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Nuclear News - 3/31/2006
RANSAC Nuclear News, March 31, 2006
Compiled By: Roman Sehling

A.  Russia - Iran
    1. Geiger Counter Pointed at Iran, Kommersant (3/31/2006)
    2. Berlin Picks Up Iranian Tracks, Aleksandr Zorin, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (3/29/2006)
B.  Russia - India
    1. Russian Nuclear Fuel for Tarapur, Swapna Kona, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (3/27/2006)
C.  International Nuclear Fuel Centers
    1. Russia Picks Site for New Nuclear Center, Yuriy Humber , Moscow Times (3/29/2006)
D.  Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
    1. A breeder apart, Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times (3/29/2006)
E.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Russia: Techsnabexport Says Palmco Has No Legal Grounds For Lawsuit , Interfax (3/28/2006)
    2. China to help Russia develop floating nuclear power plants , RIA Novosti (3/28/2006)
F.  Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Bush White House requests a $43m decrease in CTR funding, Charles Digges, Bellona Foundation (3/27/2006)
    2. U.S. confronts issue of 'loose nukes' on several fronts, John Diamond, USA Today (3/26/2006)
    3. Preventing Catastrophic Nuclear Terrorism, Charles D. Ferguson , Council on Foreign Relations (3/26/2006)
G.  G8 Global Partnership
    1. Nonproliferation: a priority of Russia's G8 Presidency, RIA Novosti (3/31/2006)
H.  Plutonium Disposition
    1. Russians balk on light-water reactor deal, United Press International (3/29/2006)
I.  Biological Weapons
    1. Defense agency's effort to secure Soviet pathogens grows,  David Francis, Government Executive (3/29/2006)
J.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
    1. Russia Confirmed Its Willingness To Destroy Its Chemical Weapons on Schedule, RIA Novosti (3/29/2006)
    2. Russia, UK to sign agreement on chemical arms disposal, Russia & CIS Military Newswire (3/29/2006)
K.  Nuclear Forces
    1. Russia: Commander Says Aircraft Nuclear Forces at 'Proper Technical Level' , ITAR-TASS (3/30/2006)
    2. Vice Premier and Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov: 'It Is No Big Deal That I Personally Do Not Know How a Howitzer Works', Izvestia (3/28/2006)
L.  Official Statements
    1. United States, Allies Building Layered Defense Against WMD, Broad strategy seeks to deny terrorists nuclear, chemical, biological weapons, U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs (3/29/2006)
    2. U.S. Sees Spread of Nuclear Weapons Greatest Security Challenge, State official highlights efforts to stop Iran, North Korea nuclear programs, U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs (3/29/2006)

A.  Russia - Iran

Geiger Counter Pointed at Iran
(for personal use only)

A meeting of the heads of the foreign offices of Germany, Russia, the United States, France, Great Britain and China took place yesterday in Berlin. The ministers once again tried to find a way to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem. A day earlier, the UN Security Council issued a joint statement requiring Iran to stop its work on the enrichment of uranium within 30 days. Iran responded that it will not renounce its peaceful atomic program. The U.S. has stepped up pressure on Iran's main defenders China and Russia.
Joint Statement

In the latest round of negotiations in Berlin, five high officials took part, representing the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. They long ago divided into two camps. Iran's defenders, China and Russia, are against the imposition of any sanctions on Iran. Before leaving for Berlin, Russian Foreign Minister again stated that a strategic settlement of the Iranian problem “should depend on the proposals of the IAEA… The only topic at the Berlin meeting should remain nonproliferation, and no forcible solution can be supported.” The anti-Iranian camp – the U.S., Germany, France and Great Britain – do not rule out harsh sanctions against Iran if it does not declare a moratorium on the enrichment of uranium.

The Berlin meeting was the logical continuation of the signing of the joint statement by the UN Security Council the day before. The text of the document, which was cosponsored by France and Britain, was discussed for three weeks and underwent significant changes. The position of Russia and China was the main cause of discord. Those countries strove for the greatest possible moderation of the document's language. Moscow and Beijing are concerned that reporting Iran to the Security Council would push Iran into leaving the International Atomic Energy Agency, as Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to do. Therefore, Moscow and Beijing insisted that the IAEA, and not the UN Security Council, address the Iranian issue.

