Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to
implement U.S. national security strategy. Although some believe these tools do little to restrain
the behavior of U.S. adversaries, while doing too much to restrain U.S. military forces and
operations, many other analysts see them as an effective means to promote transparency, ease
military planning, limit forces, and protect against uncertainty and surprise. Arms control and
nonproliferation efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements, informal arrangements,
and cooperative threat reduction and monitoring mechanisms. The pace of implementation
slowed, however, in the 1990s, and during the past six years, the Bush Administration has usually
preferred unilateral or ad hoc measures to formal treaties and agreements to address U.S. security
The United States and Soviet Union began to sign agreements limiting their strategic offensive
nuclear weapons in the early 1970s. Progress in negotiating and implementing these agreements
was often slow, and subject to the tenor of the broader U.S.-Soviet relationship. As the Cold War
drew to a close in the late 1980s, the pace of negotiations quickened, with the two sides signing
treaties limiting intermediate range and long-range weapons. But progress again slowed in the
Russian relationship. At the same time, however, the two sides began to cooperate on securing
and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Through these cooperative
efforts, the United States now allocates more than $1 billion each year to threat reduction
programs in the former Soviet Union.
The United States is also a prominent actor in an international regime that attempts to limit the
spread of nuclear weapons. This regime, although suffering from some setbacks in recent years in
Iran and North Korea, includes formal treaties, export control coordination and enforcement,
U.N. resolutions, and organizational controls. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) serves
as the cornerstone of this regime, with all but four nations participating in it. The International
Atomic Energy Agency not only monitors nuclear programs to make sure they remain peaceful,
but also helps nations develop and advance those programs. Other measures, such as sanctions,
interdiction efforts, and informal cooperative endeavors, also seek to slow or stop the spread of
nuclear materials and weapons.
The international community has also adopted a number of agreements that address non-nuclear
weapons. The CFE Treaty and Open Skies Treaty sought to stabilize the conventional balance in
Europe in the waning years of the Cold War. Other arrangements seek to slow the spread of
technologies that nations could use to develop advanced conventional weapons. The Chemical
Weapons and Biological Weapons Conventions sought to eliminate both of these types of
This report replaces CRS Report RL30033. It will be updated annually, or as needed.
Introduc tion ..................................................................................................................................... 1
National Security, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation............................................................1
The Arms Control Agenda........................................................................................................2
Arms Control Between the United States and States of the Former Soviet Union..........................3
The Early Years: SALT I and SALT II......................................................................................3
The Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms........................................................................3
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II)................................................................4
The ABM Treaty.................................................................................................................4
The Reagan and Bush Years: INF and START..........................................................................5
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.......................................................5
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).................................................................7
The Clinton and Bush Years: Moving Past START and the ABM Treaty................................11
START III Framework for Strategic Offensive Forces......................................................11
Ballistic Missile Defenses and the ABM Treaty................................................................11
The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty......................................................................14
Threat Reduction and Nonproliferation Assistance.................................................................15
DOD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR)....................................................15
Department of Energy Nonproliferation Cooperation Programs......................................18
State Department Programs..............................................................................................20
G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass
Multilateral Nuclear Nonproliferation Activities..........................................................................23
The International Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime..............................................................23
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty................................................................................23
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)...........................................................24
Nuclear Suppliers Group...................................................................................................25
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.............................................25
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism....................25
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty..............................................................................................26
Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty (FMCT)................................................................27
Informal Cooperative Endeavors............................................................................................28
Global Threat Reduction Initiative...................................................................................28
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)...............................................................................29
Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism................................................................30
Ad Hoc Sanctions and Incentives.....................................................................................31
Non-Nuclear Multilateral Endeavors............................................................................................32
European Conventional Arms Control....................................................................................32
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE).......................................................32
Treaty on Open Skies .......................................................................................................36
Conventional Technology Controls.........................................................................................37
The Missile Technology Control Regime.........................................................................37
Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)........................39
The Wassenaar Arrangement ............................................................................................40
Weapons Elimination Conventions.........................................................................................42
Chemical Weapons Convention........................................................................................42
Biological Weapons Convention.......................................................................................46
Controlling the Use of Anti-Personnel Landmines...........................................................48
Appendix A. List of Treaties and Agreements...............................................................................51
Appendix B. The U.S. Treaty Ratification Process.......................................................................55
Appendix C. Arms Control Organizations....................................................................................60
Author Contact Information..........................................................................................................60
For much of the past century, U.S. national security strategy focused on several core, interrelated
objectives. These include enhancing U.S. security at home and abroad; promoting U.S. economic
prosperity; and promoting free markets and democracy around the world. In addition, the United
States has used both unilateral and multilateral mechanisms to achieve these objectives, with
varying amounts of emphasis at different times. These mechanisms have included a range of
military, diplomatic, and economic tools.
One of these core objectives—enhancing U.S. security—generally is interpreted as the effort to
protect the nation’s interests and includes, for instance, protecting the lives and safety of
Americans; maintaining U.S. sovereignty over its values, territory, and institutions; and
promoting the nation’s well-being. The United States has wielded a deep and wide range of
military, diplomatic, and economic tools to protect and advance its security interests. These
include, for instance, the deployment of military forces to deter, dissuade, persuade, or compel
others; the formation of alliances and coalitions to advance U.S. interests and counter aggression;
and the use of U.S. economic power to advance its agenda or promote democratization, or to
withhold U.S. economic support to condemn or punish states hostile to U.S. interests.
In this context, arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have
occasionally been used to implement the U.S. national security strategy. They generally are not
pursued as ends in and of themselves, and many argue that they should not become more
important than the strategy behind them. But many believe their effective employment can be
critical to the success of that broader strategy. Many analysts see them as a complement to, rather
than a substitute for, military or economic efforts.
Effective arms control measures are thought to enhance U.S. national security in a number of
ways. For example, arms control measures that promote transparency might increase U.S.
knowledge about and understanding of the size, make-up, and operations of an opposing military
force. This might not only ease U.S. military planning, but it might also reduce an opponent’s
incentives for and opportunities to attack U.S. forces, or the forces of its friends and allies.
Transparency measures can also build confidence among wary adversaries. Effective arms control
measures can also be designed to complement U.S. force structure objectives by limiting or
restraining U.S. and other nations’ forces. In an era of declining defense budget resources, such as
the 1980s and 1990s, arms control measures helped ensure reciprocity in force reductions. Indeed,
some considered such arms control measures essential to the success of our national military
Similarly, most agree that efforts to prevent the further spread of weapons of mass destruction and
their means of delivery should be an essential element of U.S. national security. For one reason,
proliferation can exacerbate regional tensions that might escalate to conflict and involve or
threaten U.S. forces or those of its friends and allies. Proliferation might also introduce new, and
unexpected threats to the U.S. homeland. Furthermore, proliferation can greatly complicate U.S.
national military strategy, force structure design, and conduct of operations. And these weapons
could pose a threat to the U.S. homeland if they were acquired by terrorists or subnational groups.
Hence, the United States employs diplomatic, economic, and military tools to restrain these
threats and enhance its national security.
The Bush Administration has altered the role of arms control in U.S. national security policy. The
President and many in his Administration question the degree to which arms control negotiations
and formal treaties can enhance U.S. security objectives. For example, the President has argued
that the United States did not need formal treaties to reduce or restrain its strategic nuclear forces,
and, therefore, initially intended to reduce U.S. nuclear forces without requiring Russia to do the
same. The Administration only incorporated these reductions into a formal Treaty after Russia
insisted on such a document. Similarly, some in the Administration have noted that some formal,
multilateral arms control regimes may go too far in restraining U.S. options without limiting the
forces of potential adversaries. Instead, the Administration would prefer, when necessary, that the
United States take unilateral military action or join in ad hoc coalitions to stem the proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction. The absence of confidence in arms control has extended to the
State Department, where the Bush Administration has removed the phrase “arms control” from all
bureaus that were responsible for this policy area. The focus remains on nonproliferation, but this
is seen as policy area that no longer requires formal arms control treaties to meet its objectives.
The United States has participated in numerous arms control and nonproliferation efforts over the
past 40 years. These efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements that impose restrictions
on U.S. military forces and activities, informal arrangements and guidelines that the United States
has agreed to observe, and unilateral restraints on military forces and activities that the United
States has adopted either on its own, or in conjunction with reciprocal restraints on other nations’
forces and activities. Because these arms control arrangements affect U.S. national security,
military programs, force levels, and defense spending, Congress has shown a continuing interest
in the implementation of existing agreements and ongoing negotiations.
The changing international environment in the 1990s led many analysts to believe that the United
States and other nations could enter a new era of restraint in weapons deployments, weapons
transfers, and military operations. These hopes were codified in several treaties signed between
1991 and 1996, such as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START I and START II), the
Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Yet, for many,
hopes for a new era were clouded by the slow pace of ratification and implementation for many
agreements. The 1991 START I Treaty did not enter into force until late 1994; the 1993 START II
Treaty never entered into force and was replaced by a new, less detailed Strategic Offensive
Reductions Treaty in 2002. The 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), in spite of
widespread international support, failed to win approval from the United States Senate in October
1999. Furthermore, India, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea raised new questions about the
viability of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and its role in stemming nuclear proliferation.
Some progress did occur in the latter years of the decade. In 1997, the United States and Russia,
the two nations with the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, both ratified the Chemical
Weapons Convention. In December 1997, more than 120 nations signed an international
agreement banning the use of anti-personnel land mines; although, a number of major nations,
including the United States, have so far declined to sign. However, the U.S. Senate’s rejection of
the CTBT, the Bush Administration’s withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and the U.S. rejection of
a verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention led many nations to question the
U.S. commitment to the arms control process.
The United States has outlined many new initiatives in nonproliferation policy that take a far less
formal approach, with voluntary guidelines and voluntary participation replacing treaties and
multilateral conventions. With these new initiatives, the Administration has signaled a change in
the focus of U.S. nonproliferation policy. Instead of offering its support to international regimes
that seek to establish nonproliferation norms that apply to all nations, the Administration has
turned to arrangements that seek, instead, to prevent proliferation only to those nations and
groups that the United States believes can threaten U.S. or international security. In essence,
nonproliferation has become a tool of anti-terrorism policy, which, in some ways, may diminish
its role as a tool of international security policy.
This report provides an overview of many of the key arms control and nonproliferation
agreements and endeavors of the past 40 years. It is divided into three sections. The first describes
arms control efforts between the United States and the states of the former Soviet Union, covering
both formal, bilateral treaties, and the cooperative threat reduction process. The second section
describes multilateral nuclear nonproliferation efforts, covering both formal treaties and less
formal accommodations that have been initiated in recent years. The final section reviews treaties
and agreements that address chemical, biological, and conventional weapons.
The report concludes with several appendices. These provide a list of treaties and agreements that
the United States is a party to, a description of the treaty ratification process, and a list of the
bilateral and international organizations tasked with implementation of arms control efforts.
The United States and Soviet Union signed their first formal agreements limiting nuclear
offensive and defensive weapons in May 1972. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, known as
SALT, produced two agreements—the Interim Agreement ... on Certain Measures with Respect to
the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms and the Treaty ... on the Treaty on the Limitation of
Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems. These were followed, in 1979, by the Strategic Arms Limitation
Treaty, known as SALT II, which sought to codify equal limits on U.S. and Soviet strategic
offensive nuclear forces.
The Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms imposed a freeze on the number of launchers for
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)
that the United States and Soviet Union could deploy. The parties agreed that they would not
begin construction of new ICBM launchers after July 1, 1972; at the time the United States had
1,054 ICBM launchers and the Soviet Union had 1,618 ICBM launchers. They also agreed to
freeze their number of SLBM launchers and modern ballistic missile submarines, although they
could add SLBM launchers if they retired old ICBM launchers. A protocol to the Treaty indicated
that the United States could deploy up to 710 SLBM launchers on 44 submarines, and the Soviet
Union could deploy up to 950 SLBM launchers on 62 submarines.
The inequality in these numbers raised serious concerns both in Congress and in the policy
community in Washington. When approving the agreement, Congress adopted a provision, known
as the Jackson amendment, that mandated that all future arms control agreements would have to
contain equal limits for the United States and Soviet Union.
The Interim Agreement was to remain in force for five years, unless the parties replaced it with a
more comprehensive agreement limiting strategic offensive weapons. In 1977, both nations
agreed to observe the agreement until the completed the SALT II Treaty.
The United States and Soviet Union completed the SALT II Treaty in June 1979, after seven years
of negotiations. During these negotiations, the United States sought limits on quantitative and
qualitative changes in Soviet forces. The U.S. negotiating position also reflected the
congressional mandate for numerically equal limits on both nations’ forces. As a result, the treaty
limited each nation to a total of 2,400 ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and heavy bombers,
with this number declining to 2,250 by January 1, 1981. Within this total, the Treaty contained
sublimits for the numbers launchers that could be deployed for ICBMs with multiple independent
reentry vehicles (MIRVed ICBMs); MIRVed ICBMs and MIRVed SLBMs; and MIRVed ICBMs,
MIRVed SLBMs, MIRVed air-to-surface ballistic missiles (ASBMs) and heavy bombers. The
Treaty would not have limited the total number of warheads that could be carried on these
delivery vehicles, which was a growing concern with the deployment of large numbers of
multiple warhead missiles, but the nations did agree that they would not increase the numbers of
warheads on existing types of missiles and would not test new types of ICBMs with more than 10
warheads and new types of SLBMs with more than 14 warheads. They also agreed to provisions
that were designed to limit missile modernization programs, in an effort to restrain qualitative
improvements in their strategic forces.
Although it contained equal limits on U.S. and Soviet forces, the SALT II Treaty still proved to be
highly controversial. Some analysts argued that the Treaty would fail to curb the arms race
because the limits on forces were equal to the numbers already deployed by the United States and
Soviet Union; they argued for lower limits and actual reductions. Other analysts argued that the
Treaty would allow the Soviet Union to maintain strategic superiority over the United States
because the Soviet force of large, land-based ballistic missiles would be able to carry far greater
numbers of warheads, even within the equal limits on delivery vehicles, than U.S. ballistic
missiles. Some argued that, with this advantage, the Soviet Union would be able to target all U.S.
land-based ICBMs in a first strike, which created a “window of vulnerability” for the United
States. The Treaty’s supporters argued that the Soviet advantage in large MIRVed ICBMs was
more than offset by the U.S. advantage in SLBM warheads, which could not be destroyed in a
first strike and could retaliate against Soviet targets, and the U.S. advantage in heavy bombers.
The continuing Soviet build-up of strategic nuclear forces, along with the taking of U.S. hostages
in Iran and other challenges to the U.S. international position in the late 1970s, combined with the
perceived weaknesses to the Treaty to raise questions about whether the Senate would muster the
votes needed to consent to the Treaty’s ratification. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan
in December 1979, President Carter withdrew the Treaty from the Senate’s consideration.
The 1972 ABM Treaty permitted the United States and Soviet Union to deploy ABM interceptors
at two sites, one centered on the nation’s capital and one containing ICBM silo launchers. Each
site could contain up to 100 ground-based launchers for ABM interceptor missiles, along with
specified radars and sensors. The ABM Treaty also obligated each nation not to develop, test, or
deploy ABM systems for the “defense of the territory of its country” and not to provide a base for
such a defense. It forbade testing and deployment of space-based, sea-based, or air-based ABM
systems or components and it imposed a number of qualitative limits on missile defense
programs. The Treaty, however, imposed no restrictions on defenses against aircraft, cruise
missiles, or theater ballistic missiles.
In a Protocol signed in 1974, each side agreed that it would deploy an ABM system at only one
site, either around the nation’s capital or around an ICBM deployment area. The Soviet Union
deployed its site around Moscow; this system has been maintained and upgraded over the years,
and remains operational today. The United States deployed its ABM system around ICBM silo
launchers located near Grand Forks North Dakota; it operated this facility briefly in 1974 before
closing it down when it proved to be not cost effective.
The ABM Treaty was the source of considerable controversy and debate for most of its history.
Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton all wrestled with the conflicting goals of
defending the United States against ballistic missile attack while living within the confines of the
ABM Treaty. President George W. Bush resolved this conflict in 2002, when he announced that
the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty so that it could deploy ballistic missile
defenses. The substance of this debate during the Clinton and Bush years is described in more
During the election campaign of 1980, and after taking office in January 1981, President Ronald
Reagan pledged to restore U.S. military capabilities, in general, and nuclear capabilities, in
particular. He planned to expand U.S. nuclear forces and capabilities in an effort to counter the
perceived Soviet advantages in nuclear weapons. Initially, at least, he rejected the use of arms
control agreements to contain the Soviet threat. However, in 1982, after Congress and many
analysts pressed for more diplomatic initiatives, the Reagan Administration outlined negotiating
positions to address intermediate-range missiles, long-range strategic weapons, and ballistic
missile defenses. These negotiations began to bear fruit in the latter half of President Reagan’s
second term, with the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987. President
George H.W. Bush continued to pursue the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), with
the United States and Soviet Union signing this Treaty in July 1991. The collapse of the Soviet
Union later that year led to calls for deeper reductions in strategic offensive arms. As a result, the
United States and Russia signed START II in January 2003, weeks before the end of the Bush
In December 1979, NATO decided upon a “two track” approach to intermediate-range nuclear
forces (INF) in Europe: it would seek negotiations with the Soviets to eliminate such systems, and
at the same time schedule deployments as a spur to such negotiations. Negotiating sessions began
in the fall of 1980 and continued until November 1983, when the Soviets left the talks upon
deployment of the first U.S. INF systems in Europe. The negotiations resumed in January 1985.
At the negotiations, the Reagan Administration called for a “double zero” option, which would
eliminate all short- as well as long-range INF systems, a position at the time viewed by most
observers to be unattractive to the Soviets. Nevertheless, significant progress occurred during the
Gorbachev regime. At the Reykjavik summit in October 1986, Gorbachev agreed to include
reductions of Soviet INF systems in Asia. In June 1987, the Soviets proposed a global ban on
short- and long-range INF systems, which was similar to the U.S. proposal for a double zero.
Gorbachev also accepted the U.S. proposal for an intrusive verification regime.
The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
(INF) on December 8, 1987. The INF Treaty was seen as a significant milestone in arms control
because it established an intrusive verification regime and because it eliminated entire classes of
weapons that both sides regarded as modern and effective. The United States and Soviet Union
agreed to destroy all intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and
ground-launched cruise missiles, which are those missiles with a range between 300 and 3400
miles. The launchers associated with the controlled missiles were also to be destroyed. The
signatories agreed that the warheads and guidance systems of the missiles need not be destroyed;
they could be used or reconfigured for other systems not controlled by the Treaty.
