Third Report of the Deep Cuts Commission
Back from the Brink: Toward Restraint and Dialogue between Russia and the West
Relations between Russia and the West have fallen to an historic low. Hopes for sustained and comprehensive cooperation have dimmed significantly. Competition and selective cooperation is the new normal. The prime objective for the next few years should be limiting the potential for dangerous military incidents that can escalate out of control. Russia and the West must come back from the brink. They need to better manage their conflictual relationship. Restraint and dialogue are now needed more than ever. The third report of the Deep Cuts Commission recommends the West and Russia to build on a number of existing arms control and confidence-building measures in order to avoid further exacerbation of the situation. It contains fifteen key recommendations and identifies a number of additional measures, which could help to address the most acute security concerns in Europe – particularly in the Baltic area – and increase U.S.-Russian nuclear transparency and predictability.
-- William J. Perry, former United States Secretary of Defense
Second Report of the Deep Cuts Commission
Strengthening Stability in Turbulent Times
The Ukraine crisis and broader deterioration in West-Russia relations pose acute threats of unintended clashes between Russian and NATO military forces and continue to deflate hopes for significant near-term progress in nuclear arms control. At the same time, arms control is key to avoiding undesirable and unintended consequences of current tensions. In order to achieve a verified termination of the violent conflict in Ukraine and arrest the slide of NATO and Russia toward a potentially more dangerous situation, it will be necessary to employ a broad set of arms control and confidence-building measures in several areas. This report concentrates on the nuclear and conventional arms control issues that must be addressed to contain unintended spill-over effects from the current crisis on the broader European region and on nuclear stability at the global level. It contains fifteen key recommendations and identifies a number of additional measures, which could foster confidence in and maintain focus on the goal of further nuclear disarmament. A Russian version of the report is out now!
First Report of the Deep Cuts Commission
Preparing for Deep Cuts: Options for Enhancing Euro-Atlantic and International Security
Four years after the conclusion of the New START Treaty, the United States and Russia continue to maintain nuclear arsenals far exceeding the requirements for deterrence. Even before the current tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and Crimea, differences over other security questions had stymied progress on further nuclear arms cuts. It nevertheless remains important that policymakers in Washington, Moscow and European capitals continue to explore ideas for promoting greater stability and predictability at lower levels of armaments. The 21-member U.S.-Russian-German Deep Cuts Commission has formulated proposals to achieve further arms control and nuclear risk reduction to enhance national, Euro-Atlantic and international security.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #8 Sub-Regional Arms Control for the Baltics
With NATO's Warsaw Summit fast approaching, the question of how to reassure NATO's easternmost allies while at the same time not further straining relations with Russia becomes key. Since 2014, particularly the Baltic States and Poland have called on NATO to further strengthen their defensive capabilities against what they perceive as a threatening Russian foreign and security policy. While proponents of beefing up NATO's deterrence capabilities are currently dominating the debate, measures from the realm of arms control are seldomly discussed. However, as this paper proves, sub-regional restraint measures and enhanced transparency in the conventional realm could as well contribute to strengthening the security of all states in the Baltic area.
This paper assesses the current mutual threat perceptions by NATO, in particular the Baltic States and the Eastern European allies, and the Russian Federation. With a particular view to the Baltic region, it analyzes the respective force postures assesses the plausibility of mutual scenarios, and gives concrete recommendations in the realm of possible arms control agreements and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs).
About the Author
Wolfgang Richter (Colonel ret.) is Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin, Research Group on Security Politics. He served for many years in various German delegations to, inter alia, the United Nations and the OSCE.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #9 INF Treaty Compliance: A Challenge and an Opportunity
The inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States has shaken the assumptions usually made about the overall continuity of American foreign policy. Although never mentioned as part of his “Day One” list of priorities, President Trump will soon be forced by circumstances to formulate a policy with regard to disputes over compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. How he handles the issue will affect his ability to follow through on his stated willingness to make deals with Russian President Putin on a host of issues, because arms control skeptics in the U.S. Congress are likely to prevent ratification of any agreement that leaves INF Treaty compliance unresolved.
This paper assesses the challenges to and opportunities of INF Treaty compliance in the light of newer political developments. It analyzes the current state of treaty compliance with particular view to Russian and US-American perceptions and gives concrete recommondations regarding a sustainable positive development of the INF Treaty.
About the Authors
Greg Thielmann is a member of the Arms Control Association’s Board of Directors, and previously served as an office director in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, a professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as a senior fellow at ACA.
Andrei Zagorski is Director of the Department of Disarmament and Conflict Regulation, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences and Professor of International Relations, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University).
