1. India-Pakistan: Analysts Propose To Safeguard South Asian Arsenals
Global Security Newswire
March 19, 2002
(for personal use only)
Recent U.S. proposals to expand post-Cold War programs could provideexperience and technology to improve the security of nuclear arsenals inPakistan and India, but adapting the programs to circumstances in SouthAsia might be difficult, analysts told Global Security Newswire lastweek.
U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said earlier this month that heintends to propose legislation to expand U.S. Cooperative ThreatReduction programs - established to help former Soviet states dismantleand secure nuclear materials and facilities - to countries includingPakistan and India.
"The precise replication of the [CTR] program will not be possibleeverywhere, but a satisfactory level of accountability, transparency,can and must be established in every nation with a WMD program," Lugarsaid in a Council on Foreign Relations speech (see GSN, March 5).
The United States and other countries with applicable knowledge shouldoffer assistance to Pakistan and India to help them ensure the securityof various nuclear assets, said Robert Einhorn, a senior analyst at theCenter for Strategic and International Studies and former assistantsecretary of state for nonproliferation.
"There's no reason that any process that has worked in Russia couldn'twork well in any other country," said Jon Wolfsthal of the CarnegieEndowment for International Peace.
Although Pakistan's command and control system works well, India andPakistan could learn a lot from the U.S. experience of managing its ownnuclear capability and avoiding nuclear war with the Soviet Union, saidBrigadier Feroz Khan, director of the Arms Control and DisarmamentAffairs Division of the Pakistani Joint Services Headquarters.
"Why must I learn something that was already learned in the 1950s and60s?" he said.
U.S. advisors should help both countries install more sophisticatedlocks, fool-proof communication systems and other means to preventunauthorized access to and use of weapons, Khan said (see GSN, Nov. 29,2001).
Any assistance, however, must not be in a context of weakness and mustnot violate the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or other legalrequirements, Khan said.
"No one's asking for nuclear weapon designs," he said.
Khan and Wolfsthal both suggested that the United States could helpimprove ways to ensure loyalty and reliability of personnel with accessto nuclear materials and facilities (see GSN, Oct. 1, 2001).
The United States - which uses techniques also used by banks, governmentand other entities that require a loyal and stable work force - hasprovided its experience developing a personnel reliability program toRussia, said Wolfsthal.
U.S. measures include drug tests, credit history checks and lie-detectortests to ensure that workers with access to sensitive materials areloyal, stable and do not have weaknesses that could allow someone toblackmail or tempt them, said Wolfsthal.
Pakistan already has some technology and procedures to ensure propercontrol, such as identity cards and coded locks, Khan said. He addedthat the country could, however, benefit by learning more about the U.S.personnel reliability system, as could India and Israel - the other twonuclear powers outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime.
Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers
The United States can also offer assistance beyond CTR-type efforts.One important measure is to establish crisis prevention centers, Khansaid. "South Asia is endemic to crisis" and needs a method to deal withtense situations, he said.
Pakistan and India should establish nuclear risk reduction centers inIslamabad and New Delhi similar to the ones in Moscow and Washington,Khan said.
Nuclear risk reduction centers are "a good idea," said Einhorn. "It's amodest confidence-building measure that can provide a vehicle forexchanging information that could help defuse a crisis."
The United States and former Soviet Union established two Nuclear RiskReduction Centers in 1988 to provide "direct, reliable, high-speedsystems for the transmission of notifications and communications at thegovernment-to-government level," according to a U.S. State Departmentsummary.
The two centers exchange information, such as notifications of ballisticmissile launches, in accordance with treaties and confidence-buildingagreements.
A South Asian center might include a combination of diplomats,scientists and military officials with regular meetings between Indianand Pakistani officials, Khan said.
Concerns exist, however, that threat reduction programs might not workin South Asia due to Pakistani and Indian distrust of U.S. intentions,some analysts said.
"I think we should be realistic about what the Pakistanis and Indiansare prepared to accept in the way of help from other countries," saidEinhorn. Pakistan and India do not trust each other, and they areunlikely to provide U.S. personnel access to certain nuclear facilities,he said.
CTR programs between the United States and Russia followed decades ofinteractions between U.S. and Soviet, and then Russian, officials thatcreated a level of confidence and comfort allowing some access, Einhornsaid. That is not the case in South Asia. Despite those potentialdifficulties, the United States should still offer assistance, he said.
The techniques and approach of the CTR program in the former SovietUnion are applicable to South Asia, but the program may not bepolitically workable, Wolfsthal said. India and Pakistan are "paranoidabout U.S. intentions," he said. "There's a lot of skepticism about ourintentions."
The principle behind the CTR program - that many unsecure nuclearweapons were left in the former Soviet Union - does not apply toPakistan, Khan said.
The regional context in South Asia and lack of cooperation between Indiaand Pakistan create a very different situation. Khan emphasized that hesupports the concept of CTR but is unsure whether it applies to SouthAsia.
Tension to Dialogue
In any case, proposals for U.S. assistance and South Asian cooperationface a serious obstacle in the current mobilization of Pakistani andIndian forces after a Dec. 13 attack on the Indian Parliament.
Tension reduction measures are most needed but are particularlydifficult in such a climate, Einhorn said. The situation might have tocalm down before India and Pakistan can begin serious dialogue, but inthe meantime, the United States can "float ideas" and let the twocountries "mull them over," he said.
India and Pakistan should not expect assistance from the United Statesuntil the two form some type of cooperative security agreement toprevent misperceptions and escalation, Khan said (see GSN, Feb. 25).India and Pakistan must promise to restrain their forces - bothconventional and nuclear, Khan said.