The Soviets agreed to destroy approximately 1750 missiles and the United States agreed to
destroy 846 missiles, establishing a principle that asymmetrical reductions were acceptable in
order to achieve a goal of greater stability. On the U.S. side, the principal systems destroyed were
the Pershing II ballistic missile and the ground launched cruise missile (GLCM), both single-
warhead systems. On the Soviet side, the principal system was the SS-20 ballistic missile, which
carried three warheads. These systems, on both sides, were highly mobile and able to strike such
high-value targets as command-and-control centers, staging areas, airfields, depots, and ports.
The Soviets also agreed to destroy a range of older nuclear missiles, as well as the mobile, short-
range SS-23, a system developed and deployed in the early 1980s. The parties had eliminated all
their weapons by May 1991.
The verification regime of the INF Treaty permitted on-site inspections of selected missile
assembly facilities and all storage centers, deployment zones, and repair, test, and elimination
facilities. Although it did not permit “anywhere, anytime” inspections, it did allow up to 20 short-
notice inspections of sites designated in the Treaty. The two sides agreed to an extensive data
exchange, intended to account for all systems covered by the agreement. The Treaty also
established a continuous portal monitoring procedure at one assembly facility in each country.
Inspections under the INF Treaty continued until May 2001, however, the United States continues
to operate its site at Russia’s Votkinsk Missile Assembly facility under the terms of the 1991
The INF Treaty returned to the news in 2007. Russia, partly in response to U.S. plans to deploy a
missile defense radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland, has stated that it
might withdraw from the INF Treaty. Some Russian officials have claimed this would allow
Russia to deploy missiles with the range needed to threaten the missile defense system, in case it
were capable of threatening Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. Analysts outside Russia have also
noted that the Russian might be responding to concerns about the growing capabilities of China’s
missiles, or of those in other countries surrounding Russia. Some analysts have suggested that the
United States, Russia, and others negotiate a global agreement banning intermediate range
missiles, to address the growing threat these systems might pose to both the United States and
For Further Reading
CRS Issue Brief IB88003, Arms Control: Ratification of the INF Treaty. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-
CRS Issue Brief IB84131, Verification and Compliance: Soviet Compliance with Arms Control Agreements. (Archived. For
copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
Like, INF, START negotiations began in 1982, but stopped between 1983 and 1985 after a Soviet
walk-out in response to the U.S. deployment of intermediate range missiles in Europe. They
resumed later in the Reagan Administration, and were concluded in the first Bush Administration.
The United States and Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on
July 31, 1991.
The demise of the Soviet Union in December 1991 immediately raised questions about the future
of the Treaty. At that time, about 70% of the strategic nuclear weapons covered by START were 1
deployed at bases in Russia; the other 30% were deployed in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.
Russia initially sought to be the sole successor to the Soviet Union for the Treaty, but the other
three republics did not want to cede all responsibility for the Soviet Union’s nuclear status and
treaty obligations to Russia. In May 1992, the four republics and the United States signed a
Protocol that made all four republics parties to the Treaty. At the same time, the leaders of
Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan agreed to eliminate all of their nuclear weapons during the
seven-year reduction period outlined in START. They also agreed to sign the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapons states.
The U.S. Senate gave its consent to the ratification of START on October 1, 1992. The Russian
parliament consented to the ratification of START on November 4, 1992, but it stated that Russia
would not exchange the instruments of ratification for the Treaty until all three of the other
republics adhered to the NPT as non-nuclear states. Kazakhstan completed the ratification process
in June 1992 and joined the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state on February 14, 1994. Belarus
approved START and the NPT on February 4, 1993, and formally joined the NPT as a non-
nuclear weapon state on July 22, 1993. Ukraine’s parliament approved START in November
1993, but its approval was conditioned on Ukraine’s retention of some of the weapons based on
its territory and the provision of security guarantees by the other nuclear weapons states.
In early 1994, after the United States, Russia, and Ukraine agreed that Ukraine should receive
compensation and security assurances in exchange for the weapons based on its soil, the
parliament removed the conditions from its resolution of ratification. But it still did not approve
Ukraine’s accession to the NPT. The Ukrainian parliament took this final step on November 16,
1994, after insisting on and apparently receiving additional security assurances from the United
Leaders in these the non-Russian republics did not have control over the use of the nuclear weapons on their territory.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and now Valdimir Putin, is the sole successor to the Soviet President in the command
and control structure for Soviet nuclear weapons and he, along with his Minister of Defense and Military Chief of Staff,
have the codes needed to launch Soviet nuclear weapons.
States, Russia, and Great Britain. START officially entered into force with the exchange of the
instruments of ratification on December 5, 1994.
START limits long-range nuclear forces—land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),
submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers—in the United States and
the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Each side can deploy up to 6,000
attributed warheads on 1,600 ballistic missiles and bombers. (Some weapons carried on bombers
do not count against the Treaty’s limits, so each side could deploy 8,000 or 9,000 actual
weapons.) Each side can deploy up to 4,900 warheads on ICBMs and SLBMs. Throughout the
START negotiations, the United States placed a high priority on reductions in heavy ICBMs
because they were thought to be able to threaten a first strike against U.S. ICBMs. Therefore,
START also limits each side to 1,540 warheads on “heavy” ICBMs, a 50% reduction in the
number of warheads deployed on the SS-18 ICBMs in the former Soviet republics.
START did not require the elimination of most of the missiles removed from service. The nations
had to eliminate launchers for missiles that exceeded the permitted totals, but, in most cases,
missiles could be placed in storage and warheads could either be stored or reused on missiles
remaining in the force.
START contains a complex verification regime. Both sides collect most of the information
needed to verify compliance with their own satellites and remote sensing equipment—the
National Technical Means of Verification (NTM). But the parties also use data exchanges,
notifications, and on-site inspections to gather information about forces and activities limited by
the Treaty. Taken together, these measures are designed to provide each nation with the ability to
deter and detect militarily significant violations. (No verification regime can ensure the detection
of all violations. A determined cheater could probably find a way to conceal some types of
violations.) Many also believe that the intrusiveness mandated by the START verification regime
and the cooperation needed to implement many of these measures builds confidence and
encourages openness among the signatories.
The United States and Russia completed the reductions in their forces by the designated date of
December 5, 2001. All the warheads from 104 SS-18 ICBMs in Kazakhstan were removed and
returned to Russia and all the launchers in that nation have been destroyed. Ukraine has destroyed
all the SS-19 ICBM and SS-24 ICBM launchers on its territory and returned all the warheads
from those missiles to Russia. Belarus had also returned to Russia all 81 SS-25 missiles and
warheads based on its territory by late November 1996.
The START Treaty expires in December 2009. According to the Treaty, the parties must begin
discussions, one year prior to that date, about the future of the Treaty. They could allow it to
lapse, extend it without modification for another five years, or seek to modify the Treaty before
extending it for five year intervals. The United States and Russia have held some preliminary
discussions about the future of START, but the two sides apparently have sharply different views
on what that future should be. Some in Russia, including President Putin, have suggested that the
two nations replace START with a new Treaty that would reduce the numbers of deployed
warheads but contain many of the definitions, counting rules, and monitoring provisions of
START. The Bush Administration has rejected that approach, noting that the new Moscow Treaty
(described below) calls for further reductions in offensive nuclear weapons and that many of the
detailed provisions in START are no longer needed now that the United States and Russia are no
longer enemies. The United States has suggested that the two sides extend, without formal treaty,
some of the monitoring and verification provisions in START. Analysts outside government have
also suggested that the nations extend the monitoring provisions, at least through 2012, as the
Moscow Treaty does not have its own verification regime. Some in the United States, however,
object to this approach because some of the monitoring provisions have begun to impinge on U.S.
strategic weapons and missile defense programs.
For Further Reading
CRS Report 91-492 F, Cooperative Measures in START Verification. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf, 202-707-
CRS Issue Brief IB98030, Nuclear Arms Control: The U.S.-Russian Agenda. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf,
CRS Report 93-617 F, START I and START II Arms Control Treaties: Background and Issues. (Archived. For copies contact
Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
The United States and Russia signed the second START Treaty, START II, on January 3, 1993,
after less than a year of negotiations. The Treaty never entered into force. Its consideration was
delayed for several years during the 1990s, but it eventually received approval from both the U.S.
Senate and Russian parliament. Nevertheless, it was overcome by events in 2002.
START II would have limited each side to between 3,000 and 3,500 warheads; reductions initially
were to occur by the year 2003 and would have been extended until 2007 if the nations had
approved a new Protocol. It would have banned all MIRVed ICBMs and would have limited each
side to 1,750 warheads on SLBMs.
To comply with these limits the United States would have removed two warheads (a process
known as “downloading”) from each of its 500 3-warhead Minuteman III missiles and eliminated
all launchers for its 50 10-warhead MX missiles. The United States also stated that it would
reduce its SLBM warheads by eliminating 4 Trident submarines and deploying the missiles on the
14 remaining Trident submarines with 5, rather than 8, warheads. Russia would have eliminated
all launchers for its 10-warhead SS-24 missiles and 10-warhead SS-18 missiles. It would also
have downloaded to a single warhead 105 6-warhead SS-19 missiles, if it retained those missiles.
It would also have eliminated a significant number of ballistic missile submarines, both for
budget reasons and to reduce to START II limits. These changes would have brought Russian
forces below the 3,500 limit because so many of Russia’s warheads are deployed on MIRVed
ICBMs. As a result, many Russian officials and Duma members insisted that the United States
and Russia negotiate a START III Treaty, with lower warhead numbers, so that Russia would not
have to produce hundreds of new missiles to maintain START II levels.
START II implementation would have accomplished the long-standing U.S. objective of
eliminating the Soviet SS-18 heavy ICBMs. The Soviet Union and Russia had resisted limits on
these missiles in the past. Russia would have achieved its long-standing objective of limiting U.S.
SLBM warheads, although the reductions would not have been as great as those for MIRVed
ICBMs. The United States had long resisted limits on these missiles, but apparently believed a
START II would have relied on the verification regime established by START, with a few new
provisions. For example, U.S. inspectors would be allowed to watch Russia pour concrete into the
SS-18 silos and to measure the depth of the concrete when Russia converted the silos to hold
smaller missiles. In addition, Russian inspectors could have viewed the weapons carriage areas on
U.S. heavy bombers to confirm that the number of weapons the bombers are equipped to carry
did not exceed the number attributed to that type of bomber.
Although START II was signed in early January 1993, its full consideration was delayed until
START entered into force at the end of 1994. The U.S. Senate further delayed its consideration
during a Senate dispute over the future of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The
Senate eventually approved ratification of START II, by a vote of 87-4, on January 26, 1996.
The Russian Duma also delayed its consideration of START II. Many members of the Duma
disapproved of the way the Treaty would affect Russian strategic offensive forces and many
objected to the economic costs Russia would bear when implementing the treaty. The United
States sought to address the Duma’s concerns during 1997, by negotiating a Protocol that would
extend the elimination deadlines in START II, and, therefore, reduce the annual costs of
implementation, and by agreeing to negotiate a START III Treaty after START II entered into
force. But this did not break the deadlock; the Duma again delayed its debate after the United
States and Great Britain launched air strikes against Iraq in December 1998. The Treaty’s future
clouded again after the United States announced its plans in January 1999 to negotiate
amendments to the 1972 ABM Treaty, and after NATO forces began their air campaign in
Yugoslavia in April 1999.
President Putin offered his support to START II and pressed the Duma for action in early 2000.
He succeeded in winning approval for the treaty on April 14 after promising, among other things,
that Russia would withdraw from the Treaty if the United States withdrew from the 1972 ABM
Treaty. However, the Federal Law on Ratification said the Treaty could not enter into force until
the United States approved ratification of several 1997 agreements related to the 1972 ABM
Treaty. President Clinton never submitted these to the Senate, for fear they would be defeated.
The Bush Administration also never submitted these to the Senate, announcing, instead, in June
2002, that the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty. Russia responded by
announcing that it had withdrawn from START II and would not implement the Treaty’s
For Further Reading
CRS Report 93-617 F, START I and START II Arms Control Treaties: Background and Issues. (Archived. For copies contact
Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Report 97-359, START II Debate in the Russian Duma: Issues and Prospects, by Amy F. Woolf.
The arms control process between the United States and Russia essentially stalled during the
1990s, as efforts to ratify and implement START II dragged on. In 1997, in an effort to move the
agenda forward, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to a framework for a START III Treaty.
But these negotiations never produced a Treaty, as the U.S.-Russian arms control agenda came to
be dominated by U.S. plans for ballistic missile defenses and issues related to the ABM Treaty.
When President Bush took office in 2001, he had little interest in pursuing formal arms control
agreements with Russia. He signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (known as the
Moscow Treaty) in 2002, even though he would have preferred that the United States and Russia
each set their force levels without any formal limits.
Many in Russia argued the United States and Russia should bypass START II and negotiate
deeper reductions in nuclear warheads that were more consistent with the levels Russia was likely
to retain in the future. The Clinton Administration did not want to set START II aside, in part
because it wanted to be sure Russia eliminated its MIRVed ICBMS. However, many in the
Administration eventually concluded that Russia would not ratify START II without some
assurances that the warhead levels would decline further. So the United States agreed to proceed
to START III, but only after START II entered into force; Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to
this timeline in March 2007. The START III framework called for reductions to between 2,000
and 2,500 warheads for strategic offensive nuclear weapons on each side.
The United States and Russia held several rounds of discussions on START III, but they did not
resolve their differences before the end of the Clinton Administration. President Bush did not
pursue the negotiations after taking office in 2001. The demise of these discussions left many
issues that had been central to the U.S.-Russian arms control process unresolved. For example,
Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin had agreed to explore possible measures for limiting long-range,
nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missiles and other tactical nuclear weapons in the START III
framework. These weapons systems are not limited by existing treaties. Many in Congress have
joined analysts outside the government in expressing concerns about the safety and security of
Russia’s stored nuclear weapons.
In addition, when establishing the START III framework, the United States and Russia agreed that
they would explore proposals to enhance transparency and promote the irreversibility of warhead
reductions. Many analysts viewed this step as critical to lasting, predictable reductions in nuclear
weapons. The Bush Administration has, however, rejected this approach. Although it has pledged
to eliminate some warheads removed from deployment, it will not offer any measures promoting
the transparency or reversibility of this process. It wants to retain U.S. flexibility and the ability to
restore warheads to deployed forces. Many critics of the Administration oppose this policy, in
part, because it will undermine U.S. efforts to encourage Russia to eliminate warheads that might
be at risk of loss or theft.
As was noted above, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and 1974 Protocol allowed
the United States and Soviet Union to deploy limited defenses against long-range ballistic
missiles. The United States completed, then quickly abandoned a treaty-compliant ABM system
near Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1974. The Soviet Union deployed, and Russia continues to
operate, a treaty-compliant system around Moscow.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, the United States conducted research on a variety of ballistic
missile defense technologies. In 1983 President Reagan collected and expanded these programs in
the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which sought to develop and deploy comprehensive
missile defenses that would defend the United States against a deliberate, massive attack from the
Soviet Union. The first Bush Administration changed this focus, seeking instead to provide a
defense against possible limited missile attacks that might arise from any number of countries
throughout the world.
After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, with Iraq’s attacks with Scud missiles alerting many to the
dangers of missile proliferation and the threats posed by short- and medium-range theater ballistic
missiles, the United States began developing several advanced theater missile defense (TMD)
systems. At the same time, the Clinton Administration pursued research and technology
development for national missile defenses (NMD). The Department of Defense concluded that
there was no military requirement for the deployment of such a system after intelligence estimates
found that no additional nations (beyond China, Russia, France, and Great Britain) were likely to
develop missiles that could threaten the continental United States for at least the next 10-15 years.
However, after a congressionally mandated Commission raised concerns about the proliferation
of long-range missiles in July 1998 and North Korea tested a three-stage missile in August 1998,
the Clinton Administration began to consider the deployment of an NMD, with a program
structured to achieve that objective in 2005. On September 1, 2000, after disappointing test
results, President Clinton announced that he would not authorize construction needed to begin
deployment of an NMD.
President George W. Bush altered U.S. policy on missile defenses. His Administration is seeking
to develop layered defense with land-based, sea-based, and space-based components. It is seeking
a system that could protect the United States, its allies, and its forces overseas from short,
medium, and long-range ballistic missiles. It has begun to deploy land-based missile interceptors
for defense against long-range missiles in Alaska and California, and has pursued the deployment
of defenses against shorter-range missiles on naval ships. The Administration had hoped that
these missiles could be operational by 2004, but the system still is not operational.
The missile defense systems advocated by the Reagan and first Bush Administrations would not
have been permitted under the ABM Treaty. In 1985, the United States proposed, in negotiations
with the Soviet Union, that the two sides replace the ABM Treaty with an agreement that would
permit deployment of more extensive defenses. These negotiations failed, and, in 1993, the
Clinton Administration altered their focus. It sought a demarcation agreement to clarify the
difference between theater missile defenses and strategic missile defenses so the United States
could proceed with theater missile defense (TMD) programs without raising questions about
compliance with the Treaty.
The United States and Russia signed two joint statements on ABM/TMD Demarcation in
September 1997. As amendments to the ABM Treaty, these agreements required the advice and
consent of the Senate before they entered into force. But President Clinton never submitted them
to the Senate, knowing that the required 67 votes would prove elusive as many of the Senators in
the Republican majority believed the ABM Treaty, even if modified, would stand in the way of
the deployment of robust missile defenses.
In February 1999, the United States and Russia began to discuss ABM Treaty modifications that
would permit deployment of a U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system. The United States
sought to reassure Russia that the planned NMD would not interfere with Russia’s strategic
nuclear forces and that the United States still viewed the ABM Treaty as central to the U.S.-
Russian strategic balance. The Russians were reportedly unconvinced, noting that the United
States could expand its system so that it could intercept a significant portion of Russia’s forces.
They also argued that the United States had overstated the threat from rogue nations.
Furthermore, after Russia approved START II, President Putin noted that U.S. withdrawal from
the ABM Treaty would lead not only to Russian withdrawal from START II, but also Russian
withdrawal from a wider range of arms control agreements. Through the end of the Clinton
Administration, Russia refused to consider U.S. proposals for modifications to the ABM Treaty.
Some argued that Russia’s position reflected its belief that the United States would not withdraw
from the ABM Treaty and, therefore, if Russia refused to amend it, the United States would not
deploy national missile defenses.
