Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for the great honor and opportunity of testifying before you today on the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, or Moscow Treaty. I would like at the very outset to state my support for this Treaty. I believe that the main lesson of the first decade after the Cold War is that we must continue to focus on the control and reduction of nuclear weapons, not relegate the issue to the back burner of policy. The weapons do not magically protect or de-alert themselves, nor do they go away. It is true that this issue is not the highest agenda item in U.S.-Russian relations any more, and I welcome that fact. However, we need continued high-level interactions that result in different policy tools to effect control and reductions, in the first instance legally-binding treaties and agreements. That is why I welcome the Moscow Treaty: it is a statement at the highest level, in treaty form, of the continued commitment of the United States and Russia to control and reduce nuclear weapons, and it lends momentum to that process.
At the same time, I would stress that we already have a number of tools available to us, as a consequence of the positive evolution in U.S.-Russia relations that has occurred in the past decade. The first and most important of these tools is the START I Treaty, which was the culmination of the long Cold War negotiating effort that eventually opened the U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals to extensive joint verification, particularly on-site inspection. The Cooperative Threat Reduction program first launched by Senators Nunn and Lugar in 1992 is a signal example of opportunities that have emerged after the Cold War. Other signal examples may be found in little-known technical agreements such as the Warhead Safety and Security Exchange Agreement (WSSX) and the Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement (HEU deal). Cooperative unilateral arrangements between Washington and Moscow, particularly those strengthened by data exchanges and transparency measures, also play a role. We should bear in mind this multiplicity of tools, and their impact on the control and reduction of nuclear weapons, as we move toward implementation of the Moscow Treaty.
In stating my support for the Treaty, I would like to highlight three points that I think are of special importance:
First, Article I specifically calls on each Party to reduce and limit strategic nuclear warheads to an aggregate number not exceeding 1700-2200 by December 31, 2012. This reduction, even if the U.S. or Russian operational arsenals should remain at the upper end of the range, represents a major improvement over the current number of strategic nuclear warheads allowed to each side, i.e., the 6000 warheads permitted under START I.
Second, Article II emphasizes that the START Treaty remains in force in accordance with its terms, which underscores that START I's significant, effective and long-standing constraints on modernization of strategic offensive forces remain in place.
Third, Article IV, Paragraph 2 states that the Treaty may be extended by agreement of the Parties or superseded earlier by a subsequent agreement. Given the evident preference of the Bush Administration to pursue unilateral measures in implementing policy, this reference in legally-binding form to the future potential of arms reduction treaties is a welcome step.
I would also like to offer comments on several criticisms of the Treaty that have emerged in the media:
- First, the length of the Treaty, at less than two pages, is called into question, in favor of START I, at over 500. I understand, of course, that this criticism is linked to concerns about a lack of specificity in the treaty on certain substantive issues, some of which I share and will detail below. However, I have been struck by the suggestion among certain commentators that START I is the perfect model, and should have been replicated in this case. I would like to comment that my reading of past treaty documents inclines me to the view that START I is the anomaly, not the Moscow Treaty. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT, the basic document underpinning the nonproliferation regime, is four pages in length. The much-maligned Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, with its Agreed Statements, is just over six pages. SALT I, the first strategic arms limitation agreement, was under three pages, including its Protocol. Even the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, which first articulated the procedures for on-site inspections, is under 100 pages, including its accompanying memoranda, protocols and statements. This comment is not to criticize START I, but to underscore its uniqueness. The process of negotiating START I produced such a solid and thorough set of procedures for verifying strategic arms reductions that it can serve as the foundation for monitoring future treaties and agreements as they emerge. New treaties do not need to replicate START I, as long as it remains in force. This principle was first recognized in the START II Treaty, which was only nine pages in length, but which would have drawn on START I for its verification. Of course, START I will only remain in force until 2009, by which time this benefit will be lost if it is not extended by agreement of the parties.
