What was new on START Web site?

July, 1999

July 27, 1999
Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin is currently visiting the United States. He is expected to discuss the problems of ABM Treaty modification and START II ratification with Vice President Gore and President Clinton:

American arms control experts discuss what could be achieved in the U.S.-Russian relations due to the Stepashin's visit:

The law "On Financing The State Defense Order For The Strategic Nuclear Forces Of The Russian Federation" (in Russian) entered into force. See also a comment by Pyotr Romashkin (the Staff of the "Yabloko" faction in the State Duma) of June 24, 1999 (in Russian).

President Clinton has signed into law a bill that says U.S. policy is to deploy a nationwide defense against long-range missiles as soon as the technology is available (Clinton Signs Bill For Missile Defense, by Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, July 26, 1999).

US military officials are considering accelerating the deployment of the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) upper-tier system. THAAD is currently intended to be fielded by 2007. (THAAD May Be Fielded Early, by Greg Seigle, Jane's Defense Weekly, July 21, 1999).

Novyye Izvestiya carried out an investigation of the incident in Khabarovsk Region. As news agencies reported earlier, power was cut to radio-technical units of the 11-th Air Force and Air Defense Army. The power was also cut to some units of the Strategic Missile Forces (The Sky Above The Far East Remained Unprotected (in Russian), by Yelena Loriya, Novyye Izvestiya, July 21, 1999).

The leading designer of the Lavochkin's Scientific Production Center Anatoli Zaitsev tells about a project "Citadel" to protect the globe from asteroids and comets (Will The Citadel Save Us From The Collapse Of The World?, (in Russian), by Anatoli Zaitsev, Novyye Izvestiya, July 26, 1999)

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Admiral Richard W. Mies, Commander in Chief and Mr. Peter Verga, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Policy Support) on MoD readiness to face Y2K problem, and cooperation with the Russian MoD on Y2K problem: DoD Press Briefing (July 22, 1999). See also the latest version of the report of the Naval War College with forecast of Y2K problem impact on the world.

April-May's issue of Arms Control Today is available on-line. Among other articles it includes:

"...Existing superiority of conventional forces of the United States in the world and of NATO in Europe potentially creates obstacles for the Russian Federation to deep nuclear reductions..."(High Precision Weapons Took A Place Of The War's God, by Yevgeni Fedosov and Igor Spasski, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 28, July 23-29, 1999, p. 6)

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): discussion on deterrence capability of precision guided weapons continues.

July 21, 1999
In our "Exclusive" section - a comment by Pyotr Romashkin, (the Staff of the "Yabloko" faction in the State Duma) Nuclear Arms Reductions: The Lessons Of War In Yugoslavia (in Russian): "...it is expedient to achieve an agreement between the U.S. and Russia not to use strategic bombers, which are capable to deliver nuclear weapons, in conventional conflicts. An alternative solution could be giving up the strategic air leg and dismantling all nuclear air launched cruise missiles and bombs..."

"...Te Russian military leadership must take into account a potential threat to its "nuclear shield" from conventional precision guided munitions as strategic nuclear forces deteriorate, and - what is the most alarming - conventional forces degrade (Myths And Facts About "Smart" Bombs And Missiles, in Russian, a comment by Eugene Miasnikov to the recent article by Sergei Putilov The Weapons Of XXI-st Century Are Tested Today. "Smart" Bombs And Missiles, in Russian, in Interfax-Vremya July 9, 1999, p. 5)

Power was cut intermittently for the past three days to military bases in Khabarovsk region, including units of the Strategic Missile Forces, which control nuclear weapons in the area:

The United States has again asked Russia to join in minimizing the risk of a missile-launch misunderstanding at the height of Year 2000 computer uncertainties, the Defense Department said Tuesday (U.S. Prods Russia On Y2K Missile Concerns, by Reuters, July 21, 1999). The Oslo-based Bellona environmental group said the Northern fleet's warning systems are especially vulnerable to the Y2K problem, which could lead computers to make false reports of missile attacks (Russia Nuke Fleet Needs Y2K Funds, by Associated Press, Tuesday, July 20, 1999; 10:09 a.m. EDT).