South Asia needs a third party to jumpstart, facilitate and monitoragreements, Khan said. If India and Pakistan reach a restraintagreement, the United States could help provide information on eachcountry's adherence with an agreement, he said. The United Statespreviously has used information from satellites and other means toprevent crises in South Asia, so why not formalize that role, Khan said. return to menu
1. Ivanov Softens Russian Nuclear Stance
March 19, 2002
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Russia could agree to a new nuclear-arms pact that would allow Americato store some decommissioned weapons for possible future use instead ofdestroying them, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in an interview.
Ivanov's comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday suggested a softeningof the Kremlin position on what Russia officials have called the mainsticking point in progress toward a deal on nuclear arms cuts that bothsides hope to secure in time for U.S. President George W. Bush's visitto Russia in May.
In the interview, conducted in Washington last week after he met withBush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Ivanov said that a portionof the weapons decommissioned under the pact could be stored and thedetails are "negotiable." "But the devil is in the details: how much,how long and how quickly it might go back to operational and ...jeopardize strategic stability," he said.
Ivanov was upbeat about his U.S. trip, praising Bush as a "visionaryman" and suggesting Bush and Putin are pursuing closer ties despiteopposition from some within their own countries.
Bush "understands that the times of the Cold War are definitely over,and that both leaders should be bold and imaginative enough to try tomaybe overpower the bureaucracy of both countries, which sometimes hasits own vested interest."
Turning to Iraq, Ivanov said Russia believes Saddam Hussein's regime maybe developing weapons of mass destruction but that no action beyondexisting UN sanctions should be taken unless that is proven. "Wecalculate that there might be a problem in Iraq with weapons of massdestruction," he said. "That's why we support strongly the idea that ahuge team of international monitors should go to Iraq, investigatewhatever they wish [and] finally have a clear answer, yes or no."
Asked if Moscow would support military action against Saddam, Ivanovsaid only that the United States has not informed Russia of such adecision.
But he said, "The problem is not with Saddam Hussein. The problem iswith weapons of mass destruction." return to menu
2. Russia Loses Nuclear Arms Talks
March 19, 2002
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Russia had to make concessions in its nuclear arms talks with the UnitedStates. After months of intense negotiations, it turned out that littleprogress was made, and Russia had no other choice but to pretend that anagreement was reached, and no important differences remained. RussianDefense Minister Sergey Ivanov tried to convey this message to theRussian public on Sunday, saying that he did not have any "principalobjections" to Washington's plans to store rather than destroydecommissioned nuclear warheads. In this respect, a question arises,what was Mr. Ivanov's mission to the United States and what was the aimof his talks with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And what theRussian Defense Ministry and the US Department of Defense have beendiscussing over the past few months.
US President George Bush unveiled Washington's plans to reduce USarsenals of strategic nuclear weapons on the eve of Russian PresidentVladimir Putin's visit to the United States last year. However, itbecame clear at the summit that the two sides had different approachesto the issue. First, George Bush did not want to codify the agreement.In an atmosphere of mutual trust, the pact could be sealed with a simplehandshake, he believed. However, Moscow insisted that nuclear arms cutsshould be cemented in a bilateral agreement, as well as mechanisms toverify compliance with it. These mechanisms of control became thesticking point that blocked further progress in the talks. Soon, itemerged that Washington was not going to destroy warheads removed fromoperational service, but it was going to keep them in storage, ready forretrieval in a matter of weeks or months if necessary. However, this didnot suit Moscow. Russia, struggling to maintain its oversized nucleararsenal, is interested in the destruction and not storage ofdecommissioned warheads. If the United States does not destroy itsexcess nuclear weapons, Russia will be "fooled".
Meanwhile, Washington reiterated its commitment to cut the US strategicarsenal unilaterally, even if Moscow does not reduce its nuclearstockpiles. Thus, it demonstrated its 'goodwill', friendliness anddesire for peace. At the same time, the United States did not advertisethat the planned reductions would be just a formal move, because thereis little difference between missiles in operational service andmissiles kept in storage. The mere fact that a country such as theUnited States has a nuclear arsenal is a strategic deterrent in itself.Washington does not need thousands of nuclear warheads to wipe any ofits enemies off the globe. One or two warheads would be enough for thispurpose. According to recent reports about US nuclear posture review,Russia is a potential target of US nuclear strikes, along with six othernations.
In the end, the two sides failed to agree on the issue. This is not thefirst defeat Moscow suffered from Washington on the diplomatic sceneover the past few months. And Russia had no other choice but to put on abrave face.
On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that Russia wasgoing to build equal, constructive and predictable relations with theUnited States. Speaking about nuclear arms cuts, he said that "Russiahas not made any unilateral concessions (in this respect) and it willnot do so". It seems that the Minister has already forgotten aboutWashington's unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic MissileTreaty of 1972. This was a failure for Russia, and Moscow had to swallowit. The Kremlin suffered another blow when it became known that theUnited States dispatched military advisers to Russia's neighbor,Georgia, to train Georgian troops to fight terrorists. At first, Moscowwas indignant. However, later it had to admit that Georgia was anindependent country, and it could seek military advisers from whereverit wanted. Russia had to say it had nothing against the move, but it wasupset about not being consulted. And now the nuclear arms talks havefailed. Again, Moscow pretends that everything is in order. Maybe it istime to change it? return to menu
3. Best Regards From A Probable Ally
March 19, 2002
(for personal use only)
The report carried in "The Los Angeles Times" saying that Russia is onthe Pentagon's list of countries against which nuclear arms may be usedcaused quite a scandal. And for no reason, Ilya Bulavinov, the chief ofKommersant's political desk, comments.