- Many commentators have noted the seemingly ephemeral nature of the reduction commitment, i.e., that once the reductions are achieved on December 31, 2012, the Moscow Treaty will cease to be in force. I would note again that by that time, the Treaty might be extended or superseded by a subsequent agreement. Even if it is not, however, as a practical matter it will be impossible for the parties to instantaneously reverse, as some commentators have suggested, the elimination of strategic nuclear launch vehicles that will have been undertaken to achieve these reductions. Once a launch platform is converted to a conventional mission, for example, its re-conversion to nuclear missions would require time-consuming construction work that would be visible to the outside world. Moreover, it seems unlikely in either the United States or Russia that defense planners would decide it militarily wise to re-convert an aging launch platform that had already undergone considerable structural stress in its conversion to conventional missions. It seems equally unlikely that an older launch system, even if it is stored rather than eliminated, could be quickly and easily returned from the boneyard to operational status. Although certainly possible in technical terms, such steps would require a significant investment in defense budget resources. In the United States, the Congress would have to agree that either a reconversion or a return to operational status would be a proper use of U.S. defense budget resources.
- The Moscow Treaty, critics have charged, lacks measures to bring about the monitored elimination of warheads. This will make it impossible, they state, to determine how many warheads the signatories are maintaining in reserve status, rather than eliminating. This concern is particularly directed at the United States in the context of its most recent Nuclear Posture Review, which emphasizes maintaining warheads in reserve rather than eliminating them. However, I would like to note that warhead elimination has always been considered difficult to monitor on a cooperative basis, for it is one of the most sensitive processes that either country carries out in its defense complex. Both the United States and Russia have been concerned about having foreign monitors in warhead elimination facilities. At the same time, both have recognized that if transparency measures could be devised that did not compromise warhead design information, then it would be desirable to proceed with monitoring warhead storage and elimination in a future arms reduction agreement. The two sides would, in effect, be proceeding to a higher level of confidence in the strategic arms reduction process by promoting the irreversibility of deep reductions. Consensus on this point was registered in the 1997 Helsinki Statement, when Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed that the United States and Russia would work to develop measures to monitor warheads in START III. This work began in the preparatory discussions for START III that the Clinton and Yeltsin administrations conducted through 2000. However, the Russian side at that time was not able to accept the proposal for warhead transparency measures that the U.S. side offered. In the negotiation of the Moscow Treaty, the U.S. side reportedly again offered some warhead transparency measures, which the Russian side again indicated that it was not ready to accept. As a result, warhead transparency measures do not appear in the Moscow Treaty. The goal of preventing a rapid increase in the number of warheads, as laid out in the Helsinki Statement, continues to be a worthy one for the nuclear arms reduction process, but it evidently will take further work before both countries are ready to proceed with it.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, although I am not overly concerned about these criticisms that are commonly directed at the Treaty, I would like to register several serious concerns that I do have:
First and foremost, I am concerned about the nature of the link to START I that is established by the Moscow Treaty. As I noted above, Article II states that the START Treaty remains in force in accordance with its terms. The accompanying Text of the Joint Declaration that Presidents Bush and Putin signed on the same day offers some explanation of this language. According to the Declaration, both sides will proceed on the basis that START I "will provide the foundation for providing confidence, transparency, and predictability in further strategic offensive reductions..." I suppose that the careful crafting of this language, and its placement in the Declaration, which is not legally binding, was necessary because the two parties had also agreed, in Article I of the Treaty, that "Each Party shall determine for itself the composition and structure of its strategic offensive arms?" Therefore, the sub-limits on strategic offensive launch vehicles in START I may not, at some point, be relevant to the reductions and limitations achieved under the Moscow Treaty.
The practical effect of this, I believe, need not be dire. As START will remain in force according to its terms, both countries will continue to keep a set of START I "books", where systems such as the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) will be listed according to START I counting rules. A second set of books will presumably be kept for the Moscow Treaty, which will record the additional reductions and limitations achieved pursuant to that agreement--for example, through downloading of warheads on the Trident II. Supplementary transparency measures should be developed to provide mutual confidence as such differences emerge. (I will discuss this point further below.)
