January 25, 1999
By the middle of the last week the State Duma planned to consider START II Treaty in March, 1999. However, the U.S. plans to deploy ABM defenses may cause a recall of START II Treaty by President Yeltsin from the Duma. Moreover, Russia may denounce START I Treaty. The details are in the exclusive comment by Pyotr Romashkin (the staff of the "Yabloko" faction in the State Duma) New Problems With START II Ratification (- in Russian).
Recent on-line publications: Missile Defense DOD News Briefing with Lt. Gen. Lester Lyles (the Director, BMDO) (January 20, 1999), Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry H. Shelton, (January 20, 1999), Ken Bacon on U.S. National Missile Defense Policy and the ABM Treaty (January 22, 1999), briefing by Robert Bell, Special Assistant to the President for National Defense and Arms Control, on a National Missile Defense (January 21, 1999).
See also Cohen's National Missile Defense Statement: What Did It Mean? by John Isaacs. Council for a Livable World, January 21, 1999.
January 24, 1999
Secretary of the State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Defense William Cohen unequivocally pledged for support of development and deployment of a national missile defense system prohibited by existing ABM treaty. In particular, Cohen said the administration intends to open negotiations with Moscow on ways of amending the treaty to allow the United States to deploy missile defenses now in development. However, if the Russians refused to amend the treaty, he made clear: "...Then we have the option of our national interest indicating we would simply pull out of the treaty..."
A week ago president Bill Clinton wrote to Russian President Boris Yeltsin outlining his plans to develop and test a national missile defense system,
Russian president's administration indicated, that the U.S. proposals were being studied. However, the reaction of Igor Ivanov, Foreign Minister and Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, head of the Defense Ministry's Main Department for Military Cooperation, was sharp and very negative.
Russian arms control experts have no doubt, that the U.S. administration's move will undoubtedly provoke a negative reaction of the State Duma to the START II Treaty. In particular, Paul Podvig, a researcher of our Center, said in an interview to The Washington Post, that draft legislation in the Duma to accompany the START II ratification already stipulates that the United States must stick by the ABM Treaty. "It will be very difficult to get START II ratified if the United States is serious about changing the ABM Treaty," he said (Russia Says START II Is Imperiled, by David Hoffman, The Washington Post, Friday, January 22, 1999; Page A16).
Reaction of the U.S. arms control experts is also notable. Even some supporters of missile defense find the recent steps of the administration clumsy:
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright is arriving in Moscow for a two-day visit at the start of next week in order to discuss the U.S. proposals in detail (Official to find chilly reception on Russian visit, by Martin Sieff and Jasminka Skrlec, The Washington Times, January 22, 1999). Can the U.S. and Russia make a deal satisfactory to both sides? At least three options are considered in public media:
Perhaps, other options are also on the table. The problem, however, is that none of these options are capable to provide with tools to preserve stability in the world and non-proliferation regime, if the U.S. insist on missile defense development. If the U.S. position remains rigid, it will be impossible to persuade other counties, that nuclear states are going to get rid of their nuclear arsenals. By the way, the official reaction of China was prompt: "...To develop, deploy and transfer anti-missile systems does not promote security and stop missile proliferation,...on the contrary, it will harm security and stimulate missile proliferation,..." Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said
Other notable publications include:
January 20, 1999
Nikolay Sokov's paper Evolution of Russian Strategic Offensive Forces (in Russian) is now on-line. The paper was originally printed in Yaderny Control (v. 37, N 1, January-February, 1998), a magazine of Moscow based PIR Center. We thank the author and the editorial board of the magazine for giving us permission to publish the paper.