Colonel-General Anatoli Sitnov, the Head Of Armaments Directorate, the General Staff, said to Interfax, that 10 Topol-M ICBMs will be ordered to deploy a new unit in the Strategic Missile Forces. Besides that, Russian Air Force will get a new Tu-160 (Blackjack) bomber (Russian Forces Of Deterrence Will Get New Arms - in Russian, Interfax, July 19, 1999)

"...Urgent measures in military reforms must be related with a decisive rejection to ratify START II Treaty. It is this treaty to deprive our and future generations of MIRVed missiles, the only means capable to provide deterrence. It is START II to plunge us into the deep of senseless expenses to deploy single-warhead "Topols". The argument that, the U.S. will use our rejection to deploy ballistic missile defenses is irrelevant: corresponding decisions are already made. The Federal Assembly should pronounce a unilateral initiative in order to dissolve doubts of the world community. The Russian legislative body should demonstrate the readiness of Russia to reduce deployed nuclear arsenals to the lower levels, than anticipated in START II and planned in START III. It should reaffirm its right to choose the delivery systems, which we need, not the U.S...." (The Goal And Tasks Of The Military Reform, -in Russian, by Pyotr Belov, Obozrevatel, July, 1999). The author of the article also continues to defend his point of view, that new "Topol-M" missiles are vulnerable.

"...Mr. Clinton and Mr. Yeltsin are nearing the end of their terms. Both could enhance their records by completing a major nuclear arms reduction treaty. Mr. Yeltsin, who earlier did so much to turn Russia away from the cold-war nuclear arms race, should not leave office with Moscow's finances drained by a bloated nuclear arsenal and Russia's generals tempted to use the weapons..." (Russia's Nuclear Defense, The New York Times, July 19, 1999).

"...Over the past 15 months, efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction have suffered a series of deep setbacks, including the detonation of atomic bombs by India and Pakistan; long-range missile advances by North Korea, Pakistan and Iran; the end of the United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq; and the perverse political lesson some nations have drawn from the war in Kosovo, that nuclear weapons are the only protection against NATO intervention...." (Losing the Battle on Arms Control. Pakistan-India Nuclear Race Is Just Part of a Disturbing Trend, (By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post, Saturday, July 17, 1999; Page A01). See also the Cato Institute report: Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Does the Clinton Administration Understand the Threat?, (Foreign Policy Briefing, No. 51 Feb. 11, 1999 - in PDF format).

Conflict in Kosovo, ABM Treaty and other things in an interview of Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to Izvestiya (Strobe Talbott: We Can Compose Our Differences, by Vladimir Abarinov, Izvestiya, July 17, 1999, p. 1)

"...The fearsome prospect of nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union evaporated with the end of the cold war...(however) equally grave risks have emerged, including: the degradation of Russia's nuclear command and control and early warning network, eroding control over Russia's nuclear weapons and materials, and threats of nuclear proliferation in South Asia and North Korea..." (Nuclear Turning Point: A Blueprint for Deep Cuts and De-Alerting of Nuclear Weapons, (by Harold A. Feiveson, Editor, The Brookings Institution, July 10, 1999).

July 16, 1999
A new page at the START web site: ABM Treaty Modification: Should Russia Agree?

New initiatives to reduce nuclear arsenals are proposed by a group of U.S. and Russian experts. The experts suggest, that the U.S. should agree to an immediate lower START III level to 1000 nuclear warheads, which would lead to less pressure on Russia for force modernization, in exchange for Russian agreement to amendments to the ABM Treaty. The Duma should approve of the START II/III package, and then, President Clinton should submit for ratification the START II/III package, including the earlier agreements on ABM demarcation to the U.S. Senate, immediately after Duma approval (Cologne: Nuclear Cuts, Limited Missile Defenses, Thomas Graham, Jr., John B. Rhinelander and Alexander S. Yereskovski, Aviation Week & Space Technology, July 12, 1999).