After the latest round of “brainstorming” last Tuesday, when representative of the same six countries met five times, they were able to conciliate the document. Russia and China succeeded in having the UN Security Council joint statement give the main role in resolving the crisis to the IAEA, and no mention was made of sanctions against Tehran. The deadline for Iran to meet the IAEA requirements was also extended from 14 to 30 days. Mention was preserved in the text of the fact that the Security Council is responsible for maintaining world peace, however.

The UN Security Council statement calls on Iran to stop all activity connected with the enrichment of uranium, including research, fully and for a long period. In addition, Iran should actively cooperate with the IAEA y giving the agency full access to its scientists, locations and documents relating to atomic development. In the case that Tehran chooses not to meet the IAEA requirements, no harsh, or even mild, measures are foreseen in the Security Council statement.

U.S. Tactics

Russian diplomats in New York assessed the joint statement as a victory and a “reproach to pessimists” who considered it impossible to remove mention of sanctions from the document. Moscow has thus succeeded in delaying a final decision on the Iranian problem. The participants in the conflict still have no long-term plan of action. “Russia has asked the representatives of the other countries many times what they intend to do after Iran's 30-day deadline runs out, but we haven't gotten an answer yet,” a Russian diplomat in New York told Kommersant.

For the U.S., however, the signing of the joint statement is an important step in the resolution of the Iran problem. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the passage of the statement signifies that the international community is unified in its concern over the Iranian nuclear program.

Kommersant has been told by sources close to the State Department that the U.S. administration was satisfied with the interim text, since the White House has decided not to insist on harsh measures against Iran but to create an alliance of countries that would in a short time reach a decision on imposing sanctions on Tehran.

The signing of the statement was also important to Washington as a chance to show voters that the world is behind the U.S. plan. “There are only eight months to very important congressional elections and the administration has so many domestic problems. Arguing with Russia would just be one more problem,” a high American official commented to Kommersant.

He was referring to possible Democratic criticism of White House policy toward the Kremlin. “The Russian view on the crisis in Iran was well known in Washington. Discussion of the Iran dossier in the UN led one way or another to a resolution condemning Tehran. Russian could have used its veto, but wasn't likely to. But we didn't want to put Russia in a difficult position either,” said David Rivkin. The U.S. was even less willing to spoil relations with Russia before the St. Petersburg G8 summit.

“But if Russia begins to block international diplomatic efforts to solve the Iran problem, Washington will reconsider it relations with Moscow, whatever it costs the current White House,” an U.S. administration source told Kommersant. Washington intends to use the stick-and-carrot approach to Moscow. On the day the UN Security Council statement was signing, U.S. President George W. Bush confirmed his plants to attend the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. He also stated that the main topic he intends to discuss there is the defects of Russian democracy. Dr. Condoleezza Rice read at lecture on the shortcomings of Russian democracy at a conference entitled “American Society and International Law.” “The best defense against an autocratic government in Russia is observation of the balance between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of power,” she declared.

Iranian Tactics

Several hours after the signing of the joint statement, the Iranian representative at the UN Ali Asgar Soltanieh stated that “the Iranian decision to renew enrichment of uranium and to continue scientific research in that field is nonreversible.”

Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program has an exclusively peaceful nature. According to Iranian Foreign Minister Manocher Mottaki, Tehran will never renounce its right to a “peaceful atomic program.” Moreover, he proposed establishing a “regional center” for uranium enrichment “under the aegis of the IAEA” to include “countries of the region that want to develop their civilian programs.”

Thus the Iranians have nullified Russia's “diplomatic successes.” First Tehran rejected the Russian proposal to establish a joint enterprise approved by the West to enrich uranium. Then, after Russia exerted great effort to have the deadline for Iran's compliance with IAEA requirements extended from 14 to 30 day, the Iranians called the month's deadline a “bad step” and stated that it still does not intend to stop uranium enrichment.