Although I believe that we can thus develop ways to be confident as differences emerge in U.S. and Russian force structures, I am concerned about the tenuous nature of the link in the Moscow Treaty to START verification provisions. I would have preferred a more precise formulation in the Treaty itself--for example, the very language that appears in the Declaration might have been formulated as a Treaty article. Any explanatory language or caveats could then have been provided in an accompanying note or in the Declaration.
Further complicating the picture is the fact that the Moscow Treaty does not take steps to extend the START Treaty, so that the two will remain in legal force for a coterminous period. START I will remain in force through 2009, while the Moscow Treaty will remain in force through 2012. I would like to underscore my belief that bilateral and international confidence in the implementation of the Moscow Treaty would be significantly bolstered by early extension of the time-in-force of START I. I understand that this process will require consultations with all of the START I Treaty parties, including Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, but it is a step worth pursuing as soon as possible.
My second concern relates to the lack of an agreed timetable, practical venue and specific tasking for talks to accomplish additional transparency measures. The Treaty, in Article III, calls upon the Parties to meet at least twice a year on implementation issues; it is silent on the need to develop further transparency measures. Instead, this theme is again taken up in the Presidential Declaration, in two instances: the Declaration takes note that in addition to START, the foundation for providing confidence, transparency, and predictability in further strategic offensive reductions will be provided by supplementary measures, including transparency measures, to be agreed. It also establishes a Consultative Group for Strategic Security at the ministerial level, which is to be "the principal mechanism through which the sides strengthen mutual confidence, expand transparency, share information and plans, and discuss issues of mutual interest." Thus, a general requirement for such measures is established, as is a high-level group to focus on them. This is welcome, since continuing high-level attention will be a necessary condition for progress on these complex issues. Nevertheless, it is impractical to consider Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, with their many responsibilities, as the primary workhorses for achieving progress. A working-level group, peopled with the very experienced and knowledgeable experts available to each side, needs to be established, tasked, and provided with a specific timetable to accomplish additional transparency measures.
In regard to tasking, two specific types of transparency measures would be important to building confidence in implementation of the Moscow Treaty. The first, as mentioned above, is related to conversion or other treatment of launch vehicles in ways that were not foreseen by the START Treaty. The United States, for example, might wish to propose additional transparency measures related to converting strategic strike submarines to conventional launch platforms, or to down-loading the Trident II SLBM from eight to four warheads. If the Russians decide to equip the SS-27 ICBM with up to three warheads in a "light MIRVing" variant, they might wish to propose additional transparency measures to accompany this process. The goal of such measures would be to provide each side additional confidence as differences emerge between the START I force posture, as recorded in continuing START data exchanges, and the Moscow Treaty force structure, which will incorporate deeper reductions.
A second important type of additional transparency measures would relate to warheads. As noted above, the United States and Russia began discussing warhead transparency on a government-to-government basis after the Helsinki Statement was signed in 1997. In addition, experts from the two sides have been cooperating to develop procedures and technologies that would be relevant to this task in a number of technical forums, such as the Warhead Safety and Security Exchange Agreement (WSSX). Considerable joint progress has been made on technologies that would be critical to the success of such measures, such as tags, seals and information barriers.
I believe, Mr. Chairman, based on the progress already achieved in these technical forums, that the United States and Russia could readily establish transparency measures in warhead storage facilities. Such measures would begin the process of building confidence in the nature of the warhead holdings in each arsenal. In the words of the Helsinki statement, they would "promote the irreversibility of deep reductions including prevention of a rapid increase in the number of warheads." They would in particular begin to address the uncertainties that have followed from U.S. statements under the Nuclear Posture Review that it will maintain a very large reserve of warheads available for redeployment, rather than eliminating them. Indeed, the United States and Russia should at some point in the future turn their attention to establishing transparency measures in elimination facilities. However, this will be an enormously sensitive matter and should be undertaken only after careful preparation, including a phase of concentrating on transparency in storage facilities.