It is impossible to avoid a scandal after a publication like thisappears because so much has been said in recent years, and especially inthe past few months, about a new Russia-U.S. relationship, arelationship of almost allies and definitely of partners. And all of asudden it turns out that Washington thinks of Russia almost as itsnumber one enemy. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov declared thatsuch plans, if they exist, cause regret and concern and destabilize thesituation. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who was in the U.S. on anofficial visit, demanded explanations. U.S. State Secretary Colin Powellimmediately made assurances that Russia had not been included in anylists, the U.S. did not regard it an enemy and, in general, U.S.missiles were not targeted at any country. Russian officials expressedrestrained satisfaction with the explanations.
These are merely words. In actual fact, the Pentagon's report onlyrevealed the problem that has not disappeared with the end of the ColdWar. As before, Moscow and Washington regard each other as the mainpotential enemies. At a recent unofficial meeting with a high-rankingU.S. Embassy official in Moscow, a Russian journalist began his questionby saying, "The confrontation between Moscow and Washington ." when Ijokingly interrupted him. "Confrontation? Don't go nuts. Read thepapers. Now we're partners and perhaps even allies!" I said. "It's allright," the diplomat said, "This is the way things really are," and hereminded the journalists that the meeting was off the record.
The U.S. is mentioned only twice in the Russian military doctrine: inthe context of Moscow's adherence to the ABM Treaty and in connectionwith its preparedness for a "further reduction of nuclear arms on abilateral basis with the U.S. and on a multilateral basis." Nonetheless,the doctrine has a few phrases in it clearly indicating that U.S.actions are a threat to Russia's national security.
"The present military-political situation and its prospects aredetermined by the confrontation of two tendencies. One is asserting amono-polar world based on the domination of one superpower and thesolution of key political problems in the world by force, and the otheris forming a multipolar world...The Russian Federation proceeds from theassumption that social progress, stability and international securitymay be ensured only in a multipolar world." "The practice of conductingmilitary actions in defiance of generally recognized principles andnorms of international law, without UN Security Council sanctions," iscalled in the doctrine as one of the "main destabilizing factors of themilitary-political situation." And among "the main outside threats" toRussia's national security are, in particular, "the creation of troopformations leading to the upset of the established balance of forcesclose to the borders of the Russian Federation and its allies and in theseas bordering on their territories; the expansion of military blocs andalliances to the detriment of the military security of the RussianFederation and its allies; bringing foreign troops (without UN SecurityCouncil sanctions) to the territory of countries that border on, and arefriendly to, the Russian Federation."
I don't think it is necessary to explain what country poses a threat tosocial progress and international security, creates troop formations,upsets the established balance of forces, expands military blocs andsends troops without UN sanctions to the countries bordering on theRussian Federation. If Moscow regarded its military doctrine seriously,Russia and the U.S. would not be exchanging visits of high-rankinggovernment officials. They wouldbe getting ready for war, not for summits.
Luckily, doctrines in the rapidly changing world have become meredeclaratory papers and no one really cares whether they correspond torealities or not. And when they are remembered, these declarations, notthe policies, are changed.
No matter what course developments may take, Russia and the U.S. aredoomed to see each other as enemies for many years to come. Even if theclosest relations are established between the two countries, generationsof politicians will have to pass before suspicions and distrust are castaside. For the time being, the nuclear arms possessed by both countriesremain a very significant factor in bilateral relations, and neitherMoscow nor Washington will declare in the foreseeable future that theseweapons will never be used against each other. Russian and Americanmissile troops, pilots and sailors will conscientiously learn how to usethese weapons. It is not for nothing that there are clocks showing thetime in Moscow, Vladimir, Chita, Omsk, Orenburg (the headquarters of theStrategic Missile Troops are located in the latter four cities) andWashington in the central command post of the Russian Strategic MissileTroops.
As regards statements that Russian nuclear missiles are not targeted atthe U.S. and nobody should worry about them, any missile expert willtell you that about half a minute is required to change a "zeroreference point" in a Russian missile or the "Antarctica" target in theU.S. missile. return to menu
4. Russia Satisfied With U.S. Plan
March 18, 2002
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Russia is satisfied with U.S. explanations about a contingency plan thatcould allow nuclear strikes against Russia and six other nations,Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Friday after talks in Washington.
U.S. officials provided Russia with explanations "that satisfy us,"Ivanov told reporters in Shannon, Ireland, on his way back from theUnited States. He did not elaborate. Reports of a classified Pentagonnuclear planning document that could result in targeting seven nationshad threatened to overshadow Ivanov's visit. Russian officials havequestioned why the plan lumps Russia together with some of Washington'sfiercest foes, such as Iraq and North Korea.
But in his talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld andSecretary of State Colin Powell, Ivanov steered clear of any publicsigns of irritation. "Being a defense minister, I understand well thatthe defense ministry of any country must plan any kind of developments,"Ivanov said Friday.
Ivanov's talks with U.S. officials focused on working out a deal onnuclear arms cuts that both sides hope to secure in time for U.S.President George W. Bush's visit to Russia in May.
"There remain differences in approach to the text of the futureagreement," Ivanov said. "But I wouldn't say that it's an impasse."Hesaid the main sticking point is Russian concern over U.S. plans to storedecommissioned weapons instead of destroying them.
It also remains unclear how the cutbacks will be made legally binding.President Vladimir Putin has pushed for a binding document, and Bush,after initially resisting, said during Ivanov's visit that he was readyto sign a formal deal.
The Foreign Ministry said Friday that Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov had apositive conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell bytelephone Thursday about the two countries' relations. There are "goodprospects" for preparation of an agreement on the weapons reductions bythe summit, the ministry said, according to Interfax.
Igor Ivanov said on Mayak radio station Saturday that there were someproblems in negotiations with the United States on cutting strategicarms, but Russia will do its best to reach an agreement.