The impression arises that Iran is not interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Apparently Iran is convinced that the US does not want to a third battlefront in the region. And so it is fearlessly and aggressively provoking Washington.

Large-scale military naval exercises begin today in Iran. “The navy and air force of Revolutionary Guards Corps will hold exercises in conjunction with regular army and police units from March 31 to April 6 in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman,” Mostafa Safari, commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps reported. “Our goal is to prepare the armed forces to repel any threat.” There will be more than 17,000 soldiers and sailor, 1500 ships of various type, fighter jets, helicopters and missiles in use in the exercises. “About 80 percent of Persian Gulf oil is exported through that gulf, over which we have dominant control,” Safari continued. “If our opponents want to make that zone insecure, they should know they too will suffer from that, since we know where their ships are.”

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Berlin Picks Up Iranian Tracks
Aleksandr Zorin
Rossiyskaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

The German Prosecutor's Office has discovered a network of companies that are supplying Iran with equipment that can be used in nuclear research.

Benedikt Welfens, official spokesman for the Potsdam Prosecutor's Office, has reported this. And the majority of deliveries were allegedly carried out through firms located in Russia. The investigation suspects seven persons of organizing these deals and the majority of these persons are Russian citizens. Welfens did not specify where the suspects are at this precise moment. However, he let it be understood that they will all be placed on the wanted list.

According to the spokesman of the German law-enforcement bodies, in 2004-2005 Iran allegedly received from Germany electronic equipment, transformers, special cables, and pumps worth a total of several million euros. The deliveries took place via Russia. Six small German companies were engaged in these transactions via a dummy firm which was based in Berlin. This company, in its turn, sent the equipment to the address of a dummy firm in Moscow.

In the course of the investigation, German customs officers searched the offices of more than 40 companies . And approximately 2 million euros was confiscated together with equipment which, the investigation assumes, was intended to be sent to Iran. The German Prosecutor's Office intends to contact the Russian authorities in order to continue the investigation.

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B.  Russia - India

Russian Nuclear Fuel for Tarapur
Swapna Kona
Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
(for personal use only)

The Russian initiative in promising low enriched uranium fuel for the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) is evoking mixed reactions. On March 17, 2006, Russian Premier Mikhail Fradkov sealed the deal with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and entered into talks for supplying nuclear equipment for the construction of the Kundakulam plant in Tamil Nadu, expected to go critical by 2008.

The prospect of supplying nuclear fuel to India is considered vital for picking up the thread of Indo-Russian civil nuclear co-operation. As one of the members of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Russia is bound by the group's restrictions on nuclear trade with India. As this deal is safety related, that would make the sale permissible under the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in Russia's view. Russia will be supplying 60 tonnes of uranium to the safeguarded TAPS 1 and 2 under the safety exception clause. It has responded to New Delhi's demands for "urgent and limited supplies of uranium fuel to enable the Tarapur reactor to function in safe and reliable conditions" according to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs). Analysts say that India would be otherwise forced to shut down operations at the Tarapur plant by June or July if it does not get supplies from Russia.

Critics worry that this action will further erode international rules governing nuclear proliferation. Russia's decision was apparently spurred by the US determination last year to share civilian nuclear technology with India, which signals a flood of countries looking to trade in nuclear goods outside international treaties. "This is the first salvo," Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said on Monday (20 Mar). "China could be next in trying to propose a similar loophole for Pakistan." Indians disagree that Russia's decision is linked with the US-India agreement. During a visit to Moscow in December 2005, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also said that resolving the Tarapur situation was not linked to the India-U.S. nuclear deal.

Nevertheless, the importance of Indo-Russian strategic ties to underpin the Russian initiative is not to be underestimated. In an effort to underscore the importance of India's ties with Russia, Manmohan Singh had briefed President Putin about the US-India nuclear deal. Hence, the TAPS deal signals a strong revival of India's established civil nuclear energy co-operation with Russia.