Officials in the new Bush Administration referred to the Treaty as a relic of the Cold War and the
President stated that the United States would need to move beyond the limits in the Treaty to
deploy robust missile defenses. In discussions that began in the middle of 2001, the Bush
Administration sought to convince Russia to accept a U.S. proposal for the nations to “set aside”
the Treaty together. The Administration also offered Russia extensive briefings to demonstrate
that its missile defense program would not threaten Russia but that the ABM Treaty would
interfere with the program. Russia would not agree to set the Treaty aside, and, instead, suggested
that the United States identify modifications to the Treaty that would allow it to pursue the more
robust testing program contained in its proposals. But, according to some reports, Russia would
have insisted on the right to determine whether proposed tests were consistent with the Treaty.
The Bush Administration would not accept these conditions and President Bush announced, on
December 13, 2001, that the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty. This
withdrawal took effect on June 13, 2002. Russia’s President Putin stated that this action was
“mistaken.” Russia responded by withdrawing from the START II Treaty, but this action was
largely symbolic as the Treaty seemed likely to never enter into force.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31111, Missile Defense: The Current Debate, by Steven A. Hildreth et al.
CRS Report 98-496, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty Demarcation and Succession Agreements: Background and Issues, by Amy F.
CRS Issue Brief IB98030, Nuclear Arms Control: The U.S. Russian Agenda. (Archived. For copies contact Amy Woolf,
During a summit meeting with President Putin in November 2001, President Bush announced that
the United States would reduce its “operationally deployed” strategic nuclear warheads to a level
between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads during the next decade. He stated that the United States would
reduce its forces unilaterally, without signing a formal agreement. President Putin indicated that
Russia wanted to use the formal arms control process, emphasizing that the two sides should
focus on “reaching a reliable and verifiable agreement.” Russia sought a “legally binding
document” that would provide “predictability and transparency” and ensure for the “irreversibilty
of the reduction of nuclear forces.” The United States, wanted to maintain the flexibility to size
and structure its nuclear forces in response to its own needs. It preferred a less formal process,
such as an exchange of letters and, possibly, new transparency measures that would allow each
side to understand the force structure plans of the other side.
Within the Bush Administration, Secretary of State Powell supported the conclusion of a “legally
binding” agreement because he believed it would help President Putin’s standing with his
domestic critics. He apparently prevailed over the objections of officials in the Pentagon.
Although the eventual outcome did differ from the initial approach of the Bush Administration,
most observers agree that it did not undermine the fundamental U.S. objectives in the negotiations
because the Treaty’s provisions would not impede the Bush Administration’s plans for U.S.
strategic nuclear forces.
The United States and Russia signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty on May 24, 2002.
The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the Treaty on March 6, 2003.
The Russian Duma approved the Federal Law on Ratification for the Treaty on May 14, 2003.
The Treaty entered into force on June 1, 2003.
The Treaty is due to remain in force until December 31, 2012, after which it could be extended or
replaced by another agreement. In theory, the parties might be able to increase their warheads
above the 2,200 limit as soon as the Treaty expires. The Treaty also states that either party may
withdraw from the Treaty on three months’ notice. This provision differs from the withdrawal
clause in previous treaties, which required six months notice and a statement of “extraordinary
events” that led to the nation’s withdrawal.
Article I contains the only limit in the Treaty, stating that the United States and Russia will reduce
their “strategic nuclear warheads” to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012.
The text does not define “strategic nuclear warheads” and, therefore, does not indicate whether
the parties will count only those warheads that are “operationally deployed,” all warheads that
would count under the START counting rules, or some other quantity of nuclear warheads. The
text does refer to statements made by Presidents Bush and Putin in November and December
2001, when each outlined their own reduction plans. This reference may indicate that the United
States and Russia could each use their own definition when counting strategic nuclear warheads.
The Treaty does not limit delivery vehicles or impose sublimits on specific types of weapons
systems. Each party shall determine its own “composition and structure of its strategic offensive
The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty does not contain any monitoring or verification
provisions. The Bush Administration has noted that the United States and Russia already collect
information about strategic nuclear forces under START I and during implementation of the
Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Some in Congress have questioned,
however, whether this information will be sufficient for the duration of the Treaty, since START I
expires in 2009, three years before the end of implementation under the new Treaty.
The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty also does not contain any limits or restrictions on
nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Yet, as was noted above, many Members of Congress have argued
that these weapons pose a greater threat to the United States and its allies than strategic nuclear
weapons. During hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Powell both agreed that the disposition of nonstrategic nuclear
weapons should be on the agenda for future meetings between the United States and Russia,
although neither supported a formal arms control regime to limit or contain these weapons. These
discussions have not occurred, and many analysts outside government have renewed their calls
for reductions in nonstrategic nuclear weapons.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31448, Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, by Amy F. Woolf.
CRS Report RL31222, Arms Control and Strategic Nuclear Weapons: Unilateral vs. Bilateral Reductions, by Amy F. Woolf.
As the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, many Members of Congress grew concerned that
deteriorating social and economic conditions in Russia would affect control over Soviet weapons
of mass destruction. In December 1991, Congress authorized the transfer of $400 million from
the FY1992 Department of Defense (DOD) budget to help the republics that inherited the Soviet
nuclear and chemical weapons stockpile—Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus—transport
and dismantle these weapons. This effort has since grown substantially, with Congress
appropriating more than $1 billion each year, in recent years for nonproliferation and threat
reduction programs administered by the Department of Defense (DOD), the State Department,
and the Department of Energy (DOE). The United States has also worked with other nations,
through the G-8 Global Partnership, to expand participation in, and funding for, nonproliferation
and threat reduction programs in Russia.
At its inception, DOD’s CTR program sought to provide Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan with assistance in the safe and secure transportation, storage, and dismantlement of
nuclear weapons. During the first few years, the mandate for U.S. assistance expanded to include
efforts to secure materials that might be used in nuclear or chemical weapons, to prevent the
diversion of scientific expertise from the former Soviet Union, to expand military-to-military
contacts between officers in the United States and the former Soviet Union, and to facilitate the
demilitarization of defense industries. In the late 1990s, Congress added funds to the CTR budget
for biological weapons proliferation prevention; this effort has expanded substantially in recent
years. Congress also expanded the CTR program to allow the use of CTR funds for emergency
assistance to remove weapons of mass destruction or materials and equipment related to these
weapons from any of the former Soviet republics.
Initial implementation of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program was slowed by
administrative requirements on the U.S. side; the complex nature of activities being undertaken;
the need for major changes in the attitudes of recipients toward the United States and the idea of
weapons dismantlement and destruction; and political and economic upheavals within and among
the states of the former Soviet Union. For example, before funds could be obligated for specific
projects, the United States had to sign general “umbrella” agreements with each recipient nation
that set out the privileges and immunities of U.S. personnel and the legal and customs framework
for the provision of the aid. The umbrella agreement between the United States and Russia has
recently been renewed for another seven years, after intensive debate between the nations and in
the Russian Duma.
The United States provides assistance with several different types of projects. Most of the
funding, in recent years, has gone to Russia, as the participants have completed most projects in
the other nations. For example, the United States has provided extensive assistance with
destruction and dismantlement projects. These are designed to help with the elimination of
nuclear, chemical, and other weapons and their delivery vehicles. These projects have helped
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan remove warheads, deactivate missiles, and eliminate
launch facilities for nuclear weapons covered by the START I Treaty. Chain of custody projects
are designed to enhance the safety, security and control over nuclear weapons and fissile
materials. These projects provided Russia with bullet-proof Kevlar blankets, secure canisters, and
improved rail cars for warheads transported from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to storage
and dismantlement facilities in Russia. The CTR program also funded several projects at storage
facilities for nuclear weapons and materials, to improve security and accounting systems and to
provide storage space for plutonium removed from nuclear warheads when they are dismantled.
Demilitarization projects encourage Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to convert military efforts
to peaceful purposes.
The United States and Russia have used CTR funds to construct a chemical weapons destruction
facility at Shchuch’ye. This facility is intended to help Russia comply with its obligations under
the Chemical Weapons convention and to prevent the loss or theft of Soviet era chemical weapons
by ensuring their safe and secure destruction. The two nations planned to share the costs of this
facility, with the United States spending about $750 million to build and begin operations at the
facility and Russia spending about $240 million on related infrastructure improvements. But
Russia was slow to meet its obligations in this project and some Members of Congress were
concerned that the United States will eventually have to spend more. Congress prohibited the
allocation of any new CTR funds for this project in FY2000 and FY2001. However, after
completing its review of CTR projects in 2001, the Bush Administration identified this as a high
priority project that could be accelerated. The Administration then requested an increasing
amount of money for this project, with the amount peaking in FY2003 at $200 million. The
Administration requested $42.7 million in FY2007 and no additional funds in FY2008. It
indicated that, after years of significant expenditures, no further funds were needed to complete
the project. Congress has questioned this conclusion, requesting, in the FY2008 Defense
Authorization Bill, that the Secretary of Defense submit a report detailing the strategy for
completing the project. The House Armed Services Committee had authorized $47 million more
for FY2008, but the Conference Committee reduced that amount to $6 million.
The initial Nunn-Lugar legislation was tightly focused on the transport, storage, and destruction
of weapons of mass destruction. Most in Congress continue to support these core activities. But
the focus of CTR funding has changed, as the program evolves. Much of the work on strategic
offensive arms reductions has been completed, and a growing proportion of the funding is
focused on securing and eliminating chemical and biological weapons. In addition, the Bush
Administration has indicated that it views the CTR program, and other U.S. nonproliferation
assistance to the former Soviet states, as a part of its efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction
away from terrorists. This objective has also altered some of the funding priorities, with a
growing number of projects focused on border and export control.
The initial CTR legislation requires the President to certify that the recipient nations are
committed to a number of specific policy areas before they can receive CTR funds. Belarus lost
its certification in 1997. In mid-2002, the Bush Administration indicated that it could not certify
that Russia was committed to complying with arms control agreements because it continued to
fall short of U.S. expectations in providing information about its chemical and biological
weapons programs. However, the President asked Congress to waive the certification
requirements so that Russia could continue to receive assistance. The Senate supported an
unlimited waiver authority for the President; the House sought to limit the authority to one year.
The Conference Committee accepted a waiver authority for three years. In the FY2006 Defense
Authorization Bill, the Senate again approved an unlimited waiver authority and the House
accepted this proposal. Senator Lugar proposed an amendment to the FY2007 Defense
Authorization Bill that would have eliminated the certification requirements; the Senate approved
this amendment, but it was dropped from the bill during Conference. The FY2008 Defense
Authorization Bill does include provisions that would eliminate the certification requirements.
The Senate and the Bush Administration have both supported proposals to spend CTR funds in
nations outside the former Soviet Union. The House resisted these proposals, but eventually
agreed in the FY2004 Defense Authorization Act. Some of these funds have been used to assist
with scientist redirection programs in Libya and Iraq, and to help eliminate chemical weapons in
Albania. Some analysts have suggested that promises of assistance might also help convince other
nations, such as North Korea, to eliminate their nuclear weapons programs. The FY2008
Conference Report on the Defense Authorization Bill includes $10 million specifically for use in
nations outside the former Soviet Union and relaxes the restrictions on how those funds can be
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy
CRS Report 97-1027, Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs: Issues for Congress, by Amy F. Woolf.
The Department of Energy has contributed to U.S. threat reduction and nonproliferation
assistance to the former Soviet states from the start, when CTR included a small amount of
funding for materials control and protection. Since then, the United States and Russia have been
cooperating, through several programs, to secure and eliminate many of the materials that could
help terrorists or rogue nations acquire their own nuclear capabilities.
Highly enriched uranium from dismantled weapons is relatively easy to dispose of, since it can be
diluted to low-enriched uranium which is directly usable in current operating power reactors. In
February 1993 the United States and Russia agreed that highly enriched uranium from weapons
would be diluted to a low enrichment level suitable for use in commercial nuclear power reactors.
The United States has agreed to purchase 500 metric tons of HEU from Russia’s dismantled
nuclear warheads, and deliveries have started to the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, which supplies
uranium fuel for domestic and foreign reactors. By September 2005 about 250 metric tons of
HEU had been recycled, at a purchase price of about $4 billion, according to USEC. The 500-ton
total is expected to be completed by 2013.
In the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, signed in September 2000, each side
agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, and to do so at roughly the same
time. The parties could use two methods for disposing of the plutonium—they could either
convert it to mixed oxide fuel (MOX) for nuclear power reactors or immobilize it and dispose of
it in a way that would preclude its use in nuclear weapons. Russia has expressed little interest in
the permanent disposal of plutonium, noting that the material could have great value for its
civilian power program. The United States initially intended to pursue both options. However,
after reviewing U.S. nonproliferation policies in 2001, the Bush Administration concluded that
this approach would be too costly. Instead, it outlined a plan for the United States to convert
almost all its surplus plutonium to MOX fuel.
In late July 2003, the Bush Administration announced that the plutonium disposition program
would not pursue additional contracts in 2004 because the United States and Russia were unable
to agree on the liability provisions for a new implementing agreement for the program. The two
nations reportedly reached an a liability agreement in 2005, although it has not yet been signed by
Russia’s President Putin. The Bush Administration requested $34.7 million for FY2007 for this
project, but it may not receive any of this funding. Both the House and the Senate Armed Services
Committees have expressed wide-ranging and deep concerns about this program. Russia has not
yet signed the liability agreement, and it may require approval by the Russian parliament, which
could lead to further delays in resuming the program. In addition, Russia has indicated that it may
not pursue the MOX program to eliminate its plutonium, option, instead for the construction of
fast breeder reactors that could burn plutonium directly for energy production. The United States
is not likely to fund this effort, as many in the United States argue that breeder reactors, which
produce more plutonium than they consume, would undermine nonproliferation objectives. In late
November 2007, the United States and Russia reached an agreement outlining how they would
proceed with this program. However, the Bush Administration had not requested any additional
funds for this effort in FY2008, and Congress did not provide funds in the month after the
agreement was reached.
Many in the United States have expressed concerns about the safety and security of nuclear
materials located at civilian research facilities in the former Soviet Union. Government-to-
government projects at facilities that housed nuclear materials began in 1994. In a parallel effort
that sought to reduce delays in these projects, experts from the U.S. nuclear laboratories, which
are a part of DOE, also began less formal contacts with their counterparts in Russia to identify
and solve safety and security problems at Russian facilities. Together, these government-to-
government and lab-to-lab projects evolved into an effort to apply Material Protection, Control
and Accounting (MPC&A) techniques to Russian facilities.
According to the Department of Energy, the MPC&A program has provided assistance at more
than 50 facilities in the former Soviet Union. At many of these facilities, the program focused on
providing upgrades to security to reduce the risk of a loss of materials. These upgrades include
the installation of improved security systems that use modern technology and strict material
control and accounting systems. The program has also provided security training for Russian
nuclear specialists. In recent years, the Bush Administration has expanded the focus of the
program to include efforts to secure radiological materials that would not be suitable for nuclear
weapons but could be used in radiological dispersal devices, and to improve border security and
monitoring to discourage and detect illicit efforts to transfer these materials. Some have
questioned whether the expanded focus might dilute funding for central security and accounting
programs. Others, however, note that the Bush Administration and Congress have supported
increased funding for these efforts as the focus has expanded.
A GAO study released in early 2003 noted that Russia continues to deny the United States access
to many facilities that are apart of the weapons complex maintained by Russia’s Ministry of
Atomic Affairs (MINATOM). As a result, the United States cannot even begin to address security
and accounting concerns for a majority of the nuclear materials at risk in Russia. In addition,
because access problems have slowed program implementation, DOE maintains significant
balances of unallocated funds from prior years. Congress has expressed concerns about these
funds, particularly as it adds more money to DOE’s budget for nonproliferation programs.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many experts feared that scientists from Russia’s
nuclear weapons complex might sell their knowledge to other nations seeking nuclear weapons.
Many of these scientists had worked in the Soviet Union’s “closed” nuclear cities where they had
enjoyed relatively high salaries and prestige, but their jobs evaporated during Russia’s economic
and political crises in the early 1990s. Even those scientists who retained their jobs saw their
incomes decline sharply as Russia was unable to pay their salaries for months at a time. In
response to these concerns, the United States, Japan, the European Union, and Russia established
the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in Moscow. A similar center began
operating in Kiev in 1993. In subsequent years, several other former Soviet states have joined and
other nations have added their financial support.
The science center programs also began as a part of DOD’s CTR program, and were moved to the
State Department budget in 1996. The centers fund scientists who have worked on nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons, but they have, historically, focused on nuclear scientists, with
many projects going to those who work at institutes in the closed nuclear cities. The State
Department estimates that about half of the participants are senior scientists, which means the
programs may have reached a significant portion of the estimated 30,000 to 70,000 senior
scientists and engineers in the Soviet nuclear complex. However, most of these scientists spend
fewer than 50 days per year on projects funded by the science centers. In the remainder of the
time, most continue to work at their primary jobs.
Some analysts have noted that, because the science centers do not have enough money to support
full pay for a significant number of scientists, they may not achieve their objective of keeping
these scientists away from nations or groups seeking weapons of mass destruction. Others,
however, note that, even if the financial support is less than complete, the cooperation with
Russian institutes, and the promise of a fairly steady stream of funding, helps build relationships
and draw these institutes into the “western orbit.” To address this problem, some have suggested
that, instead of providing short term grants, the centers should focus on projects that will lead to
the long-term redirection of scientists out of weapons work. The State Department seems to agree
with this approach with its growing reliance on the Partners Program and its acknowledged need
to transition Russia’s nuclear scientists to more commercially viable projects.
The collapse of political control along the Soviet borders, along with incentives created by the
weakness in the economies of the newly independent states, contribute to concerns about the
potential for smuggling or illegal exports of materials and technology from the former Soviet
Union. The State Department’s Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS)
program helps the former Soviet states and other nations improve their ability to interdict nuclear
smuggling and their ability to stop the illicit trafficking of all materials for weapons of mass
destruction, along with dual use goods and technologies. The EXBS program currently has
projects underway in more than 30 nations, and is expanding its reach around the globe.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy
Since the creation of the Nunn-Lugar program in 1992, the United States has pressed its allies to
provide similar support. Like the United States, G-7 allies faced difficulties in implementing
similar programs. In early 2002, the United States proposed to the G-8 an expansion of its
Cooperative Threat Reduction programs called “10 plus 10 over 10”—that is, the other G-8
countries (including Russia) would add $10 billion more over 10 years to the $10 billion the
United States was already planning to spend on CTR-related programs. By expanding the
programs to include more donors, the participants would not only be able to increase their level of
effort in Russia, but might also be able to address potential proliferation problems in other
nations. At their June 2002 summit at Kananaskis, the Group of Eight (US, Canada, UK, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan (G-7) plus Russia (G-8)) formed the Global Partnership Against the Spread
of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. Under this partnership, the United States, other
members of the G-7 and the European Union have agreed to raise up to $20 billion over ten years
for projects in Russia related to disarmament, nonproliferation, counterterrorism and nuclear
The Partnership is intended to span the range of U.S. nonproliferation programs in the former
Soviet Union. Russia has identified chemical weapons destruction, and dismantlement of
decommissioned nuclear submarines as its top priority projects; the G-7 have additionally
identified disposition of fissile materials and employing former weapon scientists as high priority
projects. However, rather than adopting a common approach, a common fund, or a multilateral
implementation mechanism, projects are funded bilaterally under government-to-government
agreements with Russia. The G8 Global Partnership Working Group provides an informal
The G-8 states have invited others to participate and contribute to the initiative, as well as adopt
the nonproliferation principles and guidelines to facilitate implementation. Since 2002, 13 other
donors have joined the Global Partnership (Finland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland,
Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, and the
Republic of Korea). Ukraine formally joined as a recipient state in 2004. The Global Partnership
has spurred Russia to take on a greater portion of the financial burden for these projects, as
second-largest donor. Observers have pointed out that many countries have pledged their support,
but that pledges are still about $2 billion short of the $20 billion promised at Kananaskis, and that
the pledges represent commitments, not actual allocations by national parliaments.
