Arms Control and Nonproliferation
Arms control and nonproliferation initiatives are an essential element of our national security strategy and a critical complement to our efforts to defend our nation through our own military strength. We pursue verifiable arms control and nonproliferation agreements that support our efforts to prevent the spread and use of WMD, prevent the spread of materials and expertise for producing WMD and the means of delivering them, halt the use of conventional weapons that cause unnecessary suffering, and contribute to regional stability at lower levels of armaments. In addition, by increasing transparency in the size, structure and operations of military forces and building confidence in the intentions of other countries, arms control agreements and confidence-building measures constrain inventories of dangerous weapons, reduce incentives and opportunities to initiate an attack, reduce the mutual suspicions that arise from and spur on armaments competition, and help provide the assurance of security necessary to strengthen cooperative relationships and direct resources to safer, more productive endeavors.
Verifiable reductions in strategic offensive arms and the steady shift toward less destabilizing systems remain essential to our strategy. Entry into force of the START I Treaty in December 1994 charted the course for reductions in the deployed strategic nuclear forces of the United States and Russia. The other countries of the former Soviet Union that had nuclear weapons on their soil – Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine – have become non-nuclear weapons states. Once the START II Treaty enters into force, the United States and Russia will each be limited to between 3,000-3,500 accountable strategic nuclear warheads. START II also will eliminate destabilizing land-based multiple warhead and heavy missiles. On September 26, 1997, the United States and Russia signed a START II Protocol extending the end date for reductions to 2007, and exchanged letters on early deactivation by 2003 of those strategic nuclear delivery systems to be eliminated by 2007.
At the Helsinki Summit in March 1997, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to START III guidelines that, if adopted, will cap the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed in each country at 2,0002,500 by the end of 2007 – reducing both our arsenals by 80 percent from Cold War heights. They also agreed that, in order to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions, a START III agreement will include measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads. The statement also committed the two nations to explore possible measures relating to non-strategic nuclear weapons, to include appropriate confidence building and transparency measures.
The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty remains a cornerstone of strategic stability, and the United States is committed to continued efforts to enhance the Treaty’s viability and effectiveness. At the Helsinki Summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin reaffirmed their commitment to the ABM Treaty and recognized the need for effective theater missile defenses in an agreement in principle on demarcation between systems to counter strategic ballistic missiles and those to counter theater ballistic missiles.
On September 26, 1997, representatives of the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine signed or initialed five agreements relating to the ABM Treaty. At the Cologne G-8 Summit in June 1999, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin reiterated their determination to achieve earliest possible ratification and entry into force of those agreements. The agreements on demarcation and succession will be provided to the Senate for its advice and consent following Russian ratification of START II.
The two presidents also reaffirmed at Cologne their existing obligations under Article XIII of the ABM Treaty to consider possible changes in the strategic situation that have a bearing on the ABM Treaty and, as appropriate, possible proposals for further increasing the viability of the Treaty. They also agreed to begin discussions on the ABM Treaty, which are now underway in parallel with discussions on START III. The United States is proposing that the ABM Treaty be modified to accommodate possible deployment of a limited National Missile Defense (NMD) system which would counter new rogue state threats while preserving strategic stability.
At the Moscow Summit in September 1998, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed on a new initiative for the exchange of early warning information on missile launches. The agreement will significantly reduce the danger that ballistic missiles could be launched inadvertently on false warning of attack. It will also promote increased mutual confidence in the capabilities of the ballistic missile early warning systems of both sides. The United States and Russia will develop arrangements for providing each other with continuous information from their respective early warning systems on launches of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles. As part of this initiative, the United States and Russia are establishing a Joint Warning Center in Russia to continuously monitor early warning data. The United States and Russia are also working towards establishing a ballistic missile and space launch vehicle pre-launch notification regime in which other states would be invited to participate.
To be secure, we must not only have a strong military; we must also take the lead in building a safer, more responsible world. We have a fundamental responsibility to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of nuclear war. To this end, the United States remains committed to bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force.
More than 150 countries have signed the Treaty so far, agreeing to refrain from all nuclear explosive testing. The CTBT will constrain nuclear weapons development and will also help prevent nuclear weapons technologies from spreading to other countries. The United States ended nuclear testing seven years ago; the CTBT requires other countries to refrain from testing, too. We have developed means of making sure our nuclear weapons work through non-nuclear tests and computer simulations, rather than by tests with nuclear explosions, and we spend $4.5 billion a year to ensure that our nuclear weapons remain safe and reliable.
The CTBT will put in place a worldwide network for detecting nuclear explosions. With over 300 stations around the globe – including 31 in Russia, 11 in China, and 17 in the Middle East – this international monitoring system will improve our ability to monitor suspicious activity and catch cheaters. The United States already has dozens of monitoring stations of its own; the CTBT will allow us to take advantage of other countries’ stations and create new ones, too. The Treaty also will give us the right to request on-site inspections of suspected nuclear testing sites in other countries.
The United States will maintain its moratorium on nuclear testing, and is encouraging all other states to do the same. We are encouraging all states that have not done so to sign and ratify the CTBT. We remain committed to obtaining Senate advice and consent toward ratification of the CTBT. U.S. ratification will encourage other states to ratify, enable the United States to lead the international effort to gain CTBT entry into force, and strengthen international norms against nuclear testing.
Arms Control and Nonproliferation