The next round of talks on the arms reduction agreement will be held inGeneva on Friday and Saturday between U.S. Undersecretary of State JohnBolton and Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Mamedov.
The ranking Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. Senate ForeignRelations Committee have written the Bush administration demanding thatany nuclear arms reductions with Russia be submitted to the Senate as aformal treaty, according to a copy of their letter obtained Saturday,the New York Times reported.
Senators Joseph Biden and Jesse Helms said an agreement on "significantobligations by the United States regarding deployed U.S. strategicnuclear warheads'' would "constitute a treaty subject to the advice andconsent of the Senate."Their letter to Powell was dated Friday, two daysafter Bush expressed optimism that a deal on nuclear arms cuts would beready for his summit meeting in May with Putin. return to menu
5. Clinging To Outdated Dogmas
March 18, 2002
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The results of Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov's trip last week to theUnited States represent significant progress when compared to his publicpronouncements prior to departure for Washington. On the eve of hisvisit, Ivanov expressed doubts about the prospects of a new nuclear armsreduction treaty being worked out in time for the May summit meetingbetween Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin. However, just afew days later at a joint press conference with U.S. Defense SecretaryDonald Rumsfeld, he was already expressing confidence that a treatywould be signed by the two presidents.
The positive tone of the visit and the arms control talks was notaffected by leaks in the past two weeks of U.S. contingency plans to usenuclear weapons against a number of countries --including Russia --contained in the Pentagon's still-classified Nuclear Posture Review.Ivanov, in contrast to many other Russia officials and politicians, didnot seem particularly surprised by the leaked documents, and this isentirely understandable as it is pretty clear that the Defense Ministryhas similar plans. Indeed the Cold War operational and contingency plansof Russia, the United States and NATO have only undergone minorrevisions in the past decade.
For the respective governments, the most pressing task is to keep theseplans out of the public domain rather than to revise them significantly.This might explain why Rumsfeld and Ivanov seemed so united on the issueof leaks. Mutual understanding prevailed over any discontent that mayhave been caused by the substance of the leaked documents. In any case,Russia should have been pleased to learn that the number of U.S. nuclearweapons targets on its territory is set to decline drastically over thenext decade -- in line with the Nuclear Posture Review's downgrading ofRussia as a threat.
Ivanov and Rumsfeld stressed at their joint press conference that Bushand Putin want to sign a new nuclear arms reduction treaty and that theywill do so. However, for many arms control experts the rationale andlogic behind a new treaty are far from clear. The three main issuesbetween Russia and the United States in the field of nuclear armsreduction are: the status of any treaty document, the rules for counting(including the so-called shelving of nuclear warheads) and issues ofverification and transparency.
So far, the two sides have only reached understanding on the firstissue; it seems to have been agreed that the presidents will sign a"legally binding document." This sounds good until you get into thedetails of what constitutes a legally binding document. The Putinadministration would like it to be a full treaty subject to ratificationby the Senate on the U.S. side, and the State Duma and FederationCouncil on the Russian side.
The U.S. administration would prefer an executive agreement that wouldnot be subject to ratification by the Senate. Russia's problem in thisregard is that according to the 1994 Law on Ratification ofInternational Treaties, any document dealing with national security andarms reductions must be ratified by the Duma. The Russian side ishardly likely to agree to a treaty that it must ratify fully, while theUnited States is under no such obligation.
However, the indications are that a compromise has already been reachedon this particular issue: The United States will agree to the Russianinterpretation of what is "legally binding" (in any case the Bushadministration should not have too much trouble in getting such adocument ratified) and in exchange Russia will accept U.S. countingrules, based on the Pentagon Nuclear Posture Review's definition of whatconstitutes an operationally deployed nuclear warhead. This would meanthat Russia will also put in storage rather than dismantle some of itsmissiles and warheads. Under such a compromise, verification measureswould presumably be in line with START I and II procedures, with someomissions in recognition of the fact that many of the measures areeither ineffective or excessive. A number of comments made duringIvanov's trip strongly suggest that this is to be the basic frameworkfor compromise.
However, putting the formalities aside, the question that needs to beasked is: What exactly is the purpose of Russia and the United Statessigning such a treaty? The United States seems simply to be acquiescingin Russia's and domestic arms control advocates' demands for a legallybinding treaty. Russia, the driving force behind the new treaty, ishaving difficulty explaining the rationale behind it, except for to trotout the old line about arms control being the cornerstone ofinternational stability. This traditional arms control mantra hasalready been thoroughly undermined by Russia's muted response to theUnited States giving notice of its withdrawal from the Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty.
Treaty negotiators are trying to develop a long-term document withouthaving a clear-cut rationale. As Rumsfeld put it, "The two presidentshave agreed that they would like to have something that would go beyondtheir two presidencies. ... So some sort of a document of that type iscertainly a likelihood." However given the new political realities,traditional arms control talks -- particularly bilateral ones -- seem tobe largely abstract exercises that bring to mind Hermann Hesse's "GlassBead Game." Russia's tactics in these talks prove that it still adheresto a traditional arms control approach, based heavily on parity (ornuclear balance) thinking. Due to the huge imbalance in capabilities --including nuclear arsenals -- between the United States and Russia, thisapproach can only result in further unilateral concessions by Russia,which were initiated in the 1990s by the signing of the two STARTtreaties. Putin's team cannot fail to understand this. Clinging to thisapproach, therefore, can only be interpreted as the failure of Cold Warveterans on both sides to go beyond the legacy of the Cold War -- inspite of the promising statements coming out of Moscow and Washington.
