilical cord and the weapons remain as a symbol in the European mind of U.S. commitment to continental security.

The European allies of the United States can be helpful in this regard. We need to convince them to abandon their attachment to European-based U.S. tactical nuclear weapons—the 200 to 400 bombs deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. These constitute the last remnants of the Cold War flexible response policy. If you can wean the Europeans from this perverse sign of solidarity, which might have been made easier by the erratic and bellicose U.S. behavior in this decade, a half dozen NATO allies might finally be cleared of nuclear weaponry. In turn, this move might just encourage Russia to reciprocate by agreeing to reduce and or constrain its tactical nuclear weapons stockpile. Well, Mr. President, or Madame President, you may not be able to do all this as rapidly as Nancy Pelosi did in her first 100 hours, but there’s little reason it can’t be done in the 48 months you’ve been allotted. Cheers.

STEVE ANDREASEN: Well, that’s a hard act to follow. The focus of our discussion is the future of nuclear arms control. Today, that question is obviously linked to one of the most important national security issues in the United States and the international community, which is how to prevent the use of nuclear weapons in the 21st century. Earlier this month, as Daryl mentioned, there was an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal. It was signed by two former secretaries of state, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of defense, Bill Perry, and a former senator and chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sam Nunn. They were joined by 17 other signatories, all of whom had extensive experience in government and working on this set of issues.

Since the article was published, a lot of folks have held it up to the light and asked the question, what does it mean? What I thought that I would do today is simply give you my own interpretation as one of the signatories as to what’s the news here.

The first point that I would underline for this group is that the authors have clearly drawn the conclusion that we are on the precipice of a new and dangerous nuclear era and that the strategy of nuclear deterrence, while still relevant, is becoming increasingly hazardous and increasingly ineffective. The likelihood that non-state terrorist groups will get their hands on nuclear weapons is increasing, a problem made worse by the issues that Matt Bunn was discussing; that is the spread of nuclear weapons related technology and illicit supplier networks. These terrorist groups are unlikely to be deterred from using a nuclear weapon by the threat of nuclear retaliation by the United States or any other nuclear-weapon state.

Also, as more nations acquire nuclear weapons in volatile regions, such as the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and Southwest Asia, nuclear deterrence is more likely to break down, as is stated in the piece. We were lucky during the Cold War that nuclear deterrence held the United States and the Soviet Union. There’s no guarantee that that situation will hold over the next 50 years.

The second point I would underline is that the authors are well aware of and supportive of the many efforts currently underway to deal with the issue of nuclear terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons. Indeed, many of the signatories to The Wall Street Journal op-ed have worked on these programs both in and outside of government. However, the authors of The Wall Street Journal piece also clearly state that “by themselves none of these steps are adequate to the danger.” In other words, given the threat and consequences of nuclear use, we are simply not doing enough now.

The third point I would underline is that the authors have concluded that in order to deal effectively with this new and dangerous era, the United States and international community must embrace both the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and pursue a balance program of practical measures toward achieving that goal. If you were to ask me to highlight what I thought was the most important two sentences of The Wall Street Journal op-ed they would be “Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair or urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible.”

The fourth point I would underline without going through each of the specific steps highlighted in The Wall Street Journal piece is that the program of actions is balanced. It requires actions by the five NPT nuclear-weapon states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States). It requires actions by those states with nuclear weapons outside the NPT (India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan) and it requires actions by nations who have the capability, although not the intent today to produce nuclear material or nuclear bombs.

The fifth point I would make is that the signatories are not a partisan group. They include Republicans, Democrats, and some whose politics I don’t know. This is not a partisan vision or a partisan agenda. That said, proceeding down the road outlined in The Wall Street Journal piece will require some rethinking of positions by some both in the United States and overseas.

The sixth point I would make is that the authors and signatories clearly understand that there are a number of important issues facing our nation and the world today, including the war in Iraq that is about to enter its fifth year. Indeed, one of the four principal signatories to the piece was a member of the Iraq Study Group. That said, all of the signatories thought it essential to underscore the urgent need for U.S. leadership for making progress on nuclear issues, and to make the case for moving the issue of nuclear weapons once again to the policy front burner. Few, if any, of the steps that were outlined in the op-ed can be realized without U.S. leadership. Since everything nuclear in the United States is inherently presidential, the president will have to personally lead the charge. I agree with Matt that we need somebody in the west wing of the White House to focus on this. My experience and judgment tells me that that person has to be the president of the United States. In the absence of both U.S. leadership and focus, we will continue to drift toward the day when we will have to deal again with the consequences of nuclear use.

Finally, I would simply say what everyone here knows: accomplishing the actions required to achieve the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons will not be easy. Among other things, it will require an unprecedented degree of international cooperation, including progress on resolving regional confrontations and conflicts that breed nuclear weapons programs. The signatories of The Wall Street Journal piece, many of whom have dealt with many of these conflicts and confrontations, well understand the magnitude of the challenge. But they also believe we can and indeed we must in the words of Max Kampelman, a former arms control negotiator, distinguished statesmen, and one of the signatories. In his words, we need to take urgent steps to move from what is today a world with increasing nuclear risks to what ought to be a world free of the nuclear threat. With that, I will turn it back over to Daryl.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, all of you for your presentations. I think we’ve covered an enormous range of issues. We’ve got plenty here to discuss and I wanted to again express my appreciation to Joe and Steve for stepping into this on late notice.

CIRINCIONE: You notice that there are two of us to replace Gallucci.

KIMBALL: Well, we’ll have to tell him that. We have quite a bit of time for questions and answers. There are microphones, so please raise your hand.
QUESTION: Jonathan Medalia from Congressional Research Service. A question for Steve Andreasen. I was quite surprised to see in The Wall Street Journal piece a call for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Could you explain how that came about? Thanks.

ANDREASEN: Well, you can assume that all of the signatories to the piece including the four on the byline and the 17 other signatories had a conversation. I should step back and say that this was a piece that was at least months in the works and many of the principle signatories have been talking about this whole set of nuclear issues for quite some time. The issue of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty actually received a great deal of treatment at the Reykjavik conference that was hosted by Secretary of State Shultz and Sid Drell in October where a number of these issues were discussed. In the context of a broad agenda to reduce nuclear risks and delegitimize nuclear use, it actually was agreed by consensus that progress on the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and it’s entry into force were an important part of that agenda.

KIMBALL: I think we have to leave it at that. Next, Norm, please.

QUESTION: Hi, Norman Wulf. A question for Joe Cirincione if I could. We’ve been down this path before with this administration about seeing hopeful signs in the North Korea negotiations. What gives you confidence that we’re going to make it this time? Related to that is my concern that North Korea, as it becomes increasingly isolated and becomes even more poverty prone than it has been for the last several decades, now has something that’s a very valuable commodity that it could sell. Now, it has some separated plutonium and perhaps even after their test something even more troublesome. How can we do what Matt is saying we need to do? And how can we do it in the North Korean context assuming we are in fact in a real negotiation?

CIRINCIONE: First, we have to recognize that it’s far easier to deal with the problem if we can negotiate an end to the program than it is to try to contain that program. I share your concerns about the possibility that the North Korean regime could sell or otherwise transfer some of this material to other states or terrorist groups. I don’t actually believe that that’s as likely as some others do. I don’t think the principal danger from North Korea developing a nuclear weapon is that it’s going to attack the United States or any other states in the region with it or that it would transfer it to a terrorist group. I think the gravest risk is what happens in the region itself, the reaction of the other states.

If North Korea consolidates as a nuclear-weapon state, if it tests two or three more times, I fear there is likely to be an Asian nuclear reaction chain that will ripple out to South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and perhaps other states. That’s the real danger. That’s why we have to contain it. I have some confidence that we can get a breakthrough this year because the political correlation of forces. It’s something that I believe could force the hand of this administration. I believe left to its own devices it would prefer to either muddle through the North Korean crisis or pursue the strategy championed by the vice president and articulated by the former adviser to the vice president: the squeeze strategy. This is the idea that you just tighten the financial constraints on North Korea to such an extent that there’s sort of a mafia coup where the capos overthrow the don because they’re not getting the money that they need to continue their operations. I think this is a complete fantasy, but it is the preferred strategy of the administration.

I think the political correlation of forces has changed both within the administration and within the Congress to push the administration more toward the negotiated solution. There’s also the increased presence of China and the role it’s playing. I don’t want to make too direct an analogy, but China could play somewhat the role that Tony Blair played in convincing the president to get a deal with Libya.

That deal too was opposed by the then secretary of defense and the vice president. They didn’t want to make a deal with a Libya. They wanted to overthrow that regime. The president was convinced at the highest level that he could make a deal and it would be politically beneficial. I think we’re not in quite the same position with China, but those same forces are operating. So I see those arrows all converging toward a possibility of a deal. Finally, we’re blessed with an extremely skilled negotiator at this point, Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill. If you would just let the diplomats do their job, we could get a deal.

KIMBALL: I would agree with what you said. Just in the last couple of days there was a first direct meeting between the chief U.S. negotiator and his North Korean counterpart. This morning’ story on the wires was that the North Koreans said that there was a breakthrough. Christopher Hill said he wasn’t exactly sure what they’re talking about but we’ve had positive discussions.

Now, I think one of the things that also has to be pointed out is that the serious negotiations that many of us have been calling for over some time have in some ways not yet been tried by this administration. The six-party talks as Bob Gallucci has pointed out to me several times are really about one hundred-party talks because you got the six countries and all their people. There’s not a lot of time for that quiet back and forth. This meeting just in the last couple of days in Berlin—I’m not quite sure what came out of it really—is a good sign that the administration, whether it admits it or not, has allowed for these kinds of quiet, direct discussions to help lay the groundwork for perhaps the next round of six-party talks. The key, again as you said, is dealing with this financial sanctions dispute, getting that out of the way. Then they can get to the real issue which is figuring out the sequencing of the actions that were outlined in the September 2005 joint statement.

CIRINCIONE: Just let me ad that it’s unfortunate that the Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) test could put a stick in the spokes. This comes at a particularly bad time.

KIMBALL: I want to get to the folks here in the front, but I also want to give the people in the backroom an opportunity. If you’re in the back and you would like to ask a question, please come to the door so the microphone can come to you and I can see who you are. Please do that if you want to ask a question. We have several questions here. I’ll try to get to all of you.

QUESTION: Avis Bohlen. I have sort of a double question, which maybe is cheating. First, one for Joe on Iran. It seems to me that what you’re suggesting—and I don’t disagree with your analysis that led up to it—contain on the one hand and seek to talk to reformers and good guys on the other, is just regime change light? It seems to me that we have to deal with the people who are in power in Iran if we’re going to have any serious discussions. Related to that, what is our objective at this point with regard to Iran? Of course, we would like them to give up any pretensions to enrichment of uranium, but is that really a realistic goal given the national attachment to this idea? It’s become a symbol for all parts of the political spectrum in Iran. Maybe it’s too soon, but maybe we should be looking at something like a suspension with conditions and so on in return for some goodies.

My second question nobody has mentioned and this is mainly for Steve and Jack Mendelsohn. Nobody has mentioned the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation deal. What do you do with the Indian deal in this brave new world that you are outlining? Thank you.

CIRINCIONE: I’ll start with the Iran. I need all the help I can get on Iran. Please if there are any people who are Iran experts in the room, please weigh in on this. No, I don’t think we can bank on regime change as a policy for ending the nuclear program whatever its character may be. It would be too late to even wait for the next election for Ahmadinejad. The program might be consolidated by then. What I’m suggesting is we take advantage of the fact that the president of Iran is actually a very constrained post. He technically doesn’t have any control whatsoever over the nuclear program or foreign policy. We should start dealing with other people in the Iran government structure who do, for example Larijani. We should also make openings directly to the supreme leader.

I’m saying we should use those conduits and treat them as the conduits they are. We should not believe that by somehow making a concession to Iran, that is by opening a dialogue with Iran, is somehow strengthening the hand of Ahmadinejad. I specifically don’t want to do that. I don’t want to validate Ahmadinejad’s theory that the only way to deal with the United States is to be tough with the United States, to be hostile to the United States, and that and only that will work. We want to prove the exact opposite. We have to find them the mechanisms to do that. Part of that is to engage more with the EU-3 in the negotiations that they are trying to restart. It’s a very tricky business, but a possible path to that was outlined by the Italians last year.

As you know, the issue is the Europeans want the Iranians to suspend operations before they start talks, while the Iranians want to start the talks without any preconditions. There’s a possible way to finesse this which is that the talks begin without any formal suspension, but with the understanding that once they do begin, the United States joins them, and the Iranians temporarily suspend. If both sides knew that there was something that was going to flow from that, I believe you could negotiate that kind of beginning to the talks. You would have to have these kinds of conduits open already in order to convince both sides that there’s a point of entering into these discussions. But the suspension is going to be a short term suspension. Iran is not going to agree to an indefinite suspension at this point. It just isn’t. No politician, reformist, pragmatist, or hard-liner, is going to do that.

You have to then be ready for the next step which is the possibility that you would agree to a temporary restart of some enrichment activities, but with the understanding that that would only be a temporary restart. I am against the permanent operation of enrichment facilities in Iran. We cannot agree to that for a whole variety of reasons. But we have to find a way that’s neither indefinite suspension, nor permanent operation. I believe our diplomats are good enough to find those kinds of formula if both sides believe that by engaging in this they are going to reach a resolution of their issues that don’t involve either side losing and that it’s a win-win scenario out there for both Iran and the United States. Matt?

BUNN: I agree with what Joe just said. I think that we have to understand that Iran is a very complicated policy at this point. Who is in charge is an ever shifting situation that frankly the U.S. government doesn’t understand very well, and the Europeans don’t understand very well either. We are undertaking policies the point of which is to convince a foreign government to take certain actions when we don’t actually know what the key issues are from the point of view or the perspectives of the players inside that foreign government and what things are likely to cause them to take one action versus another. I see it as putting our foot to the accelerator of a car that we’re driving in a heavy fog with little idea of whether there’s a brick wall in front of us or not.

In particular, I think that some of the sanctions approaches that people are focusing on may be more likely to foment the Iranian national culture of resistance to foreign pressure than to lead to a positive result. We have allowed Ahmadinejad to frame the issue as colonial powers are trying to take away our god given right to technology. In that frame, we would lose for sure. One of the key lessons that President Kennedy took away from the Cuban missile crisis is you have to give your opponent a face saving way to back down. I think that’s going to be true in Iran.

We’re not going to get zero enrichment forever in Iran as Joe said. But I think there are a variety of options. I can imagine that if the political engagement was sufficient and the Iranians really felt that we were going to shift on our long term efforts to overthrow their regime, the sanctions, and so on, that we might very well be able to get essentially more or less a freeze where we are of about 300 centrifuges + at Natanz that perhaps would operate without any UF6, uranium hexafluoride, being put into them. I’ve written a paper describing that as a warm standby option for those centrifuges. But I think we need to engage, as Joe was saying, with a lot of the different factions, and come to understand what the heck is driving Iranian decision making better than we do in order to have a better chance of influencing that decision making. People talk a lot about how we need better intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program. I want better intelligence on who the heck is making the decisions and what causes them to make one decision rather than another. That’s much more interesting to me than which components they still have to get from abroad rather than indigenously. Of course, that’s an interesting question as well.

KIMBALL: We had another question on India. Jack or Steve on that, or on Iran?

ANDREASEN: The question on the India deal, what next? First of all, I should make clear that the issue wasn’t addressed specifically in The Wall Street Journal piece, so I’m answering you in my personal capacity so to speak. We do have a new framework agreed to by the Congress and signed by the president. Time will tell whether the Indians accept the framework and whether the associated agreements that need to be worked out can be worked out so that the deal goes forward. I think if your objective is to limit or control the production of fissile material for weapons and strengthen the NPT, and if you believe those should be high national priorities, which I do, you can conclude that the India deal was not a high-water mark. I would say at a minimum, we should not encourage others to believe that a similar deal is possible, and, in effect, as a matter of policy, we should state that this is not going to be repeated.

BUNN: I should add that some of my Iranian colleagues—I’ve been making an effort to try to understand what is going on in Teheran, although with limited success—have told me that in Teheran the nuclear hardliners are pointing to India and saying basically, look what happened to them, they tested, everybody in the whole world sanctioned them, and then six months later Clinton was crawling back and saying, please be our friend, et cetera. Now, they’re getting this nuclear deal. The hardliners are using that as an argument that while there may be sanctions now, if we just move forward, eventually the world will roll over and acquiesce to what we’re doing. That’s a plausible argument. That’s not obvious to me that they’re wrong given the huge pool of oil and gas that Iran is sitting on.

KIMBALL: Let me just put a little more detail into what Steve said about the next steps. We held a press conference here in this room in November on the eve of the congressional votes. One of the successes of the arms control communities lobbying effort of Congress was that Congress did reinforce and include in the legislation a couple of things that are important. They passed the overall package, but the legislation requires that the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has to agree by consensus to the necessary rule changes to allow India to receive civil trade from the United States and others.