At the summit, G-8 countries also adopted principles to deny terrorists access to WMD and
WMD materials. These are:
• Strengthen multilateral treaties and other instruments to prevent WMD
proliferation and strengthen the institutions established to implement such
• Develop and maintain measures that ensure that the production, use, storage and
transport of WMD materials is safe and secure and provide such assistance to
countries lacking the ability to secure such materials;
• Ensure that WMD storage facilities are physically secure and provide assistance
to states where facilities lack protection;
• Implement border controls, law enforcement efforts and international cooperation
to detect and interdict attempts to smuggle WMD materials and items and
provide assistance to countries that lack appropriate resources;
• Maintain export controls over items that could be used to develop weapons of
mass destruction and missiles; and
• Work to manage and dispose of fissile materials stocks that are no longer
required for defense purposes, destroy all chemical weapons and “minimize”
stockpiles of dangerous biological agents.”
Across the board, the United States has led its allies in pushing for effective controls on WMD
and WMD materials, so U.S. participation is unlikely to be a stumbling block in this program.
U.S. leadership may be judged, however, on continued funding levels for existing programs,
effective export controls, and efforts to support and strengthen multilateral treaties, all of which
Congress is involved in.
As was noted above, the other participants in the global partnership have not yet reached their
pledges to raise $10 million dollars, and it remains uncertain whether they will eventually fulfill
these pledges. Budget constraints, along with the difficulties associated with project
implementation in Russia, may discourage long-term participation. Congress, in its oversight role,
may choose to pay close attention to the progress these other nations are making in identifying
and implementing projects and in sustaining their pledged levels of cooperation.
The United States has suggested that the funding provided by the G-8 global partnership address
proliferation problems in nations outside the former Soviet Union. For example, it proposed that
the funds contribute to programs in both Libya and Iraq that are designed to redirect weapons
scientists away from work on weapons of mass destruction. The G-8 participants have agreed to
consider this proposal, but have not yet adopted such an expansion. Congress has supported
legislation allowing the United States to expand its CTR program to nations outside the former
Soviet Union; it may also consider whether G-8 funding could address these objectives.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union, by Amy
CRS Issue Brief IB98038, Nuclear Weapons in Russia: Safety, Security, and Control Issues. (Archived. For copies contact
Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Report RL32359, Globalizing Cooperative Threat Reduction: A Survey of Options, by Sharon Squassoni.
The United States is a leader of an international regime that attempts to limit the spread of nuclear
weapons through treaties, export control coordination and enforcement, and U.N. security council
resolutions. Recent challenges to the regime—notably North Korea’s October 2006 nuclear test
and Iran’s continued defiance of international demands to stop uranium enrichment—raise
questions about and reinforce the importance of nonproliferation policy. Moreover, increased
awareness of the need to keep sensitive materials and technologies out of terrorist hands has
reinvigorated efforts to control not just nuclear weapons and weapons-usable materials, but also
radioactive materials that could be used in radiological dispersal devices. Key issues in this area th
that the 110 Congress might consider include how the nuclear nonproliferation regime is
affected by: North Korea’s nuclear weapons activities; Iran’s suspected weapons program and
Russia’s nuclear cooperation with Iran; the proposed nuclear cooperation with India, in light of
the tensions between India and Pakistan as amplified by their nuclear activities; and continued
concerns about access by terrorists to nuclear materials.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970 and was extended
indefinitely in 1995, is the centerpiece of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. It is complemented
by national export control laws, coordinated export control policies under the Nuclear Suppliers
Group, U.N. Security Council resolutions and ad hoc initiatives. The NPT recognizes five nations
(the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and China) as nuclear weapon states—a distinction
that is carried over in other parts of the regime and in national laws. Three nations that have not
signed the NPT—India, Israel, and Pakistan—possess significant nuclear weapon capabilities.
North Korea, which had signed the NPT but withdrew in 2003, is now thought to possess a small
number of nuclear weapons. Several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa
suspended their nuclear weapons programs and joined the NPT in the 1990s. Others—Ukraine,
Belarus, and Kazakhstan—gave up former Soviet weapons on their territories and joined the NPT
as non-nuclear weapon states in the 1990s.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is unique in its near universality—only India, Pakistan,
Israel, and North Korea are now outside the treaty. In signing the NPT, non-nuclear weapon states
(NNWS) pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons in exchange for a pledge by the nuclear weapon
states (NWS) not to assist the development of nuclear weapons by any NNWS and to facilitate
“the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological
information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” (NPT, Article IV-2) The NWS, defined as
any state that tested a nuclear explosive before 1967, also agree to “pursue negotiations in good
faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to
nuclear disarmament....” (NPT, Article VI). Many NNWS have often expressed dissatisfaction
with the apparent lack of progress toward disarmament.
Nuclear proliferation often has significant regional security repercussions, but there is also a
growing realization that the current constellation of proliferation risks may require further
improvements to the system itself. Concern has shifted from keeping technology from the states
outside the NPT to stemming potential further proliferation, either from those states outside the
regime or through black markets, such as the Pakistani A.Q. Khan network. Currently, member
states of the NPT are grappling with ways to strengthen controls within the current system and
through ad hoc complementary measures.
The International Atomic Energy Agency was established in 1957 to assist nations in their
peaceful nuclear programs (primarily research and nuclear power programs) and to safeguard
nuclear materials from these peaceful programs to ensure that they are not diverted to nuclear
weapons uses. The IAEA safeguards system relies on data collection, review, and periodic
inspections at declared facilities. The IAEA may also inspect other facilities if it suspects
undeclared nuclear materials or weapons-related activities are present.
Non-nuclear weapon NPT members are required to declare and submit all nuclear materials in
their possession to regular IAEA inspections to ensure that sensitive nuclear materials and
technologies are not diverted from civilian to military purposes. Some states who are not parties
to the NPT (India, Israel, Pakistan) are members of the IAEA and allow inspections of some, but
not all, of their nuclear activities. The IAEA also provides technical assistance for peaceful
applications of nuclear technology for energy, medicine, agriculture, and research.
After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, IAEA inspection teams working with the U.N. Special
Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) revealed an extensive covert nuclear weapons program that had
been virtually undetected by annual inspections of Baghdad’s declared facilities. This knowledge
inspired efforts to strengthen the IAEA’s authority to conduct more intrusive inspections of a
wider variety of installations, to provide the Agency with intelligence information about
suspected covert nuclear activities, and to provide the Agency with the resources and political
support needed to increase confidence in its safeguards system. In 1998, the IAEA adopted an
“Additional Protocol” that would give the agency greater authority and access to verify nuclear
declarations. The protocol enters into force for individual NPT states upon ratification. The
Additional Protocol was gradually adopted by many countries, and in February 2004 President
Bush recommended that it be required of all NPT signatories. He urged the Senate to consent to it
on the part of the United States, and on March 31, 2004, the Senate ratified the protocol (Treaty
Doc. 107-7, Senate Executive Report 108-12). On December 18, 2006, implementing legislation
was passed in P.L. 109-401, as part of the Hyde Act. Although Iran signed an Additional Protocol
in December 2003, its implementation of the protocol was voluntary; current efforts to restrain
Iran’s weapons activities are focused on getting that country to ratify and fully implement the new
inspection protocol, and agree to abandon uranium enrichment.
In addition to the NPT, several states have signed treaties that ban the development, deployment
and use of nuclear weapons in certain regions. These regions include Latin America (Treaty of
Tlatelolco), Central Asia (Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon- Free Zone in Central Asia), the South
Pacific (Treaty of Rarotonga), Africa (Treaty of Pelindaba), and Southeast Asia (Treaty of
Bangkok). By and large, the nuclear-weapon-free zones reinforce the undertakings of NPT non-
nuclear-weapon state members.
The United States has been a leader in establishing export controls, a key component of the
nuclear nonproliferation regime. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and Nuclear Nonproliferation
Act of 1978 established controls on nuclear exports that gradually gained acceptance by other
nuclear suppliers. The Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA) authorized controls on dual-use
technology that could contribute to foreign weapons. Export controls require exporters to get a
license before selling sensitive technology to foreign buyers and, in some cases, ban certain
exports to some countries.
International nuclear controls are coordinated by an informal association of nuclear exporters
called the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), founded in 1975. NSG members agree to a common
policy to restrict exports of certain goods such as uranium enrichment and plutonium
reprocessing technology that could be used by proliferants to make nuclear weapons. The NSG’s
effectiveness is limited by its voluntary nature and, therefore, lack of verification or enforcement
mechanisms. Countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, and individuals like A.Q. Khan and others have
exploited weaknesses in the national export control systems of many countries to acquire a wide
range of nuclear items.
The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, adopted in 1987, sets
international standards for nuclear trade and commerce. The Convention established security
requirements for the protection of nuclear materials against terrorism; parties to the treaty agree to
report to the IAEA on the disposition of nuclear materials being transported and agree to provide
appropriate security during such transport. For several years, the United States has been trying to
strengthen this treaty by extending controls to domestic facility security, not just transportation. In
July 2005, states parties convened to extend the Convention’s scope to cover not only nuclear
material in international transport, but also nuclear material in domestic use, storage, and
transport, as well as the protection of nuclear material and facilities from sabotage. The new rules
will come into effect once they have been ratified by two-thirds of the States Parties of the
Convention, which could take several years. As of November 9, 2007, only 13 states had
deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval of the amendment with the
depositary. The United States has not yet done so. On September 4, 20007, President Bush
submitted the amendment to the Senate for its advice and consent on ratification.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status, coordinated by Mary Beth Nikitin.
CRS Report RL33016, U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress, by Paul K. Kerr.
The UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of
Nuclear Terrorism (also known as the Nuclear Terrorism Convention) in 2005 after eight years of 2
debating a draft treaty proposed by Russia in 1997. Disputes over the definition of terrorism,
See full text at http://untreaty.un.org/English/Terrorism/English_18_15.pdf.
omitted in the final version, and over the issue of nuclear weapons use by states, complicated the
discussions for many years. After September 11, 2001, states revisited the draft treaty and the
necessary compromises were made. The Convention entered into force in July 2007 and had 24
States Parties and 115 signatories as of July 2007. The United States has strongly supported the
Convention, and President Bush was the second to sign it (after Russian President Putin) on
September 14, 2005.
The Convention defines offenses related to the unlawful possession and use of radioactive or
nuclear material or devices, and the use or damage to nuclear facilities. The Convention commits
each party to adopt measures in its national law to criminalize these offenses and make them
punishable. It covers acts by individuals, not states, and does not govern the actions of armed
forces during an armed conflict. The Convention also does not address “the issue of legality of
the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by States.” It also commits States Parties to exchange
information and cooperate to “detect, prevent, suppress and investigate” those suspected of
committing nuclear terrorism, including extraditions.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL32595, Nuclear Terrorism: A Brief Review of Threats and Responses, by Jonathan Medalia.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions, opened for
signature in 1996 but has not yet entered into force. Previous treaties have banned certain kinds of
nuclear testing (the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty barred explosions in the atmosphere, in space,
and under water and the 1974 U.S.-U.S.S.R. Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the 1976 Peaceful
Nuclear Explosions Treaty limited the explosive yield of underground nuclear explosions).
Following the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, the early conclusion of the CTBT was
seen as an important gesture of good faith by nuclear weapon states, as well as a significant step
for the three states outside the NPT. President Clinton signed the CTBT soon after it opened for
signature and submitted the treaty to the Senate for advice and consent in 1997. The Senate
rejected the treaty by a vote of 48 for, 51 against and 1 present, on October 13, 1999.
The United States is not the sole obstacle to the CTBT’s entry into force. Provisions of the treaty
require 144 states, including the 44 states with nuclear reactors, to ratify the treaty before it can
enter into force. By December 2007, 177 nations had signed it and 141 had ratified it. Of the 44
required nations, 3 have not signed (India, Pakistan, and North Korea) and 10 have not ratified,
including the United States and China. Although the United States conducted its last nuclear test
on September 23, 1992, observing a nuclear test moratorium since then, the current
Administration opposes U.S. ratification of the CTBT. States that have ratified the treaty have
held conferences every two years since 1999 to discuss how to accelerate entry into force.
Parties to the treaty agree “not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other
nuclear explosion.” The treaty establishes a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Organization (CTBTO) of all member states to implement the treaty. The CTBTO oversees a
Conference of States Parties, an Executive Council, and a Provisional Technical Secretariat,
which operates an International Data Center that processes and reports on data from an
For further details, contact Jonathan Medalia, CRS Specialist in National Defense, 7-7632.
International Monitoring System. Several CTBTO components would handle requests for on-site
inspections if the treaty enters into force. A Protocol details the monitoring system and inspection
procedures. The CTBT remains on the calendar of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but
given the requirement for a two-thirds-plus-one majority vote to consent to ratification, the Senate
may do little more than hold hearings in the next few years. If hearings are held, topics for
substantive discussion could include technical issues of verification, the value of the CTBT for
the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and the potential effect of a CTBT on U.S. nuclear
An ongoing issue for Congress is how to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile in the absence of
nuclear testing. In 1995, President Clinton conditioned U.S. adherence to a CTBT on, among
other things, funding a stockpile stewardship program to ensure confidence in nuclear weapons
without testing. The FY2008 appropriation for stewardship was $6.5 billion. The aim of the
program is to allow certification that (1) the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile is safe, secure and
reliable and (2) that there is no need to resume underground testing. More recently, the
Department of Energy has sought funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW)
program, which seeks to replace existing warheads with simpler designs that would be less prone
to fail. DOE intends that RRWs could be certified for the stockpile without nuclear testing.
Congress, however, declined to appropriate any funds for this program in FY2008; some believe
the program should not proceed until the United States reviews its nuclear posture and determines
what role these weapons will play in U.S. security policy in the future.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RS20351, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Pro and Con, by Jonathan Medalia.
CRS Report RL33548, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments, by Jonathan
CRS Report RL32130, Nuclear Weapon Initiatives: Low-Yield R&D, Advanced Concepts, Earth Penetrators, Test Readiness, by
CRS Report RL32929, The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program: Background and Current Developments, by Jonathan
CRS Report 97-1007F, Nuclear Testing and Comprehensive Test Ban: Chronology Starting September 1992, by Jonathan
The United States first proposed that the international community negotiate a ban on the
production of fissile material (plutonium and enriched uranium) that could be used in nuclear
weapons over fifty years ago. Negotiators of the NPT realized that fissile material usable for
nuclear weapons could still be produced under the guise of peaceful nuclear activities within the
Treaty. Consequently, a fissile material production ban, or FMCT, has remained on the long-term
negotiating agenda at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. These negotiations have
been largely stalled since 1993. The Bush Administration undertook a comprehensive review of
the U.S. position on the FMCT in 2004 and concluded that such a ban would be useful in creating
“an observed norm against the production of fissile material intended for weapons,” but it has
argued that such a ban is inherently unverifiable. The Bush Administration proposed a draft treaty
in May 2006 that contained no verification measures.
Substantively, it has always been important to capture the undeclared nuclear weapon states
(initially India, Pakistan, and Israel, but now also North Korea) that were not parties to the NPT
and therefore subject to very few if any restrictions or monitoring. Many observers believed that
negotiations at the CD were preferable to smaller, eight-party talks (United States, United
Kingdom, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Israel) because they would establish a
global norm and would not have the appearance of conferring nuclear weapons status upon India,
Pakistan, and Israel. Since the mid-1990s, however, both India and Pakistan have openly tested
nuclear weapons, and North Korea has pulled out of the NPT and tested a nuclear device.
Negotiators may have to balance the very real need to halt production by such states against
traditional concerns of the nuclear nonproliferation community.
In addition to North Korean capabilities, Iran’s burgeoning enrichment capabilities are a cause for
concern. Also, the uncovering of the A.Q. Khan nuclear black market network in late 2003 and
2004, points to the need for greater efforts to halt the spread of production capabilities. Director
General Mohamed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency in early 2004 called for
renewed efforts to negotiate an FMCT as one response to the proliferation of enrichment
capabilities by the Khan network. President Bush notably did not include FMCT in his list of
approaches to combating the Khan network, but instead called for supplier controls and a
voluntary ban on enrichment and reprocessing by NPT member states. One key issue is whether
or not such a treaty would seek to include existing stocks of fissile material; the United States has
strongly objected to such an approach.
It is not clear from official statements that the Bush Administration will vigorously pursue FMCT
negotiations at the CD in Geneva in the near term. However, while negotiations are still in their
infancy, it could be important to begin a public debate through hearings on various options and
approaches to end the production of fissile material for weapons. Some outcomes, particularly
those that include intrusive verification, could have an impact on U.S. facilities that are not
currently being monitored. Another aspect for congressional consideration is how well-equipped
the U.S. intelligence community is to verify any such agreement.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RS22474, Banning Fissile Material Production for Nuclear Weapons: Prospects for a Treaty (FMCT), by Sharon
CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status, coordinated by Mary Beth Nikitin.
On May 26, 2004, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced the Global Threat Reduction
Initiative (GTRI). GTRI has consolidated and accelerated several programs the Department of
Energy was already conducting:
• Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return (RRRFR) program (to repatriate all fresh
and spent Russian-origin nuclear fuel residing at reactors around the world);
• Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) program (to
convert the cores of 105 civilian research reactors that use high-enriched uranium
(HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU));
• Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (FRRSNF) Acceptance program
(to accelerate and complete the repatriation of U.S.-origin research reactor spent
HEU fuel (about 20 metric tons from more than 40 locations worldwide));
• U.S. and International Radiological Threat Reduction (USRTR and IRTR)
programs (to identify, recover and store domestic radioactive sealed sources and
other radiological materials and reduce the international threat posed by
radiological materials that could be used in “dirty bombs.”)