The idea of creating unified strategic command splits the military leadership. The witnesses confirm that mutual relations between Igor Sergeyev, the Minister of Defense, and Anatoli Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, continue to be tense (The General Staff Against Marshal Sergeyev - in Russian, by Vadim Solovyov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 15, 1999). By the way, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported, that four generals, including the Army commander of early warning missile attack forces, Sokolov, and his three deputies, submitted letters of resignation to Strategic Missile Troops commander Yakovlev. Their resignation was prompted by the decision to merge the Army forces with the troops headed by Vladimir Yakovlev (Four Generals Put the Nuclear Button under Yeltsin, by Viktor Baranez, Komsomolskaya Pravda, January 12, 1999).
Creation of the Unified Command of Strategic Deterrence Forces does not increase efficiency, but rather complicates force control, Army General Makhmout Gareyev suggests (Integration - Is Not a Self-Goal. Control Of The Strategic Forces Must Become Efficient and Thrifty. By Ìakhmout Gareyev, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 1, January 15 - 21, 1999, p.4)
Carnegie Endowment For International Peace organized the VII-th International Non-Proliferation Conference, on January 11-12, 1999 in Washington, D.C. The meeting was attended by members of the U.S. government, well-known politicians and representatives of non-governmental research organizations. Most of presentations are available on-line, including remarks by Samuel R. Berger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Alexei Arbatov, Deputy Chair of the Defense Committee, the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
President Clinton, in the annual State of the Union speech to Congress, proposed the United States increase the amount of money spent to safeguard nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union by about two-thirds. U.S. officials said that meant $4.2 billion over the next five years, an increase from over $2.5 billion now budgeted. The details of the president's speech became known to press well beforehand (Clinton to Propose Spending More to Curb Russian Nuclear Threat, by David E. Rosenbaum, The New York Times, January 19, 1999). In particular, there were reports that the president was considering a major political statement in his State of the Union message, declaring his administration would begin funding the first components for a nationwide anti-missile system. However, he has backed away from announcement on funding the first parts of a deployed national missile defense after recent U.S. attacks on Iraq prompted Russia to halt its ratification of the START II arms treaty.
January 14, 1999
The full text of the report The Economy of Weapon Grade Plutonium Disposal in Nuclear Reactors (in Russian) by Anatoli Diakov and Eugene Sharov is now available on-line.
Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev said that the combined main command of strategic containment forces will be created in 1999. "If we do not create a more perfect combat control system, our missiles, no matter how many of them we have, will be decorative," Sergeyev told on Wednesday, January 13. (Russia to Create Joint Nuke Force, by Associated Press, Wednesday, January 13, 1999; 8:40 p.m. EST). See also a list of articles, discussing the problems of strategic forces unification.
With the prolonged delay in Russian ratification of the START II treaty, the US government is seriously considering unilateral reductions in its nuclear arsenals to cut rising costs. While a growing number of DoD leaders agree the USA should begin making the START II reductions, with or without Russian approval of START II, it is prohibited by law from doing so until the Russian Duma approves the treaty, ratified by the US Senate in 1996. However, key lawmakers appear willing to reconsider that prohibition. Sen John Warner, the new chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he is willing to review any DoD proposals. (USA sets sights on unilateral nuclear cuts, by Bryan Bender, Jane's Defence Weekly, January 13, 1998).
By the way, Adm. Stansfield Turner, Former Director of Central Intelligence, and the Author of the forthcoming "Caging the Genies, a Workable Plan for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Weapons" thinks that focus on START II is simply ridiculous, because there are loopholes in the treaty allowing the U.S. to retain an incredible total of 10,000 warheads. This is not only untenable morally but makes it close to impossible to persuade even friendly countries to desist from selling nuclear components or know-how to would-be nuclear proliferators. Political leadership should abandon the doctrine that assumes the U.S. be the first to employ nuclear weapons under some circumstances. At the same time, Admiral Turner proposes to "...lessen the risks of small, accidental attacks from Russia by looking more objectively on antiballistic missile defenses". "...The traditional argument that the Russians would be forced to retain larger offensive forces should we build defenses evaporated when the Russians acknowledged their inability to do that even if they wanted. We need to consider the costs and capabilities of defenses, not abstract arguments against them...", Admiral said (Post-Cold War World Demands New Ways to Deal with Warheads, by Stansfield Turner, Los Angeles Times, Monday, January 11, 1999). Thus, the paper confirms the statement, that the United States is interested not just in lowering the strategic weapons levels but in the rapid and irreversible reductions of the Russian strategic armaments that would allow the U.S. to make steady progress toward the deployment of a strategic ABM system.