The political aim of the recent exercise "Zapad-99" appeared to be to demonstrate to the world as well as to the Russian public that the military is still a credible fighting force (Maneuvers Show Russian Reliance on Nuclear Arms; Atomic Attack Simulated, by Michael R. Gordon, The New York Times, July 10, 1999). Novye Izvestiya draw a similar conclusion: "...Scandinavians, who responded to military maneuvers without American hysteria, were nevertheless shocked by Russian military muscles appeared from nowhere and the decision to shake them above Island, where people has already forgotten about existance of the Russian aviation...", (by Alexei Smirnov, Novye Izvestiya, July 7, 1999, p. 2).

According to a DIA analysis of an Irkutsk-based SS-25 regiment in October 1998, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces have learned how to avoid detection by U.S. spy satellites. The DIA assessment was based on secret spy satellite photographs and a Strategic Rocket Forces document on U.S. satellite reconnaissance capabilities. The DIA said the SRF "has designated road march staging points allowing convoys to avoid standard U.S. overhead reconnaissance imaging systems" (Nuclear Hide-And Seek, by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times, July 9, 1999, Pg. 8).

The Gosatomnadzor (the State Nuclear Inspection) of Russia alerts about very serious situation on radiochemical production facility in Tomsk-7: The Second Chernobyl May Be Repeated in Siberia, -in Russian (by Andrei Vaganov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 8, 1999, p. 1).

The lessons of the use of strategic aviation in the Balkan conflict are continued to be studied:

"...More than 70 days of continuous bombing of Yugoslavia by high precision cruise missiles and guided bombs demonstrated, that the U.S. learn to fight without a notorious "nuclear bludgeon". Such a capability may give the U.S. a decisive advantage in future conflicts not only with non-nuclear states, but also with the states, whose security currently relies on large nuclear arsenals. Indeed, in order to neutralize an adversary armed with ICBMs, there is no need to launch a massive nuclear strike against him. It is enough to strike his air defense assets, strategic missile launchers, command-and-control facilities, key political assets by precision weapons. At any rate, this is the vision of the American generals according to the document "Joint Perspective-2010", prepared by the Joint Staff of Chiefs: the victory will be gained by those who has more "smart" bombs and missiles..." (The Weapons Of XXI-st Century Are Tested Today. "Smart" Bombs And Missiles, by Sergei Putilov, Interfax-Vremya, July 9, 1999, p. 3)

Technical aspects of the "Allied Force" operation in Yugoslavia is analyzed in the report entitled The Lessons and Non-Lessons of the Air and Missile War in Kosovo, (by Anthony H. Cordesman, The Strategic Assessment Center for Strategic and International Studies).

July 7, 1999
President Boris Yeltsin urged the Russian parliament on Friday to approve the long-delayed START II nuclear arms reduction treaty (Yeltsin Urges START II Ratification, Associated Press, Friday, July 2, 1999; 10:05 a.m. EDT).

Novyye Izvestiya newspaper has recently published two articles worth of looking at:

Aviation Production Association in Kazan has got a defense contract to finish assembling a Tu-160 type strategic bomber. This is the first defense order received by the plant during the last few years (The Ministry Of Defense Will Buy A New Strategic Bomber In Kazan, RIA "Novosti", July 2, 1999).