The Indians and the International Atomic Energy Agency have to negotiate a safeguards agreement on the civil facilities that India has put on their civil list. I was just in Vienna, Austria in December for a meeting on the fissile material cutoff treaty issue. I also visited the IAEA offices and it’s clear that there are differences between the Indians and the IAEA about the nature of that safeguards agreement. There are questions about who’s going to pay for those safeguards. The IAEA officials I talked to only said it would cost a lot, which I was told to interpret as tens of millions of dollars a year. The other issue that has to be resolved is of course the formal U.S.-Indian agreement for nuclear cooperation.

Since the congressional legislation there have been no talks between the U.S. side and the Indian side. Steve alluded to the fact that the Indian atomic energy establishment is not happy with some of the other provisions in the congressional legislation, so this is not a done deal. One of the things that the Arms Control Association and others are doing is we’re talking to some of the other countries that have a stake in this. They will have a vote at the NSG, so to speak, to look at this deal closely and to evaluate whether and how the deal should be conditioned at the NSG to deal with some of the problems that Congress did not address. We will have another press conference about that one at some other time.

QUESTION: Thank you. During the discussion on the North Korean nuclear program there was a passing reference made regarding the ongoing debate in Japan about the possibility of developing nuclear weapons. Recently there have been some press reports regarding the preparation of another possible test by North Korea. I would like some of the distinguished panelists to probably comment on the significance and popularity of this concern in Japan, and also whether the risk or the probability of another such test by North Korea will translate into the weaponization of Japan? Unlike North Korea or Iran, where most of the efforts are aimed at denying them the capability in terms of technological expertise rather than focusing on political will, in terms of Japan it’s probably the other way around. How serious is this probability of the weaponization?

KIMBALL: Before you jump in Joe, let’s take one other question.

QUESTION: I just wanted to go back to the topic of Iran and confirm the statements from Mr. Cirincione and Mr. Bunn. Having lived in Iran myself for more that 10 years, I can certainly support that it’s a very difficult political landscape and certainly the last person calling the shots is the president, even the current one. You have to go back to the people surrounding Ayatollah Khomeini, who is the supreme religious leader in the country and also the head of the armed forces. My question actually is concerned with Pakistan. I just wanted to imagine the following situation. CNN Breaking News, General Musharraf assassinated and a country 140, 150 million people with the Secret Service and the Army with close ties to radical elements; some people sympathetic to al Qaeda. What will be the next steps from the West to try to contain this situation?

KIMBALL: That’s an interesting question, one that I think we have thought about at two in the morning in our nightmares. Joe, why don’t you take the first one on North Korea and Japan and then maybe we ask Matt to answer the Pakistan question.

CIRINCIONE: Right after the North Korean test, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went to Japan to consult. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times ran these very reassuring stories that showed the secretary sitting down with the foreign minister and other dignitaries and the headlines to the stories were that Japan assures the United States that it has no nuclear intent. I don’t think the editors actually read the story. They were headlining. The very first paragraph of The New York Times story says that Prime Minister Abe said that there should be a debate in the parliament about whether Japan should have nuclear weapons.

The last time a senior official suggested that was in 1999. It was the deputy defense minister and he was forced to resign for making that suggestion. Not only do we have Abe saying that, but the fourth highest ranking official, Mr. Nakagawa, made a similar statement that there should be a debate; that this was the right of a democracy to debate whether we should have a nuclear option or not. The former prime minister Mr. Nakagomi also suggested that there be this discussion, and this discussion is now happening. I don’t know about you, but this worries me.

There are some in this administration for whom this does not worry because they have a different proliferation view. They believe that there is good proliferation and bad proliferation. There are good guys and bad guys. It’s okay that India has nuclear weapons. In fact, one of my former colleagues in this very building made the comment a while back that the problem is not that India has nuclear weapons, it is that it doesn’t have enough nuclear weapons. The idea is to build up a nuclear alliance against China for what some see as the inevitable war between the United States and China in the middle of the next century. Japan fits into that. So from their view it’s not bad that Japan has it.

In my view it is terrible. It would be a disaster for Japan to conclude that the threat from North Korea and the example of India indicates that the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is dead, this 60-year-old effort to control nuclear weapons is over, and it’s off to the races and they’d better join. That is a huge challenge for the current administration that seems relatively complacent about all this. It’s certainly going to be a tremendous challenge for the next administration. We cannot allow that to happen.

BUNN: First, on the Japan front. I again agree with Joe, but I think the balance in Japan is still heavily weighted against going nuclear.

CIRINCIONE: Yes. I agree.

BUNN: What we need in the case of both North Korea and Iran are policies focused on trying to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons, but at the same time already implementing a plan B that focuses on reassuring their neighbors and containing their programs in the sense of making sure that they don’t lead to the cascade of proliferation that people have been worried about. With respect to Pakistan, fortunately or unfortunately, Musharraf is not the only thing holding the place together. He is very important, but I think that Pakistan is a deeply dysfunctional society. But the military, corrupt as it is, is one of the only functioning institutions in Pakistan and the people guarding the nuclear weapons will still be guarding the nuclear weapons if Musharraf steps on a landmine tomorrow.

I think that the risk of an actual sort of takeover by the sort of Jihadi-leaning parties in Pakistan is real but modest. Unfortunately, if one of those awful things does happen, I think our options are very limited. We don’t know where all the nuclear weapons are in Pakistan and actually going in there and getting them if in a situation of state failure in Pakistan would be very difficult. I’m confident that people have made contingency plans thinking about that situation.

The only way that that kind of thing would work is if the situation had become so dire within Pakistan in terms of collapse and state failure, that those actually controlling the nuclear weapons agreed that is was time to get them out of their country and were sort of cooperating with us to help make that happen. But I don’t see that likelihood as being very substantial in the next five years or something like that. In the longer term, Pakistan, in terms of proliferation and in terms of terrorism, is clearly one of the most dangerous and difficult problems that we have to deal with. I don’t have brilliant answers on that subject.

ANDREASEN: I would just briefly go even further than that and say you could make a strong case that Pakistan is the most dangerous country on the planet today. One of the reasons to oppose the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal is that you’re introducing a dangerous dynamic into the subcontinent security arrangements. What that means is that we really do need to, in the words of The Wall Street Journal signatories, redouble our efforts. It’s incumbent upon the United States having struck that deal to deal with the regional conflict and confrontation on the subcontinent to see if we can’t stabilize that situation. That is a tall order, but we need to make a greater effort than we’ve made to date on that.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I am Naeem Salik from Brookings. From the comments by the panelists and the question which was asked by my friend, you said just now that Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world. But the world thinks otherwise. It thinks the United States is the most dangerous country in the world. These are just questions of perception, you see? It only comes from which you come from and from what angle you are looking at things.

Let me clarify here that Pakistan is not a one-man-show. The general prevailing perception in the United States is that if Musharraf goes, everything will crash. Pakistan, let me tell you, is not Somalia. There are government institutions which are functioning. There is a parliament, whatever its credentials. I don’t say it’s a democratic parliament or whatever, but there are institutions which are there. There’s a command and control structure. The national command authority consists of ten of the top policymakers in the country. Even if Musharraf or anyone else goes, there are people who handle these things.

Matt said that no one knows where those weapons are and that only the Jihadis know they’re there. If we don’t know with all your research and technical and human intelligence, how would they know where those weapons are and how are they going to grab those? I think these are all fantasies which are being peddled along by the media and, unfortunately, some of the experts. But I would request you, my friend, Mr. Bunn, to go on a visit to Pakistan, read some briefings, and see the things for yourself. Probably most of these misconceptions will be clarified. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thanks for your perspectives and the only thing I would just add and I think this is what was driving these comments was that Somalia doesn’t have nuclear weapons. We worry when anybody has nuclear weapons. I think that’s one distinction here.

BUNN: I think actually that most of what I said was actually in your direction. There are institutions handling this thing.

KIMBALL: Right over here. Larry Weiler.

QUESTION: Larry Weiler. I’d like to comment briefly on the question of our policy on nuclear weapons use. It seems to me that this is the elephant that’s been in the closet or in the room for a long time. It makes our entire nonproliferation policy illegitimate, and that was recognized when the NPT was drafted. It’s the thing that if we change that one item, it has ramifications throughout the entire arms control spectrum. Everything that everyone else has talked about is affected by this policy.

Actually, if we were negotiating the NPT today with the present situation in Europe, the effort that Matt Bunn’s dad made on the shores of Lake Geneva in the Sunday afternoon picnic sessions with their Soviet counterparts, would have had a very real chance of putting in place a negative assurance clause in the NPT. But the situation there was such that no one could figure out a framework of words that met the NPT. Now, we have a completely different situation in Europe and that makes the major barrier to a nonproliferation statement or a no-first-use statement much easier today. What also makes it easier is that most Americans think that is our policy, which is something that people tend to forget.

I would add one other thing and that is it seems to me this is the kind of a thing that has got to come from the top not from the bottom up through the bureaucracy. It never will work going upward. The reaction you’ll get is traitor, I know. I also want to refer again to the little exchange I had with President Bush. When I made the point that there was a bargain and that we needed to consider no first use. The transcript doesn’t relate this, but he stood there, he thought a bit, and he said, “I will take your words to heart and I’ll think about that.”

Okay, if I had suggested we withdraw from NATO and he’d said, “I take your words to heart and I’ll think about it.” That would have been something. My point being, I don’t think he had the slightest idea what our nuclear weapons policy really, really was. I think that we make a mistake in assuming that leaders are very familiar with what things are. The point being that you have to get to these people before they assume office to have a better chance. That means our effort really ought to be on the key people before the election that comes up. We will have chance maybe of getting a dynamic statement of the kind that Jack was stalking about. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thanks a lot, Larry. Larry, for those of you who didn’t know, had an amazing exchange at a press conference the president did about a year and a half ago and he had the chance to ask this question. Larry, of course, was with George Bunn in the early days when the NPT was being negotiated.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Masa Ota. I’m a Japanese journalist with Kyodo News. I have just a quick question to Mr. Mendelsohn. I think it’s a great idea to delegitimize the use of nuclear weapons, but my concern is the discussion noted by Mr. Cirincione. Some conservative politicians in my country are talking about the possibility of going nuclear after the North Korean nuclear test. What would be the consequences for deterrence, of the nuclear umbrella, after the United States made a declaratory policy to not be the first to use nuclear weapons? What’s going to be the impact on extended deterrence? Also, how we can balance between the conservative argument in Japan and also a delegitimization of nuclear weapons?

MENDELSOHN: That’s a good question. I felt constrained in the formulation of the no-first-use idea in this letter to add that there will be certain narrow and specialized circumstances. The ones I had in mind were mentioned there and that is in connection with the use of a nuclear weapon or if the survival of the state is in genuine jeopardy. I think that’s actually the only really extended deterrence that we have in mind. During the Cold War we did indeed argue that we would use nuclear weapons in other less, if you will, high threat situations.

But I think we’re unlikely to use a nuclear weapon unless another one has been used or threatened to be used. So extended deterrence from the national survival point of view of a country like Japan I don’t think would be affected by this. You could argue that its security might actually be enhanced by the fact that the United States had reduced, if you will, the level of threat that existed around the world. Referring to the statement earlier, there are some points of view that the United States is the most dangerous country in the world.

ANDREASEN: Just a brief comment on what was asked previously in terms of the comment made about our target audience, leaders and presidential candidates. I think it’s not a coincidence that The Wall Street Journal piece appeared in January of 2007. There are two years to go before the next president assumes office and that really provides the opportunity to focus on our current and future leadership. Remember the Reykjavik Summit meeting that we consider in retrospect last October happened in the seventh year of the Reagan administration with less time to go than President Bush currently has in office. A lot of progress was made after Reykjavik on specific instruments across the board on nuclear weapons. On presidential candidates, I think you’re exactly right that candidates need to be thinking about these issues before they become president. This Wall Street Journal piece and the broader efforts of the Arms Control Association and the arms control community are very important in this stage we’re in now with two years to go before the inauguration of the next president.

BUNN: Let me cite a specific anecdote that Steve may remember differently. He can correct me if he does. During the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton said he was in favor of a Comprehensive Test Ban. When he was in office there was quite an internal debate about whether we were in favor of a real Comprehensive Test Ban or whether we were in favor of a Comprehensive Test Ban that would still allow one-kiloton nuclear tests. That was a petty hard fought discussion inside the Clinton administration. It’s my view at least that had Clinton not publicly endorsed the CTBT already during the campaign, if he wasn’t already on record that way, that that debate might have come out another way than it did. Making people make their views clearer during the course of a campaign can be quite important.

ANDREASEN: Well, I’ll just add to that. I remember going to a lot of meetings in 1993 and reading what the president had said in 1992 so that definitely is a factor. But a piece like the recent piece provides a broad tent, so to speak. In some way it’s the proverbial big tent where there’s a lot of room for candidates to get underneath that tent. It will be interesting to see if that happens in the next six, 12, or 18 months.

KIMBALL: Great. Ed, please.

QUESTION: Edward Ifft. I’d like to go back to the India deal for a moment if I may. I was at a nonproliferation conference in the United Kingdom last month and I talked to several people there who worked very closely with the Nuclear Suppliers Group trying to get a clear answer to the question, does the NSG have a veto over the deal or not? Yes or no? I was not able to get a clear answer. Now, it appears that there’s a veto via the congressional bill that was passed which was mentioned earlier. However, the president in a signing statement said he wasn’t bound by that, so even that is muddled. Now, one of these NSG people finally said to me, look, you don’t understand how we operate. The NSG is unlikely to say either yes or no. What they will probably do is issue a Delphic policy statement which the United States can interpret as a green light and others may interpret differently. Can you shed any further light on this? Thank you.

CIRINCIONE: I think you have just stated it about as clearly as it can be stated. I know there were many members of Congress and their staffs who believed that if the NSG does not approve this deal, it will not go through. Many members of Congress, including people who were moving the legislation, believed this to be the case that the NSG has to approve this before the Congress will then continue the approval process. I also believe that the president’s signing statements are unconstitutional. I don’t believe they’re valid. I don’t believe the president can pick and choose the component of the laws that he signs. We’ve allowed this practice to continue for the last six years. I don’t believe it could hold up, and I don’t believe Congress believes that those statements are valid.

BUNN: This is an amendment to Atomic Energy Act, right? If he does something that is not permitted by the Atomic Energy Act – I can’t imagine even this president actually consciously violating the Atomic Energy Act. This is law that has constrained all of us in this room for so long we sort of feel as though it’s almost holy writ in a certain sense.

I had a fascinating discussion with a senior nonproliferation official at the Department of Energy a couple of months ago about this issue of multilateral fuel assurances. The United States has taken 17 tons of highly enriched uranium to blend down and offer it as a reserve that states could draw upon if they had a problem with their supplies. But they’re going to have it sitting in the United States under all the constraints of the Atomic Energy Act. That means that none of the countries that we would be most nervous about if they were doing enrichment or reprocessing will see it as any assurance at all because they won’t be able to get access to it because they don’t have agreements with us under the Atomic Energy Act. I said to him, well, what you ought to do is take some of this material and sell it to the French and have the French or somebody like that take some of their material and put it into a reserve. Then, it’s not under all the constraints of the Atomic Energy Act. He said that it may surprise you to learn that I do not conceive my job as figuring out ways to violate the Atomic Energy Act. Despite the signing statement, I think the NSG has to approve it. It’s not going to happen if that doesn’t happen.

KIMBALL: Yes, I’m not a constitutional law expert, but I think another reality, Ed, is that if the NSG does not reach consensus, they could theoretically decide to vote on this by majority, which would be highly unusual. In that event, I would say the NSG is dead, okay, because you have the founding country basically saying, if you don’t agree with us, we’re going to do whatever we want. Signing statements aside, I think there’s a global nonproliferation reality that the United States has to face. And it’s not just this president, it is still the next one and the next one.

As to what the NSG will do, I still have my questions about that too. There are some people here in this room I could point you out to. You should discuss with them what the NSG might do because they represent NSG countries. But the other thing to remember is that the NSG may come up with a different formulation for granting India this unrestricted trade. Some countries may want a criteria-based approach rather than a country-specific approach. That could create another layer of difficulties because different countries might have different ideas about which criteria should be included. Some people might want other countries included in addition to India, while others like the United States do not. There are a lot of questions that are still out there about the NSG and I don’t think the Indians, the Bush administration, or the Arms Control Association have the answers yet. In the back, Michael Klare, please.

QUESTION: Yes. I apologize if this question was asked in some form earlier, but I wonder if the panelists could tell me whether they have reason to believe that a clock is now ticking on Iran? What I mean by that is it was very obvious to knowledgeable observers in July 2002 that a plan was in motion for an attack on Iraq. I spoke to some senior military people at a meeting at the Naval War College in July 2002 and objections were raised and they said, well, you make good arguments, but the decision has been made already. I don’t know if it was March 16, 2003 in particular, but there were clear signs that a time period had been set. I feel in my bones that there is now a clock ticking on Iran. I don’t know if it’s May 15, 2007 or something like that, but I wonder if you gentlemen believe that there is a clock ticking?

CIRINCIONE: Let me start. I think there’s a clock ticking in two senses. I think within Iran the nuclear hardliners are trying to establish facts on the ground as quickly as possible to make their program irreversible. I believe that we have about two years to stop that effort before it may become unstoppable. I also believe that in this administration there are some who have their own clock ticking on planning strikes for Iran. We know that a plan to strike Iran has been drawn up and is in the White House. It exists and it is different in kind than the other plans that exist for all kinds of options. This is ready to be implemented. We see pieces of what would be required to implement that plan being put in motion.

