Issue Brief #14: New START: Extension under what Circumstances?


Abstract

The New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START) is at risk of expiring on February 5, 2021. At the same time, there has been no substantial progress in negotiations on a follow-on nuclear arms control agreement. The Trump administration has offered a short-term extension of New START – should Russia agree to a freeze on all U.S. and Russian nuclear warhead stockpiles including non-strategic warheads and to be monitored by unspecified verification measures. This could pave the way to preserving New START, along with an agreement on a politically binding framework for a future agreement. But time appears too short to resolve all questions about the definition and verification of such an arrangement. With this bleak picture, what is the way forward to preserve strategic stability? What realistic scenarios and options exist to prevent a new arms race between Russia and the United States?

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Issue Brief #13: Russian-U.S. Strategic Stability Talks: Where they are and where they should go


Abstract

Over the decades, Moscow and Washington have held multiple rounds of consultations, dialogues, and negotiations on nuclear arms control and strategic stability. The current round of talks is different from the past, however, because of the dismantlement of the existing arms control architecture. Russia and the United States will soon find themselves in a situation where almost no area of military competition is regulated. This situation is a cause for concern because of the increased risks of crisis escalation and an unconstrained arms race. At the same time, the demise of traditional arms control opens the door to a broad spectrum of potential new arms control negotiations that are without precedent in the post-Cold War era. Should they muster the political will to do so, Russia and the United States now have greater freedom to restructure the arms control architecture, taking into account their interests and those of their allies, as well as new technological developments.

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Issue Brief #12: Incorporating Missile Defense in Strategic Arms Control


Abstract

For some six decades, strategic ballistic missile defenses have played an integral role in the evolution of the strategic relationship between Moscow and Washington. Throughout this time, advocates of such defenses have depicted a future in which these weapons would reduce the risks of nuclear destruction. Yet the historical reality belies such predictions. For thirty years, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty helped moderate pressures to expand nuclear arsenals. Following U.S. withdrawal from the treaty in 2002, the absence of constraints on these systems has made it more difficult to achieve stabilizing reductions in strategic offensive forces. With the world now on the cusp of a new nuclear arms race, these difficulties will increase. It is therefore imperative that strategic missile defense limits be incorporated directly into the structure of strategic arms control – for example, by developing an aggregate ceiling on offensive and defensive weapons.

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Issue Brief #11: A Little of the Old, a Little of the New: A Fresh Approach to Conventional Arms Control in Europe


Abstract

The ongoing NATO–Russia confrontation has increased the risk of military conflict, particularly in Europe. The military relationship between Russia and NATO is far less stable than political leaders may assume and poses increasing risks in particular sub-regions. This paper offers a new approach to Conventional Arms Control (CAC), taking into account how a variety of European actors perceive their threat environment and what they worry about most. This includes regional force concentrations and options for their reinforcement, LRS capabilities, and naval forces. It focuses on the Baltic and Black Sea subregions as a matter of priority. To show why a new approach to CAC is necessary, this paper first addresses the issues of threat perceptions and how military capabilities can drive conflict and escalation. It then offers solutions by outlining the necessary elements of future CAC agreements and possible negotiation formats. .

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Issue Brief #10: Nuclear Weapons in Europe after the INF Treaty


Abstract

The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was rightly regarded as one of the most important nuclear disarmament agreements. By eliminating all ground-based intermediate- and shorter-range missiles, the treaty resolved a tense nuclear standoff in Europe and helped end the Cold War by changing the security environment on the continent. After the INF treaty's demise in August 2019, the question is how to prevent further deterioration of the security climate and reduce the risk of a new nuclear arms race in Europe.There are a number of ways to approach this problem, but it is clear that finding a solution will be a challenging task, given the low level of trust between Russia and the United States, the erosion of the traditional arms control architecture and the emergence of new technologies and threats.

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Issue Brief #9: How to fix, preserve and strengthen the Open Skies Treaty


Abstract

A picture, it is said, is worth 1,000 words. The image-centric Treaty on Open Skies (Open Skies) embodies that concept perfectly. The trusted pictures shared among all the Parties to the treaty create more certainty than thousands of words ever could. In a world of growing mistrust and uncertainty over military intentions, the 34-nation agreement provides transparency across the Euro-Atlantic between Vancouver and Vladivostok. Despite that fact, for a few months in late 2019, it seemed as if the Trump Administration was moving to withdraw from the treaty. The furious pushback from both allies and bipartisan experts seems to have granted the agreement a temporary reprieve. Unfortunately, Open Skies is by no means out of danger. While some critics will never be sated, it is incumbent upon treaty advocates to find solutions to the ongoing compliance problems with the agreement.