In accordance with estimates of the PIR-Center experts, "...the decision on possibility of making amendments to the ABM treaty, enabling the USA to deploy its limited NMD system, has already been taken at the highest political level. Further Russian actions will be aimed at bargaining to get appropriate compensation for its consent on changing the treaty. It implies delicate diplomatic game with interchange of hard and soft statements on the matter..." (Russian Initiatives On Nuclear Arms In Cologne: "To Be Or Not To Be" Of Missile Defense, PIR Center Arms Control Letters, July 7, 1999)

"...Holum's bosses, in other words, had been caught violating the 1972 ABM treaty, and had sent him to explain things to reporters by holding up that red-ringed card... The "we're-violating-international-law-because-we-can" story has increasingly become a constant in coverage of American foreign policy... In retrospect, the coterie of State Department and Pentagon spokeshumans who handled what few international law questions the press tossed at them used a brilliant tactic, which was to not even try to deny that they were breaking the law. Instead, they simply tossed around words like "compelling concern", "moral imperative", or, in this case, "national interest". Meaning, in short: "We're breaking the law because we feel like it..." (It's Okay. I'm A Hack, by Matt Taibbi, The Exile, Issue #13/68, July 1 - 15, 1999).

"...The answer? Withdraw from the ABM treaty. No more negotiations, no more "clarifications," no more compromises with the Russians over an obsolete treaty designed to hinder and dumb down ABM defenses....", (The ABM Trap, by Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, Friday, July 2, 1999; Page A27)

Since 1976 The United States has spent tens of billions of dollars to conduct 17 high altitude intercept tests of various interceptors designed to destroy longer-range missiles launched against the U.S. or its allies. Coalition To Reduce Nuclear Dangers provides with the description of each intercept attempt (Missile Defense Reliability: A Tally of Test Failures, Coalition To Reduce Nuclear Dangers, Issue Brief, vol.3, No 6, July 1, 1999).

In the recent issue of Yaderny Kontrol Digest (N 11, Summer 1999):

July 2, 1999
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, (N 25, July 2-8, 1999, p. 1,2) has published the paper entitled "Searching For An Exit From The Dead-end: Strategic Arms Reductions And The ABM Treaty" by our colleagues Anatoli Diakov and Pavel Podvig (N 25, July 2-8, 1999, p. 1,2). This paper was written before the NATO military action in Yugoslavia and placed at the START Web site on March 19, 1999. We also recommend to pay an attention on the comment of our Center's experts On Irresponsibility (in Russian), in connection with the article "What's Going To Happen To ABM Treaty? Russia Must Not Participate In Breaking The Cornerstone Of Stability" by Vladimir Belous and Viktor Dontsov, (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 24, 1999, p. 8).

Russian press continues to analyze the scenario, if the U.S. withdraw from the ABM Treaty:

First time after the end of the Cold War Russian strategic bombers conducted flights to the mid-Atlantic. These flights were a part of "Zapad-99" military exercise. Two Tu-160 (Blackjack) bombers launched KhS-55SM ALCMs from the area to the north of Britain during their 12 hour flight. A couple of Tu-95MS (Bear) bombers circled around Iceland, made two refuelings and also launched Kh-55 ALCMs to the targets on a test field.

The Bears, which are turboprop bombers, flew to within 60 miles of the Icelandic coastline and were within striking distance of the United States because they are equipped with long-range missiles, The Washington Post reported. However, "...it was not a militarily significant event...," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said. "We are aware of the incident, we are looking into it," said a National Security Council spokesman who asked not to be named.

July 1, 1999
The Clinton administration hopes to have an agreement with Russia by next June on modification of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that would permit the United States to go ahead with a limited national missile defense system, John D. Holum, President Clinton's nominee to be undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, said. He also told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that "sometime in the next weeks or perhaps months," the Pentagon will decide what a national missile defense against a limited attack would look like.

Russian, U.S. Security Chiefs Discuss Defense Systems chief Vladimir Putin and U.S. National Security Adviser Samuel Berger discussed possible talks on a future START III agreement and the 1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty last week (Russian, U.S. Security Chiefs Discuss Defense Systems, by Reuters, Russia Today, June 25, 1999).