What we don’t know is whether there are innocent explanations for moving the second carrier battle group into the Gulf or appointing a naval aviator to be the head of Central Command or whether these in fact are part of setting the table for military strikes. Moving Patriot anti-missile systems into Iraq strikes me as a less ambiguous signal. There’s no purpose for Patriot missiles except to defend against Scuds. The Iraqi militias and insurgents do not have Scuds. Only Iran and Syria have Scuds. Why exactly are we moving those Patriot batteries in there? I don’t know what exactly the odds are of this administration launching a military strike, but it is not zero.

Before the election I thought the chances were 60 percent that this president will extend and expand the war into military action against Iran. After the election I thought personally it sort of dropped to around 30 percent. It just went back up. My personal guess is it’s 50-50, that there are some people in this administration who want to do it and do not want to leave office with the Iranian regime still in place. My only question is whether cooler heads will prevail.

BUNN: It’s been publicly reported—I don’t know whether it’s true or not—that the president has said to France that he would consider it a personal and national humiliation if the Iranian nuclear problem hadn’t been solved by the time he left office. I am a little bit less pessimistic than Joe. I’m still in the 20 or 30 percent range for my estimate of the probability of military action before this presidential term is out. But that’s a big enough probability given what I believe would be very catastrophic consequences or set of actions to be worried about it. We should try to do everything we can to make the case as to what the consequences of military actions are and what the risks of other options are and the potential costs and benefits of the different options. I think one of the things that this community ought to be doing that hasn’t been done to my satisfaction yet is a really detailed analysis of the likely impact and consequences of limited military strikes against Iran.

The one thing I would add to what Joe said is the Israeli factor. I was at a meeting recently where a senior neo-con with very good connections to the White House and in Israel made the following set of points. He said, number one, there isn’t any major leader of any party in Israel who is willing to just sit back and deter a nuclear armed Iran. That’s just unacceptable to all of them. Number two, the Israelis see the Iranian program moving much faster than the international sanctions are having any effect. Therefore, number three, eventually the Israelis may get to the point where they feel that they have no choice, but to take military action. And number four, that the perception in at least some quarters of the Bush administration, possibly correctly, is that the Israeli military action would be the worst of all possible worlds because we would suffer essentially all of the costs that we would suffer if we had done it ourselves. In addition, the Israelis don’t have the military capability to do it as effectively as we would be able to do it. He didn’t go on to draw the conclusion, but my conclusion from his remarks was that under those circumstances there might well be people in the government who would say to the Israelis, don’t you do it, we’ll do it ourselves. I think it’s a genuine factor that has to be considered. I do think the odds are better given all the other things going on in that region and in our situation militarily and politically that it won’t happen. But I don’t think it’s a non-trivial risk that it will happen.

MENDELSOHN: I agree very much to what Matt has just said. If the clock is ticking, it is ticking faster in Tel Aviv than it is here. If that’s not a violation of relativity; actually it’s a demonstration of relativity. We need to be concerned because if it does happen, we will indeed be implicated and assumed to have in fact sponsored it. If not sponsored, certainly, tacitly approved it.

KIMBALL: We’re closing in on the time for this session this morning. In fact, we’re a little bit over. I want to take the three last questions in quick succession and we’re going to try to answer them quickly because such good questions have been asked. I have this gentleman right here, I have Mr. Paulsen, and then this gentleman in the back row. We’ll go one, two, and then three.

QUESTION: Thank you. Erik Paulsen from the Norwegian Embassy. I just would like to ask the panel for reactions to the Chinese ASAT test that was reported a couple of days ago. As I can tell, the Chinese have sent a strong message through this test to the United States. In Congress, people like Congressman Ed Markey has said something to the effect, point taken, now let’s try to work to avoid an arms race. But, as far as the Congress is concerned, do you think this Chinese message will prove counter productive? Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi. Mark Goodman. What do you expect this new Congress to do and what do you think they should do in the coming two years?

QUESTION: Herbert Levin. You’ve discussed that the justification for the Indian agreement is that it will help contain China by increasing India’s nuclear capabilities and we have the smiles from the U.S. government on that vocal minority within Japan who like to see them move toward nuclear weapons. The Chinese in their customary manner have been rather quiet and not publicly discussing this. What reaction do you anticipate from the Chinese when they decide to react against the American effort to have nuclear containment around the edges of China?

KIMBALL: ASAT test, did you want to address that quickly?

BUNN: I’ve practically found it a little bit amusing that the National Security Council issued a statement saying, this is inconsistent with the kind of civil cooperation we’ve been looking for given how absolutely dedicated the Bush administration has been to promoting a space weapons agenda and stomping on any suggestion of international, negotiated controls over space weapons. At the same time, the tests created a mound of space debris that’s going to be a hazard to satellites in similar orbits to the one that was destroyed. I think that is a symbol of one the reasons why we do need to figure out some way to move forward to constrain testing of weapons that are going to create that kind of debris and constraints on space weapons.

No space weapons regime is going to be perfect. As with all arms control, you’re talking about reducing risks and having one tool in your toolbox for protecting your satellites. But I think we need to move forward on space arms control. The test will actually make it a little more difficult to move forward on space arms control because now everybody will be saying that the Chinese already have the capability, et cetera, et cetera.

On what the Congress should do, I think there is a great deal of opportunity for more vigorous oversight of a lot of nonproliferation policies and more pressure on the administration to take sensible actions on nonproliferation. I would like to see authorizations and appropriations related to a lot of the steps I outlined related to strengthening security for nuclear material around the world, strengthening export controls around the world, strengthening the IAEA, and so on. Some of those measures are included in some of the legislation now being discussed, such as implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendation, but by no means all. Ultimately, the reality is more than 90 percent of nonproliferation is something the executive branch has to do and therefore the key is figuring out ways that the Congress can influence the policies that the executive branch undertakes. It’s not always successful, but it’s not impossible.

KIMBALL: On that subject, there is a short and good piece by Arms Control Today editor Miles Pomper in the current issue of Arms Control Today about that very question. I suggest you read that. For those of you joining us at the luncheon upstairs in a few minutes, that’s a great question for Howard Berman. He is the second ranking Democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. So we’ll hear more from him about what Congress might be doing in this realm.

The last question was about what China’s reaction on the India deal is going to be. Clearly, we’re going to have to have some more discussions on the India deal because a lot of questions are still coming out about that. China has issued mixed signals publicly about this. Some have been deeply opposed, claiming this is an affront to the nonproliferation system. Others have been a little bit more open to the idea. From my contacts and my communications, it’s pretty clear that if China is going to accept anything, it’s going to seek a criteria-based rule at the NSG to give India access to civil trade. To what extent it seeks to include Pakistan in that criteria-based approach is not yet clear, but I think that’s probably the direction that China will probably go in. That may not be good news for India or the United States because, as I said before, a criteria- versus country-specific approach could be very difficult to work out at the NSG, which does not work very fast at all. But we need to wrap up quickly.

MENDELSOHN: Let me say one thing on Asia. Some of you may remember a very strange reaction by the Chinese, must be about five years ago now, in connection with the U.S. Missile Defense Program. The Chinese in Geneva and probably also in Beijing said that in response to the U.S. strategic system, they intended to consider interfering with any satellites that were connected to that system. They would not permit them to overfly China. You might go back and check. I actually can give you some sources for that. It’s interesting that at the time, of course, the reaction of the United States was, they can’t. Now they can.

KIMBALL: We’ve provided for you today a very broad ranging set of presentations. I would urge you to check back with us because we’re going to be dealing in much more detail in each of these areas through the course of the year at our briefings and in Arms Control Today. I want to ask you to join me in thanking our panelists this morning. (Applause.)

Finally, on each of your chairs is this slick little brochure from the Arms Control Association. If you’re not a member or a subscriber, think about becoming one. Our brochures are slick, but we still need your money and support to help produce them and the magazine, so please consider doing so or asking a friend to do so. For those of you joining us upstairs, let me just give you a couple of directions about logistics. The program hopefully will be starting at noon, but that means that we need to ask you to start moving upstairs to find your seats. Those of you who have these should keep them. There’s a coloring system which will tell us whether you’ve paid or not and where you sit. Please go ahead and move upstairs, find your seat, and thank you very much for joining us this morning.

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Panelists: Steve Andreasen, Matthew Bunn, Joseph Cirincione, Jack Mendelsohn, Daryl Kimball

NEWS ANALYSIS: Major Policy Shifts Unlikely With Democratic Congress

Miles A. Pomper

Democrats take control of Congress this month for the first time in a dozen years, but their ascension is likely to lead to only modest shifts in U.S. arms control and nonproliferation policies, say congressional aides and independent experts.

After all, Republican president George W. Bush will still be at the helm setting the course for the U.S. agenda on these issues. The 2008 election campaign will soon cause many lawmakers to focus more on scoring political points than on piling up legislative or foreign policy victories. Additionally, although lawmakers claim to place high priority on nonproliferation, Congress’s foreign policy agenda is likely to be dominated by the search for a means to stabilize Iraq and extract U.S. forces.

Not to mention that a Republican-led Congress had already stymied some of Bush’s more controversial initiatives, particularly those that would have significantly altered the nature of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal and the nuclear posture inherited from the Cold War. (See ACT, November 2006. ) Democrats will surely push back just as hard and probably a little bit harder, but the outcome will likely be similar.

Indeed, the most dramatic changes in the arms control and nonproliferation arena may have already occurred when November’s election results encouraged the postelection resignations of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations John Bolton.

Rumsfeld championed deployment of the rudimentary Ground-based Missile Defense (GMD) system and the idea of placing interceptors in space. His departure could enhance the ability of Democrats, already skeptical of these systems, to restrict planned missile defense deployments, particularly the idea of creating a test bed for such systems in space.

Bolton, a skeptic of multilateral treaties and organizations, had helped scuttle efforts to move forward on such measures as a 2005 UN effort to craft an action plan on disarmament. (See ACT, October 2005. ) He also called for taking a hard line with Iran and North Korea, two countries known or suspected to be pursuing nuclear weapons. Bush’s choice of a successor to Bolton may say a great deal about whether he will seek to continue these policies or hew to the somewhat more diplomatic approach that Condoleezza Rice has been carving out since she became secretary of state two years ago.

To be sure, some changes will certainly be in store in the way Congress handles these issues as Democrats take charge on Capitol Hill. But given their narrow margin and the fact that many of these issues naturally fall to the executive branch, their scope will likely be fairly limited.

More Aggressive Oversight

House of Representatives and Senate foreign affairs and armed services panels are pledging to take a closer look at the ongoing nuclear crisis with Iran and North Korea, as well as tackle longer-term issues such as the potential for future strategic weapons accords with Russia. They are also aiming to provide a reality check on much-touted administration initiatives aimed at preventing terrorists or “rogue” states from transferring nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and related technology, including requiring the administration to make explicit budget requests for some of these efforts.

One administration proposal that could face tough sledding on Capitol Hill would be an effort to strike a nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia. Lawmakers have grown dissatisfied with Moscow in recent years, with the Kremlin’s continued cooperation with Iran a particular sore point. One aide, noting that it took more than a dozen years for Congress to approve a similar accord with China, asked rhetorically, “Is Russia’s proliferation record so much better than China that they don’t need to be treated similarly?”

More Money and Flexibility for Threat Reduction Activities and Less for Missile Defenses

Democrats have long championed adding funds for programs that dismantle, secure, and destroy nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons arsenals and related materials in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. Democrats want to repeal restrictions that have sometimes blocked program elements, such as some chemical weapons destruction efforts in Russia, from being carried out.

Moreover, increasing funds for such activities was one of the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pledged to turn the panel’s recommendations into law. The bill also calls for the creation of a White House office to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly to terrorism groups, and the creation of a bipartisan independent commission to offer recommendations on U.S. policy in this area.

One particular program to which Congress will likely add funds is the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. The program seeks to repatriate Russian- and U.S.-origin nuclear fuel from sites abroad, shut down highly enriched uranium-fueled reactors or convert them to the use of low-enriched uranium fuel, and secure radioactive materials worldwide. How much Congress might add is uncertain. Aides said that the administration is already assuming such additions; they have been told that the White House will propose cutting these programs as part of its fiscal year 2008 budget request to prod Congress to restore funding only to current levels.

If real increases in threat reduction programs occur, they are expected to be paid for by cuts in missile defense. Alluding to the mixed testing record of the GMD system last November, new Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told reporters that “it’s a mistake to purchase all of these missiles before we know that they’re going to work.”

Although Levin acknowledged that considerable funding for the GMD system will go forward, congressional aides said they see little prospect of supporting administration plans to create a space-based test bed before Bush leaves office. Other programs are expected to be trimmed slightly.

Less clear is the fate of administration plans to deploy ground-based interceptors in Europe. Last year, Congress hedged its bets by providing funds for site preparation but permitting potential interceptors to be deployed elsewhere. There is little Democratic enthusiasm for funding the effort while a U.S. system remains unproven and howls of protest continue from Russia. Still, news reports indicate that the administration may attempt to undercut congressional opposition by picking a site in Poland before lawmakers have an opportunity to act.

Challenges to New Bush Administration’s Plans for Revamping the Nation’s Nuclear Posture

Recent studies indicating that plutonium pits will last longer than previously expected “have taken a lot of urgency” out of the administration’s proposal to create a new nuclear warhead to replace existing types, said a House committee aide. Likewise, an administration plan to substitute conventional warheads for nuclear ones on Trident submarines is expected to be put on ice, pending the conclusion of a National Academy of Sciences study on the wisdom of the plan.

Fuel-Cycle Decisions on Hold

The previous Congress’s failure to pass legislation funding the Department of Energy for the current fiscal year has put several initiatives of the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration on hold (funding is continuing at previous-year levels under a continuing resolution). These include the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which aims to develop new nuclear fuel-cycle technologies, including new forms of spent-fuel reprocessing. The administration claims these technologies will help nuclear power play a growing role in meeting U.S. and global energy needs while reducing the danger that civilian nuclear programs might be diverted for nuclear weapons purposes. But some lawmakers have questioned the technical, diplomatic, and financial basis of the GNEP program, and some are concerned about the proliferation risks of promoting reprocessing research.

The failure to pass the Energy Department funding bill also has left unresolved how to meet the U.S. part of a 2000 U.S.-Russian commitment under which each country is to dispose of 34 metric tons of plutonium. The initial agreement called for the material to be blended down into mixed-oxide fuel for nuclear reactors. But last year, Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio) successfully argued for having U.S. plutonium rendered unusable for weapons by immobilizing it with glass or ceramic in storage casks, although he failed to convince his Senate counterparts. With the Democratic victory, however, the two major antagonists in this and other disputes concerning the energy and water appropriations bill—Hobson and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) —no longer wield a chairman’s gavel.

Signed Defense Bills Rebuff Pentagon Plans

Caitlin Harrington

President George W. Bush recently signed into law two pieces of defense legislation that dramatically curb his administration’s plans to reconfigure the nation’s nuclear forces.

The fiscal year 2007 defense authorization law, which sets broad policy goals and funding ceilings for the Departments of Defense and Energy, and the 2007 defense spending law both reflect lawmakers’ reluctance to alter the nuclear posture of the Cold War era.

Congress has been reluctant to reshape the decades-old nuclear triad, an offensive strategy that offers nuclear strike options from air, land, and sea. Lawmakers have clung to this model because of concerns that changes could be counterproductive for national security and might hurt some of their parochial interests.

The $447.6 billion defense appropriations bill, signed into law Sept. 29, and the $532.8 billion defense authorization measure, signed Oct. 17, both reflect this view. The measures restrict the Pentagon’s efforts to reduce the nation’s stockpile of land-based nuclear missiles, prevent the retirement of some aging Air Force bombers that carry nuclear weapons, and put the brakes on the Prompt Global Strike Initiative plan to convert some nuclear missiles on Navy submarines into conventional weapons.

As envisioned in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review, the Prompt Global Strike Initiative would allow the Pentagon to use conventional weapons to attack targets anywhere in the world in less than an hour. Under the administration proposal, within two years, the Navy would convert 24 nuclear missiles on 12 Trident submarines into conventional weapons. The administration had asked for $127 million for the plan for fiscal year 2007, which began Oct. 1.

But the recently enacted defense spending and authorization laws deal a major blow to the initiative. The authorization bill delays the Prompt Global Strike initiative until the Pentagon completes a study to address congressional concerns that potential adversaries or third countries might mistake the former nuclear weapons for the real thing. Lawmakers authorized just $32 million to pay for the study. They were even less generous in the defense spending law, which provides $20 million to explore the feasibility of modifying missiles for conventional use and $5 million for the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on whether there is a need for a global strike capability and whether there might be other ways to achieve it.

In addition to blocking the Pentagon’s move to switch some missile payloads from nuclear to conventional weapons, Congress also took other steps to preserve the nuclear force structure of the Cold War era. The defense authorization law blocks the Air Force from retiring more than 18 of its 93 B-52H bomber aircraft, which have been the staple nuclear bombers in the Air Force’s fleet for 50 years. The defense appropriations law takes the prohibition a step further, stating that no money may be spent on retiring B-52H bombers until the Pentagon produces a report that analyzes, among other things, the national security implications of retiring the bombers.