However, Russia will only be able to undertake nuclear supplies to India when the American-supported move to relax existing NSG guidelines for India comes about. The Indo-US deal will act as an enabling agreement to resume Indo-Russian civil nuclear energy co-operation. Russia had provided a consignment of core enriched uranium for Tarapur five years ago which invited severe criticism from leading NSG members, including the US. When he met Mr. Fradkov on Thursday, Prime Minister Singh sought Russian support in the NSG for expeditious changes in the guidelines to accommodate India for civil nuclear energy co-operation. This effort will consolidate the bilateral defence co-operation that has been the traditional strength of the relationship.

The US acknowledges India's energy requirements for a growing economy and an expanding infrastructure but is uneasy with the response to this development. "We think the proper sequencing would be that if India needs nuclear fuel for its reactors at Tarapur...the proper way to do this would be to have the US Congress act and hopefully change our laws, have the NSG, more particularly, act and change NSG practices, and then countries - US, France, Russia - would be free to engage, at that point, in civil nuclear trade with India," Mr. Nicholas Burns, US Under Secretary of Political Affairs, said.

It is important for India to fulfill its obligations under the Indo-US deal on civil nuclear co-operation. The Russian initiative is being viewed by the US as a spanner in the works, which is "trying to solve the issue on a long-term basis and is "committed to providing a regular supply of fuel through the NSG," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.

India, however, insists that the proposed sale does not violate any international law and is within the framework of the NSG guidelines, a sentiment echoed by the Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who was on a visit to India. "We are cooperating on this matter. We have served this issue within international framework and it does not contradict international commitments," he said.

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C.  International Nuclear Fuel Centers

Russia Picks Site for New Nuclear Center
Yuriy Humber
Moscow Times
(for personal use only)

Russia has picked the town of Angarsk as the site for its international nuclear fuel service center, part of an initiative to assume a greater role in the international nuclear processing industry, a government official said Monday.

The Federal Atomic Energy Agency will seek approval from the international nuclear watchdog to have an existing chemicals plant in Angarsk certified as an international service center, an agency spokesman said by telephone.

The Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Complex already houses uranium conversion and enrichment facilities.

The proposed location comes to light two months after President Vladimir Putin first pitched Russia as a site for one of a handful of international centers -- to be overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency -- to provide a full cycle of processing services on behalf of other countries.

Putin's proposal coincided with international concerns over Iran's plans to commence nuclear enrichment.

"Angarsk would not accommodate all the elements of the international program. But, it could deal with [uranium] enrichment," among other processing functions, agency spokesman Sergei Novikov said. The training of personnel to operate nuclear power plants and the setting up of waste storage facilities would be located elsewhere, he said.

Should Angarsk receive final approval from the IAEA, it is likely to be presented by Russia at the Group of Eight meeting this summer as its site of choice for a full-cycle processing facility.

In addition to Russia's proposals, G8 heads of state are also expected to look at a U.S. initiative focusing on recycling nuclear waste, dubbed the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP.

During a recent visit to Moscow, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman invited Russia to give financial and technological know-how to the GNEP.

"Essentially, it's now for Presidents Putin and Bush to work out at the G8 meeting how the two initiatives will work together. Then we'll see progress on setting up the centers," a source close to the federal agency said.

The Angarsk plant, situated 100 kilometers west of Lake Baikal, already offers conversion and enrichment facilities, exporting about half of its production to countries including the United States, Europe, China and Japan. The complex employs about 6,300 people, according to its web site.

"Many thought one of the closed towns in the Urals or Krasnoyarsk would be picked," said Alexander Pikayev, a nuclear issues expert at the Institute of World Economics and International Relations.

In its favor is Angarsk's close proximity to sizeable energy resources, he added.

As international efforts continue to dissuade Iran from domestic uranium enrichment, the Angarsk chemical plant could also feature in the proposal for a Russian-Iranian joint venture to solve that problem, sources close to the federal agency said.

In that venture, Russia would be willing to cede partial financial control of the Angarsk operation but would not allow access to the technological side. This would reduce the risk of proliferation, the sources said.

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D.  Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

A breeder apart
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
(for personal use only)

At the beginning of this year, Indian and US negotiators were at loggerheads over which bits and pieces of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) should be stamped ‘civilian’ or ‘military’. The DAE and its fellow-travellers swaddled India’s prototype breeder reactor in the tricolour. It was, they said, in supreme national interest to keep the reactor from prying foreign eyes. Washington’s insistence on placing the breeder under IAEA inspection was an attempt to get a hold of Indian knowhow. “They want our technology,” was the cry.

