Over the past three years, the United States has worked to ensure that the landmark 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty remains a cornerstone of European peace, security and stability into the 21st century. On November 19, 1999, we joined the other 29 CFE States Parties in signing an Adaptation Agreement that eliminates obsolete bloc-to-bloc limits and replaces them with a system of national and territorial ceilings. It will also enhance transparency through more information and inspections, strengthen requirements for host nation consent to the presence of foreign forces, and open the treaty to accession by other European nations. The accompanying CFE Final Act reflects a number of important political commitments, including agreements on the complete withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Moldova and partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia.
The United States is a world leader in the effort to curb the harmful proliferation and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) such as automatic rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, light mortars and man-portable anti-aircraft missiles. Inexpensive, widely available, and easy to use, these weapons exacerbate regional conflicts, expand casualties, increase crime, and hinder economic development. They can jeopardize the safety of peacekeepers, potentially putting U.S. Forces at risk.
To reduce this threat, the United States is urging countries to adopt effective export controls, brokering regulations, permanent marking, anti-smuggling measures, and embargo enforcement. Global efforts focus on securing a Firearms Protocol to the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention and seeking international agreement through the UN 2001 Conference on Illicit Trafficking in SA/LW. The United States also works with regional partners in the OSCE, NATO/EAPC, OAS, OAU, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and elsewhere. The United States provides some technical assistance to countries trying to prevent SA/LW trafficking and actively supports efforts to destroy excess stocks of SA/LW worldwide, often partnering with like-minded countries such as Norway.
The United States is also committed to ending the threat to innocent civilians from anti-personnel landmines (APLs). We have already taken major steps toward this goal while ensuring our ability to meet international obligations and provide for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform. President Clinton has directed the Defense Department to end the use of all APLs, including self-destructing APLs, outside Korea by 2003 and to pursue aggressively the objective of having APL alternatives ready for Korea by 2006. We are also aggressively pursuing alternatives to our mixed anti-tank systems that contain anti-personnel submunitions. We have made clear that the United States will sign the Ottawa Convention by 2006 if by then we have succeeded in identifying and fielding suitable alternatives to our self-destructing APLs and mixed anti-tank systems.
In May 1999, we gained Senate advice and consent to ratification of the Amended Mines Protocol to the Convention on Conventional Weapons. This agreement addresses the worldwide humanitarian problem caused by APLs by banning the use of non-detectable APLs and severely limiting the use of long-duration APLs to clearly marked and monitored fields that effectively keep out civilians. We have established a permanent ban on APL exports and are seeking to universalize an export ban through the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We are supporting humanitarian demining programs worldwide through engagement with mine-afflicted nations and the international community. We have taken a lead role in establishing the International Test and Evaluation Program, through which nations will develop agreed standards and test procedures for various pieces of demining equipment and will then test against those standards. To date, the United States has provided over $400 million through the U.S. Humanitarian Demining Program. The Demining 2010 Initiative, which is independent of the Humanitarian Demining Program, advocates increased efforts in the United States and abroad and develops public-private partnerships to support these programs.
The effectiveness of the panoply of arms control agreements described above, as well as that of our nonproliferation activities, rests on maintaining and enhancing our monitoring capabilities. We must keep ahead of potential attempts by others at denial and deception. To do so, we must maintain current monitoring assets and have a vigorous research and development program that will translate new technologies into enhanced capabilities. These efforts will increase our confidence in the viability of existing agreements and enable us to conclude new ones to further decrease the risks of armed conflicts.
The U.S. military is a very visible and critical pillar of our effort to shape the international security environment in ways that protect and promote U.S. interests. It is not, however, a substitute for other forms of engagement, such as diplomatic, economic, scientific, technological, cultural, and educational activities. We must always be mindful that the primary mission of our Armed Forces is to deter and, if necessary, to fight and win conflicts in which our vital interests are threatened. Through overseas presence and peacetime engagement activities, such as defense cooperation, security assistance, regional centers for security studies, training, and exercises with allies and friends, our Armed Forces help to deter aggression and coercion, build coalitions, promote regional stability, support the development of indigenous counterdrug law enforcement capabilities, and serve as role models for militaries in emerging democracies. With countries that are neither staunch friends nor known foes, military cooperation can serve as a positive means of building bridges between the military leaderships of different nations. These links enhance security relationships between the nations today and will contribute to improved relations tomorrow. At the same time, we also remain firmly committed to human rights and we will ensure our military forces do not knowingly train or assist units that have committed a gross violation of human rights.
Maintaining our overseas presence enhances our understanding of the military developments within various regions of the world. Relevant observations add to our larger geo-political understanding of potential areas for instability or threats to our national interests and help select our optimal avenue of response; diplomatic, economic, or military. It reassures our allies and promotes regional stability. It gives substance to our security commitments, helps prevent the development of power vacuums and instability, and contributes to deterrence by demonstrating our determination to defend U.S., allied, and friendly interests in critical regions. Having credible combat forces forward deployed in peacetime also better positions the United States to respond rapidly to crises, permitting them to be first on the scene. Equally essential is effective global power projection, which is key to the flexibility demanded of our forces and provides options for responding to potential crises and conflicts even when we have no permanent presence or a limited infrastructure in a region.
Just as U.S. engagement overall must be selective — focusing on the threats and opportunities most relevant to our interests and applying our resources where we can make the greatest difference — so too must our use of the Armed Forces for engagement be equally discerning. Engagement activities must be carefully managed to prevent erosion of our military’s current and long-term readiness for larger-scale contingencies. The Defense Department’s theater engagement planning process, which was approved by the President in 1997, helps ensure that military engagement activities are prioritized within theaters, and balanced against available resources. In short, we must prioritize military engagement activities to ensure the readiness of our Armed Forces to carry out crisis response and warfighting missions, as well as to ensure that we can sustain an appropriate level of engagement activities over the long term.