Lawmakers from North Dakota and Louisiana, where the B-52s are based, have challenged Pentagon plans to reduce the aging bomber fleet.

The defense laws also take steps to protect land-based nuclear capabilities. The defense authorization law restricts Pentagon plans to cut 50 of the military’s 500 Minuteman III ICBMs, the only such land-based nuclear weapons in service in the United States. The bill would require the Pentagon to produce a plan for extending the life of the arsenal beyond 2030, as well as several other reports, before any missiles could be eliminated. The defense spending law provides $651.3 million for Minuteman III modifications and states that lawmakers “disagree with proposals to terminate the program after fiscal year 2007” and expect the Pentagon to provide funding for the Minutemen III missiles in its fiscal year 2008 budget submission.

The effort to restrict the retirement of Minuteman missiles was led by Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). The 91st Space Wing at Minot Air Force base maintains 150 Minuteman missiles spread across central and western North Dakota.

Missile Defense

Congress appears more receptive to the Pentagon’s emphasis on missile defense as one leg of what it describes as a new triad. The defense appropriations law provides $9.4 billion for missile defense, a 20 percent increase over funding in fiscal year 2006. The defense authorization act fully funds the president’s request at $9.3 billion.

Lawmakers were critical of some aspects of the Pentagon’s missile defense agenda. In reports accompanying the defense spending and authorization bills, Congress criticized the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for shuffling MDA dollars without first informing Congress. Lawmakers have worried that MDA’s investments in seeking technological advances has come at the cost of nailing down the basics. The current configuration of the Pentagon’s four-year-old ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system intercepted a test target for the first time in September, but only after interceptors failed to leave their silos during tests in December 2004 and February 2005. (See ACT, October 2006.)

As a result of concerns about MDA priorities, the defense authorization act calls on the Pentagon to emphasize ballistic missile defense systems that can be deployed in the near term. A report accompanying the defense appropriations law labeled as “unacceptable” MDA’s shuffling of funds without congressional oversight and requires MDA to notify Congress before moving funds worth more than $10 million or 20 percent of the program’s value, whichever is less.

Following this logic, the largest share of MDA funding will go to the GMD system, initial elements of which have been deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska. The defense spending law provides $3 billion for the system. Similarly, the defense authorization measure approves $3.1 billion for the GMD segment, $202 million more than the president’s request. The GMD system consists of 11 interceptors in Alaska and two in California. Those interceptors have been on alert since North Korea began missile test preparations in June.

Congress also was supportive but sparing with funding for the Bush administration’s plans to deploy ground-based interceptors in Europe. The Bush administration has already approached the Czech Republic and Poland about its plans to deploy 10 interceptors in Europe to counter what is perceived as a rising Iranian nuclear threat. The defense appropriations provides $32.8 million for the site and $63 million to begin work on the base’s proposed 10 interceptors, which lawmakers said also could be deployed elsewhere. This amounts to a $23 million cut from the original request. The defense authorization bill provides $33 million for a European interceptor site.

Other missile defense programs thought to have near-term applications also fared well. Both the defense authorization and appropriations laws provide $489 million for the procurement of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles and $70 million for modifications of existing systems. Both laws also approve $1.1 billion for the Aegis anti-ballistic missile system, $100 million more than the president’s request.

Congress was less favorably disposed toward more ambitious, long-term missile defense programs. For example, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program, which aims to destroy missiles in the early stages of flight, has suffered from a two-year delay in its deployment schedule, and as a result, lawmakers were quick to cut funds for it. The defense spending law cut $48 million from the Bush administration’s $358 million request for the KEI program, which took an even harder hit in the defense authorization law, which authorizes just $245 million.

Plutonium Disposition

Congress refused to authorize the Bush administration’s request for $35 million in funding for a Russian-based facility to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium. The United States and Russia agreed in 2000 to blend 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium each with uranium to provide mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear power reactors. But the effort has been stalled for several years, and lawmakers said in the report accompanying the defense spending law that they will not subsidize the cost of the Russian disposal facility if the Russians refuse to help pay for it.

The defense authorization measure does provide $264 million to build a U.S.-based MOX facility, but the funds will be withheld until the Energy Department provides an independent cost estimate for construction and also certifies that it plans to use the MOX facility for plutonium disposition, regardless of what occurs with the Russian program.

Cooperative Threat Reduction

Congress reduced funds to help former states in the Soviet Union safely dismantle, secure, and destroy their nuclear arsenals. Both the spending and authorization laws meet the president’s request of $372 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program. The total is $44 million less than was included for the program in the fiscal year 2006 defense appropriations bill. The administration claimed, however, that it made up the difference last February by including an additional $44.5 million for the program in a 2006 wartime supplemental spending measure.

Fingers on the Nuclear Trigger

At the Borderline of Armageddon: How American Presidents Managed the Atom Bomb. By James E. Goody

Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

At last, a well-written, objective account of the evolution of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and efforts at nuclear arms control from the beginning of the nuclear age to the dangerous situation we face today. In At the Borderline of Armageddon, James Goodby examines how each U.S. president since World War II has sought to manage the atomic bomb.

U.S. presidents have had no illusions about the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war. Despite great differences in personality and the challenges they faced, all presidents have come to understand that such a conflict, in the words of President Ronald Reagan, “cannot be won and must never be fought.” Although public formulations of nuclear policy have at times appeared to preserve nuclear options in certain circumstances, presidents have been very careful to step back from the borderline of Armageddon.

Goodby presents this historical review essentially as a series of case studies examining the role of each president in turn rather than the evolution of separate policy issues. This provides the reader with material to assess and compare the overall contribution of each president.

The book challenged me to review my own experiences, which somewhat parallel Goodby’s. Although prepared to be critical, I found myself in almost complete agreement with his treatment of the complex history of the period and his commentary on events and personalities.

Presidents and Precedents

President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the nuclear age when he authorized the Manhattan Project, but President Harry Truman took the decisive steps when he authorized the use of nuclear weapons against Japan and subsequently approved the then-controversial hydrogen bomb project. Goodby correctly emphasizes, however, that Truman also established numerous wise precedents for the control of nuclear weapons.

These precedents included civilian control of atomic energy, presidential control of nuclear weapons, and a rejection of preventive war, as well as attempts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and bring them under international control. He also showed a willingness to negotiate with adversaries.

At the time that the United States was the sole possessor of nuclear weapons, Truman proposed a universal ban on nuclear weapons with international controls under the United Nations. He unambiguously established the primacy of the president in controlling these arms when, during the Korean War, he cashiered General Douglas MacArthur, who wanted a free hand against China, including possibly using nuclear weapons. Truman’s legacy was a remarkable record for a simple man thrust by fate into the world’s most powerful position.

In contrast to Truman, former General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had led Allied forces in World War II, came to the presidency well qualified to tackle the nuclear threat. In the wake of the testing of multi-megaton thermonuclear weapons, he concluded that there could be no winners in a nuclear war. With the growth of Soviet nuclear capabilities, however, he was under increasing military and political pressure to react. These pressures were epitomized by the 1957 Gaither Report, whose recommendations, Goodby correctly reports, Eisenhower angrily rejected.

As the Department of Defense staff representative on the study, I agreed with Eisenhower’s conclusion that the United States would become a “garrison state” if it implemented all of the recommendations, which included, among other things, a call for nationwide fallout and blast shelters and a crash buildup of strategic offensive and defensive weapon systems.

Testing Times and Test Bans

Despite pressures for a military buildup and the public shock over the 1957 Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite, which was seen as a proxy for a long-range ballistic missile capability, Eisenhower took the initiative in proposing a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT) with the now increasingly feared Soviet adversary. As Goodby correctly points out, Eisenhower’s military credentials allowed him to propose arms control negotiations and thus helped establish another useful precedent for future commanders-in-chief.

As technical assistant to Eisenhower’s first science adviser, James Killian, I was at the center of the preparations and subsequent negotiations with the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom for a CTBT. At the time, Eisenhower appeared to be acting almost alone, with little visible support within his administration in the face of intense opposition from the military, the weapons laboratories, and Congress. Goodby reports that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles supported Eisenhower in the initiative, but that only became public decades later with the release of a classified memorandum. Despite concerted efforts to sabotage the negotiations by U.S. opponents, much progress was made until late in Eisenhower’s administration when President Nikita Khrushchev withdrew from the negotiations after the shooting down of a U-2 spy plane over Sverdlovsk.

President John F. Kennedy, of course, deserves great credit for his personal role in the Cuban missile crisis, which demonstrated the critical importance a president can and must play in avoiding Armageddon. Nevertheless, Kennedy was handicapped by his emphasis during the election campaign on the so-called missile gap. In reality, this gap did not exist, but the belief that it did resulted in a massive ballistic missile buildup.

Still, Kennedy resumed the test ban negotiations, which soon bogged down on the issue of the number of permitted inspections of seismic events that might have been caused by underground nuclear tests. The United States eventually called for seven or eight, while the Soviets offered two or three. My boss, Jerry Wiesner, attempted unsuccessfully to persuade Kennedy and the Soviets to split the difference and propose five inspections, but there were no takers. I thought at the time and still believe that Kennedy did not really want a comprehensive test ban agreement because it had little chance of ratification in the face of rabid military, weapons laboratory, and congressional opposition. I suspect the same was true for Khrushchev, who was facing increasing domestic problems.

The 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which ruled out nuclear testing in space, the atmosphere, and underwater, still permitted underground tests as a mutually convenient way to resolve the diplomatic stalemate. I believe Goodby is overly generous in the high marks he gives Kennedy for this treaty. The agreement did reassure world opinion of improved U.S.-Soviet relations after the Cuban missile crisis. It also put an end to atmospheric testing, which had resulted in extremely high-yield Soviet atmospheric tests with significant worldwide fallout as well as high-altitude U.S. tests that produced alarming effects on satellites, which Goodby fails to note. Fundamentally, however, the Limited Test Ban Treaty simply drove testing underground where many more tests were conducted than before the treaty took effect. It also helped delay the negotiation of a comprehensive test ban treaty for more than 30 years.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, despite his growing preoccupation with Vietnam, rejected out of hand the use of nuclear weapons there. His view of nuclear war was brought home to me by his reaction at the final meeting in 1965 on the military budget to an item listed as DUCCS. In response to his question as to what this was, he was told it stood for Deep Underground Command and Control Site, a facility that would be located several thousand feet underground, between the White House and the Pentagon, designed to survive a ground burst of a 20-megaton bomb and sustain the president and key advisers for several months until it would be safe to exit through tunnels emerging many miles outside Washington. After a brief puzzled expression, Johnson let loose with a string of Johnsonian expletives making clear he thought this was the stupidest idea he had ever heard and that he had no intention of hiding in an expensive hole while the rest of Washington and probably the United States were burned to a crisp. That was the last I ever heard of DUCCS.

Nonproliferation and Arms Control

One of the few key activities Goodby fails to mention was the Gilpatric Committee, which in early 1966 reported to Johnson on nuclear proliferation. The committee’s membership included Chairman Roswell Gilpatric, formerly Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s deputy, and eight former senior government officials who were united in their recommendation for prompt action to contain nuclear proliferation and their support for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), then in the early stages of negotiation. As staff director of the committee, I participated in the hour-long briefing with Johnson, who was clearly impressed. Subsequently, when some key U.S. allies raised objections that made successful completion of the NPT uncertain, Johnson instructed Secretary of State Dean Rusk to do what was necessary to complete the treaty promptly. Without Johnson’s personal intervention, the treaty would not have been completed during his presidency.

Johnson and McNamara recognized the need to cap the rapid buildup of strategic nuclear arms and to include limits on ballistic missile defenses as well as to maintain stable mutual deterrence. Their thinking on these matters, which was initially introduced to a skeptical Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin at a 1967 summit in Glassboro, New Jersey, became the basis for subsequent negotiations leading to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Although the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1968 led to postponement of the initial U.S.-Soviet negotiations tentatively scheduled for September 1968, Johnson believed so strongly in the importance of the subject that he privately sought, up to the last days of his presidency, to reschedule the beginning of the talks in a desperate effort to present incoming President Richard M. Nixon, whose support was uncertain, with the fait accompli of an ongoing negotiation.

Nixon surprised both critics and supporters by vigorously pursuing Johnson’s initiatives on capping strategic nuclear arms and nuclear proliferation. Immediately after taking office, he announced that he supported the idea of talks with the Soviets on a strategic treaty. After having his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, study the strategic situation intensively for nine months, Nixon initiated negotiations that led to the ABM Treaty and SALT I. He also obtained Senate advice and consent to ratification of the NPT even though some key states, including China, France, Germany, and Japan, did not ratify the treaty at that time.

As assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), I participated in the interminable meetings leading up to and backstopping these negotiations. Although it was originally envisaged that ACDA would manage the interagency planning and backstopping process, it was soon apparent that this would not work given the strong opposition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Department to the undertaking. I was delighted when Kissinger’s increased involvement in the planning shifted the detailed management directly to the White House, as success depended on Nixon’s conviction that it was his own treaty to achieve and defend.

With Kissinger’s participation, the ABM Treaty was successfully negotiated and received the Senate’s advice and consent by an overwhelming vote of 88 to 2, and the SALT I Interim Agreement received strong congressional approval. Remarkably, Nixon accomplished these breakthroughs in arms control as well as the opening to China despite remaining mired in Vietnam for almost his entire tenure and the developing domestic problems that eventually led to his resignation.

President Gerald Ford’s brief term was marked by failure to make progress on SALT II, which was important because SALT I was only an interim five-year agreement. Whatever Ford’s personal intentions, he was unable to rise above the quarreling over nuclear policy among the strong-willed advisers he inherited: Kissinger and Secretaries of Defense James Schlesinger and Donald Rumsfeld. Goodby describes these internecine battles well.

President Jimmy Carter came to office with strong views on the need to step back from nuclear annihilation with a broad and impressive arms control agenda. Despite his excellent intentions and generally sound judgment, unforeseen external events and poor timing conspired to limit severely what he was able to accomplish. At the outset, in addition to efforts to complete the long-delayed SALT II, he launched a fusillade of new initiatives, including a CTBT, a ban on anti-satellite systems, and even limits on conventional weapons.

Although all of these proposals were highly desirable, they were too much for the U.S. bureaucracy and its aging Soviet counterpart to handle in the face of strong, hostile, vested interests. These and other initiatives floundered against the background of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Frustrated and angry, Carter decided to withdraw SALT II from Senate ratification. As acting ACDA director, I advised Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to oppose this action, even though immediate ratification was not in the cards, because, I argued, under the circumstances every effort should be made to keep avenues of contact with the Soviet Union open.

While pursuing his broad arms control agenda, Carter was confronted with a number of proposals for major new military programs designed to increase U.S. nuclear deterrent and war-fighting capabilities. He received much unwarranted criticism for correctly canceling or opposing several of these programs, of which the so-called neutron bomb was the best-known example. The neutron bomb, which was touted as a more acceptable way to utilize tactical nuclear weapons in Europe because it killed people with less impact on property, did not in fact differ in any significant way from existing low-yield tactical nuclear weapons. Carter sensibly canceled the unnecessary program when Germany, after originally enthusiastically championing it, refused to permit deployment of the weapons on its territory.

In the closing days of Carter’s administration, I was assigned to head the U.S. delegation to negotiations with the Soviets to explore the possibility of an agreement on Theater Nuclear Forces. My instructions were to discuss anything I wanted except the possibility of mutual zero levels for intermediate-range nuclear missiles, a concept that was then anathema to Germany because it was seen by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as destroying the “seamless web” of nuclear deterrence. This restriction was discouraging because I thought this was the only basis for an agreement. The Soviets chose not to pursue this option, and the talks ended with Reagan’s election victory.

Reagan’s Astonishing Evolution

Goodby documents how Reagan’s initial negative view of arms control gradually evolved, amazing critics and supporters alike as he became an advocate of radical proposals that went beyond traditional arms control to proposals that cut, rather than merely limited, nuclear weapons. At the outset, he rejected ratifying SALT II and then proclaimed as the centerpiece of his nuclear policy the Strategic Defense Initiative, which had the impossible goal of developing an impenetrable shield that would make nuclear weapons “impotent and obsolete.” Interestingly, he did not call for repudiation of the ABM Treaty but proposed instead a bizarre “broad” interpretation of the treaty that would allow precisely what the treaty was designed to prohibit.

With the passage of time, however, Reagan initiated the negotiation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) to reduce rather than simply cap the number of strategic nuclear systems. He also negotiated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banning all intermediate-range nuclear missiles, a concept that only a few years earlier had been considered beyond the pale. At a truly remarkable summit at Reykjavik, Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev exchanged proposals to ban all strategic nuclear missiles but failed to agree on the treatment of ballistic missile defenses. One wonders if agreement had been reached at Reykjavik whether it could have actually led to a full-fledged treaty, given the obsession with details subsequently demanded in START I. It is also interesting to ponder what the consequences of such a treaty would have been for international security.

In describing the record of President George H. W. Bush, Goodby leads the reader to the conclusion that Bush accomplished more actual arms control than any other president. Goodby notes that Bush quickly completed and ratified START I and negotiated START II, which called for much deeper reductions of strategic delivery systems. Even more significantly, with the collapse of the Soviet Union looming, he recognized the potential danger of the chaos that might ensue and the opportunity it presented to bring the world a major step back from nuclear disaster.