This sounded credible if only because US officials were making similar noises. Two years ago, after touring Indian reactors, US Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield said, “There are things the US can learn from the DAE.” In addition, during the separation talks, the Bush administration announced the Global Nuclear Energy Programme (GNEP), though the US lacked a crucial component: a fast breeder reactor.

For DAE old-timers all this was proof positive that the nuclear deal was all about perfidious America. The US wanted to pinch or sabotage the breeder. They insisted the breeder not be safeguarded. Atomic swadeshis like R. Chidambaram and A.N. Prasad received the backing of nuclear hawks who saw the breeder as the means to fulfil their 5,000-warhead fantasies.

At one level, the negotiations were about India’s political establishment trying to come to grips with a global nuclear order in transition.

On one side was the DAE. It had a mindset created by 30 years of technology sanctions and petty harassment by the US. Chidambaram, for example, famously had false physics data fed to him by the US in the Sixties to skewer progress on India’s bombs. Anti-Americanism was ingrained. US officials involved in the talks admitted, “We’re paying for our past record.”

On the other side were parts of the foreign ministry and Manmohan Singh. They recognised that a new India, with a high octane economy, could not afford a nuclear programme that struggled to produce electricity. They understood that GNEP offered a chance for India to break out of the old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty-based nuclear order. And the key to entry into GNEP as a charter member was opening the breeder to international cooperation.

Why is the breeder so crucial to GNEP? The NPT-based nuclear order was based on a crude trade-off. The nuclear haves kept a monopoly on nuclear weapons. They provided nuclear power knowhow to the have-nots. The latter, in return, promised not to build weapons. What Iraq, Iran and North Korea showed was that the NPT system transferred 95 per cent of the nuclear fuel cycle even to a have-not. So it wasn’t hard to dump the safeguards and finish the cycle and get an A-bomb.

GNEP is the same trade-off revisited. Under this, the nuclear haves handle most of the fuel cycle on their own soil. Have-nots only receive plutonium fuel rods for their power reactors. The nonproliferation risk is minimised. To further keep the nukes unloose, GNEP envisages have countries using fast breeder reactors that generate only small amounts of excess plutonium and the have-nots using small, proliferation-proof reactors.

To be a nuclear have under GNEP, you need to have a plutonium surplus to export. That means functional breeders or plenty of dismantled atom bombs. The obvious supplier States are the present five NPT nuclear powers and Japan. “India, Canada and South Korea are members who can get in if they get their breeder act together,” said an Indian official. The US has an embarrassing problem: it abandoned research on GNEP-type fast breeders in the mid-Nineties.

Which is where the Indian breeder comes in. The US doesn’t need Indian technology, whatever the DAE thinks. But to put together the regulatory and safety regime for a new type of experimental reactor is a nightmare in the US, especially post-Three Mile Island. Some experts believe this alone could take several years. And then let’s not forget litigation by green groups.

If India and the US pooled their breeder reactor capabilities, they could both cash in when GNEP comes to fruition a decade or so from now. India would be a GNEP nuclear have. Both could carve up, with France, Russia and Japan, the multi-billion dollar nuclear energy market that will arise in the 21st century.

Without safeguards, the Indian breeder is off-limits to cooperation with any country. But, by declaring that any future civilian breeder would be open to “international cooperation”, the Singh government paves the way for a second breeder that could be made jointly with the US specifically for GNEP. The result: India goes from being the do-goody nuclear outsider to a founder-member of the new nuclear order.

DAE has to introspect. The past three decades have been its heroic age. It succeeded in building a nuclear deterrent for India despite US-led sanctions and a determination not to take the A.Q. Khan path. “Never forget that in 30 years, not one DAE official ever defected or was turned by a foreign country,” says a retired Indian diplomat.