Following on from downgrading each other as threats in internaldocuments, Russia and the United States should have abandonedtraditional arms control talks in favor of developing new bilateralaccords, based primarily on building mutual confidence that their stillhuge nuclear arsenals are not intended for use against each other.However, with the deadline set for May and with overwhelmingexpectations that a new arms reduction treaty will be signed, U.S. andRussian negotiators are under a great deal of pressure to producesomething. Given the underlying rationale, the treaty they produce isunlikely to be the first treaty marking a new era in U.S.-Russianrelations and much more likely to be the last treaty of the Cold Warera.
Ivan Safranchuk, director of the Center for Defense Information's Moscowoffice, contributed this comment to The Moscow Times. return to menu
6. Russia to Disarm Even If Targeted
March 15, 2002
(for personal use only)
The Pentagon does have an optional scenario of delivering a nuclearstrike on Russia, U.S. Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted onMarch 13, speaking at a news conference after his talks with RussianDefense Minister Sergei Ivanov. No matter how hard U.S. Secretary ofState Colin Powell tried to appease the public opinion agitated over thesensational leak by The Los Angeles Times last week, Rumsfeld in factconfirmed the newspaper's story. Moreover, he called the new strategy"quite reasonable". However, Sergei Ivanov made it clear he was not atall concerned with the U. S. nuclear threat. During his visit toWashington, he has not raised the issue preferring rather to focus onU.S. President George Bush's trip to Russia scheduled for May whenRussia and the U.S., are expected to sign a legally binding agreement onradical cuts in strategic weapons. In this connection, Ivanov remarkedthat Russia might not destroy its nuclear warheads but store them away,just like Washington intends to do with its warheads. return to menu
U.S. and Russian defense leaders met reporters today and stressedprogress the two countries have made in putting decades of mistrustbehind them.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Russian Defense Minister SergeiIvanov conferred at the Pentagon and faced the press March 12-13. Ivanovalso met with President Bush March 12 and will meet with Secretary ofState Colin Powell before returning to Moscow.
Rumsfeld and Ivanov discussed the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review. In thepast week, press reports have alleged that classified versions of thereview have the United States targeting Russia and other countries withnuclear weapons. Rumsfeld said the congressionally mandated NuclearPosture Review is not an operational planning document.
"It sets out prudent requirements for deterrence in the 21st century,"he said at today's press conference. "Without getting into the details,I can say the report says nothing about targeting any country withnuclear weapons. The United States targets no country on a day-to- daybasis."
Rumsfeld said officials in the Russian Federation were briefed on thereview in January. Ivanov was briefed personally, he added.
"President Bush and President (Vladimir) Putin have said many times theUnited States and Russia are no longer adversaries," Rumsfeld said. "Itis true. Both Minister Ivanov and I have reaffirmed that in meetings thepast few days."
Ivanov echoed many of Rumsfeld's statements. He said through atranslator that he and the defense secretary are charged with helpingforge a new strategic relationship between the two countries and to"strengthen our partnership in the face of new threats and challengeswhich are emerging in the world."
He said he would like to see an agreement on cuts to offensive nuclearweapons ready for Bush and Putin to sign when they meet in May inMoscow.
"We fully realize the current realities of nuclear potentials of Russiaand the U.S. are not in line with today's realities and should be cutradically," Ivanov said. "We also believe there should be a legallybinding document that is comprehensive and understandable for the wholeworld and would also reflect the transparency between the twocountries."
Ivanov said U.S. and Russian nuclear experts have exchanged drafts ofthe agreement.
The two defense leaders also discussed the ongoing war against globalterrorism. "I thanked him for Russia's strong support and for the effortto root out terrorist networks that threaten our people and our way oflife," Rumsfeld said. "That cooperation is certainly a symbol of what ispossible between our countries."
Ivanov said a clear tie exists between Osama bin Laden's al Qaedanetwork and members of the rebel group in Chechnya. He said hisgovernment has passed names of suspected al Qaeda members to the UnitedStates. Ivanov also said the United States has given a detailed briefingon U.S. aid to the Georgian government. The aid, in the form ofequipment and training, is aimed at allowing the Georgians to stopinternational terrorists from using the Pankisi Gorge area as a haven.
Rumsfeld said the United States is not going into the Pankisi Gorge. "Weare sending over a relatively modest number of trainers to assist themin training." return to menu
C. Nuclear Terrorism
1. Makings Of A 'Dirty Bomb'
March 18, 2002
(for personal use only)
Six months ago, they were mere Cold War trash: hundreds of smallradioactive power generators scattered across the Soviet Union decadesago and largely forgotten, except when the odd lumberjack turned up withsevere radiation burns.
But in the aftermath of Sept. 11, these aging but potentially lethaldevices are being viewed in a troubling new light: as possiblecomponents in a weapon to be used in a terrorist strike. Even moretroubling, some of them have vanished.
In Georgia, on the Black Sea, a search is underway for at least two ofthe devices, called radiothermal generators, or RTGs, believed to havebeen abandoned and then stolen after the closing of a Soviet militarybase. Just before Christmas, three woodcutters in northwestern Georgiasuffered massive injuries after stumbling upon a similar device in themiddle of a forest.
In the far-eastern Russian region of Chukotka, investigators discovereda complete breakdown in controls over 85 radiothermal generators placedalong the arctic coast by the Soviets in the 1960s and '70s. Some of themachines had been vandalized for scrap metal, others were literallyfalling into the surf and at least one could not be found, according toRussian government documents obtained by The Washington Post.
"The generators are placed on open land, are clearly visible from thesea and are visited by staff no more than once a year (in recent years,staff has not visited the sites at all)," said a report by a Russiancommission that inspected the generators in 1997. "They would be easytargets for a terrorist attack, the consequences of which could beextremely serious."
Vladimir Yetylin, a legislator from Chukotka, located on the Bering Sea,said in an interview Friday that he suspected some generators were stillmissing and planned to press for an investigation.