"...Both the U.S. and Russia...(should)... set a firm deadline for a completing START III no later than the fall of 1999. The agreement should reduce deployed nuclear weapons forces to 2,000 or below, with verified warhead destruction...If this deadline proves to difficult for the negotiators...two Presidents...(should)...announce parallel, reciprocal and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons..." (Clinton-Yeltsin Summit Agreements On Arms Control: A Beginning, But A Conclusion Needed, By John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World, June 23, 1999).

"...In order to achieve a fair balance of forces the notion of "strategic offensive arms" has to be substituted by a new notion "strategic and tactical offensive arms" or "limiting all kinds of arms". As an alternative all nuclear arms have to be limited both strategic and tactical..." (An Asymmetric Answer. Russia Should Revise Its Approach To Limiting Arms, by Ivan Yerokhin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 24, June 25 - July 1, 1999, p. 4).

Russian press criticise Cologne agreements on offensive and defensive strategic arms. "...It was a mistake to give such a serious concession to Americans and take nothing in return...The Americans gave no similar gift both in strategic arms and another important area. Thus, it turns out, we did not even sell the Treaty, but gave it up. Though, to be precise, we gave it in exchange of President Clinton assurances, that the U.S. side will discuss a possibility to forgive a part of Russian debt inherited from the Soviet Union...", (Love a la Russian. The West Does Not Want To Depend On Kremlin's Mood After Having Gone Through A Lot Of Hysterics Of Moscow Politicians, by Dmitri Pinsker and Alexander Golz, Itogi, June 29 1999, pp. 14-18). See also:

U.S. experts oppose BMD deployments as well:

In February we discussed the current status of Russian space based early warning system. Even more deplorable picture is drawn by Novyye Izvestiya daily: The "dead time" in observation is nearly 9 (!) hours a day. This period of time when satellite system is blind shifts depending on season of the year. In particular our military do not see the U.S. ICBM bases during the day, but in winter they'll be able to monitor the bases at nights...The system now has only three active satellites. Nobody knows about how long they'll be able to operate in future... The latest EW satellite was launched in 1997. The guaranteed service life of these satellites is three years only..." (The U.S. Is Almost Out Of Sight. Russian Space Intelligence Agents Become Agriculturists, - in Russian, by Maria Kudryavtseva, Novyye Izvestiya, June 29, 1999, pp. 1-2).

Russian press comments on the Duma's action on the strategic forces financing law:

See also the recent comment (in Russian) by Pyotr Romashkin (the staff of "Yabloko" faction in the State Duma).

"...The law...(START II - E.M.)..., in effect, gives the recalcitrant Russian parliament the power to determine the size - and cost - of the U.S. nuclear arsenal...", (How Russia Gets to Set the U.S. Defense Budget, by Stephen Young, The Global Beat Syndicate, June 10, 1999)

The "...ability to operate autonomously has long been a big selling point used by B-2 supporters...Yet in practice, the B-2 did not operate alone during Operation Allied Force. Flying out of Whiteman AFB in pairs, B-2s required mid-air refuelings for each leg of the 30 hour round trip mission. Over the target area, B-2s were escorted by F-15s which provided air cover, F-16s to provide fire suppression against enemy anti-aircraft systems, as well as support from airborne air traffic controllers and systems which monitored enemy communications, as well as their "Prowler" escort. In all, often more than a dozen aircraft supported B-2 missions..." (Lessons of Kosovo: More B-2 Bombers?, by Chris Hellman, Weekly Defense Monitor, Volume 3, Issue #24, June 24, 1999). See also the recent GAO report "Defense Acquisitions: Achieving B-2A Bomber Operational Requirements", NSIAD-99-97, June 10, 1999, (in PDF format) .

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): discussion on counter-force capability of precision guided munitions continues.

What Was New?

In 1999: January | February | March | April | May | June
In 1998: January | February | March | April | May | June | July-September | October | November | December
In 1997: November | December

Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT, 1999.