A new program added to the mix is the Global Research Reactor Security Program, which
provides security upgrades to research reactor facilities that store highly enriched uranium (HEU)
that could be used to develop a nuclear weapon. The Kazakhstan Spent Fuel program provides
security for long-term storage of nearly 3 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and 10 tons of HEU
in spent fuel.
In September 2004, the United States and Russia convened a GTRI International Partners’
Conference to build support for GTRI-related projects. Reportedly, over 90 countries joined
GTRI after its inception, promising to spend about $450 million over the next decade.
Following a 2007 strategic review of the program, GTRI is now organized under three functional
categories: HEU Reactor Conversion, Nuclear and Radiological Material Removal, and Nuclear 4
and Radiological Material Protection. According to DoE, GTRI since May 2004 has removed
more than 39 nuclear bombs’ worth of highly enriched uranium and secured more than 565 5
radiological sites around the world. Since May 2004, 12 research reactors have been converted to
LEU fuel and four HEU research reactors have been shut down.
President Bush announced the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on May 31, 2003. This
Initiative is primarily a diplomatic tool developed by the United States to gain support for
interdicting shipments of weapons of mass destruction-related (WMD) equipment and materials.
Through the PSI, the Bush Administration seeks to “create a web of counterproliferation
partnerships through which proliferators will have difficulty carrying out their trade in WMD and
missile-related technology.” The states involved in PSI have agreed to review their national legal
authorities for interdiction, provide consent for other states to board and search their own flag
vessels, and conclude ship-boarding agreements. The Proliferation Security Initiative has no
budget, no formal offices supporting it, no international secretariat, and no formal mechanism for
measuring its effectiveness (like a database of cases). To many, these attributes are positive,
allowing the United States to respond swiftly to changing developments. Others question whether
the international community can sustain this effort over the longer term.
Sixteen “core” nations have pledged their cooperation in interdicting shipments of WMD
materials, agreeing in Paris in 2003 on a set of interdiction principles. As of December 2007, the
Bush Administration states that 86 nations have committed formally to PSI participation,
although it is not clear what this entails beyond limited participation in operational exercises.
“Strategic Plan: Reducing Nuclear and Radiological Threats Worldwide,” National Nuclear Security Administration
Office of Global Threat Reduction, January 2007 http://www.nnsa.doe.gov/Na-20/docs/GTRI_Strategic_Plan_2007.pdf
5 DoE Fact Sheet, “GTRI: More Than Three Years of Reducing Nuclear Threats,” December 2007, available at
Although the Bush administration stresses the global reach of PSI, officials have noted that Iran
and North Korean activities are a focus of particular concern. Thus, it may be important to win
the support of states that may lie along established sea, air, and land transportation routes to and
from those states, as well as states that may manufacture key materials and equipment. The 9/11
Commission Act of 2007 recommended that PSI be expanded and coordination within the U.S.
Bush Administration officials have stressed that PSI is an activity, not an organization. It seeks to
develop, according to key officials, “new means to disrupt WMD trafficking at sea, in the air, and
on land. However, very few new means of disruption appear to have been developed so far,
although old means may be applied more rigorously to improve disruption. For example, key
WMD supplier states have cooperated for many years with the United States in interdicting
shipments of WMD-related items, whether through sharing intelligence information or the actual
boarding of ships and airplanes. In particular, the United States is pursuing vigorously the
conclusion of ship-boarding agreements with key states that have high volumes of international
shipping. So far, the United States has signed agreements with Belize, Croatia, Cyprus, Liberia,
Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia and Panama.
In February 2004, President Bush proposed expanding PSI to address more than shipments and
transfers, including shutting down facilities, seizing materials and freezing assets. Although this
proposal has not yet been realized, in April 2004, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution
1540, which requires all states to “criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls and secure
all sensitive materials within their borders. UNSCR 1540 called on states to enforce effective
domestic controls over WMD and WMD-related materials in production, use, storage, and
transport; to maintain effective border controls, and to develop national export and trans-shipment
controls over such items, all of which should help interdiction efforts. The resolution did not,
however, provide any enforcement authority, nor did it specifically mention interdiction. About
two-thirds of all states have reported to the UN on their efforts to strengthen defenses against
Since PSI is an activity rather than an organization, and has no budget or internal U.S.
government organization, it may be difficult for Congress to track PSI’s progress. Several
intelligence resource issues may be of interest to Congress, including whether intelligence
information is good enough for effective implementation and whether intelligence-sharing
requirements have been established with non-NATO allies. Another issue may be how PSI is
coordinated with other federal interdiction-related programs, like export control assistance.
Reporting and coordination requirements now in public law may result in more information and
better interagency coordination than in the past.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL34327, Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), by Mary Beth Nikitin
In July 2006, Russia and the United States announced the creation of the Global Initiative to
Combat Nuclear Terrorism before the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg. Like PSI, this initiative is
non-binding, and requires agreement on a statement of principles. Thirteen nations—Australia,
Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morrocco, Turkey, the United
Kingdom, the United States and Russia—endorsed a Statement of Principles at the Initiative’s
first meeting in October 2006.6 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the
European Union (EU) have observer status. As of December 2007, 64 states have agreed to the
statement of principles and are Global Initiative partner nations.
U.S. officials have described the Initiative as a “flexible framework” to prevent, detect, and
respond to the threat of nuclear terrorism. It is meant to enhance information sharing and build
capacity worldwide. The Statement of Principles pledges to improve each nation’s ability to:
secure radioactive and nuclear material, prevent illicit trafficking by improving detection of such
material, respond to a terrorist attack, prevent safe haven to potential nuclear terrorists and 7
financial resources, and ensure liability for acts of nuclear terrorism. Participating states share a
common goal to improve national capabilities to combat nuclear terrorism by sharing best
practices through multinational exercises and expert level meetings. Without dues or a secretariat,
actions under the Initiative will take legal guidance from the International Convention on the
Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear 8
Materials and UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1373.
Global Initiative partner nations met in February 2007 in Ankara, Turkey, and in June 2007 in
Astana, Kazakhstan, to plan future activities. An International Nuclear Terrorism Law
Enforcement Conference, organized by the FBI, was held in Miami in June 2007 for Global
Initiative partners. Tabletop and field exercises are planned for 2008 to identify and address
individual states’ vulnerabilities. While this Initiative has potential to bolster nuclear terrorism
prevention efforts, it is unclear how activities under this initiative will be coordinated with related
international efforts such as PSI and GTRI. The Global Initiative does not have program funding
of its own in the U.S. budget, and therefore Congress may consider whether its goals can be
achieved with these constraints.
Other efforts—such as economic, military, or security assistance—may also help slow the
proliferation of nuclear weapons. These cooperative measures have been effective in some cases
(South Korea, Taiwan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine), but failed in others (Iraq, Israel, Pakistan).
Some favor greater use of sanctions against countries that violate international nonproliferation
standards, while others view sanctions as self-defeating. Most observers conclude that a mix of
positive and negative incentives, including diplomacy to address underlying regional security
problems, provides the best opportunity for controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. However,
when diplomacy fails, some policy-makers have argued that military measures may be necessary
to attack nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and related facilities in states hostile to
the United States or its allies. For example, the Bush Administration claimed that the overthrow
of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq was justified, in part, on the basis of claims that Iraq
possessed chemical and biological weapons and might resume efforts to develop nuclear
weapons. As developments revealed, however, accurate intelligence is a key component of both
diplomatic and military approaches to nonproliferation.
“Partner Nations Endorse Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Statement of Principles,” U.S. Department
of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, November 7, 2006. Available at http://www.state.gov/t/
8 “U.S.-Russia Joint Fact Sheet on The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism,” July 15, 2006. Available at
The international community has concluded a number of arms control agreements, conventions,
and arrangements that affect non-nuclear weapons. Two of these, the Conventional Armed Forces
in Europe Treaty (CFE) and the Open Skies Treaty were a part of the late-Cold War effort to
enhance stability and predictability in Europe. Others seek to control the spread of technologies
that might contribute to developing conventional or unconventional weapons programs. Finally,
several seek to ban whole classes of weapons through international conventions.
In late 1990, 22 members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact signed the Conventional Armed Forces
in Europe (CFE) Treaty, agreeing to limit NATO and Warsaw Pact non-nuclear forces in an area
from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. The CFE treaty did not anticipate the dissolution
of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Consequently, the participants signed the so-called
“Tashkent Agreement” in May 1992, allocating responsibility for the Soviet Union’s Treaty-
Limited items of Equipment (TLEs) among Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova,
Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. It also established equipment ceilings for each nation and the
implied responsibility for the destruction/transfer of equipment necessary to meet these national
ceilings. In 1999, the CFE Adaptation Agreement was signed to further adjust to the dissolution
of the Warsaw Pact and the expansion of NATO. As discussed below, this agreement has not
entered into force pending its ratification by NATO members.
CFE placed alliance-wide, regional (zonal), and national ceilings on specific major items of 9
military equipment. It sought to promote stability not only by reducing armaments, but also by
reducing the possibility of surprise attack by preventing large concentrations of forces. The CFE
treaty also provides for 1) very detailed data exchanges on equipment, force structure, and
training maneuvers; 2) specific procedures for the destruction or redistribution of excess
equipment, and 3) verification of compliance through on-site inspections. Its implementation has
resulted in an unprecedented reduction of conventional arms in Europe, with over 50,000 (TLEs)
removed or destroyed; almost all agree it has achieved most of its initial objectives.
Under the CFE treaty all equipment reductions needed to comply with overall, national, and zonal
ceilings were to have been completed by November 1995. As this deadline approached, it was
evident that Russia would not meet those requirements, particularly in the so-called “flank
zones,” which include the Leningrad Military District in the north, and more importantly, the
North Caucasus Military District in the south. The outbreak of armed ethnic conflicts in and
around the Caucasus, most notably in Chechnya, led Russia to claim it needed to deploy
The Treaty limits battle tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, and combat aircraft. Other types
of equipment are subject to operating restrictions and reporting requirements: primary trainer aircraft, unarmed trainer
aircraft, combat support helicopters, unarmed transport helicopters, armored vehicle-launched bridges, armored
personnel carrier “look-alikes” and armored combat vehicle “look-alikes.”
equipment in excess of treaty limits in that zone. Russia placed this claim in the context of
broader assertions that some CFE provisions reflected Cold War assumptions and did not fairly
address its new national security concerns. Further, it argued that economic hardship was making
the movement of forces unaffordable in some cases.
To address these concerns, the CFE parties negotiated a Flank Agreement, in early 1996. This
Agreement removed several Russian (and one Ukrainian) administrative districts from the old
“flank zone,” thus permitting existing flank equipment ceilings to apply to a smaller area. To
provide some counterbalance to these adjustments, reporting requirements were enhanced,
inspection rights in the zone increased, and district ceilings were placed on armored combat
vehicles to prevent their concentration.
The 1996 CFE Review Conference opened negotiations to modify the treaty to account for the
absence of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, and the expansion of NATO into the Czech Republic,
Poland, and Hungary. Most CFE signatories did not want to completely renegotiate the treaty.
Russia, however, sought broader revisions, and, ironically, it sought to maintain the alliance-wide
equipment ceilings. An alliance-wide cap on NATO would presumably force adjustments of
national holdings as the NATO alliance expanded; such adjustments probably would not favor
new member nations close to Russia’s borders. The CFE parties did not adopt Russia’s position
and Russia ultimately agreed to a largely NATO-drafted document. This agreement called for,
among other things, lower equipment levels throughout the “Atlantic to the Urals” area; enhanced
verification procedures; and the replacement of NATO-Warsaw Pact “bloc to bloc” ceilings with
national limits on all categories of TLE’s. It also stated that the Flank Agreement was to remain in
effect. The Adaptation Agreement reiterates that NATO has “no plan, no intention, and no reason”
to deploy nuclear weapons on new members’ territory; and seeks to improve new members’
defensive capabilities through interoperability and capability for reinforcement, rather than by
stationing additional combat forces on new members’ territory. Russia’s most serious focus has
been, however, on NATO enlargement and how CFE could adapt to mitigate what many Russians
see as an encroaching threat. Russia has called for the new members of NATO, particularly the
Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, to become CFE state parties. These countries have
indicated a willingness to join, however they currently cannot do so until the Adaptation
Agreement is ratified and the new CFE regime comes into force.
At the Istanbul Summit in 1999, where the Adaptation Agreement was concluded, Russia
undertook the so-called Istanbul Commitments to remove its troops from both the Republic of 10
Georgia and the “breakaway” province of Transdniestra in Moldova. Though not part of the
CFE Adaptation Agreement document, NATO members have considered Russian fulfillment of
these commitments a prerequisite for the ratification of the Agreement. Consequently, of the CFE
signatories only Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan have ratified the adapted treaty.
For more information concerning the Georgian and Moldovan negotiations with Russia over its troop deployments in
their countries, see CRS Report RS21981, Moldova: Background and U.S. Policy, by Steven Woehrel , and CRS
Report RL33453, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by
In its most recent compliance report, the State Department has asserted that Russian equipment
holdings “continue to exceed most of the legally binding limits for both the original and revised 11
flank zones.” It also cites Russia for relatively minor reporting violations and for its failure to
complete withdrawals of its troops from Georgia and Moldova. It also cites Armenia, Azerbaijan, 12
Belarus, and Ukraine for non-compliance. Armenia and Azerbaijan, still engaged in a conflict
over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, have not completed equipment reductions; nor provided
complete equipment declarations; nor provided timely notification of new equipment acquisition.
Belarus is again cited for questionable equipment declarations and its refusal to allow inspectors
access to an equipment storage site. The State Department deems Ukraine to have substantially
complied with CFE requirements, but notes that it retains several hundred equipment items in
excess of treaty limits.
On April 26, 2007, in his last State of the Union speech, President Putin announced a
“moratorium” on Russian CFE compliance, pointing to, among other things, the NATO nations’
not having ratified the treaty as adapted. Subsequently, in statements to the press and diplomatic
conferences, Russian officials elucidated the Russian position and its concerns. Among the major 13
points are the following:
• During its CFE “moratorium” Russia will not allow CFE inspections nor will it
report on its military movements.
• The Istanbul Commitments regarding troop withdrawals in Georgia and Moldova
are not an integral part of the CFE Adaptation Agreement document, and
consequently not legally binding and should not stand in the way of NATO
members’ ratification of the Agreement.
• The Baltic States and Slovakia are not bound by the CFE and their NATO
membership, coupled with the new U.S. basing agreements with Poland,
Bulgaria, and Romania, constitute an unacceptable encroachment on Russian
• If the NATO nations do not ratify the CFE Adaptation Agreement within a year,
Russia with consider complete withdrawal from the treaty.
Russian officials, military leaders, and political commentators are increasingly referring to the
CFE treaty as a “Cold War agreement,” which no longer reflects the realities of the European
security environment. Russian military officials’ consultations at NATO Headquarters on May 10
brought no softening of the Russian position. A Russian request to the Organization for Security 14
and Cooperation in Europe for a special conference of CFE signatories in June was granted. The
Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and Commitments. Department
of State, 2005 p. 47. The State Department did not publish this statutorily-mandated report to Congress in 2006.
12 Ibid., pp. 16-28
13 “Russia May Withdraw from Agreement with NATO”, RIA Novosti, April 27, 2007; “Russian Paper Examines
NATO Ties, Impact of CFE Moratorium,” BBC Monitoring Service May 1, 2007. Translation from Kommersant, April
14 “Russian MP Says New Structure of European Security on the Agenda,” ITAR-TASS World Service, May 11, 2007.
conference failed to resolve any of the outstanding issues, and the State Parties were unable to
find sufficient common ground to issue a final joint statement.
The European and U.S. governments, have reacted with some surprise at the harshness of Russian
statements, and have urged Russia to address its concerns within the consultative framework of
the treaty rather than pursue a withdrawal. However, Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of
Defense Gates, in conversations with President Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in testimony before the U.S.
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, have reiterated the U.S. position that
ratification of the CFE Adaptation Agreement still remains contingent upon Russia fulfilling its 15
commitment to withdraw its military forces from Georgia and Moldova.
On July 14, President Putin announced that Russia would institute an “moratorium” on its
implementation of CFE in 150 days. On November 30, he signed legislation from the Duma that
suspends Russian compliance with CFE, effective December 12, 2007. This action came during
the Madrid OSCE summit meeting and evoked an expression of regret on the part of NATO
officials, who noted that Russia’s military posture would be under discussion at the NATO foreign
ministers meeting in December. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns characterized the
Russian action as a “mistake” and urged Russia to negotiate its concerns within the CFE
framework. Russian officials have emphasized that this action is not a withdrawal from the treaty,
and that they are willing to participate in further discussions if they perceive a greater willingness
on the part of the NATO allies to address their concerns. Though no immediate redeployment of
Russian forces is expected, Deputy Defense Minister Kolmakov has indicated that some
bolstering of forces on Russian’s western borders is under consideration. For their part, the NATO
nations are maintaining their insistence that Russia fulfill the 1999 Istanbul Commitments prior to
ratification of the Adapted CFE.
Some observers, and Russian spokesmen, have portrayed the Russian moves regarding CFE as an
asymmetrical response to the proposed deployment of a U.S. ground-based missile defense 16
system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Others, including Chief of the Russian General Staff
Baluyevsky, have discounted a specific linkage, seeing the missile defense controversy as merely
one element of a more broadly ranged dissatisfaction with changes in the European security 17
environment. which, from the Russian perspective, have favored the NATO allies
Companion legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate (H.Res. 603, S.Res.
278) characterizing the Russian actions as “regrettable”, and urging the Russian Federation to
reconsider its intentions and to fulfill the Istanbul Commitments, while encouraging all CFE State
Parties to seek “innovative and constructive” mechanisms to resolves these issues. S.Res. 278
passed the Senate by unanimous consent, while H.Res. 603 remains under consideration by the
House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Transcript of Secretary of State Rice Media Availability, Moscow, May 15, 2007. Federal Document Clearing
House; Transcript of Hearing before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, May 24, 2007.
Federal Document Clearing House.
16 “U.S. and NATO Dissect Putin Treaty Threat,” Financial Times, April 27, 2007 p. 2.
17 “Chief of the General Staff Makes a Policy Speech,” WPS: What the Papers Say. WPS Russian Media Monitoring
Agency. May 8, 2007; “Russian Move on Key Arms Treaty Not Linked to US ABM Plans,” BBC Monitoring News
File. April 26, 2007.