We have already mentioned about the statement of Adm. J. Jonson, Chief of Naval Operations, on plans to convert Trident SSBNs. On Dec. 1, 1998, Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the commander-in-chief of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM), visited the USS Rhode Island (SSBN-740) with Vice Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, commander of the Atlantic Submarine Force, to gain an appreciation for what SSGN's could provide for SEAL missions. "...Right now Special Operations Forces [SOF] can get to about 80 percent of the world's surface..." Schoomaker said in a statement. "Within the next decade, we will be able to go to 100 percent of the places on earth...A Trident sub could carry two of our planned ASDS mini-submarines on its back and 60 to 100 Special Forces or SEALs inside, along with sophisticated equipment. The Trident's 24 ballistic missile tubes could house in excess of 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles. SOF could even do mine clearance from the submarine up to the 40-foot mark, and then very shallow water mine clearance beyond that," he added (SOCOM Looks Forward To Trident Conversion, by Frank Wolfe, Jane's Defence Weekly, January 13, 1998).
Two papers, discussing the role for Russian nuclear weapons are worth of particular attention:
January 8, 1999
The most popular START Web site publications of 1998 include
Russia's Communist First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov reiterated his support for prompt ratification of the START-2 strategic arms reduction pact with the United States in the end of December (Russian Deputy PM Urges START-2 Ratification, by Reuters, Russia Today, December 30, 1998). Vladimir Ryzhkov, the deputy speaker of the State Duma, told Interfax on 4 January that consideration of the START II treaty is now on the agenda of the Russian parliament for the first six months of 1999.
The U.S. "...should insist that Russia spend a substantial fraction of the income that it will soon get from U.S. uranium purchases to pay nuclear guards and workers, and finance other steps to improve security...", (The Russia Syndrome An unstable economy casts a mushroom cloud over nuclear security. What should the United States do?, by Kenneth N. Luongo and Matthew Bunn, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 3, 1999). The text of the paper can be also found at the RANSAC web site.
Recently Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported about current status of nuclear storage facility construction at Mayak enterprise (A "Barrel" With Plutonium in the Heart of Russia, by Svetlana Dobrynina, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 25, 1998).
Public media continues commenting the event of the end of 1998 in Tamansk regiment of the Strategic Rocket Forces:
Clinton proposed to add more than $110 billion to Pentagon spending plans over the next six years. Missile defense programs will get another $7 billion (Clinton to Pledge $7 Billion for Missile Defense System, by Steven Lee, The New York Times, January 7, 1999). Clinton administration's plan is criticised from both sides:
Adm. J.L. Johnson, the chief of naval operations, has told Congress for the first time that he would like to reduce the number of operational Trident ballistic missile submarines from 18 to 14, opening the way for Congress to repeal its ban against cutting U.S. strategic nuclear force levels until the Russian parliament ratifies the START II treaty.
Questions Raised on Trident Subs, (by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, Sunday, January 3, 1999; Page A22)
National Public Radio journalist Mike Schuster reviews "a terrible year for arms control" in his report (January 5, 1999). You will need a Real Audio player that can be found here.
Intellectual Capital has published a list of last year's articles on problems of nuclear disarmament (Nuclear Weapons and Military Reform: Are You Welcome To All We Have?, in Russian, Intellectual Capital, Issue 3, N 1, January 6 - 13, 1999).
Y2K Problem: What to expect? How its impact would look like? Is it serious? These and other questions were discussed on the seminar organized by the Naval War College in December 1998. Now, proceedings of the seminar can be found on the Web.