"At the time, there was not enough money to gather up these [power]sources," said Yetylin, a member of the lower house of the Russianparliament, the State Duma, blaming the chaos that followed the collapseof the Soviet Union in 1991.
The RTGs, used by the Soviets to power navigational beacons andcommunications equipment in remote areas, each contain up to 40,000curies of highly radioactive strontium or cesium. Even a tiny fractionof a single curie of strontium has a high probability of causing a fatalcancer, according to a calculation by the Institute for Energy andEnvironmental Research (IEER), a nuclear watchdog group. While cesiumand strontium cannot be used to make nuclear weapons, the two heavymetals could contaminate large areas if combined with conventionalexplosives in a radiological weapon or "dirty bomb."
"This stuff can be just ghastly to clean up," said Federation ofAmerican Scientists President Henry Kelly, a physicist who testifiedthis month at a Senate hearing on dirty bombs. Such a bomb detonated ina large city could render several blocks uninhabitable, he added.
There are literally hundreds of places where terrorists could obtainmaterial for such a bomb, including former dumping grounds for medicalwaste in this country. But the recent discoveries in the former SovietUnion have further heightened international concerns about thepossibility of nuclear theft. The RTGs in particular offer highconcentrations of radioactivity with minimal controls -- and sometimesno controls, according to officials of the International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations.
"After the Soviet Union broke up so abruptly, the newly formed nationshad no use for these things and no infrastructure," said MelissaFleming, an IAEA spokeswoman in Vienna. "They didn't have the means oreven the information to locate, recover and dispose of them."
The IAEA classifies the Soviet RTGs as "orphaned" nuclear sources andhas called for a major international effort to find them and lock themup. "They are a problem, from the point of view of terrorism," Flemingsaid. But she added: "Since we can't find them, presumably it would behard for terrorists to find them as well."
RTGs are self-contained power sources that convert radioactive energyinto electricity. Compact and relatively small -- Soviet models arebetween two and four feet in length and weigh between 1,000 and 3,000pounds -- they are ideal for remote areas with little access totraditional fuels. The Soviets are known to have built more than 300 ofthe devices, most of them to power navigational beacons along arcticshipping lanes.
The U.S. government also built RTGs; some were used to power spacecraft,but at least 10 of the devices were installed at remote militarylistening posts in Alaska in the 1960s and '70s. After a brush firethreatened one of the devices in 1992, the Air Force began replacingthem with diesel powered generators.
In Soviet-made RTGs, the device's core typically is a flashlight-sizecapsule of strontium 90, surrounded by thick lead to absorb theradiation. When the lead cladding is intact, the generator isessentially harmless. But if the shielding were missing or cracked,someone standing nearby would receive a fatal dose of radiation withinhours, IAEA officials said.
It was the strontium core that the Georgian woodcutters discovered inDecember while working in a remote forest in the northwestern region ofAbkhazia. According to IAEA officials, the metal cylinder caught themen's attention because its heat had melted the surrounding snow.Oblivious to the risk, the men took the device back to their campsite.
Within hours the men suffered severe skin burns and internal organdamage. Nearly three months later, two of them are still critically illin hospitals in Moscow and Paris, while the third has recovered.
Last month, an international team led by the IAEA recovered thestrontium core and a sister device that had been abandoned in the samearea. Even though special one-ton lead shields were constructed for therecovery effort, the workers were allowed to approach the cores for only40 seconds at a time. The cores were trucked to the Georgian capital,Tbilisi, where they are being temporarily stored along with four othersthat have been recovered since 1998.
Still far from clear, the IAEA says, is how the cores ended up in thewoods -- or how the Georgian government eventually will dispose of them.According to the IAEA, Georgian officials are convinced that more remainunaccounted for.
"Based on inventories, we think there are two more," Fleming said. "Andthere is some information that suggests still other sources in Georgia."
In other corners of the former Soviet Union, the fact that officialsknow the location of the devices has done little to ease local safetyconcerns.
The Russian government commission that visited Chukotka in 1997 set outin ships to inspect 85 radiothermal generators believed to be scatteredalong the region's northern coast. The officials were unable to reachabout a third of the devices because of harsh terrain and bad weather.But of the 52 RTGs inspected, nearly half no longer functioned, and onlythree had any sort of fencing or protection.
The commission's report describes six of the devices as heavily damagedand leaking potentially lethal amounts of radiation. One of thegenerators was nearly buried in frozen mud, it said, a second was lyingin water and at least one could not be located.
"This lack of control means that it is entirely within the realm ofpossibility that . . . one or several RTGs might have been lost," saidthe report, signed by the province's chief health inspector, G.B.Lebedev, and chief inspector, Yuri Skobelev.
The generators had long sparked concern among local health officials andinternational wildlife groups worried about the potential for radiationleaks. But even before the Sept. 11 attacks, environmentalists whovisited the region expressed concern about the apparent lack of securityfor the devices.
"It was just sitting in a wooden hutch -- I could have walked right upto it," said David Kleine, director of the World Wildlife Fund's Alaskafield office, who passed within a few yards of one of the generatorsduring a 1991 Bering Sea trip.
Still, there is an enormous difference between finding an abandonedgenerator and successfully carting it away to create a weapon, nuclearexperts say. IEER President Arjun Makhijani said an amateur tamperingwith such a device would put his own life in peril. But for someone withproper training and a bent for terror, the generators could be a meansfor inflicting significant harm.
"If you don't know what you are doing, it will kill you first,"Makhijani said. "But if you know what you're doing, it will do anextreme amount of damage." return to menu
2. Despite New Tools, Detecting Nuclear Material Is Doubtful
New York Times
March 18, 2002
(for personal use only)
Since Sept. 11, the federal government has sharply increased support forresearch into advanced sensors that could detect nuclear weapons orso-called dirty bombs if they fall into the hands of terrorists in theUnited States.