Today it needs to begin its entrepreneurial age. DAE’s focus should be on how to contribute to the new India economy. Opportunities abound: GNEP requires new nuclear gadgets like breeder tech, foolproof high-temperature gas reactors and secure fuel rod transport methods. When Merrifield said the US could learn from India, he was talking about the DAE’s reactor management techniques. Is it time for a Bharat Nuclear Services Limited? The DAE needs to work out modalities of integrating India into the global atomic market. The Tatas and Reliance are reportedly in talks with international majors about entering the nuclear power business.

The atomic establishment has a model: the Indian Space Research Organisation. Isro carried its own, albeit far less complicated, separation into civilian and military halves about three years ago. It is widely seen as a globally competitive space enterprise. Its turnover matches the Russian programme. It produces satellite clean rooms at one-fiftieth the cost of Nasa’s. Isro benchmarks itself against international standards and rigorously peer reviews its staff.

Though it suffered from US sanctions, Isro uses a US firm to peddle its satellite images. It’s set to get access to the US satellite launching market and its former head, K. Kasturirangan, recently said he expected Indo-US joint space missions. Unsurprisingly, polls show Indians putting Rakesh Sharma and Kalpana Chawla among their top ten Indian heroes. Sadly, a far greater mind like Homi Bhabha today barely makes it into single digits.

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E.  Nuclear Industry

China to help Russia develop floating nuclear power plants
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Excerpt from report by Russian news agency RIA Novosti

Beijing, 28 March: China is ready to cooperate with Russia in implementing a Russian project for the construction of floating nuclear power plants, deputy head of the international cooperation department of the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom) Vitaliy Ryabov told journalists today.

A Rosatom delegation is taking part in the 9th China International Nuclear Industry Exhibition 2006, which opened in Beijing today.

"The Chinese side is speaking openly about its readiness to cooperate in this area (construction of floating nuclear power plants), including in terms of investment," Ryabov said.

"China has an extensive programme in the field of developing atomic energy, and research is being actively pursued in this area," he said. "We see China as one of our most promising partners in the field of civilian atomic energy." (Passage omitted)

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Russia: Techsnabexport Says Palmco Has No Legal Grounds For Lawsuit
(for personal use only)

Russian state-owned company Techsnabexport, a nuclear materials exporter,
says the lawsuit filed against it by U.S. Palmco Corporation does not have any
legal grounds and is an attempt to put pressure on the company, Techsnabexport
said in a statement.

"Techsnabexport were surprised to learn about the lawsuit filed by U.S.
company Palmco, which claims Techsnabexport is trying to force the company out
of contracts to provide nuclear fuel to Korea," the statement said.
Palmco's statement that it is being forced out of the South-Korean market
does not have any basis, the Russian company said.

Techsnabexport has not yet received a summons, which according to
international regulations can only be served through the authorized Russian
government body. Once the company has received a summons in the proper way, it
will take the relevant steps, it said.

Techsnabexport is confident that the dispute will be settled soon and has
confirmed its readiness to continue supplying nuclear materials to South Korean

The Russian company is also ready to continue working with Palmco in
implementing contracts on nuclear material supplies to South Korea. In its
statement, Techsnabexport gives various examples of occasions in which Palmco's
actions were fraught with harming the Russian company's reputation.

As earlier reported, Palmco Corp on February 24 filed a lawsuit with a
California court, claiming that Techsnabexport violated contract terms. Palmco
claimed that the Russian company was acting incorrectly against its U.S.
partner and threatening the company's very existence.

Palmco accused Techsnabexport of deliberately disrupting supplies under a
number of contracts, the refusal to ship enriched uranium under one contract
and to carry out an option shipment of 100 tonnes of uranium under another, the
refusal to pay Palmco a commission under a uranium enrichment contract, and
other violations.

Techsnabexport is a leading world supplier of nuclear fuel cycle goods and

Palmco is an agent in trading between the U.S., Russia, the countries of the
Asia-Pacific Region, Australia, and Chile. Since 1988, it has been engaged in
ensuring shipments of enriched uranium to Korea and related services.