These warhead transparency measures will not only be important to build confidence in the implementation of the Moscow Treaty, but also to enable controls to be established on non-strategic nuclear warheads. Non-strategic nuclear warheads include a number of smaller warhead types, such as nuclear mines and battlefield artillery shells. These are more easily transportable, and in some cases, they may be more easily detonated. Arms control in this arena has long been stymied, but it is one of the most important agenda items to pursue if the United States and Russia are ultimately to succeed in keeping nuclear warheads out of the hands of terrorists. I have been developing an approach to non-strategic nuclear warhead arms control, which I will present in more detail below.
The third and final concern that I would like to register is with regard to the demise of the START II Treaty. The United States and Russia are evidently now in mutual agreement that the START II Treaty will not be brought into force. On the U.S. side, the view is expressed that Russia is thus being accorded the same flexibility to structure its strategic forces that the U.S. is according itself under the Nuclear Posture Review. On the Russian side, the view is being expressed that START II could not be brought into force once the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
These themes are both variants of the same argument, which relates to the ban in
START II on MIRVed ICBMs. With an uncertain future, the Americans would say, both the United States and Russia need flexibility to structure and restructure their strategic forces as new threats emerge. With no ABM Treaty, the Russians would say, they are already facing an uncertain future, and so might need to deploy multiple warheads on ICBMs as cheaply and quickly as possible.
Although the two sides seem to understand each other, and the United States in particular seems relaxed about new MIRVing, the difficulty comes in the action-reaction cycle that this process might engender. If Russia decides to deploy three warheads on the SS-27, for example, the U.S. side could choose to interpret this step as an expansion of Russian strategic capability that would require additional warheads to be maintained in operational deployment in the U.S. arsenal. In short, I see in the demise of START II and its ban on MIRVed ICBMs the seeds for a potential backtracking from the reduction requirement of the Moscow Treaty. This is a problem, in my view, to which the Congress will have to remain alert, especially given the emphasis that the Bush Administration places in the Nuclear Posture Review on maintaining the option to restore U.S. operational nuclear capability in the face of a changing threat environment.
Indeed, although I expressed my doubts above about the ease of returning strategic launchers to operational status once they have been removed from deployment, I see fewer bars to increasing warhead loadings on MIRVed systems that remain active. Such "uploading" could be accomplished quickly, within a year or so, and would not necessarily generate many visible signs to the outside world. With limited budget resources to spend on building new strategic launchers, both countries may conclude that increasing the number of warheads on existing sea- and land-based systems is the simplest pathway to pursue should the threat environment worsen. Thus we might be headed back in the direction that we abandoned as destabilizing at the close of the Cold War: many highly accurate warheads on a limited number of launch vehicles. The demise of START II, in my view, lends encouragement to such a trend.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to repeat that I believe the Moscow Treaty is a major step forward that provides significant momentum to the nuclear arms control and reduction process. In that light, I believe this Committee should recommend to the full Senate that it give its advice and consent to ratification of the Treaty. I also believe, however, that it is important for the three concerns that I have raised to be addressed, and I hope that you and fellow committee members will give them your attention in the process of completing a resolution of ratification for the Treaty.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that we should turn our attention to the forward agenda at this point, providing for additional transparency and tackling new tasks in the arms control and reduction process. As I stated at the outset, we must continue to focus on the control and reduction of nuclear weapons, not relegate the issue to the back burner of policy. The weapons do not magically protect or de-alert themselves, nor do they go away. Because of their relevance to terrorist threats against the United States, I believe that the most important new task to undertake is the control and reduction of non-strategic nuclear warheads. I would like to close my testimony by suggesting a new avenue for accomplishing this task.
The United States and Russia have been trying for many years to work on non-strategic nuclear weapons arms control, first through the parallel unilateral initiatives that are known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs), and later through new negotiated measures, as called for in the 1997 Helsinki Statement. However, efforts to establish negotiations were constantly stymied through the end of the 1990s. The United States was concerned that the Russians had done little to implement the unilateral measures that were to have taken place as a consequence of the PNIs. In particular, U.S. experts were concerned that the Russians did not provide data on their non-strategic warhead holdings, and that the Russians did not appear to be eliminating the warheads as promised. The Russians, for their part, remained concerned about U.S. non-strategic warheads remaining in NATO Europe, and held fast to the position that they would do nothing to further negotiations unless this issue were addressed.