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About the Authors

Alexandra Bell is the Senior Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Previously, Bell served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

Colonel (ret) Wolfgang Richter is Senior Associate at the International Security Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Previously, he was Head of the military section of the Permanent Representation of Germany to the OSCE, Vienna.

Andrei Zagorski is Head of the Department of Disarmament and Conflict Resolution, Center for International Security at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a Professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), where he served as Vice-Rector (1992-1999).

Issue Brief #8: INF Treaty Compliance: Path to Renewal or the End of the Road?


Abstract

The signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987 marked the end of an eight-year stalemate in nuclear arms control due to the tension between leaders in Moscow and the West. This treaty eliminated an entire category of nuclear weapons delivery vehicles in the arsenals of the world’s two largest nuclear weapons states. Nearly 2,700 ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 km and 5500 km were destroyed. The treaty also established various verification and monitoring measures, which provide precedents for provisions in the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) – the first arms control agreement to require reductions in strategic nuclear arms. The INF Treaty reached its 30th anniversary in December 2017 with both Washington and Moscow officially re-affirming their support for abiding by its terms. Yet if the compliance disputes raised in recent years are not soon resolved or at least managed, the INF Treaty is likely to fail, ultimately dragging other arms control regimes down with it.

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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.

Victor Mizin is Senior Research Fellow with the Center of International Security at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations.

Issue Brief #7: New START Treaty


Abstract

The central limits of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) took full effect on February 5, and the United States and Russia each reported that it had met those limits. By its terms, New START remains in effect until 2021, though it can be extended by up to five years by agreement by the sides. The Russian military is midway through a modernization of its strategic offensive forces, while the U.S. military is preparing a strategic modernization program that will accelerate in the 2020s. Thus far, the two modernization programs appear configured to fit within New START’s limits. However, the low state of the broader U.S.-Russia relationship, compliance issues regarding the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and uncertainties about the commitment of Washington and Moscow to continued nuclear arms control raise questions about New START’s future. While New START will likely last until 2021, its future thereafter is uncertain. There are three possibilities: the treaty lapses; the sides agree, as a minimum step, to extend New START until 2026; or the sides negotiate a new treaty to supplant New START. At a minimum, the United States and Russia should agree to extend New START.

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About the Authors

Anatoli S. Diakov is a Professor of the Moscow University of Physics and Technology, and Senior Fellow at the Centre of International Security, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Daryl G. Kimball is the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association (ACA) since 2001, which is a private, non-profit membership organization dedicated to public education and support of effective arms control measures pertaining to nuclear, chemical, biological, and conventional weapons based in Washington DC.

Steven Pifer is a nonresidential senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. He is a retired foreign service officer with more than 25 years of experience with the State Department, where he worked on U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe as well as arms control and security issues.

High-Level Group Issues Urgent Call for Trump and Putin to Take Steps to Avoid a New Nuclear Arms Race


With relations between Washington, Moscow and Europe at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War, the Deep Cuts Commission together with a number of additional high-level actors is warning that urgent steps need to be taken to contain nuclear risks and tensions and prevent a new nuclear arms race.

In a statement issued today, the group notes that: “Existing nuclear arms control agreements are at risk, and both sides are pursuing costly programs to replace and upgrade their Cold War-era strategic nuclear arsenals, each of which exceed reasonable deterrence requirements. A compliance dispute threatens the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will expire in 2021 unless extended.”

Among the 41 signatories to the statement are: Des Browne, former Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom; Richard R. Burt, former U.S. negotiator of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty; Tom  Countryman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association; retired Major General Dvorkin, chief researcher at the Center for International Security at the Institute of Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations; Gen. Victor Esin, former Chief of Staff and Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces; Volker Rühe, former Minister of Defense, Germany; Strobe Talbott, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; and Sen. Richard G. Lugar, former Chairman, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The full statement is available in

English

Russian

German

 

SPECIAL BRIEFING PAPER: Preserving the INF Treaty


The 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is under threat, with the United States and Russia exchanging charges of treaty violations. If the treaty unravels, it will open the door to an arms race in ground-launched intermediate-range missiles, which will diminish security in both Europe and Asia. It could also undermine support for other treaties, such as the New START Treaty, and make it difficult to reach agreement on new treaties. Hans Kristensen, Oliver Meier, Victor Mizin and Steven Pifer call on Washington and Moscow to work to preserve the INF Treaty and recognize its utmost benefits. The Third Report of the Deep Cuts Commission already gave key recommendations on how to address the INF Treaty compliance issues. This Special Briefing Paper now gives concrete courses for action describing ways to resolve compliance concerns.

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Issue Brief #6: War Games Redux


Abstract

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.

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About the Author

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


Abstract

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?

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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


Abstract

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.

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About the Author

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


Abstract

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.

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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


Abstract

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.'

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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


Abstract

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.

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About the Authors

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.