Deep Cuts Working Paper #7 Anticipatory Arms Control
During the second term of the Obama administration, U.S.-Russia relations have deteriorated to levels not seen since the Cold War. Navigating this period of tension requires a renewed dedication to the idea of strategic arms control and new concepts that can deal with new challenges. The United States and Russia should seek a treaty that does not only limit existing strategic forces but also the weapons systems that both countries plan to develop and deploy in the next decade. In this way, each side could hope to control the most threatening systems that they face, avoid unnecessary expenditures, and present a more compelling case to their domestic audiences about the value of arms control.
This paper by Adam Mount discusses another approach to strategic nuclear arms control between the United States and Russia and offers concrete recommendations on how to stabilize the bilateral relationship while at the same time striking an agreement which could promote stability well into the 21st century.
About the Author
Adam Mount is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Previously, he was a Stanton nuclear security fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Before that, he worked at the RAND Corporation.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #6 The Offense/Defense Problem
Since Barack Obama’s start of the U.S. presidency, America faces a conundrum: how can the United States at once reassure its allies and partners by demonstrating the potency of its unrivalled conventional superiority without unsetting the very strategic stability it asserts is so central to achieving the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world? In particular, there are a number of impediments standing in the way of adequately addressing America’s conventional advantages vis-à-vis Russia and China. Above all, it has always been a sacrosanct principle of U.S. strategic planning that the United States will pursue achieving and maintaining technological superiority.
This paper by Dennis M. Gormley addresses the difficult question of how missile defense and conventional precision-guided weapons complicate achieving deep cuts in nuclear weapons - particularly with a view to the strategic relationships to Russia and China.
About the Author
Dennis M. Gormley is a Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh and served for ten years in the U.S. intelligence community.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #5 The NPT and the Humanitarian Initiative
The lack of serious engagement on behalf of the nuclear weapon states (NWS) to eliminate their nuclear weapons, as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), however, is more and more being criticized by the non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). Their patience is running out of steam, and, crucially, they have found leverage in the form of the so-called humanitarian initiative, including the prospect of banning nuclear weapons. The upcoming five-yearly NPT Review Conference - from 27 April to 22 May 2015 in New York - will be a test of the strength of the humanitarian initiative as well as an indication whether the NWS have understood the message.
This paper by Tom Sauer wants to find out to what extent the NPT and the humanitarian initiative are complimentary, and aims to assess this new narrative in view of the upcoming 2015 NPT Review Conference.
About the Author
Tom Sauer is Associate Professor in International Politics at the Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium) and a member of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #4 The Trilateral Initiative
In 1996, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States and the Russian Federation entered into a cooperative effort – the Trilateral Initiative – aimed at investigating the feasibility and requirements for a verification system under which the IAEA could accept and monitor nuclear warheads or nuclear warhead components pursuant to the NPT Article VI commitments of both States. Although the Initiative ended in 2002, the Model Verification Agreement produced could still serve as the basis for bilateral or multilateral agreements between the IAEA and nuclear-weapon States.
In this paper, Thomas E. Shea and Laura Rockwood examine the potential role for international verification of fissile material in relation to nuclear disarmament, what was accomplished under the Trilateral Initiative and, more importantly, what should be done now to preserve its legacy and take concrete steps towards such verification.
About the Authors
Thomas E. Shea served for 24 years in the IAEA Department of Safeguards and headed the IAEA Trilateral Initiative Office from its creation until his departure from the IAEA at the end of 2003. Shea also headed the IAEA FMCT working group, and headed a study group that analyzed the CTBT before it was completed.
Laura Rockwood was Section Head for Non-Proliferation and Policy Making in the Office of Legal Affairs of the International Atomic Energy Agency until 2013. She was involved in all aspects of the negotiation, interpretation and implementation of IAEA safeguards, and was the principal author of the document that became the Model Additional Protocol.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #3 The 'P5' Process
The 'P5' meetings produced a forum for interesting discussions and constructive general documents, but failed to achieve the principal stated goal: engagement of third nuclear weapon states in the process of nuclear arms limitations and reductions. It looks like there is no prospect of reaching this goal in the future for reasons beside the negative political environment, brought by the Ukrainian crisis of 2013-2014. Even in case of political resolution of the current crisis and improved international environment, the 'P5' format does not seem promising for the task assigned to it.
In his paper, Alexey Arbatov analyzes the origins and achievements of the 'P5' process, questions the basic assumptions underlying the process, assesses the chances for engaging Britain, France, and China in nuclear reductions, and gives a number of recommendations for enhancing the process.