Bush seized the moment and announced the unilateral withdrawal and elimination of most of the U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Europe. This allowed Gorbachev to announce his decision, several days later, to return to Russia the thousands of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons deployed in the territories of Warsaw Pact members and the non-Russian states of the Soviet Union with a commitment to eliminate most of them. Thus, without protracted formal negotiations, both sides vowed to eliminate a significant portion of their nuclear weapons stockpiles, including those tactical Soviet nuclear weapons that were most exposed to potential diversion. He also initiated implementation of the imaginative proposals of Senators Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) to assist Russia and the other newly independent states in complying with the dismantlement provisions of START I and the INF Treaty.

President Bill Clinton was unable to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the collapse of the Soviet Union because of unrelenting opposition from Congress and to some extent the Russian Duma. He did make a major contribution in persuading Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states and to return to Russia for dismantlement the strategic nuclear warheads remaining on their territories. If this had not been done, Ukraine and Kazakhstan would have become the third- and fourth-largest nuclear-weapon states.

However, on the negative side, succumbing to congressional pressure, Clinton decided to deploy a modest missile defense system consistent with hopefully mutually agreed-on minor modifications to the ABM Treaty. This contributed to START II never entering into force and helped prevent the negotiation of an anticipated START III with further substantial reductions.

Clinton also took the lead in achieving the indefinite extension of the NPT, which was set to expire in 1995 after 25 years, and provided the necessary leadership in completing the long-delayed multinational negotiation of a CTBT. In 1999, however, the Senate Republican majority forced the Senate to reject ratification of the treaty, leaving the treaty in limbo, where it remains today.

In an excellent chapter on George W. Bush, Goodby characterizes the current president’s mindset as believing that “the time had finally come to scrap the old order.” To date, he has been quite successful in this objective. Goodby notes that other presidents helped build up the international nonproliferation and arms control regimes that they saw as supporting U.S. national security. Yet, Bush clearly believes that the United States, as the only remaining superpower, should be prepared to shape the international order unilaterally and has rejected treaties that would in any way restrict U.S. freedom of action. To this end, he withdrew from the ABM Treaty, despite strong Russian objections, and replaced the unratified START II with the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT). Also known as the Moscow Treaty, SORT lacks verification provisions, and its limits on future U.S. strategic forces are effectively toothless.

Although Bush has given high priority to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons to perceived U.S. enemies, his actions have either been ineffectual or counterproductive. At the beginning of his term, he overruled the decision of Secretary of State Colin Powell to continue very promising negotiations that the Clinton administration had begun with North Korea, thus spurring Pyongyang to advance its nuclear weapons program. Disregarding the precedent followed by previous presidents, he initiated a preventive war against Iraq on the false grounds that it was illegally developing nuclear weapons. Most recently, he has agreed to negotiate a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with India, despite long-standing U.S. and Nuclear Suppliers Group policy to deny such aid to Pakistan, India, and Israel because they have not signed the NPT and are known to have nuclear weapons.

Today, confronted with the difficult problem of Iran’s potential nuclear weapons ambitions, Bush has made clear that all options are on the table if Iran refuses to terminate its uranium-enrichment program. Because UN agreement on effective sanctions is unlikely, rumors abound that Bush is seriously considering military actions in another preventive war. Given the international hostility that his policies have created, it is clear that any such action would have to be carried out unilaterally, with disastrous results to long-range U.S. security.

Goodby’s book demonstrates effectively the critical role that presidents have had in developing nuclear policy and avoiding nuclear Armageddon. Overall, it makes a persuasive case that all previous presidents have performed remarkably well in this regard, despite having to deal with events beyond their control, difficult adversaries, and an often uncooperative Congress.

I strongly recommend the book to anyone interested in the evolution of U.S. nuclear policy or seeking a challenging text for a college course. Our current president might well profit from this book as he contemplates his legacy. In addition, it should be mandatory reading for any aspirant to the presidency in 2008.


Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr. first worked in the Office of the President in 1956 when he served on the staff of the Gaither Committee. Subsequently, he served as a technical assistant to the president’s science adviser under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson and concurrently as a senior member of the National Security Council staff under Kennedy and Johnson. Under Presidents Nixon and Carter, he served as assistant director and then deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Keeny was executive director and president of the Arms Control Association from 1985 to 2001.


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A Review of At the Borderline of Armageddon: How American Presidents Managed the Atom Bomb by James E. Goodby

Congress Challenges Global Strike Plan

Miles A. Pomper

Congress is challenging a new Pentagon plan to arm some submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with conventional warheads. In crafting the fiscal year 2007 defense authorization bill, lawmakers have also made a few other significant changes to plutonium-disposition, missile defense, and nuclear warhead programs proposed by the Bush administration.

The House approved the defense authorization bill May 11 by a 396-31 vote; the Senate Armed Services Committee approved its version May 4. Once the full Senate acts on the bill, which sets broad policy goals and funding ceilings, the two chambers will need to reconcile their versions of the bill before sending a final measure to President George W. Bush. In addition, both chambers later this year must pass a defense appropriations bill to allocate specific funding for programs in the half-trillion-dollar Pentagon budget as well as an energy appropriations bill to allocate funding for the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons-related programs.

In considering the defense authorization bill in May, both chambers raised questions about the administration’s new Prompt Global Strike plan, which would substitute conventional warheads for some nuclear warheads on 24 Trident D-5 SLBMs.

Under the administration proposal, within two years, two dozen conventionally armed missiles would be dispersed among 12 submarines. That would mean each vessel would carry 22 nuclear-armed and two conventionally armed missiles. The administration has asked for $127 million for the plan for fiscal year 2007, which begins Oct. 1.

Pentagon and administration officials have said that the change is needed to give the military a non-nuclear capability for hitting “fleeting targets” with a high “regret” factor if they are not destroyed. These might include unconventional weapons threats, enemy command and control elements, and terrorists.

But lawmakers have questioned whether submarines with mixed loads might cause confusion for other countries about the type of missile fired and its intended target. In such a circumstance, they worry that a country might conclude that it was under U.S. nuclear attack and potentially retaliate with nuclear weapons. Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have raised similar concerns.

“The launch of such a missile could provoke an inappropriate response from one of the nuclear powers [or] could provoke a full-scale counterattack using strategic nuclear forces,” Putin said in his annual state of the nation address May 10.

In approving the defense authorization measure, the full House largely seconded the judgment of the House Armed Services Committee. That panel cut the administration’s entire $50 million procurement request for the submarine conversion program and well more than half of the related research and development request.

“The committee is concerned that the development of this conventional ballistic missile capability for a submarine that has historically carried nuclear-armed ballistic missiles could cause a missile launch misinterpretation regarding which type of warhead a ballistic missile may be carrying,” the report said.

Although the Senate Armed Services Committee authorized the administration’s $127 million request, the panel prohibited the Navy from using more than $32 million of the funds until the secretaries of defense and state submitted a report to Congress addressing “nuclear ambiguity issues,” according to a committee press release.

The House and Senate panels met the administration’s $27.7 million request for another controversial weapons program: the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program. But the House Armed Services Committee included language in its report calling for a National Academy of Sciences study of whether a new scientific methodology that would be used to evaluate the program can be relied on. The RRW program would explore new warhead designs to increase the reliability, safety, and security of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal without the resumption of nuclear testing. The United States has not carried out a nuclear test since 1992.

The House panel also called for the secretaries of energy and defense to outline their plans by Feb. 1 of next year “to transform the nuclear weapons complex so as to achieve a responsive infrastructure.” The Bush administration has called for the creation of such a modernized and expanded infrastructure, saying its creation would allow the United States to quickly meet new demands for nuclear weapons that might arise in the future while maintaining the reliability of the existing stockpile.

The committee suggested that both this effort and the RRW program might obtain enhanced funds in the future if the Pentagon phases out another warhead, the W-80. The program calls on the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration to prepare another plan by Feb. 1 “for redirecting the human resources and facilities” from maintaining the W-80 to the RRW program and transforming the weapons complex.

Missile Defense

Without changing overall missile defense spending significantly, the House and the Senate plans made changes to the administration’s budget request, directing more spending to programs that are operational or closer to realization over longer-term initiatives. The administration requested $11.2 billion for missile defenses in fiscal year 2007, including $9.3 billion for the Missile Defense Agency. (See ACT, March 2006.)

The House overwhelmingly blocked a proposed amendment by Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) that would have cut funds for the agency in half. It also would have prohibited the deployment of space-based interceptors and additional deployments of Ground-based

Midcourse Defense (GMD) system interceptors. Only 124 lawmakers voted for the measure, while 301 voted against it.

Instead, lawmakers focused on smaller changes. The Senate panel, for example, added $200 million for flight-testing the GMD system against long-range ballistic missiles. The GMD system has been deployed in Alaska and California. At the same time, it cut $200 million, roughly a 50 percent reduction, from the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program, a fast-acceleration land-based interceptor, which aims to shoot down missiles as they ascend. The House called for a $20 million boost for the $2.9 billion GMD program and a $100 million cut from the KEI effort, whose deployment schedule has been delayed from 2012 to 2014.

The Senate panel also added substantial chunks of $100 million each to accelerate improvements to and increase the number of Aegis ship-based Standard Missile-3 interceptors as well as for Army procurement and upgrades of additional Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles. By contrast, the House committee called for increasing the administration’s request by $40 million and $140 million, respectively, for those programs. The administration had requested $1 billion for the Aegis program and had asked for up to $900 million for the PAC-3s.

The House also eliminated $55.8 million the administration had requested for constructing a third GMD interceptor site in Europe and cut $65 million from the $165 million administration request for the Multiple Kill Vehicle Program.

Plutonium Disposition

Both chambers are seeking to move forward with U.S. plans for disposing of weapons-grade plutonium independent of Russian action; the administration request included funds toward a Russian disposal facility. The two nations agreed six years ago to each blend 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium with uranium to provide mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear power reactors. But the effort has been stalled for several years, and Russia has recently suggested it might abandon its effort and instead dispose of most of the plutonium in a fast-breeder reactor. Such reactors produce additional plutonium, a shift the United States has not supported because of proliferation concerns.

The House approved $174 million for construction of a MOX facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The administration had asked for nearly $290 million, including $35 million toward a Russian facility.

The Senate panel approved the full construction funds but withheld nearly all of the money for the U.S. and Russian projects until 30 days after the Energy Department files two reports. For the U.S. funds to proceed, the Energy Department would have to provide an independent cost estimate for construction and certify that it planned to use the MOX facility for plutonium disposition, regardless of what occurs with the Russian program. For the Russian funds to move forward, the department would have to address concerns such as the method of disposing plutonium, the schedule for doing so, and how this would correspond with the U.S. effort.

 

Strategic Decisions: An Interview With STRATCOM Commander General James E. Cartwright

Wade Boese and Miles A. Pomper

The Bush administration set forth its plan for transforming the roles and structure of U.S. strategic forces in its December 2001 Nuclear Posture Review. The revamped posture, according to administration officials, aims to reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons and augment them with growing conventional strike capabilities, missile defenses, and a more responsive and robust defense infrastructure base. The responsibility for making this vision a reality rests largely with the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM). On May 12, Arms Control Today interviewed STRATCOM Commander General James E. Cartwright about implementation of the president’s plan.

ACT: STRATCOM’s traditional mission has been the operational control of deployed U.S. nuclear forces, but more responsibilities have been added in recent years. Could you talk a little about STRATCOM’s additional missions for missile defense, space, and global strike?

Cartwright: Back in 1992, the Navy mission and the Air Force mission were brought together, and that was the stand-up of STRATCOM.[1] The headquarters was at Offutt [Air Force Base, Nebraska]. Then in 2002, Strategic Command and Space Command were merged under the common head of Strategic Command. During 2003, we added in missions that included global strike, integrated missile defense, information operations, and C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance]. There really was not a combatant commander[2] who had purview over those kinds of mission areas, which tended to be cross-cutting. The idea was to get them pulled under a single combatant commander who would be both an advocate for those capabilities and operational provider of those capabilities to other regional combatant commanders. That was the thought process in adding those missions. The last mission, combating weapons of mass destruction, was added in 2005. This involves nonproliferation, counterproliferation, and consequence management [of an unconventional weapons attack]. So, that has been the gamut of missions added.

ACT: Getting back to the more traditional mission of STRATCOM, as a presidential candidate in May 2000, George W. Bush said, “The United States should remove as many weapons as possible from high-alert, hair-trigger status.” Yet, U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) remain ready to fire within minutes, and there has been no significant change in the number of weapons on high alert since Bush took office. Why hasn’t the president’s recommendation been fulfilled?

Cartwright: The first assumption is that it has not been fulfilled, and we can certainly debate whether that is true or not. Clearly, the Moscow Treaty of 2002 directed bringing down a number of operationally deployed weapons. There is a 2007 midpoint that we set as an arbitrary goal within the government for, “Are you on track, or are you not on track?”[3] We are well on track for that. We are meeting every one of the planned reductions, and in several of the cases, we are ahead of schedule. It is classified exactly what the numbers are. That is one piece of how we look at it.

Another is that we have gotten the B-1 bomber out of the business of nuclear weapons. We have taken the B-52 bombers off day-to-day alert, along with the tankers and other assets supporting them.[4] The MX, or Peacekeeper, ICBM was retired last September and taken out of its holes. My sense is we have moved in a direction that has been pretty aggressive in [terms of] reductions and changes in posture. There are some other classified activities inside the military that are also in compliance with the Moscow Treaty. We are moving pretty aggressively here to do that.

As the advocate for operational nuclear forces, I would note that most of these weapons are aging. The design criteria associated with them that was valid in the 1950s and 1960s against the world that we live in today is starting to change. So, this concept introduced by Congress called the Reliable Replacement Warhead [RRW program] is important to us. It is not a new warhead. It is going after upgrades in safety, security, and surety of the weapons. The extent to which you can leverage the reduction in operationally deployed warheads to free up resources—the intellectual capital, the laboratories, the production- and maintenance-type capital, and the dollars and cents—to start moving us to safer and more reliable weapons is something we are supporting. So, bringing down operationally deployed weapons is leverage to allow us to move in that direction. We also see in [the RRW program] the ability to build and design in the current construct weapons that do not need testing. Now, that has yet to be proved, but that is the design goal that we are trying to shoot for.

ACT: Would STRATCOM be comfortable in adding an RRW weapon that had not been tested?

Cartwright: The work that we are doing with the laboratories today would give us reasonable confidence that we can move forward [without testing]. Again, it is not a redesign of the whole weapon; it is focused on safety, security, and surety. We believe we can understand the changes that would be introduced and be comfortable that we can manage the margins of performance inside of those and stay within the regime that would allow us not to have to test. Now, we are in the early stages of the design work. You have got to see this mature, and you have to understand the uncertainties associated with it. There are a certain number of uncertainties that are just associated with nuclear science. You have got to understand how all of those stack up. But the belief right now is that you could, in fact, manage this activity in a way that would not require testing.

ACT: Going back to the original question about high alert, what threats require the United States to maintain nuclear-armed strategic systems on high alert?

Cartwright: In the old triad,[5] the bombers were on alert, but their response [was] measured in hours to close to the target. Submarines were our survivable leg. Land-based missiles on alert were our quick responders. That was generally how we looked at that triad. We already talked about the bombers. On submarines, there is a pretty good dialogue—good, bad, or indifferent—on [converting some nuclear-armed SLBMs] to conventional. The thought process that we have worked our way through is that the conventional variant, if it was to be approved, would be the priority weapon system for defining where we patrol and what we do. This stays consistent with the idea that submarines are the survivable leg. Those assets can afford a longer time to be responsive.

ICBMs remain the responsive—high-alert, as you stated it—assets. Again, we have gotten the Peacekeepers out of that level of activity. We are now at 500 ICBMs (Minuteman IIIs). There is a dialogue with Congress to do some more reductions.[6] So, that did not change the status of the ICBMs. But clearly the bomber status has changed, and we are moving in a direction that would keep the submarines survivable but prioritize conventional activities for them versus nuclear activities.

ACT: In his May 2000 speech, President Bush also argued that the premise of Cold War nuclear targeting should no longer dictate the size of our arsenal. However, even after the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (Moscow Treaty), the United States still intends to deploy up to 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads. This force level suggests that the U.S. arsenal size is still being driven by Russian targeting considerations. Why is this the case nearly two decades after the end of the Cold War?

Cartwright: There are a couple of ways to look at that. The Russians still do have the preponderance of nuclear capability, and they certainly have the preponderance of delivery capability to threaten the United States, should they choose to. Intent is always the hardest thing to understand—you have to have at least one paranoid person around, and that is STRATCOM—so you have to make sure you are accounting for the risks that you are accepting in a relationship. But, having said that, the Russians for all intents and purposes have complied with the Moscow Treaty. You are starting to see the emergence of other countries with either the acknowledged capability or the acknowledged intent to field nuclear weapons. Today, they are characterized by nowhere near the delivery platforms or numbers, if they have nuclear weapons, of Russia. Certainly, the accuracy, range, and all the other attributes associated [with those systems] are not as good probably as, say, the Russians were at the peak of their time. Then, there are those who just have aspirations and are working aggressively to get delivery platforms. So, there is a range of activity out there. The question becomes, what do you want to have and is that a more difficult target set than being able to focus in on just the Russian/Soviet Union landmass.