Last week, several national laboratories unveiled an ultrasensitivehand-held radiation detector weighing 10 pounds that could join bomb-sniffing dogs as an essential tool for emergency response teams. Butnuclear terrorism experts say that even the latest detectiontechnologies - and others that are the focus of research - faceforbidding odds. Ultimately, the experts said, all detectors are likelyto meet a brick wall imposed by the laws of physics.
Without intelligence information to narrow the search, "needle in ahaystack" is far too mild a phrase, said Dr. Steven Fetter, a physicistand security expert who is a professor of public policy at theUniversity of Maryland. "If you tell me there's a warhead in New York,it's just hopeless," Dr. Fetter said. "You just hope you never get tothe point where you have to track down one of these in a city."
The question that the post-Sept. 11 world has put to security officialsis in a sense simple: If terrorists with nuclear material were loose inthe United States, how would anyone know, and how could such weapons behunted down if the nation knew they were out there, somewhere?
The question is not hypothetical. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda havemade recent efforts to obtain nuclear materials, and a senioradministration official said in an interview that the government hadbeen forced to deploy its Nuclear Emergency Search Team in the monthssince the World Trade Center attacks. The official would not elaborate,saying only that the NEST deployments had taken place in the UnitedStates.
To anyone without a background in nuclear physics, the answers may beunexpected and more than a little disconcerting. The question boils downto whether the radiation emitted from an illicit weapon would announceits presence to state-of-the- art detectors, allowing the material to befound and a horrific act stopped. Several facts of physics make such asearch overwhelming at best.
The first problem may be obvious. A sophisticated terrorist could shielda bomb in a radiation blocking material like lead. On the positive side,the shield might have to be so bulky that a terrorist could not movequickly without being noticed.
But some of the most dangerous nuclear materials, those that could beused in an atomic bomb, are not very radioactive, giving searcherslittle to go on. Moreover, earth's natural radiation can easily mask adistant radiation source's signal.
Scientists seem to agree that arrays of permanent nuclear detectorsshould be deployed in heavily populated areas and politically andsymbolically important buildings. But they add that the nation also hasto promote tight controls on nuclear materials, some of which havecommon industrial and medicinal uses.
"We plainly need to take a new look at the procedures by which peopleobtain these high levels of radioactive material," said Dr. Henry Kelly,president of the Federation of American Scientists, who spoke at aSenate hearing this month. "The risks are quite high."
The threats from radioactive materials come in two forms. One, the dirtybomb, would use a conventional explosive to disperse a radioactivematerial to sow terror and cause health problems, including cancer.Dirty bombs would rely on substances like radioactive cesium, cobalt,iridium and strontium that are used to kill pathogens in food processingplants, as probes to test welds and pipelines and in many medicaltreatments.
All those materials are intense emitters of gamma rays, a kind ofhigh-energy version of X-rays. While gamma rays are what make thematerials useful for medicine and industry, extremely high doses canalso increase the cancer risk in people.
The hand-held Cryo3 detector, based on the radiation-sensitive elementgermanium, wasdeveloped to find gamma ray "fingerprints" of such materials in acollaboration between three Energy Department national laboratories:Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore. Germanium is notonly highly sensitive to gamma rays; it also determines their preciseenergies. Since each type of radioactive material emits different gammaray energies, "you can make a much more informed decision about whatyour next step might be," said Michael O'Connell, a program leader inthe National Nuclear Security Administration.
Germanium detectors are generally bulky, laboratory-scale devices, Mr.O'Connell said. Because of several technical advances, including aminiaturized cooling engine for the germanium, the new system could beused by urban bomb squads as well as NEST groups, he said.
Since Sept. 11, the security administration's annual budget for nuclearsensor development has been doubled, to $20 million. A spokeswomanestimated that federal laboratories are spending another $14 million to$18 million on the problem.
Much deadlier, and harder to obtain, would be nuclear bombs based onuranium or plutonium. Experts' worst nightmare is that a small nuclearweapon from the former Soviet arsenal would be smuggled into the UnitedStates.
These elements are relatively feeble emitters of gamma rays, as Dr.Richard A. Muller, a professor of physics at the University ofCalifornia at Berkeley, points out. The trick in detecting them is tolook for neutrons, subatomic particles with no electrical charge.Neutrons are difficult to detect.
The government is working on improved and more mobile neutron detectors,Mr. O'Connell said.
Even before the new advances, the nation was not without a capacity torespond quickly to potential nuclear threats. The NEST squads areoutfitted with equipment like belt-clip detectors the size of pagers andmore powerful sensors in vehicles.
How likely is it that a team could detect a dirty bomb or small nuclearweapon in a van taking Interstate 95 to Washington? Dr. Frank N. vonHippel, a physicist who teaches science policy at Princeton University,said Russia and the United States ran a joint exercise in 1989 thatfound that under ideal conditions warheads could be detected from morethan 200 feet away. "They showed that U.S. and Soviet warheads werequite detectable," Dr. von Hippel said. "That might not necessarily betrue for a terrorist warhead."
But given the uncertainty surrounding the unthinkable prospect of achase for loose nuclear weapons or dirty bombs, most authorities agreethat the sole airtight solution is to control the materials at theirsource.