About the Author
Alexey Arbatov is the Head of the Center for International Security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations and a scholar in residence with the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Nonproliferation Program.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #2 Verification Lessons Learnt
Over the past half-century, the world has gained a great deal of experience with the verification of arms control agreements. With a few notable exceptions, these efforts have been successful. In addition, capabilities to carry out monitoring and verification have improved substantially. Nevertheless, emerging new and more difficult arms control goals, such as further reducing U.S. and Russian strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons, will require more innovative and intrusive techniques and lessons can be learned from a number of arms control agreements.
In this paper, Edward M. Ifft summarizes the lessons learnt from the verification of arms control agreements and links them to the goal of deep nuclear reductions. Special emphasis is placed on the New START Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation.
About the Author
Edward M. Ifft has served on U.S. delegations to the SALT, TTBT, START and CTBT negotiations, was the Senior State Representative to both the START and CTBT negotiations, and served as Deputy U.S. Negotiator to START.
Deep Cuts Working Paper #1 U.S. Nuclear Force Structure
The United States and Russia have made major reductions in their long-range nuclear forces since the end of the Cold War. These reductions should be welcome, but are less than one might expect and hope for, given that the Cold War is over. The recent New START treaty calls for a modest additional reduction for the nuclear superpowers, but leaves the two arsenals with essentially the same Cold War structure on a smaller scale. Truly significant further reductions in numbers and nuclear dangers will require a new attitude toward the role of nuclear weapons.
In his paper, Ivan Oelrich focuses on three aspects of U.S. strategic forces: first their current status, then the doctrine and policy that guide their potential use, plans for the next generation of weapons, and finally, some recommendations about what is required to move toward deep reductions in nuclear forces.
About the Author
Ivan Oelrich is an independent analyst. He has been an adjunct professor at Princeton University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Hamburg, and now The George Washington University.
Issue Brief #6: War Games Redux
Some 30 years since the release of the Hollywood blockbuster War Games, the possibility that hackers might break into nuclear command and control facilities, compromise early warning or firing systems, or even cause the launch of nuclear weapons, has become disturbingly real. While this challenge will impact all nuclear-armed states, it appears particularly acute for the United States and Russia given their large, diverse, and highly alerted nuclear forces. The facts that relations between the West and Russia have deteriorated to a nadir, perhaps not seen since the 1980s, strategic instability has increased – particularly in the wake of the Ukraine crisis – and that the arms reduction agenda appears to have reached a standstill, makes this challenge particularly pressing. In this discouraging milieu, new cyber threats are both exacerbating the already strained U.S.-Russia strategic balance – particularly the perceived surety of nuclear forces – and, at the same time, creating new vulnerabilities and problems that might be exploited by a third party. In this Issue Brief, Andrew Futter analyzes these dynamics and their impact on arms control and possible future nuclear reductions and offers a number of concrete suggestions on how to address this complex interplay.
Andrew Futter is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester (United Kingdom), where his research focuses on nuclear weapons issues. He is a member of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (EASI) next generation working group and an Honorary Fellow at the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham.
Issue Brief #5: Conventional Arms Control in Europe
There is no question that conventional arms control in Europe is in a dry and difficult time. That some progress, or better, some resurrection of conventional arms control, needs to happen is equally obvious. European security and cooperation have long rested on several components, with the military dimension in turn composed of two complimentary elements, strategic nuclear and conventional arms control and confidence-building measures. Today progress towards deep cuts in the strategic arms of Russia and the United States depends in part on resolving perceived conventional threat imbalances. Equally important, while nuclear weapons thankfully are not employed but linger in the “dark corners” of deterrence, conventional weapons have been killing and wounding and directly threatening peace and stability in Europe. This Issue Brief by Greg Govan asks a number of fundamental questions in relation to the core assumption that Europe still needs conventional arms control: What are the goals for European security? How can arms control objectives serve those goals? How can we work towards those goals within a “Helsinki 2” type process that addresses all aspects of security in Europe, not just the military dimension?
About the Author
Greg Govan is a retired Brigadier General and served in the U.S. Army for 31 years. He led the Department of Defense agency responsible for on-site inspections and served as the senior arms control representative to the governing bodies of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty and Open Skies and was appointed and confirmed with the rank of Ambassador in 2000.
Issue Brief #4: U.S.-Russian Nuclear Security Cooperation
The United States and Russia are the two countries with the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons and material. In an age of global terrorism, they share both a special responsibility in ensuring that they each employ effective nuclear security systems and an understanding of the unique challenge of securing hundreds of tons of nuclear material. For two decades, the United States and Russia lived up to this responsibility by working together to strengthen nuclear security in Russia and around the globe. That ended in 2014 when Russia halted the majority of its work on nuclear security with the United States. The negative consequences of that decision could seriously affect international security and cooperation in the nuclear realm. This Issue Brief by Nickolas Roth (Harvard University) describes how the United States and Russia arrived at this point. It highlights differences in how the United States and Russia approach nuclear security. It identifies what limited nuclear security related work will likely continue between the two countries in the future. Finally, Roth identifies potential opportunities for future cooperation related to nuclear security between the United States and Russia.