Does this [expansion in the number of countries with weapons] get matched by the number of warheads? Is that an appropriate way to look at it? Is it really more of a problem for delivery systems and the appropriate way to do it? Do you have a broad enough range of effect? What we are talking about there is escalation control and confidence-building measures. When you have more than just one adversary, those become much more difficult to manage. It’s more complicated if you are dealing with multiple governments and the way they govern; multiple, different end-states that they might have in mind; and different levels of sophistication in their weapons production and delivery enterprises.

One of the things that we came to with the Russians was a reasonable protocol about warning time, and we used that to manage our relationship. If you got inside that warning time, that was grounds for being uncomfortable with each other. We could measure that through treaties or sensors or whatever. We do not necessarily have those relationships with others that are starting to be interested in the nuclear enterprise or weapons of mass destruction in general.

ACT: Speaking of treaties with Russia, the 1991 START, with its extensive verification and information exchange regime, is set to expire in December 2009. As a military commander, are you worried about losing that level of transparency and confidence provided by that regime, and would you like to see those mechanisms or measures extended or transformed in some way?

Cartwright: As a military commander, I would sure like to see them transformed; if not transformed, then to remain. I think you want something that is a little more responsive to the changes that occur in the world than the current treaty construct. That is someone else’s domain—the Department of State—to figure out. The attributes that you would seek are transparency, the ability to generate warning time, and confidence in what the intentions are of a counterpart. When talking about the United States and Russia before, I mentioned warning time. Warning time allows me to defend myself and not misjudge what it is that you are doing. A vehicle [for the attributes mentioned above] should allow the regime or protocol to keep up with the state of the technology in the future.

The State Department is working very hard on a Joint Data Exchange Center with the Russians. It has had some trouble getting its foundation laid down, but it looks like it is starting to move forward. This center would allow us to exchange information in real time and across more than just offensive weapons. We could start to look at missile defense, defensive weapons, and space sensors. There are any number of things that you could start to bring in to help create, like we did with warning time, better confidence of what each other is doing so misinterpretation becomes less of a problem. Whatever the construct is that we do with a treaty-like activity, you are trying to make sure that you can build confidence, understand the intentions of your adversary, and have time to react appropriately to those intentions. Usually, “appropriately” is defined as finding alternative ways to get out of a problem. You want to generate the time to be able to do that; the less time, the less options you have.

ACT: Russia repeatedly cites the continuing existence of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe as a threat and as a reason for not reducing its own tactical nuclear weapons arsenal. What is the military justification for retaining almost 500 U.S. nuclear warheads in Europe?

Cartwright: We have a relationship with NATO under which we have various platforms and capabilities stationed in support of that activity.[7] So, we meet those obligations.

The bigger issue associated with tactical weapons is the issue of their size, volume, weight, et cetera. It is hard to steal a ballistic missile. It might be easier to get at something that is tactical. [One concern] is that, in exercising, protecting, and demonstrating what your [tactical nuclear] capabilities are in order to be transparent, do you expose those things, and is that giving an opportunity to terrorists to get in and out? We believe with great certainty that ours are well controlled. We worry about newcomers and about all of the [former] Soviet Union. Where did all this stuff go? Do we have good control of it?

The Russian perception of the world is that they are surrounded by countries that look like they are starting to proliferate and have the potential to have tactical weapons. They may not have the transparency with [countries] that are relatively close to them as we [do].

ACT: So, your perception is that Russia’s posture is a response to some other country’s current or potential nuclear arsenal rather than, say, U.S. conventional superiority?

Cartwright: It has to play into the calculus. I think it really has to play into their calculus. From the standpoint of our calculus, we have a strategy to assure allies that we will be there for them if they are attacked. In that assurance, we are trying to develop more precise weapons and more credible weapons. I’m talking more about the conventional side of the equation here. [We want] capabilities that are responsive and that really can assure [our allies]. Assurance is a very difficult thing for those countries in today’s environment, where short- and medium-range ballistic missiles can be rolled out, fired, and hidden in very short order and their flight time is very quick. Look at the Middle East, for instance; the time of flight and the time of reaction is very, very quick now. It is starting to creep way inside of those comfort zones that we had in the Cold War about having time to have alternatives. This new class of weapons, particularly short- and medium-range, that is being developed really puts stress on normal protocols to make sure that you got options and transparency.

ACT: You mentioned conventional weapons. Given today’s threat environment and STRATCOM’s likely war-fighting scenarios, do you believe that the United States needs to develop more useable nuclear weapons or a more effective array of conventional weapons?

Cartwright: It is never an either/or. But I think right now the balance of usability and functionality for the problems we are trying to address—because of precision, because of speed, because of the associated technologies—there are more viable options that can be serviced by conventional weapons than maybe in the past.

ACT: In that regard, you have this Prompt Global Strike initiative to start converting two missiles on each U.S. ballistic missile submarine to carry conventional warheads instead of nuclear warheads. Does this reflect a determination that conventional warheads can effectively replace nuclear weapons for some existing target sets or simply the addition of new missions and potential targets?

Cartwright: Both. Let’s go to new emerging targets and the war on terrorism, [using] both a historical example and a [more recent] one. [Look at] the activities associated with the [1986 Operation] El Dorado Canyon strike against Libya. We had problems [with] overflight rights and going into an area that was defended. We lost an F-111 fighter-bomber. We lost a crew. It was in an area where you clearly had somebody who was supporting terrorism acts that occurred in the buildup [before the U.S. mission]: where terrorists left that country, did something, and then went back, et cetera. [What] if you could influence in a way that was quickly responsive and precise, while doing a much better job of controlling collateral damage and not having to expose crews and aircraft to defensive measures? All of those things would argue for a better way of doing it.

Now, there have been several initiatives since El Dorado Canyon to build weapons that could work in that environment. Still, move forward to Afghanistan: it took us almost six weeks to get the overflight rights to get at the terrorist camps. In that period, they had time to move, leave, deceive, protect themselves, you name it. If we could have gotten there much quicker—this is where you get into the subjective—would it have been different? Clearly, time, reaction, and the ability to get to places that are either heavily defended or are just plain hard to get to are some things that we have got to understand as we move forward in developing delivery systems and weapons. The more complicated these problem get oftentimes—let’s just take those past two examples—the more inappropriate, probably, a nuclear response is. Yet, if that is what you have as your immediate response capability, what choice does a country have? You really enter into a self-deterred environment.

ACT: There have been some concerns raised about Prompt Global Strike. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently expressed concern that other nuclear powers might misinterpret a U.S. launch of a conventionally armed ballistic missile as a nuclear-armed missile and retaliate accordingly. How do you address this danger of ambiguity, particularly during a crisis?

Cartwright: It was interesting because he did use the word “other.”[8] Maybe transparency and the Joint Data Exchange Center and some of these things are actually starting to work. I hope so. But you always have to worry in war that your actions might be interpreted incorrectly. It does not matter whether you are dealing with an intercontinental ballistic missile or an M-16 rifle. If you pull the trigger in war, the second- and third-order effects of intent are always the most difficult thing to understand. But you try to build in escalation control and transparency. As a ground commander, one of the first things you are always trying to do is establish some sort of communication with your adversary. They may believe you, they may not. But at least you have got to try to develop some sort of confidence-building measures so your intent is understood. That works both ways. You want them to understand why you are there and what you are doing. You want them to understand clearly what your end-state is because, if they go in a different direction, both of you can really get hurt. If you are a wrestler in high school, the worst person you can wrestle is somebody who has no experience and has no idea how to play the game because you are going to get hurt.

Where I think [Putin] is focused—now, I do not want to put words in his mouth—is if you are an emerging country trying to build delivery systems and saying that you actually have nuclear capabilities, how are we going to know when you launch that capability what it is that you are actually doing? [We need to make] sure that emerging countries that are starting to develop ballistic missiles enter into some sort of set of agreements with us to help build an understanding of confidence about what it is they are trying to accomplish, what their activities really are, and what they think [their activities] mean. If [they] are not going for mutual assured destruction but limited action, make sure it is interpreted as limited action. But how do you build those transparency measures? Those are the key activities. Are Russia’s neighbors bothering to tell the Russians that they are launching something? A lot of other countries do not bother to tell you when they are launching something. You have got a certain amount of time to see if it is on a ballistic trajectory and what direction is that trajectory going. Is there one, or are there multiples? The ambiguity goes up significantly if you do not get any notification.

ACT: You interpret Putin’s comments as aimed at third countries rather than the United States?

Cartwright: I am sure that he is talking to us too, but I am also sure that there is kind of a secondary message here that this is not just a U.S.-Russian problem. We have got to look broader. How are we going to manage these ballistic missiles that are starting to proliferate? How are we going to manage the intent of the country, independent of what the warhead is? How are we going to manage the difference between test and exercise and conflict? Where do we start to build and in what form do we start to build those transparency and escalation control measures?

ACT: What about vis-à-vis the United States? How would you answer those critiques vis-à-vis the United States?

Cartwright: Today, what we have done, significantly with the Russians but also with others, is to start to publish whenever we are going to launch. Since 1968, we have had 430-450 [Trident] launches [without nuclear warheads]. We publish that. We put it out in the open source. We make sure that we tell what direction and the general part of the day or what day it is going to be. You can imagine that, with that many launches, we have had bad weather, we have had maintenance malfunctions, et cetera, but we get that word out. We do that regularly. If a country is interested in knowing it, we are interested in telling them what we are doing. We will continue to do that whether we think they can see us or not. You ought to assume that something has given them an indication [about U.S. activities], rather than saying, “Gee, they do not have a satellite” or “They do not have radar today.” You always should assume that somebody has seen something happen. The more you tell them, the more you announce it, the more you publish it, the more you are standardizing how you do business, the more important.

The other piece to this that I think is probably pretty significant is that we have certainly moved on a path to not classify what is going on. As we manage [Prompt Global Strike]—as we did with artillery, ground-based cruise missiles, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, bombers, et cetera, when we moved them to dual-purpose—we have tried to make that as transparent to everyone as possible. The intent here is to get it out, to get it understood, exercise it, demonstrate it, and show people what it can and cannot do. If [other countries] have radar or they have a space system, then they can see it. When we do that, we tell them ahead of time: look in this area. [The goal is to] get to that more transparent environment. Again, at the end of the day, if a person believes that M-16 is going to kill them, they are going to react one way. If they believe that it is a warning shot, they are going to act a different way. The more you keep it transparent, the better. But you can never guarantee how an adversary interprets something.

ACT: You mentioned the proliferation of ballistic missile technologies. One of the concerns about Prompt Global Strike is that maybe it will imbue ballistic missiles with more strategic value in the eyes of others. Might this proposal undercut missile nonproliferation efforts?

Cartwright: Two ways to go at that. One is that we have not built any new ballistic missiles in quite a while. In fact, we have gone down. Yet, what you see in the world is the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

Another way to look at it is if we do something like this, will it [provide an incentive to] somebody else to either accelerate what they are doing or start new efforts as they watch what we are doing? Again, there is no intent to increase the number of [ballistic missiles]. There is intent to create a diversity of effects that is more appropriate for the world that we are in and more controlling of escalation. But it is more of an acknowledgement that the world we are in is not one country versus another anymore. It is a global problem, particularly when you deal with terrorism. Our forces, transports, delivery vehicles, ships, airplanes, et cetera, are reducing in numbers, so the physical distance that any one branch of the service has to cover is greater. The range of effect a ship has to cover is greater. So, you have got to start to move to delivery vehicles that have global reach inside of the timelines of the regret factors that someone would deliver to you with a ballistic missile. [Prompt Global Strike] is really about if we have got to reach globally quickly—and that is the new world we live in—then let’s have a more responsible effect at the other end. Some people use the word “proportional.” I am not sure that is a good one; “appropriate” [might be better].

ACT: So, does Prompt Global Strike herald a growing transition away from nuclear warheads for strategic missions?

Cartwright: It certainly offers an alternative. Today, [our method of] prompt global strike is nuclear, and that is where I am trying to change.

ACT: The initial elements of a nationwide missile defense system were deployed in the fall of 2004, but it has yet to be declared operational. Why is that, and what has to be done before that system will be declared operation?

Cartwright: The declaration of it being operational is up to the national command authority.[9] But there are certain criteria that [are] important from STRATCOM’s perspective. Today, the system is a [research and development] system with a rudimentary operational capability. In November 2004, STRATCOM entered into what we called a shakedown period, which was really the first chance that we had to put operators into the system, run it for extended periods of time to understand [whether] this is what an operator needs versus what a developer needs. What would you change about it? How do you do management of the system, [including] command and control of the sensors and the weapons? We went through that for about six to eight months. We took all of the lessons out of that, along with some other things that we did in testing, and said, “Okay, here is what we need to have in the system in order to be ready to go.” Those upgrades, adjustments, or whatever you want to call them started to be installed by the Missile Defense Agency in about November of last year. That installation period was to take through the late summer of this year.

We are waiting to see how all that installation work goes. There were a series of tests that we as operators wanted to see, [such as] using the radars that are in the system to actually track incoming missiles and then transmit the data. We had several [tests] over the past year across the face of radars and things like that. There were new sensors we wanted added for redundancy and command and control capabilities for redundancy and assurance. Those are all now starting to come onboard. At the end of this year, we will start to see the fruits of those upgrades. The other piece that you would like to see is some consistent success with the ground-based interceptor. We have had one good shot here recently, which was the first [test] that had all of the production components end to end in the system.[10] That was an important test. There are two more that are coming that shall demonstrate [the interceptor’s] ability to maneuver and ability to actually hit the target. We want to see that along with the introduction of these new sensors so that we know those sensors match up with those weapons.

There is also a big piece of this involving the [Standard Missile-3] ship-based interceptors and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors. We want to see that piece actually integrated [with the sensors and command and control elements of the strategic missile defense system]. You may think you are just adding a module—like, “Gee, I’m going to have PAC-3 in the system now”—but did that have any effect on what you are doing with the ground-base interceptor? Those are things that we want to see over the next few months to be very comfortable. Does that mean that I would be uncomfortable bringing [the strategic ground-based system] up to an alert today if I or the national command authority felt that we had some kind of threat? No, I would bring it online in a heartbeat. There is no reason why you would not. But those are the kinds of things I would like to see over the next few months to make sure we got the system that we really want to have for the long term.

ACT: House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson (R-Ohio) said it is time for a thoughtful and open debate on the role of nuclear weapons in our country’s national security strategy. Would STRATCOM welcome this debate, and what are some of the key issues that you feel that debate should revolve around?

Cartwright: You have hit all of them in this. I believe that debate is something we have to have. In the debate, what is the appropriate use [of nuclear weapons]? What is the appropriate match between what we see out there in the world today and the types of weapons we have available? [What are] the confidence-building measures and the escalation controls so we [can] build as many options to not use weapons as possible? All those things ought to be discussed. But we are, because of a lack of a debate, kind of locked in what we had in the Cold War and how we used to do it. That is why the [conventional Trident missile] is such big deal for us. It is to get a discussion. Is that what we want for a capability, or is there something else we want for a capability? At the end of the day, I will do what I am told, obviously. But I think people ought to understand at least what a commander perceives as sometimes a mismatch for what it is we have as a threat out there and what we have as an arsenal.

ACT: Thank you.

Click here for a complete transcript of this interview.

 

Joint Data Exchange Center on Hold

Wade Boese

A former kindergarten in north Moscow is still awaiting its makeover into a center to help prevent the United States and Russia from stumbling into a nuclear war. The transformation was supposed to take a year, but U.S.-Russian disputes over taxes and liability issues have halted the renovation for more than five years. Now, U.S. officials hope that work might soon resume.

Then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin agreed in September 1998 to establish the Joint Data Exchange Center, and the plans were finalized June 4, 2000. At the center, the two countries are ultimately supposed to display information in real time when their early-warning systems detect launches of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles traveling more than 500 kilometers in range or apogee. The purpose of sharing such data is to mitigate the possibility that benign activities are misinterpreted as an attack.

In December 2000, the two governments also decided that the center would serve as a clearinghouse for exchanging notifications, at least 24 hours in advance, when they intend to launch ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles.

Teams of 16 U.S. and 19 Russian military personnel would be assigned to the center, which would operate around the clock. Another 62 Russians would provide security and support.

Although both governments continue to profess strong support for the center, its establishment became tied up in a larger U.S.-Russian disagreement over whether U.S. entities working in Russia on certain projects should pay taxes and be liable for damages. Moscow insisted they should, while Washington rejected the notion.

The Bush administration settled on a strategy for resolving the most difficult case first and then applying that solution to similar problems. Last July, U.S. officials announced that terms had been reached on what they considered the most troublesome project, an agreement for both sides to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-usable plutonium. (See ACT, September 2005.) But the deal has yet to take effect because Moscow has not given its formal approval.

Still, U.S. officials repeatedly say that the delay is not a product of any U.S. or Russian misgivings but merely bureaucratic process and that they are confident this hurdle will soon be cleared. A U.S. official familiar with these issues told Arms Control Today May 19 that Russia’s approval is “real close.” The official added that once the plutonium project deal is sealed, the U.S. intention is to “immediately move forward” on resolving the liability and tax issues holding up other projects, including the Joint Data Exchange Center.