"The moral of the story is you lock up nuclear materials as well as youcan lock them up," said Dr. Fetter, of the University of Maryland. "Onceyou let them get out, the problem is a thousand times harder." return to menu
D. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Russia Prepares To Build Up Its Own Antimissile System
March 19, 2002
(for personal use only)
Within the next few years, Russia will completely restore its nationalearly warning system for preventing missile attacks, "Izvestiya"reported on 18 March. Speaking the same day at the collegium of theRussian Agency for Guidance Systems (RASU), agency director VladimirSimonov said Russia has already finished assembling the Volga radarstation near Baranavichy in Belarus, modernized the central controlstation of the Space Troops at Serpukhov-15, and successfully tested itsS-400 air-defense missile system. Simonov also said that his agency'sbudget was increased last year by 25 percent. "Izvestiya" commented thatthe measures show that Russia is about to deploy its own antimissiledefense system to counter that planned by the United States. return to menu
The construction of the first Russian fifth-generation nuclear-poweredsubmarine from the Borey series is nearing completion in Severodvinsk.Northern Fleet Commander Admiral Gennadiy Suchkov told reporters todaythat the strategic nuclear-powered missile-armed submarine YuriDolgoruky will join the Northern Fleet. According to Suchkov, the Moscowgovernment has been participating in the construction of the newestnuclear-powered submarine on equal terms.
Construction of the main fifth-generation nuclear-powered submarine YuriDolgoruky began at the Sevmashpredpriyatiye shipyard in Severodvinsk inOctober 1996. This series of strategic missile-armed submarines wasgiven the name Borey. According to experts, a cruiser of the Boreyfamily will lag somewhat behind Russian nuclear-powered submarines ofthe preceding generation of the Typhoon class, but will surpass themconsiderably in the power of its missile armaments. Regarding its combatcapabilities, the Yuri Dolgoruky surpasses existing vessels of its classtwice or thrice over, and even some promising submarines, because of itslow noise level and other parameters that make it difficult to detect inthe waters of the world's oceans, even from space.
Strategic missile-carrying nuclear-powered submarines of the Boreyfamily will be the mainstay of the Russian navy in the 21st centurytogether with the multipurpose strike nuclear-powered submarines of thenewest series, the main vessel of which is the Gepard nuclear-poweredsubmarine that joined the navy in December of last year.
The navy's commander-in-chief, Vladimir Kuroyedov, believes that, "giventhat the role of the submarine fleet in the country's defence strategyis increasing, the Russian navy should be armed with 12-15 strategic,and about 50 multipurpose, nuclear-powered submarines". Fournuclear-powered submarines of the newest designs are currently on thestocks at Severodvinsk in accordance with the state order. return to menu
E. Russian Nuclear Industry
1. Russian Region Investing In Nuclear Power Station
March 14, 2002
(for personal use only)
R700m will be invested in the construction of a fast-neutron unit(BN-800) of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in Sverdlovsk Region thisyear, Sverdlovsk governor Eduard Rossel said at a Thursday [14 March]press conference at the Interfax main office.
"The construction of the new unit, a BN-800, with a cost of 1.2bndollars, began last year," Rossel said. It will take 9-10 years to buildthe unit.
The fast-neutron units of the Beloyarsk plant are "unique", Rossel said."There are similar units in France and Japan, but they are idle, as theycannot start them up," Rossel stressed. There is a plan for theconstruction of a fast-neutron unit with a capacity of 1,000 MW. TheBeloyarsk plant has three units, one of which (BN-600) is functioningand two of which are out of operation, the Rosenergoatom concernreports.
A plan to build a power line between the Beloyarsk plant and theMalyshev emerald mine, which may also produce up to 20,000 t ofmagnesium in future, has been drafted, Rossel said. "The power line willsupply electricity directly from the nuclear power plant," he noted. return to menu
1. Russia Begins Work On Indian Nuclear Plant
March 15, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia has started building a nuclear power station in the Indian cityof Kudankulam, hoping to complete the first stage of work in late March,general director of Atomstroyeksport, Russia's nuclear facilities makerabroad, Viktor Kozlov, has told Interfax.
"Contracts with the Indian side have been signed and the station isalready under construction. By 31 March, the plant's undergroundpipeline will be ready," said he, adding that "the foundation for it hasbeen prepared".
"Russian plants have already started assembling equipment for the Indiannuclear power station," said Kozlov
The Elektrosila plant and the Leningradskiy Metallicheskiy Zavod(belonging to the Power Machines concern in St Petersburg) will make aturbogenerator and a steam turbine for the station's No 1 unit.
Izhorskiye Zavody (St Petersburg), incorporated in the ObyedinennyyeMashinostroitelnyye Zavody holding, are busy with the reactor's casingand other equipment for the Kudankulam plant.
In all, Kozlov said, about 300 Russian enterprises will supply equipmentfor the Indian station, which will take 6-8 years to build.
The Russian-Indian contract to install two nuclear units of theVVER-1000 type at the Kudankulam station was signed in Moscow on 6October 2001.
The plant will be constructed using a Russian blueprint in keeping witha 1988 intergovernmental agreement between the former USSR and India.The Kudankulam station will use IAEA guarantees.
According to Russia's Nuclear Power Ministry, a unit similar to those tobe constructed in India costs 1.5bn-2bn dollars to build. return to menu
1. Defense Minister Says He Is Concerned About Iraqi Nukes
March 18, 2002
(for personal use only)
Defense Minister Ivanov said Russia suspects Iraq may be developingnuclear weapons. "We calculate that there might be a problem in Iraqwith weapons of mass destruction," Ivanov said. "That's why we supportstrongly the idea that a huge team of international monitors should goto Iraq, investigate whatever they wish [and] finally have a clearanswer: yes, or no." Ivanov, however, evaded questions about whetherMoscow would support the United States if Washington decides tooverthrow Saddam Hussein. "The problem is not with Saddam Hussein. Theproblem is with weapons of mass destruction," Ivanov said. return to menu
H. Links of Interest
1. Secretary Rumsfeld Joint Press Conference With Russian Defense MinisterIvanov
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