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F.  Cooperative Threat Reduction

Bush White House requests a $43m decrease in CTR funding
Charles Digges
Bellona Foundation
(for personal use only)

The Bush White House has handed down a significantly reduced budget request for fiscal year 2007 for the Department of Defense’s Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme for securing nuclear weapons materials in Russia, proposing an overall 10 percent cut in funding.

The White House request for CTR in fiscal year 2007 is $372.2m versus the $415.5m it requested last year, representing a decrease of $43m. The Budget request has yet to come before US Congress for approval.

Analysts have said that the downward spiral in CTR funding will likely continue as many of CTR’s projects near the end of their projected terms.

While some projects run by CTR will be receiving a boost in the 2007 budget request, many—like warhead security— are also being drained as their project terms reach expiration.

Nonetheless, analysts with the Russian-America Nuclear Security Advisory Council (RANSAC) indicated in their break down of the budget, that: “It is increasingly clear that the CTR budget is likely to decline dramatically in coming years as major projects wrap up, and that Russia will be a decreasing focus of the future of CTR.”

CTR expansion outside of Russia

Indeed, the past two CTR budgets have included some $40m to $50m for nuclear security projects undertaken outside Russia and the former Soviet republics. Senator Richard Lugar, who with former Senator Sam Nunn, wrote the Nunn-Lugar act, which is the foundation of the CTR programme, has long expressed his desire to translate lessons learned in Russia to other states posing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threats.

Some of the budget highlights pointed out in RANSAC’s analysis include a reduction from 2006’s $108m to $42.7m in 2007 in Russian chemical weapons destruction; a $13m increase from 2006’s $74.1m appropriation to improve security at Russia nuclear warhead storage sites; a reduction in Russian strategic arms elimination from $78.9m to $77m and a cut from 2006’s budget of $40.6m to $37.5m toward efforts to improve border security and interdict smuggling of WMD materials along the land and sea borders of selected non-Russian former Soviet republics.

Three trends in the CTR budget proposal from Bush

The RANSAC analysis identified three trends in the current White House budget proposal for 2007: “The declining centrality of WMD security and elimination in Russia, continuing difficulties in working cooperatively with Russian entities and a potentially significant contraction of the CTR budget in coming years.

Of the three primary Russia focused threat reduction programmes, two—chemical weapons destruction and warhead security—will begin to wind down significantly over the next two years as these projects meet their 2008 deadlines, the RANSAC report said. Eliminating Russian Strategic delivery systems—such as missile launchers and silos and ballistic submarines—will continue beyond 2008.

But RANSAC said that large-scale, long term and expensive projects, such as the Mayak Fissile Material Storage Facility (FMSF), will cease to be a fixture of further CTR projects in Russia.

Indeed, the success of the Mayak FMSF is debatable. Begun in 1993 to house some 200 tonnes of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 50 tonnes of weapons grade plutonium, the 13-year-old project—which continues to evade deadlines for its completion—will hold only 25 tonnes of plutonium.

This decision was taken by Former Minister of Atomic Energy Alexander Rumyantsev who reasoned that Russia could make more money selling the HEU to the US-Russia “Megatons to Megawatts” programme, whereby the US buys down-blended Russian HEU for use in its commercial reactors.

Transparency issues

Key CTR projects continue to hit brick walls as a result of Russian disorganisation, and a lack of transparency and information, RANSAC found. These problems, said the analysis, range from the small number of qualified Russian subcontractors, incomplete information provided by Russian government officials about the location of CTR purchased equipment, to the absence of formal project implementation agreements.

The case of the Mayak FMSF is a case in point illustrating the latter of these factors. To this day, no written agreement between the US and Russian governments exists that stipulated Russia will store any fissile material there at all—an oversight that Rumynatsev was able to exploit.

RANSAC said that these obstacles pose risks to timely programme completion and drive CTR to focus its priorities and resources on non-proliferation opportunities in the non-Russian former Soviet repubics.

These two trends, said RANSAC, could lead to budget cuts in the CTR programme as large as $100m, depleting its financial resources to the record lows the programme experienced in the 1990s. What is left of the CTR budget would then be spent on projects that do not involve Russia, in RANSAC’s analysis.