Nickolas Roth is a Research Associate at the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His research focuses on nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, and the nuclear policy-making process.
Issue Brief #3: Saving the INF Treaty
This issue brief by Deep Cuts Commissioners Oliver Meier, Greg Thielmann and Andrei Zagorski turns to the latest crisis surrounding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The authors argue that the trail-blazing accord, which resulted in the destruction of 2,700 U.S. and Russian ground-based, nuclear-tipped missiles of 500-5,500 km ranges in less than three years should not be abandoned lightly. Even though some U.S. experts and politicians have started questioning the treaty due to concerns of Russia cheating, the treaty is still in the national interest of Russia, the United States, and its European allies. Rather than allow the compliance dispute to fester, or worse yet, respond with a military build-up, both sides should quickly start addressing compliance concerns in the treaty's Special Verification Commission. Practical steps to build on the treaty’s achievements should include opening discussions on “grey area” weapons of INF-range, such as armed drones; and encouraging third parties to adopt elements of the treaty for limiting their own nuclear delivery systems, thus protecting the security advantages of the INF Treaty for Russia and the United States.
About the Authors
Oliver Meier is an Associate with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).
Greg Thielmann is a Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association (ACA), Washington and served as State Department advisor to the U.S. INF delegation.
Andrei Zagorski is Head of Department for Arms Control and Conflict Resolution at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Issue Brief #2: Prospects of West-Russia Security Dialogue
This issue brief by Russian researcher Victor Mizin assesses the state of the West-Russian Security Dialogue and the prospects for further nuclear arms control. In addition, Mizin suggests a number of possible measures to achieve more stability for the strained relationship. According to Mizin, 'the conventional wisdom of the Cold War era was that, even in times of ultimate tensions, arms control served as a kind of bridge over seemingly intractable differences between two rival alliances - ostensibly immune from ideological or geopolitical rows. In the period of the post-Cold War “New World Order” illusions, with their maverick schemes of the “End of History” or the “Clash of Civilizations”, arms control seemed to be eclipsed by wider geopolitical ambitions or hopes that it was just a relic of the Cold War and did not need judicially enforceable mechanisms in the era of collaboration and trust between the West and Russia (predictably, that ended quite soon). The “End of History”, even if it really happened in its initial Hegelian sense, only meant the advent of a new set of crises, competition and conflicts in a new phase of international development.'
About the Author
Victor Mizin is currently a Leading Researcher at the Center for International Security of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) in Moscow.
Issue Brief #1: Russia's Nuclear Posture
This issue brief analyzes Russia’s nuclear posture, meaning the composition of the Russian strategic triad, its non-strategic nuclear arms, and Moscow’s current nuclear doctrine. As part of the modernization process of the Russian Army, Moscow has ordered a significant qualitative overhaul of the Russian nuclear forces in all three legs of the Russian triad. While Moscow is modernizing, its overall arsenal of nuclear warhead still exceeds massively any reasonable security needs. Efforts at reducing the Russian arsenal in a mutually agreed manner with the United States beyond New START are experiencing considerable problems. The fallout from the Ukraine conflict has already damaged bilateral relations. There is the danger that the standstill in U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control relations might severely affect the NPT regime. The Ukraine conflict will certainly continue to complicate any cooperative approach in the short to mid-term. However, its incalculable implications might even lead to a certain level of re-engagement in order to achieve a more profound level of stability. With the already existing obstacles (missile defense, conventional precision-guided weapons, outer space) still in place, any re-engagement on the issue will call for creativity, common interest, and enough political will and capital. While the obstacles are well-known, the arguments in favor of achieving lower levels in strategic arms have not changed as well. What was reasonable during the last Cold War has not lost its validity in the current crisis.
Vincent C. Fournier is a Canadian national. His academic background is with the Quebec Institute of High International Studies (Laval University, Canada). He has also studied at the Tampere Peace Research Institute (University of Tampere, Finland). He has been a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) and an intern with the External Relations and International Cooperation Section of the CTBTO.
Ulrich Kühn is a Researcher at IFSH and coordinator of the Deep Cuts project. He has worked as an external advisor to the Division for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation at the German Federal Foreign Office. In 2011 he was named a United Nations Fellow on Disarmament. He is also a co-initiator of the Initiative for the Development of a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian Security Community (IDEAS). Kühn has published on conventional and nuclear arms control and Euro-Atlantic security.