The agenda for non-strategic nuclear arms control is further complicated by the fact that the United States and Russia had very different priorities in the elimination of their warheads in the 1990s. Russia placed its first priority on eliminating the nearly 4000 strategic nuclear warheads that were removed from Ukraine and Kazakhstan as a consequence of trilateral arrangements involving those countries and the United States. The Trilateral Statement among Moscow, Kiev and Washington, for example, required the Russians to put strategic warheads returning from Ukraine first in the elimination queues at their warhead elimination facilities. Indeed, the Ukrainians demanded the right to monitor this early elimination, to ensure that the warheads were not simply recycled into the Russian active arsenal. Even today, Russia is emphasizing the elimination of strategic warheads, and according to Russian experts, will soon be down to the level of 1700-2200 deployed warheads required by the Moscow Treaty, with few reserves.
The United States, by contrast, emphasized non-strategic nuclear warhead elimination in the 1990s, and brought its non-strategic arsenal down to a level of about 2000 warheads. Its strategic warhead arsenal, in turn, has not received so much attention in the elimination process.
The net effect of this difference in elimination priorities is that there is no neat "package" of trades that can be made between U.S. and Russia non-strategic nuclear warheads in an arms reduction process. The two warhead arsenals, today, are simply much different in their make-up. Therefore, a different approach will have to be worked out.
In fact, if the overall goal is serious control and reduction in non-strategic nuclear weapons, then the United States and Russia have already made a serious start in this direction. They are already working closely together to enhance the physical protection of Russian non-strategic nuclear warheads, and to consolidate those warheads into a smaller number of well-guarded storage facilities. Although warhead protection, control and accounting has not been part of the classic concept of arms control, it has actually, I would argue, been the "leading edge" of non-strategic nuclear warhead arms control, and has done much to contribute to the overall goal.
Here, the tool has been the joint threat reduction programs operated by the Departments of Defense and Energy on the U.S. side, and Ministries of Defense and Atomic Energy on the Russian side. To continue to make progress on this leading edge of non-strategic nuclear arms control, it will be important to ensure that the Defense Department is able to implement the Nunn-Lugar program in a timely and efficient manner. For this reason alone, a permanent waiver of certification requirements under the Nunn-Lugar legislation is urgently needed, as has been called for by Senator Lugar and by other prominent voices before this Committee.
The next step to consider will be how to craft reductions. Because of the very disparate warhead holdings in the two arsenals, this might be rather difficult. However, the Moscow Treaty does employ a flexible approach that might be helpful as a concept to consider in the context of warhead control. In the Moscow Treaty, the parties will decide for themselves which launch vehicles to destroy first and which later. In this way, Russia and the United States are likely to end up with much different arsenals of strategic weapons in a few years--more land-based missiles on the Russian side, more sea-based ones on the U.S. side. This approach is akin to the "freedom-to-mix" concept that was an established part of early strategic arms limitation efforts.
Where warheads are concerned, the United States and Russia might simply accept that they are at the end of a "freedom-to-mix" process that has created quite different holdings on the two sides. From this point forward, reductions might be implemented in two different ways: through a parallel unilateral process, or through negotiated reductions.
A parallel unilateral process might begin with a renewal of the PNIs that would also involve a slight reformulation. Under the reformulation, the United States and Russia would agree to include in the PNIs not only non-strategic nuclear weapons, but also the strategic nuclear warheads that each is placing in the elimination queue. They would back this statement up with a declaration and exchange of data, and with transparency measures at warhead storage facilities. The data exchange could be augmented over time, if the parties agreed, by familiarization visits and other transparency activities at warhead elimination facilities.
Such an approach would be an early and not very effective attempt at controlling warheads, but it might be considered a first step. It could give some impetus to non-strategic warhead elimination on the Russian side, but it would not force action on either party. Given the voluntary nature of such unilateral actions, it would be important to emphasize other aspects of the arms control process. Russian experts tend to emphasize, for example, that protection of operational warheads is important, and also the disposition of nuclear materials coming out of