 

 

 


ENDNOTES

1. In 1946 the Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) was established to manage U.S. long-range bombers and their nuclear payloads. The Navy later developed its own nuclear forces—the Polaris SLBM—and the Air Force added ICBMs to the U.S. nuclear delivery mix. In 1960 the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) was created to oversee planning and targeting for all U.S. nuclear forces. In June 1992, SAC and JSTPS were both shut down, and STRATCOM was established.

2. The Department of Defense has nine combatant commands: Central Command, European Command, Joint Forces Command, Northern Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, and Transportation Command.

3. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, also known as the Moscow Treaty, commits the United States and Russia to reduce their operationally deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 warheads apiece by the end of 2012. The Department of State has reported that the 2007 target level for U.S. forces is 3,500-4,000 warheads.

4. President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. strategic bombers off alert September 27, 1991, as part of what became known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives.

5. The old triad refers to ICBMs, SLBMs, and long-range bombers. The new triad promulgated in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review consists of conventional and nuclear offensive strike capabilities, active and passive defenses, and a responsive defense infrastructure. The old triad is now seen as a sub-unit of the offensive strike component of the new triad.

6. The February 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review called for lowering the number of deployed ICBMs to 450. Warheads associated with the 50 missiles slated to be taken off alert are to be redeployed on some of the remaining ICBMs.

7. NATO’s 1999 Strategic Concept declared, “The fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.” The document further stated the alliance would “maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe,” although it noted the circumstances in which their use would be contemplated were “extremely remote.”

8. In his May 10, 2006, address to the Russian Federal Assembly, Putin stated, “[T]he media and expert circles are already discussing plans to use intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry non-nuclear warheads. The launch of such a missile could provoke an inappropriate response from one of the nuclear powers, could provoke a full-scale counterattack using strategic nuclear forces.”

9. The national command authority is the president and the secretary of defense.

10. General James E. Cartwright is referring to the December 13, 2005, flight of the interceptor. This was the first successful flight test of the interceptor model currently deployed in Alaska and California. However, the test did not involve a target or an intercept attempt.

 

Interview with STRATCOM Commander General James E. Cartwright

Sections:

Body: 

Interviewed by Wade Boese and Miles A. Pomper

The Bush administration set forth its plan for transforming the roles and structure of U.S. strategic forces in its December 2001 Nuclear Posture Review. The revamped posture, according to administration officials, aims to reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons and augment them with growing conventional strike capabilities, missile defenses, and a more responsive and robust defense infrastructure base. The responsibility for making this vision a reality rests largely with the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM). On May 12, Arms Control Today interviewed STRATCOM Commander General James E. Cartwright about implementation of the president’s plan.

ACT:STRATCOM’s traditional mission has been the operational control of deployed U.S. nuclear forces but more responsibilities have been added in recent years. Could you talk a little about STRATCOM’s additional missions for missile defense, space, and global strike?

Cartwright: Back in 1992, the Navy mission and the Air Force mission were brought together and that was the stand up of STRATCOM.[1] The headquarters was at Offutt [Air Force Base, Nebraska]. Then in 2002, Strategic Command and Space Command were merged under the common head of Strategic Command. During 2003, we added in missions that included global strike, integrated missile defense, information operations, and C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance). There really was not a combatant commander[2] who had purview over those kinds of mission areas, which tended to be cross-cutting. The idea was to get them pulled under a single combatant commander who would be both an advocate for those capabilities and operational provider of those capabilities to other regional combatant commanders. That was the thought process in adding those missions. The last mission, combating weapons of mass destruction, was added in 2005. This involves nonproliferation, counterproliferation, and consequence management [of an unconventional weapons attack]. So that has been the gamut of missions added.

I will step through a little bit about how we brought those missions onboard and the organizational constructs that we put together. One of the things that we are trying to get our arms around inside the Department of Defense is the growth of headquarters. Each of these missions certainly in their own right could have their own headquarters in the neighborhood of 3,000 to 5,000 people to manage them. But we really are struggling with the headquarters we have; there are enough headquarters out there. They are big and proliferating. So one of our activities was to try to understand how we could take these large mission areas and get them integrated into military operations and planning, while constraining the growth of the headquarters side of the equation and building them in way that leveraged existing activities. So we put together what we called first operating principles. The idea was to have each of these mission areas be joint. We wanted to be able to operate in a coalition environment. We wanted to leverage off of the probably underutilized American business capabilities, industry, and commerce out there, as well as the academic side, including the national and services laboratories. We wanted to take advantage of all those resources rather than recreating them. And we wanted to make them interdependent. That way we could start to control some of the growth in the headquarters.

ACT:Maybe you could talk a little bit about how that might relate to missile defense, space, and global strike.

Cartwright: Sure. In missile defense one of the key things was to have an intelligence organization feeding [missile defense operators] indications and warnings about who might be getting ready to launch a missile. Having a dedicated intelligence organization inside missile defense may not be necessary if that function is performed someplace else in another headquarters. So, let’s try to make these organizations interdependent. If one has the intelligence piece then provide that as a service to the others. As a commander, you like to have control over everything that is necessary to do your job. But the realities are that there are not enough [resources] for everybody to have their own dedicated assets.

On missile defense, what we did was go out and take a look at where missile defense capabilities, advocacy, procurement, definition of requirements, testing, and operational activities existed. We asked ourselves, “Where are some of the centers of excellence within the department that we could leverage rather than recreate?” There are a few. The one that we settled on was the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC). It is commanded by Lieutenant General [Larry J.] Dodgen. Inside that organization, they already have a well-established center of excellence for acquisition capabilities, requirement definitions capabilities, test capabilities, and operational capabilities associated with missile defense. It had a long track record of operating those systems. So the intent was not to create another SMDC, but take that command and leverage it as a component to a combatant commander. Recreate the top of the organization to be more joint. So, in the case of missile defense, you have an Army commander, a Navy deputy commander, and maybe an Air Force chief of staff. Then, out of existing structure at Strategic Command, take a certain number of billets that are joint in nature and provide them to that organization. They would be the planner-type people embedded in SMDC. Now, [Dodgen] is a component commander for me, as well as the commander of SMDC. He has an operational role associated with missile defense for Strategic Command. But he also has a joint cell inside of his organization that does planning, identifies requirements, articulates those requirements, and identifies shortfalls that might need an acquisition program to fix. He does that for me in addition to operating the organization that nets together global [missile defense] sensors, command and control, or weapons.

ACT:Getting back to the more traditional mission of STRATCOM. As a presidential candidate in May 2000, George W. Bush said, “the United States should remove as many weapons as possible from high alert, hair-trigger status.” Yet, U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) remain ready to fire within minutes and there has been no significant change in the number of weapons on high alert since Bush took office. Why hasn’t the president’s recommendation been fulfilled?

Cartwright: The first assumption is that it has not been fulfilled and we can certainly debate whether that is true or not. Clearly, the Moscow Treaty of 2002 directed bringing down a number of operationally deployed weapons. There is a 2007 midpoint that we set as an arbitrary goal within the government for “are you on track or are you not on track?”[3] We are well on track for that. We are meeting every one of the planned reductions and, in several of the cases, we are ahead of schedule. It is classified exactly what the numbers are. That is one piece of how we look at it.

Another is that we have gotten the B-1 bomber out of the business of nuclear weapons. We have taken the B-52 bombers off day-to-day alert, along with the tankers and other assets supporting them.[4] The MX, or Peacekeeper, ICBM was retired last September and taken out of its holes. My sense is we have moved in a direction that has been pretty aggressive in reductions and changes in posture. There are some other classified activities inside the military that are also in compliance with the Moscow Treaty. We are moving pretty aggressively here to do that.

As the advocate for operational nuclear forces, I would note that most of these weapons are aging. The design criteria associated with them that was valid in the 1950s and 1960s against the world that we live in today is starting to change. So this concept introduced by the Congress called the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) is important to us. It is not a new warhead. It is going after upgrades in safety, security, and surety of the weapons. The extent to which you can leverage the reduction in operationally deployed warheads to free up resources—the intellectual capital, the laboratories, the production- and maintenance-type capital, and the dollars and cents—to start moving us to safer and more reliable weapons is something we are supporting. So bringing down operationally deployed weapons is leverage to allow us to move in that direction. We also see in [RRW], the ability to build and design in the current construct weapons that do not need testing. Now, that has yet to be proved, but that is the design goal that we are trying to shoot for.

ACT:Would STRATCOM be comfortable in adding an RRW weapon that had not been tested?

Cartwright: The work that we are doing with the laboratories today would give us reasonable confidence that we can move forward [without testing]. Again, it is not a redesign of the whole weapon; it is focused on safety, security, and surety. We believe we can understand the changes that would be introduced and be comfortable that we can manage the margins of performance inside of those and stay within the regime that would allow us not to have to test. Now, we are in the early stages of the design work. You have got to see this mature and you have to understand the uncertainties associated with it. There are a certain number of uncertainties that are just associated with nuclear science. You have got to understand how all of those stack up. But the belief right now is that you could, in fact, manage this activity in a way that would not require testing.

ACT:Going back to the original question about high alert, what threats require the United States to maintain nuclear-armed strategic systems on high alert?

Cartwright: In the old triad,[5] the bombers were on alert but their response measured in hours to close to the target. Submarines were our survivable leg. Land-based missiles on alert were our quick responders. That was generally how we looked at that triad. We already talked about the bombers. On submarines, there is a pretty good dialogue—good, bad, or indifferent—on [converting some nuclear-armed SLBMs] to conventional. The thought process that we have worked our way through is that the conventional variant, if it was to be approved, would be the priority weapon system for defining where we patrol and what we do. This stays consistent with the idea that submarines are the survivable leg. Those assets can afford a longer time to be responsive.

ICBMs remain the responsive—high alert as you stated it—assets. Again, we have gotten the Peacekeepers out of that level of activity. We are now at 500 ICBMs (Minuteman IIIs). There is a dialogue with the Congress to do some more reductions.[6] So that did not change the status of the ICBMs, but clearly the bomber status has changed. And, we are moving in a direction that would keep the submarines survivable, but prioritize conventional activities for them versus nuclear activities.

ACT:In his May 2000 speech, Bush also argued that the premise of Cold War nuclear targeting should no longer dictate the size of our arsenal. However, even after the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (or Moscow Treaty), the United States still intends to deploy up to 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads. This force level suggests that the U.S. arsenal size is still being driven by Russian targeting considerations. Why is this the case nearly two decades after the end of the Cold War?

Cartwright: There are a couple of ways to look at that. The Russians still do have the preponderance of nuclear capability and they certainly have the preponderance of delivery capability to threaten the United States should they choose to. Intent is always the hardest thing to understand—you have to have at least one paranoid person around and that is STRATCOM—so you have to make sure you are accounting for the risks that you are accepting in a relationship. But, having said that, the Russians for all intents and purposes have complied with the Moscow Treaty. You are starting to see the emergence of other countries with either the acknowledged capability or the acknowledged intent to field nuclear weapons. Today, they are characterized by nowhere near the delivery platforms or numbers—if they have nuclear weapons—of Russia. Certainly, the accuracy, range, and all the other attributes associated [with those systems] are not as good, probably, as say the Russians were at the peak of their time. Then, there are those who just have aspirations and are working aggressively to get delivery platforms. So there is a range of activity out there. The question becomes what do you want to have and is that a more difficult target set than being able to focus in on just the Russian/Soviet Union landmass?

As these countries proliferate in their physical location—in other words, all the way say from an Iran all the way over to a Korea, or China, or India, or Pakistan, etc.—that starts to introduce, in global coverage, a more challenging problem. Does [this expansion] get matched by the number of warheads? Is that an appropriate way to look at it? Is it really more of a problem for delivery systems and the appropriate way to do it? Do you have a broad enough range of effect? What we are talking about there is escalation control and confidence-building measures. When you have more than just one adversary, those become much more difficult to manage. It’s more complicated if you are dealing with multiple governments and the way they govern, multiple different end states that they might have in mind, and different levels of sophistication in their weapons production and delivery enterprises.

One of the things that we came to with the Russians was a reasonable protocol about warning time and we used that to manage our relationship. If you got inside that warning time that was grounds for being uncomfortable with each other. We could measure that through treaties or sensors or whatever. We do not necessarily have those relationships with others that are starting to be interested in the nuclear enterprise or weapons of mass destruction in general.

ACT:Speaking of treaties with Russia, the 1991 START accord with its extensive verification and information exchange regime is set to expire in December 2009. As a military commander, are you worried about losing that level of transparency and confidence provided by that regime, and would you like to see those mechanisms or measures extended or transformed in some way?

Cartwright: As a military commander, I would sure like to see them transformed; if not transformed, then to remain. I think you want something that is a little more responsive for the changes that occur in the world than the current treaty construct. That is someone else’s domain—the Department of State—to figure out. The attributes that you would seek are transparency, the ability to generate warning time, and confidence in what the intentions are of a counterpart. When talking about the United States and Russia before, I mentioned warning time. Warning time allows me to defend myself and not misjudge what it is that you are doing. A vehicle [for the attributes mentioned above] should allow the regime or protocol to keep up with the state of the technology in the future.

The State Department is working very hard on a Joint Data Exchange Center with the Russians. It has had some trouble getting its foundation laid down, but it looks like it is starting to move forward. This center would allow us to exchange information in real time and across more than just offensive weapons. We could start to look at missile defense, defensive weapons, and space sensors. There are any number of things that you could start to bring in to help create, like we did with warning time, better confidence of what each other is doing so misinterpretation becomes less of a problem. Whatever the construct is that we do with a treaty-like activity, you are trying to make sure that you can build confidence, understand the intentions of your adversary, and have time to react appropriately to those intentions. Usually, appropriately is defined as finding alternative ways to get out of a problem. You want to generate the time to be able to do that; the less time, the less options you have.

ACT:Recent articles by two U.S. scholars asserted that the era of mutual assured destruction (MAD) is almost over because the United States has essentially achieved a first-strike capability against Russia.[7] These articles have naturally generated a lot of attention there. Do you believe the era of MAD is over?

Cartwright: With the number of different actors that we are now addressing rather than having just a single counterpart, a “one size fits all” strategy is probably not going to be appropriate today or in the future. There may be an adversary or scenario in which the fact that there would be assured destruction, or at least catastrophic destruction, on both parties may have an effect on an adversary’s calculus. But it [might not.] So you have got to come up with a broader range of activities. That is why missile defense for STRATCOM is so important. It is why [we need] escalation control activities to quickly demonstrate that we are not going for assured destruction of each other on the first shot and open up the aperture for alternative ways to solve a problem. MAD still does play in the calculus of an adversary’s mind. It is a question of which adversary and in what scenarios is it appropriate. But as a stand alone, “one size fits all” strategy for the world, MAD is not appropriate.

ACT:Given that there is this assertion that the United States is attaining a first-strike capability versus Russia are there any steps, such as a no-first-use policy, that the United States can take to reassure Russia?

Cartwright: I would go back to this Joint Data Exchange Center. I think that is going to be important for transparency. As you well know, we have a broad range of delivery systems—tactical aircraft, [ballistic missiles], bombers, and cruise missiles—that technically could be used [for conventional or nuclear munitions]. It is a question of building confidence in how you are going to use them. How do you demonstrate that confidence outwardly in your exercises, in your rhetoric, and in your postures so that it is clear what role those assets are being utilized in? We can do that in a way that gives sufficient transparency. Not [in a way] that you have compromised your ability to defend yourself, but in such a way that you have made clear steps to have alternatives in escalation control that allow you more choices rather than less as you approach a problem. That is where I think you want to be.

This idea of first strike is one that is problematic from the rhetoric side of the house because it would appear that it takes away the opportunity for alternative measures, such as negotiations. We should be shooting for confidence-building measures that give more time and [provide] more alternatives.

ACT:You mentioned a broad range of delivery capabilities, including tactical aircraft. Russia repeatedly cites the continuing existence of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe as a threat and as a reason for not reducing its own tactical nuclear weapons arsenal. What is the military justification for retaining almost 500 U.S. nuclear warheads in Europe?

Cartwright: We have a relationship with NATO under which we have various platforms and capabilities stationed in support of that activity.[8] So we meet those obligations.

The bigger issue associated with tactical weapons is the issue of their size, volume, weight, etc. It is hard to steal a ballistic missile. It might be easier to get at something that is tactical. [One concern] is that in exercising, protecting, and demonstrating what your [tactical nuclear] capabilities are in order to be transparent, do you expose those things and is that giving an opportunity to terrorists to get in and out? We believe with great certainty that ours are well controlled. We worry about newcomers and about all of the [former] Soviet Union. Where did all this stuff go? Do we have good control of it?

There is a reasonable argument that if Russia and the United States have concluded by all intents and purposes the Cold War, the use of our or their tactical weapons against each other is probably less likely. How Russia perceives the world and what threatens them versus what threatens us is not measured by our perception of the Russians or their perception of us. Most of our adversaries are on the other side of the ocean. Therefore, a tactical launch against them or us is probably not likely. But the Russian perception of the world is that they are surrounded by countries that look like they are starting to proliferate and have the potential to have tactical weapons. Therefore, the Russians got to have an offense and a defense that is built to handle what they perceive the world to be. They may not have the transparency with [countries] that are relatively close to them as we have with the Russians. They may not have the time that we may have from an adversary that lives overseas to come and attack us versus what it would take to attack Russia.