For Further Reading
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. http://www.state.gov/t/ac/trt/4781.htm
Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and Commitments. Department
of State, 2005.
CRS Report 90-615 RCO, Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): A Primer. (Archived. For copies contact
Amy Woolf, 202-707-23790.)
On March 24, 1992, the United States, Canada and 22 European nations signed the Treaty on
Open Skies. The parties agreed to permit unarmed aircraft to conduct observation flights over
their territories. Although the flights will likely focus on military activities, the information they
gather was not intended to be used to verify compliance with limits in other arms control
agreements. Instead, Open Skies is designed as a confidence-building measure that will promote
openness and enhance mutual understanding about military activities. The Treaty entered into
force on January 1, 2002.
Open Skies was originally proposed by President Eisenhower in 1955. In the years before
satellites began to collect intelligence data, aerial overflights were seen as a way to gain
information needed for both intelligence and confidence-building purposes. The Soviet Union
rejected President Eisenhower’s proposal because it considered the overflights equal to
espionage. President George H.W. Bush revived the Open Skies proposal in May 1989. By this
time, both the United States and Soviet Union employed satellites and remote sensors for
intelligence collection, so aircraft overflights would add little for that objective. But, at the time
when Europe was emerging from the East-West divide of the Cold War, the United States
supported increased transparency throughout Europe as a way to reduce the chances of military
confrontation and to build confidence among the participants. The Senate consented to the
ratification of the treaty on August 6, 1993 and President Clinton signed the instruments of
ratification on November 3, 1993, but entry-into-force was delayed until Russia and Belarus
approved ratification in May 2001.
The parties to the Open Skies Treaty have agreed to make all of their territory accessible to
overflights by unarmed fixed wing observation aircraft. They can restrict flights over areas, such
as nuclear power plants, where safety is a concern, but they cannot impede or prohibit flights over
any area, including military installations that are considered secret or otherwise off-limits. In
most cases, the nation conducting the observation flight will provide the aircraft and sensors for
the flight. However, Russia insisted that the Treaty permit the observed country to provide the
aircraft if it chose to do so. Nations can also team up to conduct overflights to share the costs of
the effort or use aircraft and sensor suites provided by other nations. Each nation is assigned a
quota of overflights that it can conduct and must be willing to receive each year. The quota is
For details contact Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in National Defense, 7-7613.
determined, generally, by the size of the nation’s territory. For the United States, this quota is
equal to 42 observation flights per year.
The Treaty permits the nations to use several types of sensors—including photographic cameras,
infrared cameras, and synthetic aperture radars—during their observation flights. The permitted
equipment will allow the nations to collect basic information on military forces and activities, but
it will provide them with little detailed technical intelligence. For example, the resolution on the
sensors probably will allow the nations to identify vehicles and distinguish between tanks and
trucks, but it probably will not allow them to tell one type of tank from another. Each observation
flight will produce two sets of data—one for the observing nation and one for the observed
nation. Other parties to the Treaty can purchase copies of the data. Each nation is responsible for
its own analysis of the data.
The Open Skies Treaty was designed as a confidence-building measure, allowing all nations,
including those without access to satellites, to collect information on military forces and activities
of other parties to the Treaty. It is not designed to provide detailed intelligence information or
data needed to verify compliance with arms control limits. Instead, it allows the participants to
gain an improved understanding of military activities in other nations. Overflights may provide
early signs of efforts to build up military forces or, conversely, assurances that an adversary or
neighbor is not preparing its military for a possible conflict. In any case, it is designed to promote
openness and transparency as a way to ease tensions and reduce the likelihood of
misunderstandings about military intentions.
Although several of the participating nations conducted practice missions in the years before the
Treaty entered into force, the first official overflight mission occurred in 2002. The parties have
conducted more than 140 missions since that time. The United States has not only conducted
several missions over territories in Europe and the former Soviet Union, it has also hosted
numerous observation flights over its own territory.
For Further Reading
CRS Report 95-1098 F, The Open Skies Treaty: Observation Overflights of Military Activities. (Archived. For copies contact
Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
The United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom established
the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on April 16, 1987. Designed to slow the
proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles, rockets, and unmanned air vehicles (UAV) capable of
delivering weapons of mass destruction, the MTCR is an informal, voluntary arrangement in
which participants agree to adhere to common export policy guidelines applied to an “annex” that
lists controlled items. Partner-countries adopt the guidelines as national policy and are
responsible for restraining their own missile-related transfers. In addition, partners regularly
exchange information on relevant export licensing issues, including denials of technology
transfers. The MTCR has neither an independent means to verify whether states are adhering to
its guidelines or monitor nor a mechanism to penalize states if they violate them.
The MTCR is based on the premise that foreign acquisition or development of delivery systems
can be delayed and made more difficult and expensive if major producers restrict exports.
Analysts credit the Regime with slowing missile development in several countries. Partner
countries have tightened their export control laws and procedures, and several have taken legal
action against alleged missile-technology smugglers. On the other hand, some analysts note that
the MTCR does not regulate countries’ acquisition or production of missiles and cannot prevent
non-Partners from exporting missiles and technology. Furthermore, some Partners have, on
occasion, failed to exercise constraint on their own exports of ballistic and cruise missile
technology. In addition, many analysts have argued that advances in missile-related technology
will challenge the MTCR’s future ability to check missile proliferation.
Since 1987, the number of countries that adhere to the MTCR has grown from seven to 34, with 19
Bulgaria joining the Regime in June 2004. Several non-partners, including China, Israel,
Romania, Slovakia, and India, have said they will restrict their transfers of missile equipment and
technology according to the MTCR.
Membership in the Regime is decided by consensus. According to former MTCR Chairman Per
Fischer, “[p]otential members are reviewed on a case-by case basis, and decisions regarding
applications are based on the effectiveness of a state’s export controls…its potential contribution 20
to the regime and its proliferation record.” The United States supports new requests for
membership to the regime only if the country in question agrees not to develop or acquire
missiles (excluding space launch vehicles) that exceed MTCR guidelines.
The MTCR guidelines21 call on each partner country to exercise restraint when considering
transfers of equipment or technology, as well as “intangible” transfers, that would provide, or
help a recipient country build, a missile capable of delivering a 500 kilogram (1,100 pound)
warhead to a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) or more. The 500 kilogram weight threshold
was intended to limit transfers of missiles that could carry a relatively crude nuclear warhead. A
1993 addition to the guidelines calls for particular restraint in the export of any missiles or related
technology if the nation controlling the export judges that the missiles are intended to be used for
the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, or biological). Thus some
missiles with warheads weighing less than 500 kilograms also fall under MTCR guidelines. From
time to time, Regime partners update the MTCR guidelines and annex.
“Treaty Update: MTCR,” Arms Control Today, September 2004, p. 5.
20 “20 Years of the Missile Technology Control Regime and Beyond,” paper given to the DIIS Conference on Missile
Proliferation, Copenhagen, May 2, 2007.
21 The MTCR guidelines and annex may be found at http://www.mtcr.info.
The MTCR annex contains two categories of controlled items. Category I items are the most
sensitive. There is “a strong presumption to deny such transfers,” according to the MTCR
guidelines. Regime partners have greater flexibility in exports of Category II items.
Category I items include complete rocket systems (including ballistic missiles, space launch
vehicles, and sounding rockets), UAV systems (including cruise missiles systems, target and
reconnaissance drones), production facilities for such systems, and major subsystems (including
rocket stages, re-entry vehicles, rocket engines, guidance systems, and warhead mechanisms).
Transfers of Category I production facilities are not to be authorized. Category II items are other
less sensitive and dual-use missile-related components that could be used to develop a Category I
system, and complete missiles and major subsystems of missiles capable of delivering a payload
of any size to a range of 300 km.
Analysts credit the MTCR with slowing missile development in Brazil and India, blocking a
cooperative missile program of Argentina, Egypt, and Iraq, and eliminating missile programs in
South Africa and Hungary. Partner countries have tightened their export control laws and
procedures, and several have taken legal action against alleged missile-technology smugglers. On
the other hand, some analysts note that the MTCR cannot prevent countries such as North Korea,
Iran, Syria, India, and Pakistan from acquiring and producing missiles, nor prevent non-Partners
(China, North Korea, and others) from exporting missiles and technology. It has also been
difficult to restrain exports of ballistic and cruise missile technology from some Partners—Russia
has exported technology to Iran and Great Britain has done so to the United Arab Emirates.
Analysts and experts in the international community have also discussed the possibility that the
“supply side” approach of the MTCR has outlived its usefulness and that a “demand side”
approach to proliferation, on a regional or global basis, might prove more effective.
The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) was inaugurated on 22
November 25, 2002. As of December11, 2007, 127 countries subscribed to the Code. The
HCOC is not a treaty but instead a set of “fundamental behavioral norms and a framework for
cooperation to address missile proliferation.” It focuses on the possession of ballistic missiles, as
a complement to the supply-side-oriented MTCR.
The Code intends to “prevent and curb the proliferation of Ballistic Missile systems capable of
delivering weapons of mass destruction.” It calls on subscribing states “to exercise maximum
possible restraint in the development, testing and deployment of Ballistic Missiles capable of
delivering weapons of mass destruction [WMD], including, where possible, to reduce national
holdings of such missiles.” Subscribing states also agree not to assist ballistic missile programs in
countries suspected of developing WMD. The HCOC also calls for subscribing states to “exercise
the necessary vigilance” in assisting other countries’ space-launch programs, which could serve
as covers for ballistic missile programs.
Additionally, subscribing states “resolve to implement” several transparency measures, such as
producing annual declarations that provide outlines of their ballistic missile policies, as well as
Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC), http://www.bmeia.gv.at/fileadmin/
user_upload/bmeia/media/test/List_of_HCOC_Subscribing_States_01.pdf. The full text is available at
“information on the number and generic class” of such missiles launched during the preceding
year. The Code also calls on subscribing states to provide similar annual declarations regarding
their “expendable Space Launch Vehicle” programs.
Furthermore, the HCOC calls on states to “exchange pre-launch notifications on their Ballistic
Missile and Space Launch Vehicle launches and test flights.” The Code does not specify a pre-
launch notification mechanism, and subscribing governments have not yet been established one.
The United States had said that its notifications and annual declarations would be based on a
U.S.-Russian Pre-Launch Notification System, which was to have been established in connection 23
with the U.S.-Russian Joint Data Exchange Center (JDEC). That center, however, has not yet
been established, and the United States has not provided pre-launch notifications. U.S. policy is to 24
provide them when the JDEC is complete. Russia had been providing pre-launch notifications
since 2004, but reportedly stopped doing so effective January 1, 2008. The lack of U.S. 25
notifications is one reason for this action.
Ambassador Jose Julio Pereira Gomes said in an October 19, 2007, statement on behalf of the
European Union that some unnamed subscribing states have not been providing declarations.
“[C]ontinued disregard for obligations accepted upon subscribing to the HCOC threatens the
functioning and thus the viability of the Code as a whole,” he added.
Austria serves as the Immediate Central Contact and Executive Secretariat for the HCOC.
Subscribing states have held six conferences since the Code came into effect. The most recent
was held May 31-June 1, 2007, in Vienna. The next is scheduled for May 2008.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RL31848, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and International Code of Conduct Against
Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC): Background and Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert.
CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status, coordinated by Mary Beth Nikitin.
“U.S. Efforts to Combat the Biological Weapons Threat.” State Department Fact Sheet. November 14, 2002.
Tucker, Jonathan, The Sixth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention: Success or Failure? Center for
Nonproliferation Studies, January 4, 2007. http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/week/070104.htm
In July 1996, 33 nations approved the Wassenaar Arrangement (formally titled the Wassenaar
Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies) 27
on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. This agreement
replaces the Coordinating Committee For Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom)—the Cold War
organization that controlled sensitive exports of technologies to Communist nations.
Paul Kerr, “Code of Conduct Aims to Stop Ballistic Missile Proliferation,” Arms Control Today, January/February
24 Interview with Department of State official January 17, 2008.
25 Wade Boese, “Russia Halts Missile Launch Notices,” Arms Control Today, March 2008.
26 For details, contact Richard Grimmett, Specialist in National Defense, 7-7675
27 Dual-use goods are those commodities, processes, or technologies used primarily for civilian purposes which can
also be used to develop or enhance the capabilities of military equipment.
According to its Guidelines and Procedures, the Wassenaar Arrangement is not formally targeted
at “any state or group of states.” But it is “intended to enhance co-operation to prevent the
acquisition of armaments and sensitive dual-use items for military end-uses, if the situation in a 28
region or the behaviour of a state is, or becomes, a cause for serious concern.”
The Arrangement, which currently has 40 members, is designed “to contribute to regional and
international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in
transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing
accumulations.” Member decisions are made by consensus. This group has a broader membership
but smaller lists of controlled goods than did CoCom. Its control regime is also less rigorous.
Under Wassenaar, each national government regulates its own exports, whereas under CoCom,
any member could disapprove the export by any other member of a controlled item to a
proscribed destination. There is also no mechanism to punish a Participating State for violating
The Arrangement’s guidelines specify that several factors must be considered when deciding on a
potential new member’s eligibility. These include whether the state has adopted the
Arrangement’s control lists “as a reference in its national export controls,” the government’s
“adherence to fully effective export controls,” and whether the state adheres to several other 29
Participating States agree to control exports and retransfers of items on a Munitions List and a
List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. The decision to allow or deny transfer of an item is the
sole responsibility of each Participating State. The control lists are updated frequently.
Twice a year Participating States report all transfers or licenses issued for sensitive dual-use
goods or technology and all deliveries of items on the Munitions List. The data exchange
identifies the supplier, recipient, and items transferred.
Participating States also report denials of licenses to transfer items on the Dual-Use list to non-
member states. The Arrangement does not prohibit a participating country from making an export
that has been denied by another participant (this practice is called “undercutting”). But
participants are required to report soon after they approve a license for an export of dual-use
goods that are essentially identical to those that have been denied by another participant during
the previous three years.
The Arrangement’s Guidelines and Procedures may be found at http://www.wassenaar.org/guidelines/index.html.
29 These agreements include the guidelines for the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Zangger Committee, the Missile
Technology Control Regime, and the Australia Group. They also include the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the
Biological and Toxicological Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
During plenary and working group discussions, Participating States voluntarily share information
on potential threats to peace and stability and examine dangerous acquisition trends. The
participants review the scope of reporting and coordinating national control policies and develop
further guidelines and procedures. Twice a year, the group reviews the Munitions List with a view
to extending information and notifications.
Although some progress has been made in getting Wassenaar states to subscribe to general
principles regarding strong enforcement mechanisms, Members of Congress may question
whether other participants will be as diligent as the United States in controlling exports of dual-
use technologies. Most countries place fewer restrictions on exports than does the United States.
The Arrangement may support U.S. interests by encouraging other suppliers to forgo
irresponsible exports that they might consider politically or financially beneficial. On the other
hand, if the other participants do not restrain their exports of weapons and dual-use items to an
extent comparable to the United States, U.S. businesses may be placed at a disadvantage in world
markets and the U.S. trade balance may be affected negatively.
For Further Reading
CRS Report RS20517, Military Technology and Conventional Weapons Export Controls: The Wassenaar Arrangement, by
Richard F. Grimmett.
CRS Report RL31832, The Export Administration Act: Evolution, Provisions, and Debate, by Ian F. Fergusson.
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) bans the development, production, transfer,
stockpiling, and use of chemical and toxin weapons, mandates the destruction of all CW
production facilities, and seeks to control the production and international transfer of the key
chemical components of these weapons. Negotiations began in 1968, but made little progress for 30
many years. Verification issues, in particular, stalled the talks until the Soviet Union accepted
challenge inspections. In September 1992, the Conference on Disarmament’s forty member-
nations agreed on the final draft for the Convention, and it opened for signature in January 1993.
As of January 3, 2008, 183 nations, including the United States and Russia, have ratified the
treaty, which entered into force April 29, 1997. Five states have signed but not ratified the 31
Convention. Eight nations have neither signed nor acceded to the CWC. The next CWC Review
Conference is to be held in 2008. Under the Convention, states-parties provide declarations,
which detail chemical weapons-related activities or materials and relevant industrial activities, to
the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW inspects and
monitors states-parties’ facilities and activities that are relevant to the convention.
The United States and Soviet Union—possessors of the world’s largest CW stockpiles—also conducted bilateral
negotiations from 1976 to 1980.
31 Angola, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, North Korea, Somalia, and Syria.
The U.S. Senate held hearings and debated the CWC for more than four years, before consenting
to its ratification on April 24, 1997. Congress passed the CWC implementing legislation, as a part
of the FY1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-277), in late October, 1998. This legislation
provides the statutory authority for U.S. domestic compliance with the Convention’s provisions.
The legislation also provides detailed procedures to be used for on-site inspections by the OPCW,
including limitations on access and search warrant procedures, should they be required.
Parties to the Convention have agreed to cease all offensive chemical weapons research and
production and close all relevant facilities. They agreed to declare all CW stockpiles, allow an
inventory by international inspectors, and seal their stocks. They must also destroy their weapons
within 10 years, unless the OPCW approves an extension. They must also destroy all CW
production facilities within 10 years. In “exceptional cases of compelling need,” the OPCW may
approve the conversion of these facilities to peaceful purposes.
The CWC contains a complex verification regime, with different obligations applying to different
types of chemical facilities. The Convention establishes three schedules of chemicals, grouped by
relevance to CW production and extent of legitimate peaceful uses. Some facilities are subject to
systematic on-site verification, others are subject to periodic verification inspections. Facilities
for a third class of chemicals are subject to random or “ad hoc” inspections. Signatories may also
request challenge inspections at facilities suspected to be in violation of the Convention. The
OPCW will carry out these inspections on short notice. Inspected nations will have the right to
negotiate the extent of inspectors’ access to any facility, but must make every reasonable effort to 32
All of the member-states’ declared CW production facilities have been destroyed, according to the
OPCW. Moreover, the Organization’s Director-General, Rogelio Pfirter, stated in an October 19,
2007, speech to the UN First Committee that more than 30% of declared CW stockpiles had been
In July 2007, the OPCW confirmed that Albania had become the first country to have destroyed
its declared CWs. Five other states—India, Libya, Russia, South Korea, and the United States—
have declared possession of CWs. All have stated that they will destroy their weapons by the
Convention’s April 29, 2012, deadline. However, observers have expressed doubts that all will do
Information exchanges under a bilateral U.S.-Russian CW destruction agreement, amplified by
charges of deception from former Russian CW scientists, have led to charges that the Russians
have not been forthright in declaring details about their CW program, particularly in the area of
binary agent research. The U.S. intelligence community has provided the relevant Senate
For more information on CWC verification issues, see CRS Report RL31559, Proliferation Control Regimes:
Background and Status, coordinated by Mary Beth Nikitin.