ACT:So your perception is that [ Russia’s posture] is a response to some other country’s current or potential nuclear arsenal rather than say U.S. conventional superiority?

Cartwright: It has to play into the calculus. I think it really has to play into their calculus. From the standpoint of our calculus, we have a strategy to assure allies that we will be there for them if they are attacked. In that assurance, we are trying to develop more precise weapons and more credible weapons. I’m talking more about the conventional side of the equation here. [We want] capabilities that are responsive and that really can assure [our allies]. Assurance is a very difficult thing for those countries in today’s environment, where short- and medium-range ballistic missiles can be rolled out, fired, and hidden in very short order, and their flight time is very quick. Look at the Middle East, for instance, the time of flight and the time of reaction is very, very quick now. It is starting to creep way inside of those comfort zones that we had in the Cold War about having time to have alternatives. This new class of weapons, particularly short- and medium-range, that is being developed really put stress on normal protocols to make sure that you got options and transparency.

ACT:You mentioned conventional weapons. Given today’s threat environment and STRATCOM’s likely warfighting scenarios, do you believe that the United States needs to develop more useable nuclear weapons or a more effective array of conventional weapons?

Cartwright: It is never an either or. But I think right now the balance of usability and functionality for the problems we are trying to address—because of precision, because of speed, because of the associated technologies—there are more viable options that can be serviced by conventional weapons than maybe in the past.

ACT:In that regard, you have this Prompt Global Strike initiative to start converting two missiles on each U.S. ballistic missile submarine to carry conventional warheads instead of nuclear warheads. Does this reflect a determination that conventional warheads can effectively replace nuclear weapons for some existing target sets or simply the addition of new missions and potential targets?

Cartwright: Both. Let’s go to new emerging targets and the war on terrorism, [using] both a historical example and a [more recent] one. [Look at] the activities associated with the [1986 Operation] El Dorado Canyon strike against Libya. We had problems [with] overflight rights and going into an area that was defended. We lost an F-111 fighter-bomber. We lost a crew. We had several Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles that did work, did not work, got the right target, did not get the right target. It was in an area where you clearly had somebody who was supporting terrorism acts that occurred in the buildup [before the U.S. mission]: where terrorists left that country, did something, and then went back, etc. [What] if you could influence in a way that was quickly responsive and precise, while doing a much better job of controlling collateral damage and not having to expose crews and aircraft to defensive measures? All of those things would argue for a better way of doing it.

Now, there have been several initiatives since El Dorado Canyon to build weapons that could work in that environment. Still, move forward to Afghanistan. It took us almost six weeks to get the overflight rights to get at the terrorist camps. In that period, they had time to move, leave, deceive, protect themselves, you name it. If we could have gotten there much quicker—this is where you get into the subjective—would it have been different? Clearly, time, reaction, and the ability to get to places that are either heavily defended or are just plain hard to get to are some things that we have got to understand as we move forward in developing delivery systems and weapons. The more complicated these problem get oftentimes—let’s just take those past two examples—the more inappropriate, probably, a nuclear response is. Yet, if that is what you have as your immediate response capability, what choice does a country have? You really enter into a self-deterred environment.

ACT:There have been some concerns raised about Prompt Global Strike. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently expressed concern that other nuclear powers might misinterpret a U.S. launch of a conventionally-armed ballistic missile as a nuclear-armed missile and retaliate accordingly. How do you address this danger of ambiguity, particularly during a crisis?

Cartwright: It was interesting because he did use the word “other.”[9] Maybe transparency and the Joint Data Exchange Center and some of these things are actually starting to work. I hope so. But you always have to worry in war that your actions might be interpreted incorrectly. It does not matter whether you are dealing with an intercontinental ballistic missile or an M-16 rifle. If you pull the trigger in war, the second- and third-order effects of intent are always the most difficult thing to understand. But you try to build in escalation control and transparency. As a ground commander, one of the first things you are always trying to do is establish some sort of communication with your adversary. They may believe you, they may not. But at least you have got to try to develop some sort of confidence-building measures so your intent is understood. That works both ways. You want them to understand why you are there and what you are doing. You want them to understand clearly what your end-state is because if they go in a different direction both of you can really get hurt. If you are a wrestler in high school, the worst person you can wrestle is somebody who has no experience and has no idea how to play the game because you are going to get hurt.

Where I think [Putin] is focused—now I do not want to put words in his mouth—is if you are an emerging country trying to build delivery systems and saying that you actually have nuclear capabilities, how are we going to know when you launch that capability what it is that you are actually doing? [The United States and Russia] have treaties. We have a long history of talking to each other. We have several communications links. [We need to make] sure that emerging countries that are starting to develop ballistic missiles enter into some sort of set of agreements with us to help build an understanding of confidence about what it is they are trying to accomplish, what their activities really are, and what they think [their activities] mean. If [they] are not going for mutual assured destruction, but limited action, make sure it is interpreted as limited action. But how do you build those transparency measures? Those are the key activities. Are Russia’s neighbors bothering to tell the Russians that they are launching something? Most likely not. I think the key ones that do that are us and some of our allies, such as Norway and Sweden. But a lot of other countries do not bother to tell you when they are launching something. You have got a certain amount of time to see if it is on a ballistic trajectory and what direction is that trajectory going. Is there one or are there multiples? The ambiguity goes up significantly if you do not get any notification.

ACT:You interpret Putin’s comments as aimed at third countries rather than the United States?

Cartwright: I am sure that he is talking to us too. But I am also sure that there is kind of a secondary message here that this is not just a U.S.-Russian problem. We have got to look broader. How are we going to manage these ballistic missiles that are starting to proliferate? How are we going to manage the intent of the country, independent of what the warhead is? How are we going to manage the difference between test and exercise and conflict? Where do we start to build and in what form do we start to build those transparency and escalation control measures?

ACT:What about vis-à-vis the United States? How would you answer those critiques vis-à-vis the United States?

Cartwright: Today, what we have done—significantly with the Russians but also with others—is to start to publish whenever we are going to launch. Since 1968, we have had 430-450 [Trident] launches [without nuclear warheads]. We publish that. We put it out in the open source. We make sure that we tell what direction and the general part of the day or what day it is going to be. You can imagine that with that many launches, we have had bad weather, we have had maintenance malfunctions, etc., but we get that word out. We do that regularly. If a country is interested in knowing it, we are interested in telling them what we are doing. We will continue to do that whether we think they can see us or not. You ought to assume that something has given them an indication [about U.S. activities], rather than saying, “gee, they do not have a satellite,” or “they do not have radar today.” You always should assume that somebody has seen something happen. The more you tell them, the more you announce it, the more you publish it, the more you are standardizing how you do business, the more important.

The other piece to this that I think is probably pretty significant is that we have certainly moved on a path to not classify what is going on. As we manage [Prompt Global Strike]—as we did with artillery, ground-based cruise missiles, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, bombers, etc. when we moved them to dual-purpose—we have tried to make that as transparent to everyone as possible. We are doing the same with what is called the SSGN, which is the same hull [of a Trident ballistic missile submarine] that has been converted to launch conventional cruise missiles and other capabilities. The intent here is to get it out, to get it understood, exercise it, demonstrate it, and show people what it can and can not do. If [other countries] have radar or they have a space system then they can see it. When we do that we tell them ahead of time: look in this area. [The goal is to] get to that more transparent environment. Again, at the end of the day, if a person believes that M-16 is going to kill them, they are going to react one way. If they believe that it is a warning shot, they are going to act a different way. The more you keep it transparent, the better. But you can never guarantee how an adversary interprets something.

ACT:You mentioned the proliferation of ballistic missile technologies. One of the concerns about Prompt Global Strike is that maybe it will imbue ballistic missiles with more strategic value in the eyes of others. Might this proposal undercut missile nonproliferation efforts?

Cartwright: Two ways to go at that. One is that we have not built any new ballistic missiles in quite a while. In fact, we have gone down. Yet, what you see in the world is the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

Another way to look at it is if we do something like this will it [provide incentive to] somebody else to either accelerate what they are doing or start new efforts as they watch what we are doing? Again, there is no intent to increase the number of [ballistic missiles]. There is intent to create a diversity of effects that is more appropriate for the world that we are in and more controlling of escalation. But it is more of an acknowledgement that the world we are in is not one country versus another anymore. It is a global problem, particularly when you deal with terrorism. Our forces, transports, delivery vehicles, ships, airplanes, etc. are reducing in numbers so the physical distance that any one branch of the service has to cover is greater. The range of effect a ship has to cover is greater. So you have got to start to move to delivery vehicles that have global reach inside of the timelines of the regret factors that someone would deliver to you with a ballistic missile. [Prompt Global Strike] is really about if we have got to reach globally quickly—and that is the new world we live in—then let’s have a more responsible effect at the other end. Some people use the word proportional. I am not sure that is a good one; appropriate [might be better].

ACT:So does Prompt Global Strike herald a growing transition away from nuclear warheads for strategic missions?

Cartwright: It certainly offers an alternative. Today, [our method of] prompt global strike is nuclear and that is where I am trying to change.

ACT:One [nuclear delivery] system that is nearing the end of its lifetime in another decade is the Minuteman III. Air Force Command recently concluded a study on the successor to the Minuteman III. Will that be another ICBM or will that be another type of land-based system?

Cartwright: From a STRATCOM perspective, you have a couple of things you ought to go look at. We had the triad: the bombers, SLBMs, and ICBMs. Then, we have our general purpose forces out there. There are two problems that you would like to be able to solve as you move forward. The first is what is appropriate for the types of force that you want to have for the world that you think you are moving into. A crystal ball for 20 years from now is always tough. But, what kind of diversity would you like to have in your delivery platforms to go after the problems that you think you are going to face? You always want to build in enough diversity to handle the unknown up to a reasonable amount of risk. The other side of that coin is what can you afford to actually field? We have activities associated with space launch; we have activities associated with missile defense; we have activities associated with conventional and nuclear ICBM forces. Whatever it is we do, we ought to, between now and say 2010, build in some options that would give us a reasonable diversity of paths against a reasonable business case that is affordable. Building a stand alone nuclear ICBM, a stand alone conventional ICBM, a stand alone missile defense [interceptor] does not make a lot of sense to me. It may not be the same wrapper, but there has to be a high-degree of commonality in whatever it is you do.

[The second issue] is what is the right balance between things that go very far, very fast and those things that would go very far and persist for long periods of time? We ought to have some studies and demonstrations to understand the balance between those.

You also ought to throw into this mix that if you really believe fuel is a big problem then you ought to make sure that you do not [tie] yourself to a force that is completely dependent on fossil fuels. You have got to think about what a reasonable man would say about the future and then make sure you do not go after any obvious pitfalls. Nobody’s crystal ball is perfect. Those are the types of things that I think are responsible things to go look at before you just make the next generation of what you have.

ACT:The initial elements of a nationwide missile defense system were deployed in the fall of 2004, but it has yet to be declared operational. Why is that and what has to be done before that system will be declared operation?

Cartwright: The declaration of it being operational is up to the national command authority.[10] But there are certain criteria that [are] important from STRATCOM’s perspective. Today, the system is a [research and development] system with a rudimentary operational capability. In November 2004, STRATCOM entered into what we called a shakedown period, which was really the first chance that we had to put operators into the system, run it for extended periods of time to understand [whether] this is what an operator needs versus what a developer needs. What would you change about it? How do you do management of the system, [including] command and control of the sensors and the weapons? We went through that for about six to eight months. We took all of the lessons out of that, along with some other things that we did in testing, and said, “Okay, here is what we need to have in the system in order to be ready to go.” Those upgrades, adjustments, or whatever you want to call them started to be installed by the Missile Defense Agency in about November of last year. That installation period was to take through the late summer of this year.

We are waiting to see how all that installation work goes. There were a series of test that we as operators wanted to see, [such as] using the radars that are in the system to actually track incoming missiles and then transmit the data. We had several [tests] over the past year across the face of radars and things like that. There were new sensors we wanted added for redundancy and command and control capabilities for redundancy and assurance. Those are all now starting to come onboard. At the end of this year, we will start to see the fruits of those upgrades. The other piece that you would like to see is some consistent success with the ground-based interceptor. We have had one good shot here recently, which was the first [test] that had all of the production components end-to-end in the system.[11] That was an important test. There are two more that are coming that shall demonstrate [the interceptor’s] ability to maneuver and ability to actually hit the target. We want to see that along with the introduction of these new sensors so that we know those sensors match up with those weapons.

There is also a big piece of this involving the [Standard Missile-3] ship-based interceptors and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors. We want to see that piece actually integrated [with the sensors and command and control elements of the strategic missile defense system]. You may think you are just adding a module, like “gee, I’m going to have PAC-3 in the system now.” But did that have any effect on what you are doing with the ground-base interceptor? Those are things that we want to see over the next few months to be very comfortable. Does that mean that I would be uncomfortable bringing [the strategic ground-based system] up to an alert today if I or the national command authority felt that we had some kind of threat? No, I would bring it online in a heartbeat. There is no reason why you would not. But those are the kinds of things I would like to see over the next few months to make sure we got the system that we really want to have for the long term.

ACT:In addition to the ground-based program, current plans call for deploying missile defense interceptors to Europe and exploring their stationing in space. Given how you are still working on the ground-based system are these ambitious plans justified by the state of technology and the threat?

Cartwright: Certainly, the sites associated with Europe. The technology is what we are working our way through. Whether you station assets in Europe or you take what is already there and create a sensor grid are things for the national command authority and the country to decide. The threat justifies going beyond where we are today. We are certainly looking at the emergence of the threat as it relates to the Middle East. But who knows in 10 years what direction we will have to look. It is not a system base-lined against hundreds of missiles coming in. It is not a shield. It is to change the calculus and, in many cases, prevent the cheap shot.

ACT:House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson said it is time for a thoughtful and open debate on the role of nuclear weapons in our country’s national security strategy. Would STRATCOM welcome this debate and what are some of the key issues that you feel that debate should revolve around?

Cartwright: You have hit all of them in this. I believe that debate is something we have to have. In the debate, what is the appropriate use [of nuclear weapons]? What is the appropriate match between what we see out there in the world today and the types of weapons we have available? [What are] the confidence-building measures and the escalation controls so we [can] build as many options to not use weapons as possible? All those things ought to be discussed. But we are, because of a lack of a debate, kind of locked in what we had in the Cold War and how we used to do it. That is why the [conventional Trident missile] is such big deal for us. It is to get a discussion. Is that what we want for a capability or is there something else we want for a capability? At the end of the day, I will do what I am told obviously. But I think people ought to understand at least what a commander perceives as sometimes a mismatch for what it is we have as a threat out there and what we have as an arsenal.

ACT:Thank you.


ENDNOTES

1. In 1946, the Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) was established to manage U.S. long-range bombers and their nuclear payloads. The Navy later developed its own nuclear forces, the Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile, and the Air Force added intercontinental ballistic missiles to the U.S. nuclear delivery mix. In 1960, the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) was created to oversee planning and targeting for all U.S. nuclear forces. In June 1992, SAC and JSTPS were both shutdown and STRATCOM was established.

2. The Department of Defense has nine combatant commands: Central Command, European Command, Joint Forces Command, Northern Command, Pacific Command, Southern Command, Special Operations Command, Strategic Command, and Transportation Command.

3. The Moscow Treaty, also known as the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, commits the United States and Russia to reduce their operationally deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700 to 2,200 warheads apiece by the end of 2012. The Department of State has reported that the 2007 target level for U.S. forces is 3,500 to 4,000 warheads.

4. President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. strategic bombers off alert Sept. 27, 1991 as part of what became known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives.

5. The old triad refers to ICBMs, SLBMs, and long-range bombers. The new triad promulgated in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review consists of conventional and nuclear offensive strike capabilities, active and passive defenses, and a responsive defense infrastructure. The old triad is now seen as a sub-unit of the offensive strike component of the new triad.

6. The February 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review called for lowering the number of deployed ICBMs to 450. Warheads associated with the 50 missiles slated to be taken off alert are to be redeployed on some of the remaining ICBMs.

7. Lieber, Keir A. and Press, Daryl G., “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006. Lieber, Keir A. and Press, Daryl G., “The End of MAD? The Nuclear Dimension of U.S. Primacy,” International Security, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Spring 2006), p. 7.

8. NATO’s 1999 Strategic Concept declared, “The fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.” The document further stated the alliance would “maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe,” although it noted the circumstances in which their use would be contemplated were “extremely remote.”

9. In his May 10 address to the Russian Federal Assembly, Putin stated, “the media and expert circles are already discussing plans to use intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry non-nuclear warheads. The launch of such a missile could provoke an inappropriate response from one of the nuclear powers, could provoke a full-scale counterattack using strategic nuclear forces.”

10. The national command authority is the president and the secretary of defense.

11. General Cartwright is referring to the Dec. 13, 2005 flight of the interceptor. This was the first successful flight test of the interceptor model currently deployed in Alaska and California. However, the test did not involve a target or an intercept attempt.

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Interviewed by Wade Boese and Miles A. Pomper

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