Committees with classified briefings on attempts to reconcile these concerns through continued
Russia has maintained that it needs significant foreign aid to carry out its destruction program,
including substantial assistance in infrastructure improvements for the communities where
destruction sites are located. Under DOD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the United
States has provided Russia with considerable financial assistance for chemical weapons 33
destruction. The impetus for continued funding, despite reservations about this program, has
been the concern that the Russian CW stockpile is a potential source of covert CW proliferation.
Even with foreign assistance, Russia will almost certainly not be able to meet CWC destruction
deadlines. It requested an extension until 2012, but few believe that extension will be sufficient.
Consequently, the CWC Conference of States Parties has approved an extension of Russia’s
interim deadline to destroy 20% of its stockpile to April 2007 and also agreed to an extension of
subsequent deadlines in principle, with no date specified. In November 2004, a senior Russian
official announced schedules for the construction of five new CW destruction facilities and still 34
projected that the new 2012 deadline will be met. As of October 2007, Russia had destroyed
more than 30% of its CW stocks, according to Pfirter.
The United States has also encountered difficulties in destroying its CW stockpile. In October
2003, the United States acknowledged that it would not be able to destroy 45% of its CW
stockpile by the interim deadline of April 29, 2004; it requested an extension of the interim
deadline to December 2007—a full eight months after the Convention’s deadline for the
destruction of the entire stockpile. Accepting that the United States is undertaking a good faith
effort to destroy its stockpile, the Eighth OPCW Conference of States Parties approved the
extension of the 45% deadline to December 2007 and the extension of the final deadline in
principle, with no date specified.
In April 2006, the United States submitted its formal request to the OPCW Chairman and
Director-General to extend the United States’ final chemical weapons destruction deadline from 35
April 2007 to April 29, 2012, the latest possible date allowed under the CWC. However,
Ambassador Eric Javits, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OPCW, added that “we do not
expect to be able to meet that deadline” because Washington had encountered “delays and 36
difficulties” in destroying its stockpile. These delays have generally resulted from the need to
meet state and federal environmental requirements and from both local and congressional
concerns over the means of destruction.
See CRS Report RL31957, Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet
Union, by Amy F. Woolf.
34 Nartker, Mike. “Russian Official Outlines Detailed Schedule to Eliminate Chemical Weapons Arsenal by 2012”
Global Security Newswire, November 12, 2004.
35 Ambassador Eric Javits, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OPCW, Statement Concerning Request to Extend the
United States’ Destruction Deadline Under the Chemical Weapons Convention, April 20, 2006. Available at
Reinforcing Javits’s statement, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld notified Congress
in April 2006 that destruction of the U.S. stockpile by the April 2012 deadline “was in doubt
based on the current schedules, but that the Department of Defense would continue requesting
resources needed to complete destruction as close to the 2012 deadline as practicable.”
The United States destroyed 50% of its stockpile as of December 10, 2007.37 Washington projects
that its five operating destruction facilities will have destroyed 90% of the total U.S. stockpile by 38
2017. Two other facilities under construction will destroy the remaining chemical agents
stockpiles located at Pueblo, CO, and Lexington, KY. A 2007 estimate from the Department of
Defense’s Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program states that these 39
stockpiles will be destroyed by 2020 and 2023, respectively. However, Sec. 8119 of the 2008
Defense Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-116) requires the Defense Department to “complete work
on the destruction” of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile” by the 2012 deadline “and in no
circumstances later than December 31, 2017.” In response, ACWA has “initiated an assessment of
potential opportunities for accelerating the destruction of the Colorado and Kentucky chemical 40
No violations of the CWC have been detected, the OPCW’s Verification Director Horst Reeps
told the First Committee in October 2007. However, a 2005 State Department report assesses that,
in violation of its CWC obligations, China has not acknowledged past transfers of chemical
weapons” and also “may not have declared the full extent of its CW related facilities.” The report
adds that Beijing maintains a “CW production mobilization capability,” which would also violate
its CWC obligations. However, the report also states that “there is insufficient information
available to determine whether” China has “an active offensive CW research and development 41
program.” The State Department report further assesses that Iran is in violation of the CWC by
“Army Destroys Half of Chemical Stockpile,” APG News, January 17, 2008, available at
38 The United States has destroyed all of its chemical weapons munitions. As of June 2007, its remaining stockpile
consisted of GB (also known as sarin) and VX nerve agents, as well as mustard, a blister agent. See Chemical
Demilitarization: Additional Management Actions Needed to Meet Key Performance Goals of DOD’s Chemical
Demilitarization Program, GAO-08-134, December 2007, pp.12-13.
39 See ACWA Cost and Schedule Information. Available at http://www.pmacwa.army.mil/ip/dl/
40 ACWA Quarterly Brief, December 2007. Available at http://www.pmacwa.army.mil/ip/dl/
Additionally, Sec. 922 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (P.L. 110-181) requires that the
Secretary of Defense submit a report to Congress which includes the “anticipated schedule at the time of such report for
the completion of destruction of chemical agents, munitions, and materiel at each chemical weapons demilitarization
facility in the United States” and a “description of the options and alternatives for accelerating the completion of
chemical weapons destruction at each such facility, particularly in time to meet the destruction deadline of April 29,
2012, currently provided by the Chemical Weapons Convention, and by December 31, 2017.” ACWA’s December
brief states that “Defense Department officials will meet with Congress by next summer to discuss the acceleration
options and come to an agreement on the path forward.”
41 Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control and Nonproliferation Agreements and Commitments. Department
of State, 2005. p. 55.
“retaining and modernizing key elements of its CW infrastructure, including offensive research 42
and development, a possible undeclared stockpile, and an offensive production capability.”
The United States has not requested challenge inspections for any facilities in these countries. The
Administration has also not sought to impose unilateral sanctions.
Several nations suspected of possessing chemical weapons (e.g. Syria, North Korea) have not
joined nor are expected to join the CWC. The most notable recent accession to the CWC is Libya,
which has ended its WMD programs and is undertaking the destruction of its CW stockpile under
OPCW supervision. The newly elected government of Iraq is expected to sign and ratify the
CWC in the near future.
For Further Reading
Chemical Weapons Convention and Related Documents, http://www.state.gov/t/ac/cwc/.
CRS Report RL32158, Chemical Weapons Convention: Issues for Congress, by Steve Bowman.
In 1969, the Nixon Administration unilaterally renounced U.S. biological weapons. Offensive
BW development and production ceased, and destruction of the U.S. BW stockpile began.
Simultaneously, the United States pressed the Soviet Union to follow its example. After some
delay, agreement was reached, and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) was signed in
1972. The United States, after lengthy Senate consultations, ratified the Convention in 1975, the
same year that the Convention entered into force.
The BWC bans the development, production, stockpiling, and transfer of biological weapons, as
well as biological agents and toxins. It also bans “equipment or means of delivery designed to use
such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict. In addition, the Convention
requires States-Parties to destroy all relevant “agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of
The BWC permits only defensive biological warfare research (e.g., vaccines, protective
equipment), and allows production and stockpiling of BW agents only in amounts justifiable for
protective or peaceful purposes. Unlike the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the BWC
does not specify particular biological agents, but generically defines them as: “Microbial or other
biological agents or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in
quantities that have no justification for prophylactic or peaceful purposes.”
The Convention has 159 States Parties, including the United States, and there are 15 additional
countries that have signed, but not ratified the Convention. The Convention does not contain any 43
independent verification or enforcement mechanisms. Since 2001, the United States has
Ibid., p. 56.
43 Article V of the Convention does speak to the issue of compliance, stating that the States Parties “undertake to
consult one another and to cooperate in solving any problems which may arise in relation to the objective of, or in the
application of the provisions of, the Convention. Consultation and Cooperation pursuant to this article may also be
undertaken through appropriate international procedures within the framework of the United Nations and in accordance
with its Charter.”
opposed strengthening the BWC, emphasizing instead voluntary measures by individual national 44
The November 2001 Review Conference of the BWC ended in disarray, unable to agree upon a
final declaration. The primary deadlock was the issue of an adaptive protocol to the Convention,
intended to enhance its enforcement. In July 2001, after almost seven years of negotiations, the
United States declared the 200-page protocol unacceptable as basis for further negotiation. A
Bush Administration review concluded that the draft protocol would not provide adequate
security against covert violations, yet could endanger the security of U.S. biodefense programs
and U.S. commercial proprietary information. Alone in its complete rejection of the draft
protocol, the United States came under widespread international criticism, including from close
allies, for “jeopardizing” the future of biological arms control. In response, the Administration put
forward several proposals at the 2001 Review Conference, urging their adoption by BWC State
Parties at the national level. These included:
• Criminalization of BWC violations and expedited extradition procedures for
• United Nations investigation of suspicious disease outbreaks or alleged BW use.
• Procedures for addressing BWC compliance concerns.
• Improved international disease control.
• Improved security over research on pathogenic organisms.
The Review Conference was unable to reach a compromise final declaration on future activities
satisfactory to all State Parties, and adjourned until November 2002. The U.S. has continued to
oppose further negotiations on verification, while calling for international action against Iran and
North Korea whom it has identified as BWC violators. Confronted with the U.S. position, the
Chairman of the 2002 Review Conference, presented a minimal program emphasizing only
annual meetings to discuss strengthening national laws and ways to respond to BW attacks. These
were endorsed by the United States and accepted by the Conference.
The 6th BWC Review Conference, held in December 2006, could not reach consensus on a
comprehensive set of guidelines for national implementation of the Convention owing to
differences between the United States and the non-aligned nations group over technology transfer
control issues. The assumption of the United States’ opposition also precluded consideration of
enhanced verification or enforcement provisions for the Convention. The Conference did th
establish a new program of work for annual meetings, which are to take place before the 7
Review Conference in 2011, for discussion and information exchanges on a variety of issues,
including domestic enforcement of BWC provisions, pathogen security, and oversight of
potentially dual-use research. The United States required, however, that these sessions be
prohibited from reaching binding decisions, reserving that for the next Review Conference. The
first meeting of the BWC States-Parties was held December 10-14 in Geneva.
The text of the BWC and associated documents are available at the United Nations website: Biological Weapons
No nation publically acknowledges either an offensive biological weapons (BW) program or
stockpile. Examination of unclassified sources indicates that several nations are considered, with
varying degrees of certainty, to have some BW capability. These are China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran,
Israel, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Taiwan. There is evidence that Al-Qa’ida had a BW 45
program prior to the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
The Fall 2001 postal anthrax attacks in the United States spurred significant congressional
interest in biological weapons, but the focus has been primarily on increased domestic security
and medical protective/treatment measures. Though there has been some congressional criticism
of the Administration’s position on the BWC, there has been no political initiative to refocus
biological arms control efforts. While those in favor of strengthening the BWC have pointed to
the anthrax attacks and rapid advances in biotechnology as emphasizing the need for greater
efforts to control biological weapons, those supporting the Administration’s position maintain that
the difficulties in apprehending the perpetrator(s) of the anthrax attacks and wide dissemination
of biotechnology merely highlight the futility of an international BW verification regime.
Anti-personnel landmines are small, inexpensive weapons that kill or maim people upon contact.
Abandoned, unmarked minefields can remain dangerous to both soldiers and civilians for an
indefinite time. Mines were addressed in The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the
Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To 46
Have Indiscriminate Effects also known as the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Protocol II of this contains rules for marking, registering, and removing minefields. The CCW
was concluded in 1980 and entered into force in 1993. The United States signed it in 1982 and the
U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on March 24, 1995.
In 1992, Congress established a one year moratorium on U.S. exports of APL (P.L. 102-484) and st
subsequently extended it for fifteen more years (see P.L. 107-115). H.R. 948, introduced in the 1 th
Session, 107 Congress, sought to make the ban permanent but was not brought to a vote. Many
nations have followed the U.S. example and imposed their own moratoria. In the FY1996 Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act (P.L. 104-107) Congress established a one-year ban on the use of th
APL by U.S. personnel to begin in 1999—but, the 105 Congress repealed the moratorium in the
FY1999 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 105-261).
In 1996, President Clinton announced a policy that immediately discontinued U.S. use of “dumb”
APL (except in the DMZ of Korea); supported negotiation of a worldwide ban on APL in the
United Nations; supported development of alternative technologies to perform landmine functions
For more information on suspected BW programs, see CRS Report RL30699, Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical
Weapons and Missiles: Status and Trends, by Paul K. Kerr.
46 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons http://www.ccwtreaty.com/ccwtreatytext.htm.
without endangering civilians (he subsequently set a goal of 2003 to replace even smart mines
everywhere except Korea, and of 2006 in Korea); and, expanded mine detection and clearing
technology efforts and assistance to mine-plagued countries. This initiative temporarily retained
the possible use of “smart” mines that render themselves harmless after a certain period of time,
either through self-destruction, self-neutralization, or self-deactivation.
In November 1996, the United States introduced a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly to
pursue an international agreement that would ban use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of
APL—there were 84 co-sponsors. Some countries, such as Canada, already abided by the intent
of the proposed agreement and pushed for an early deadline to reach agreement. Others, however,
were concerned that verifying such an agreement would be difficult, or that AP landmines still
have a useful and legitimate role in their security planning. Landmine control, specifically a ban
on exports, was briefly on the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva for
1999. During 2000, however, that body could not agree on its program of work and the landmine
issue was not addressed again.
During 1997, the government of Canada and a number of non-governmental organizations, such
as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, sponsored conferences to craft a treaty outside
the CD process. Over 100 nations signed the Ottawa Treaty, formally titled the Convention on the
Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on
Their Destruction, which entered into force for its parties on March 1, 1999. Currently, 156 states
are party to the treaty. The Clinton Administration participated in the Ottawa Process, but
declined to sign the Treaty after failing to gain certain temporary exceptions to treaty language.
Specifically, the United States wanted to continue to use APL in the defense of South Korea until
2006 if necessary, and the ability to include smart APL (or “devices”) within anti-tank landmine
munitions. President Clinton suggested that the United States would sign the Ottawa Treaty in 47
The Ottawa Convention requires States-Parties to stop the production, use, and transfer of APL,
as well as destroy all stockpiled APL, except for the “minimum number absolutely necessary” for
training purposes, within four years. States-Parties are also required to clear APL within 10 years, 48
but can request extensions of up to 10 years to complete this task. Of the 156 States-Parties, 80
have destroyed their APL; 10 have not yet done so. There is no evidence that any States-Parties
are currently violating the Convention. However, 14 states “appear not to be on course” to meet 49
their mine-clearance deadlines.
The Convention does not include a verification body, but States-Parties may submit allegations of
non-compliance, as well as requests for “clarification” from relevant governments, to the UN
Secretary-General. A State-Party may also request that a special meeting of other treaty members
address the compliance matters. States-Parties can initiate fact-finding missions and also request
relevant governments to address compliance issues.
The Army has an APL Alternatives effort underway. The Non Self-Destruct Alternative
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/nsda.htm is in the engineering and manufacturing
development stage; it combines lethal and non-lethal payloads and includes a “man-in-the-loop” to determine when
they are fired.
48 The full text of the Convention may be found at http://www.icbl.org/content/download/7050/165094/file/
49 Landmine Monitor Report 2007: Toward a Mine-Free World, pp. 2-3, 5.
In February 2004, the Bush Administration announced that, after 2010, the United States would
not use any type of persistent landmines, whether anti-personnel or—a new policy—anti-vehicle.
Self-destruct and self-deactivating landmines will be used and will meet or exceed specifications
of the Amended Mines Protocol, CCW. It also indicated that alternatives to persistent landmines
would be developed that incorporate enhanced technologies.
This new policy does not include a date to join the Ottawa Treaty. A March 1, 2007, U.S.
Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research Background Note indicates that the
United States does not plan to sign the Ottawa Convention. If needed, U.S. forces will use non-
persistent mines. Various U.S. landmine systems were reportedly prepositioned in the Middle
East in preparation for the 2003 war in Iraq, but were not used.
For Further Reading
CRS Report 96-362, Landmines: Background and Congressional Concerns, by Edward F. Bruner and Thomas Hawkins.
To Walk the Earth in Safety: The United States Commitment to Humanitarian Demining, Fifth Edition, September
2004. U.S. Department of State.
New United States Policy on Landmines, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State, February 2004.
This appendix lists a wide range of arms control treaties and agreements. The date listed in each
entry indicates the year in which the negotiations were completed. In some cases, entry into force
occurred in a subsequent year.
The Geneva Protocol, 1925: Bans the use of poison gas and bacteriological weapons in warfare.
The Antarctic Treaty, 1959: Demilitarizes the Antarctic continent and provides for scientific
cooperation on Antarctica.
Memorandum of Understanding ... Regarding the Establishment of a Direct Communications
Link (The Hot Line Agreement), 1963: Provides for a secure, reliable communications link
between Washington and Moscow. Modified in 1971, 1984, and 1988 to improve the method of
Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1963: Bans nuclear weapons tests or any nuclear explosions in the
atmosphere, outer space, and under water.
Outer Space Treaty, 1967: Bans the orbiting or stationing on celestial bodies (including the moon)
of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.
Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco), 1967:
Obligates nations in Latin America not to acquire, possess, or store nuclear weapons on their
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1968: Non-nuclear signatories agree not to
acquire nuclear weapons; nuclear signatories agree to cooperate with non-nuclear signatories in
peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Seabed Arms Control Treaty, 1971: Bans emplacement of military installations, including those
capable of launching weapons, on the seabed.
Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War (Accident Measures
Agreement), 1971: Outlines measures designed to reduce the risk that technical malfunction,
human failure, misinterpreted incident, or unauthorized action could start a nuclear exchange.
Biological Weapons Convention, 1972: Bans the development, production, stockpile, or
acquisition of biological agents or toxins for warfare.
Agreement ... on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas, 1972: Establishes “rules
of the road” to reduce the risk that accident, miscalculation, or failure of communication could
escalate into a conflict at sea.
Interim Agreement ... on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive
Arms (SALT I Interim Agreement), 1972: Limits numbers of some types of U.S. and Soviet
strategic offensive nuclear weapons.
Treaty ... on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty), 1972: Limits United
States and Soviet Union to two ABM sites each; limits the number of interceptor missiles and
radars at each site to preclude nationwide defense. Modified in 1974 to permit one ABM site in
each nation. U.S. withdrew in June 2002.
Agreement ... on the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1973: United States and Soviet Union agreed to
adopt an “attitude of international cooperation” to prevent the development of situations that
might lead to nuclear war.
Treaty ... on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapons Tests (Threshold Test Ban Treaty),
1974: Prohibits nuclear weapons tests with yields of more than 150 kilotons. Ratified and entered
into force in 1990.
Treaty ... on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes (Peaceful Nuclear
Explosions Treaty), 1976: Extends the limit of 150 kilotons to nuclear explosions occurring
outside weapons test sites. Ratified and entered into force in 1990.
Concluding Document of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Final
Act), 1975: Outlines notifications and confidence-building measures with respect to military
activities in Europe.
Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any other Hostile Use of Environmental
Modification Techniques, 1978: Bans the hostile use of environmental modification techniques
that have lasting or widespread effects.
Treaty ... on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (SALT II), 1979: Places quantitative and
qualitative limits on some types of U.S. and Soviet strategic offensive nuclear weapons. Never
The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons
Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have Indiscriminate Effects: This
Convention, also known as the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), was concluded in
Geneva in 1980 and entered into force in 1993. Protocol II (Protocol on Prohibitions or
Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-traps and Other Devices) contains rules for marking,
registering, and removing minefields, in an effort to reduce indiscriminate casualties caused by
anti-personnel landmines. Protocol IV prohibits laser weapons designed to cause blindness.
Document of the Stockholm Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and
Disarmament in Europe (Stockholm Document), 1986: Expands on the notifications and
confidence-building measures in the Helsinki Final Act. Provides for ground and aerial inspection
of military activities.
Treaty of Rarotonga, 1986: Establishes a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the South Pacific. The
United States signed the Protocols in 1996; the Senate has not yet provided its advice and consent
Agreement ... on the Establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, 1987: Establishes
communications centers in Washington and Moscow and improves communications links
between the two.
Treaty ... on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, 1987: Bans
all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and
Agreement ... on Notifications of Launches of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Submarine
Launched Ballistic Missiles, 1988: Obligates United States and Soviet Union to provide at least
Agreement on the Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities, 1989: Outlines cooperative
procedures that are designed to prevent and resolve peacetime incidents between the armed forces
of the United States and Soviet Union.
U.S.-U.S.S.R. Chemical Weapons Destruction Agreement, 1990: Mandates the destruction of the
bulk of the U.S. and Soviet chemical weapons stockpiles.
Vienna Document of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, 1990:
Expands on the measures in the 1986 Stockholm Document.
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), 1990: Limits and reduces the
numbers of certain types of conventional armaments deployed from the “Atlantic to the Urals.”
Treaty ... on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START), 1991: Limits and
reduces the numbers of strategic offensive nuclear weapons. Modified by the Lisbon Protocol of
1992 to provide for Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia to succeed to Soviet Union’s
obligations under the Treaty. Entered into force on December 5, 1994.
Vienna Document of the Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, 1992:
Expands on the measures in the 1990 Vienna Document.
Treaty on Open Skies, 1992: Provides for overflights by unarmed observation aircraft to build
confidence and increase transparency of military activities.
Agreement ... Concerning the Safe and Secure Transportation, Storage, and Destruction of
Weapons and Prevention of Weapons Proliferation, 1992: Provides for U.S. assistance to Russia
for the safe and secure transportation, storage, and destruction of nuclear, chemical, and other
Agreement Between the United States and Republic of Belarus Concerning Emergency Response
and the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, 1992: Provides for U.S.
assistance to Belarus in eliminating nuclear weapons and responding to nuclear emergencies in
Treaty ... on the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) 1993:
Would have further reduced the number of U.S. and Russian strategic offensive nuclear weapons.
Would have banned the deployment of all land-based multiple-warhead missiles (MIRVed
ICBMs), including the Soviet SS-18 “heavy” ICBM. Signed on January 3, 1993; U.S. Senate
consented to ratification in January 1996; Russian Duma approved ratification in April 2000.
Treaty never entered into force.
Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical
Weapons and on their Destruction: Bans chemical weapons and requires elimination of their
production facilities. Opened for signature on January 13, 1993; entered into force in April 1997.
Agreement ... Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Resulting from the
Dismantlement of Nuclear Weapons in Russia, 1993: Provides for U.S. purchase of highly
enriched uranium removed from Russian nuclear weapons; uranium to be blended into low
enriched uranium for fuel in commercial nuclear reactors. Signed and entered into force on
February 18, 1993.
Agreement Between the United States and Ukraine Concerning Assistance to Ukraine in the
Elimination of Strategic Nuclear Arms, and the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass
Destruction: Provides for U.S. assistance to Ukraine to eliminate nuclear weapons and implement
provisions of START I. Signed in late 1993, entered into force in 1994.
Agreement Between the United States and Republic of Kazakhstan Concerning the Destruction of
Silo Launchers of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, Emergency Response, and the Prevention of
Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, 1993: Provides for U.S. assistance to Kazakhstan
to eliminate nuclear weapons and implement provisions of START I.
Trilateral Statement by the Presidents of the United States, Russia, and Ukraine, 1994: Statement
in which Ukraine agreed to transfer all nuclear warheads on its territory to Russia in exchange for
security assurances and financial compensation. Some compensation will be in the form of fuel
for Ukraine’s nuclear reactors. The United States will help finance the compensation by
purchasing low enriched uranium derived from dismantled weapons from Russia.
Treaty of Pelindaba, 1996: Establishes a nuclear weapons free zone in Africa. The United States
has signed, but not yet ratified Protocols to the Treaty.
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), 1996: Bans all nuclear explosions, for any
purpose. The United States and more than 130 other nations had signed the Treaty by late 1996.
The U.S. Senate voted against ratification in October, 1999.
Ottawa Treaty, 1997: Convention for universal ban against the use of anti-personnel landmines,
signed in 1997 and entered into force in 1999. The United States and other significant military
powers are not signatories.
Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (Moscow Treaty): Obligates the United States and Russia to
reduce strategic nuclear forces to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads. Does not define weapons to
be reduced or provide monitoring and verification provisions. Reductions must be completed by
December 31, 2012, when the Treaty limits then expire. Signed in May 2002, entered into force
June 1, 2003.
Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution establishes responsibilities for
treaty ratification. It provides that the President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and
Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”
Contrary to common perceptions, the Senate does not ratify treaties; it provides its advice and
consent to ratification by passing a resolution of ratification. The President then “ratifies” a treaty
by signing the instrument of ratification and either exchanging it with the other parties to the
treaty or depositing it at a central repository (such as the United Nations).
In Section 33 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act (P.L. 87-297, as amended), Congress
outlined the relationship between arms control agreements and the treaty ratification process. This
law provides that “no action shall be taken under this or any other law that will obligate the
United States to disarm or to reduce or to limit the Armed Forces or armaments of the United
States, except pursuant to the treaty-making power of the President under the Constitution or
unless authorized by further affirmative legislation by the Congress of the United States.”
In practice, most U.S. arms control agreements have been submitted as treaties, a word reserved
in U.S. usage for international agreements submitted to the Senate for its approval in accordance
with Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Senate clearly expects future arms control
obligations would be made only pursuant to treaty in one of its declarations in the resolution of
ratification of the START Treaty. The declaration stated: “The Senate declares its intention to
consider for approval international agreements that would obligate the United States to reduce or
limit the Armed Forces or armaments of the United States in a militarily significant manner only
pursuant to the treaty power set forth in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution.”
Nonetheless, some arms control agreements have been made by other means. Several “confidence
building” measures have been concluded as legally binding international agreements, called
executive agreements in the United States, without approval by Congress. These include the Hot
Line Agreement of June 20, 1963, the Agreement on Prevention of Nuclear War of June 22, 1973,
and agreements concluded in the Standing Consultative Commission established by the Anti-
ballistic Missile Treaty. In another category that might be called statutory or congressional-
executive agreements, the SALT I Interim Agreement was approved by a joint resolution of
Congress in 1972. In a third category, the executive branch has entered some arms control
agreements that it did not submit to Congress on grounds that they were “politically binding” but
not “legally binding.” Such agreements include several measures agreed to through the
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, such as the Stockholm Document on
Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe, signed September 19,
The conclusion or signing of a treaty is only the first step toward making the agreement legally
binding on the parties. First, the parties decide whether to ratify, that is, express their consent to
be bound by, the treaty that the negotiators have signed. Each party follows its own constitutional
process to approve the treaty.
In the United States, after a treaty has been signed, the President at a time of his choice submits to
the Senate the treaty and any documents that are to be considered an integral part of the treaty and
requests the Senate’s advice and consent to ratification. The President’s message is accompanied
by a letter from the Secretary of State to the President which contains an analysis of the treaty.
After submittal, the Senate may approve the agreement, approve it with various conditions, or not
Senate consideration of a treaty is governed by Senate Rule XXX, which was amended in 1986 to 50
simplify the procedure. The treaty is read a first time and the injunction of secrecy is removed
by unanimous consent, although normally the text of a treaty has already been made public. The
treaty is then referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Senate Rule XXV on
jurisdiction. After consideration, the Committee reports the treaty to the Senate with a proposed
resolution of ratification that may contain any of the conditions described below. If the
Committee objects to a treaty, or believes the treaty would not receive the necessary majority in
the Senate, it usually simply does not report the treaty to the Senate and the treaty remains 51
pending indefinitely on the Committee calendar.
After it is reported from the Committee, a treaty is required to lie over for one calendar day
before Senate consideration. The Senate considers the treaty after adoption of a non-debatable 52
motion to go into executive session for that purpose. Rule XXX provides that the treaty then be
read a second time, after which amendments to the treaty may be proposed. The Majority Leader
typically asks unanimous consent that the treaty be considered to have passed through all the
parliamentary stages up to and including the presentation of the resolution of ratification. After
the resolution of ratification is presented, amendments to the treaty itself, which are rare, may not
be proposed. The resolution of ratification is then “open to amendment in the form of
reservations, declarations, statements, or understandings.” Decisions on amendments and
conditions are made by a majority vote. Final approval of the resolution of ratification with any
conditions that have been approved, requires a two-thirds majority of those Senators present.
After approving the treaty, the Senate returns it to the President with the resolution of ratification.
If he accepts the conditions of the Senate, the President then ratifies the treaty by signing a
document referred to as an instrument of ratification. Included in the instrument of ratification are
any of the Senate conditions that State Department officials consider require tacit or explicit
approval by the other party. The ratification is then complete at the national level and ready for
exchange or deposit. The treaty enters into force in the case of a bilateral treaty upon exchange of
instruments of ratification and in the case of a multilateral treaty with the deposit of the number
of ratifications specified in the treaty. The President then signs a document called a proclamation
which publicizes the treaty domestically as in force and the law of the land.
If the President objects to any of the Senate conditions, or if the other party to a treaty objects to
any of the conditions and further negotiations occur, the President may resubmit the treaty to the
Senate for further consideration or simply not ratify it.
The 1986 amendment eliminated a stage in which the Senate met “as in Committee of the Whole” and acted on any
proposed amendment to the treaty.
51 For further information, see Rejection of Treaties: A Brief Survey of Past Instances. CRS Report No. 87-305 F, by
Ellen C. Collier, March 30, 1987. (Archived. For copies, call Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
52 Earlier, treaties could only be taken out of the order in which they were reported from the Committee and appeared
on the Senate Executive Calendar by debatable motion. In 1977 the Threshold Test Ban and Peaceful Nuclear
Explosions Treaties were ordered reported by the Committee and then delayed partly so that they would not be placed
on the Senate calendar ahead of the Panama Canal Treaties. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Treaties and
Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate. November 1993. P. 101.
The Senate may stipulate various conditions on its approval of a treaty. Major types of Senate
conditions include amendments, reservations, understandings, and declarations or other
statements or provisos. Sometimes the executive branch recommends the conditions, such as the
December 16, 1974, reservation to the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of poison gas
and the understandings on the protocols to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in
An amendment to a treaty proposes a change to the language of the treaty itself, and Senate
adoption of amendments to the text of a treaty is infrequent. A formal amendment to a treaty after
it has entered into force is made through an additional treaty often called a protocol. An example
is the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Protocol, signed July 3, 1974, which limited the United States
and the Soviet Union to one ABM site each instead of two as in the original 1972 ABM Treaty.
While the Senate did not formally attach amendments to the 1974 Threshold Test Ban and 1976
Peaceful Nuclear Explosion treaties, it was not until Protocols relating to verification were
concluded in 1990 that the Senate approved these two Treaties.
A reservation is a limitation or qualification that changes the obligations of one or more of the
parties. A reservation must be communicated to the other parties and, in a bilateral treaty,
explicitly agreed to by the other party. President Nixon requested a reservation to the Geneva
Protocol on the use of poison gases stating that the protocol would cease to be binding on the
United States in regard to an enemy state if that state or any of its allies failed to respect the
prohibition. One of the conditions attached to the INF treaty might be considered a reservation
although it was not called that. On the floor the sponsors referred to it as a Category III condition.
The condition was that the President obtain Soviet consent that a U.S.-Soviet agreement
concluded on May 12, 1988, be of the same effect as the provisions of the treaty.
An understanding is an interpretation or elaboration ordinarily considered consistent with the
treaty. In 1980, the Senate added five understandings to the agreement with the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Application of Safeguards in the United States. The
understandings concerned implementation of the agreement within the United States. A condition
added to the INF treaty resolution, requiring a presidential certification of a common
understanding on ground-launched ballistic missiles, might be considered an understanding. The
sponsor of the condition, Senator Robert Dole, said, “this condition requires absolutely nothing 53
more from the Soviets, but it does require something from our President.”
A declaration states policy or positions related to the treaty but not necessarily affecting its
provisions. Frequently, like some of the understandings mentioned above, declarations and other
statements concern internal procedures of the United States rather than international obligations
and are intended to assure that Congress or the Senate participate in subsequent policy. The
resolution of ratification of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty adopted in 1990 made approval subject
to declarations (1) that to preserve a viable deterrent a series of specified safeguards should be an
ingredient in decisions on national security programs and the allocation of resources, and (2) the
United States shared a special responsibility with the Soviet Union to continue talks seeking a
verifiable comprehensive test ban. In a somewhat different step, in 1963 the Senate attached a
preamble to the resolution of ratification of the limited nuclear test ban treaty. The preamble
Congressional Record, May 27, 1988, p. S 6883.
contained three “Whereas” clauses of which the core one stated that amendments to treaties are
subject to the constitutional process.
The important distinction among the various conditions concerns their content or effect. Whatever
designation the Senate applies to a condition, if the President determines that it may alter an
international obligation under the treaty, he transmits it to the other party or parties and further
negotiations or abandonment of the treaty may result.
During its consideration of the SALT II Treaty, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grouped
conditions into three categories to clarify their intended legal effect; (I) those that need not be
formally communicated to or agreed to by the Soviet Union, (II) those that would be formally
communicated to the Soviet Union, but not necessarily agreed to by them, and (III) those that
would require the explicit agreement of the Soviet Union. In the resolution of ratification of the
START Treaty, the Senate made explicit that some of the conditions were to be communicated to
the other parties.
The Senate approves most treaties without formally attaching conditions. Ten arms control
treaties were adopted without conditions: the Antarctic, Outer Space, Nuclear Non-Proliferation,
Seabed, ABM, Environmental Modification, and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaties, the
Biological Weapons and the Nuclear Materials Conventions, and the ABM Protocol. In some of
these cases, however, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee included significant
understandings in its report.
Even when it does not place formal conditions in the resolution of ratification, the Senate may
make its views known or establish requirements on the executive branch in the report of the 54
Foreign Relations Committee or through other vehicles. Such statements become part of the
legislative history but are not formally transmitted to other parties. In considering the Limited
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963, the Senate turned down a reservation that “the treaty does not
inhibit the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict,” but Senate leaders insisted upon a written
assurance on this issue, among others, from President Kennedy. In reporting the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty, the Committee stated that its support of the Treaty was not to be construed as
approving security assurances given to the non-nuclear-weapon parties by a UN Security Council
resolution and declarations by the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom. The
security assurances resolution and declarations were, the committee reported, “solely executive 55
For a discussion of methods by which Congress influences arms control negotiations, see House Committee on
Foreign Affairs. Fundamentals of Nuclear Arms Control. Part IX
—The Congressional Role in Nuclear Arms Control. Prepared for the Subcommittee on
Arms Control, International Security, and Science by the Congressional Research
Service. June 1986. stst
55Senate. Executive Report 91-1, March 6, 1969. 91 Congress, 1 session.
For Further Reading
The Congressional Role in Arms Control. Part IX in Fundamentals of Nuclear Arms Control, Subcommittee on Arms
Control, International Security and Science of Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee Print, December 1986.
CRS Report No. 90-548 F, Executive Agreements Submitted to Congress: Legislative Procedures Used Since 1970.
(Archived. For copies call Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
CRS Report No. 93-276 F, Senate Approval of Treaties: A Brief Description with Examples from Arms Control.
(Archived. For copies call Amy Woolf, 202-707-2379.)
Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Print, November 1993.
Soviet Republics) Jurisdiction Mandate and issues currently under discussion
Standing Consultative ABM Treaty Established to resolve compliance questions and to
Commission (SCC) consider amendments to Treaty; currently debating
ABM/TMD demarcation issues
Special Verification INF Treaty Established to resolve compliance questions; continues
Commission (SVC) to discuss issues raised during monitoring and
Joint Compliance and START I Established to resolve compliance questions and to
Inspection Commission (JCIC) promote implementation; meetings began before
Treaty was ratified
Bilateral Inspection START II U.S.-Russian commission will promote implementation
Commission (BIC) and resolve compliance questions under START II
Delegation on Safety, Security Nunn-Lugar Cooperative U.S. delegations meet with counterparts in former
and Disarmament of Nuclear Threat Reduction Soviet republics to identify areas where U.S. assistance
Weapons (SSD) Programs is needed and to implement programs
Conference on Disarmament Multilateral negotiations Negotiating Fissile Material Production Ban and ban on
(CD) under the U.N. the export of anti-personnel landmines
Joint Consultative Group CFE Treaty Established to resolve compliance questions and to
(JCG) ease implementation; recent discussions have
addressed Russian request for changes in some Treaty
Open Skies Consultative Open Skies Treaty Established to facilitate implementation of the Treaty; it
Committee (OSCC) has already addressed a number of technical,
procedural and cost issues related to Open Skies flights
Organization for the Chemical Weapons Established to oversee CWC implementation and
Prohibition of Chemical Convention monitor chemical industry worldwide; preparatory
Weapons (OPCW) commission is currently working out the procedural
details for OPCW
Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Comprehensive Nuclear Oversees three groups—a Conference of States
Ban Treaty Organization Test Ban Treaty Parties, an Executive Council, and a Technical
Secretariat—responsible for implementing the CTBT
Amy F. Woolf Paul K. Kerr
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy Analyst in Nonproliferation
firstname.lastname@example.org, 7-2379 email@example.com, 7-8693
Mary Beth Nikitin
Analyst in Nonproliferation