Questions of how CTR knowledge will be preserved

The RANSAC analysis raised the question of how the US government plans to “transition” WMD threat reduction programmes as work in Russia declines, US plans for preserving its accumulated threat reduction expertise, reviewing the lessons it has learned and applying them to future WMD threats.

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Preventing Catastrophic Nuclear Terrorism
Charles D. Ferguson
Council on Foreign Relations
(for personal use only)

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U.S. confronts issue of 'loose nukes' on several fronts
John Diamond
USA Today
(for personal use only)

Nuclear materials from Soviet warheads that once threatened U.S. cities are now helping to light them up. With little fanfare, U.S. utilities have been buying uranium that once sat in Soviet nuclear weapons to fuel civilian nuclear power reactors. The program supplies half the uranium used by U.S. nuclear plants which, in turn, generate 20% of all U.S. commercial power. That means, essentially, that one in every 10 light bulbs in America is powered by uranium that once sat atop a Russian missile.

A program to extract nuclear material from dismantled Russian warheads and turn it into fuel in the USA provides about 10% of all electricity in this country.

1: Highly enriched uranium is removed from nuclear warheads.

2: The uranium is stabilized, turned into a gas and then diluted to about 5% of its original concentration of fissionable material.

3: United States Enrichment Corp. takes possession of the material in Russia, ships it to the USA, then processes it into fuel for nuclear power plants.

“Megatons to Megawatts” projections over 20-year life of contract:

• Cost: $12 billion

• Power: 6 trillion kilowatt hours

Energy equivalents:

• 10 billion barrels of oil

• 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas

• 3 billion tons of coal

Cost equivalents (estimated to produce same amount of electricity today):

• $600 billion in oil

• $420 billion in natural gas

• $43 billion in coal

Linton Brooks, head of the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration, called the program one of several aimed at preventing a terrorist weapon from entering the USA aboard a container ship. That scenario sparked a recent furor over a deal that would have turned over terminal management at U.S. ports in six states to a company owned by the Arab emirate of Dubai.

Brooks' agency leads U.S. government efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorists' hands, which President Bush has called the top national security priority.

While other programs, including those at the Department of Homeland Security, focus on domestic port security, the main line of defense must be overseas, Brooks said. That's because the overriding goal is preventing a nuclear weapon from arriving in the USA in the first place, he said. (On Deadline: Search the research reactor database)

The U.S. strategy against what is sometimes called the "loose nukes" problem includes:

•Securing sites. The United States has been helping Russia since 1991 to install modern security systems at nuclear material storage sites that were in sorry shape at the end of the Cold War. That job is largely finished.

•Securing nuclear material. Over the past decade, nuclear warheads and bomb-grade plutonium and uranium have been gradually consolidated from far-flung locations throughout the former Soviet Union to fewer, but more secure, sites in Russia.

•Reducing quantities. Through the "Megatons to Megawatts" program, Russia converts highly enriched uranium used in bombs into low-enriched fuel suitable for power reactors. It is then shipped to the USA and sold to power companies.

The self-financing program has converted 287 tons of highly enriched Russian uranium into reactor fuel since 1993, Brooks says. An additional 265 tons will be converted and sold on the U.S. market over the next seven years.

Other Energy Department programs exist to reduce the amount of nuclear material around the world. But even after they are completed, the United States and Russia will each have about 500 tons of highly enriched uranium in storage, enough to make tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Highly enriched uranium is a concern because it is harder to detect than plutonium and would be easier for terrorists to make into a bomb, Brooks said.

•Border control. With U.S. help, Russia and neighboring countries have installed equipment designed to detect traces of smuggled nuclear materials. There have been several reported attempts to smuggle radiological material but no known successful thefts of plutonium or highly enriched uranium.

•Port security. An Energy Department "megaports" initiative, still in the early stages, is adding new cargo-screening devices at ports in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Piraeus, Greece; Freeport, Bahamas; and Colombo, Sri Lanka. There are plans to install security systems at least 10 other ports.

The Energy Department's budget request for non-proliferation programs next year is $1.7 billion, a 7% increase over this year. The total Energy Department budget request is $22.6 billion. The U.S. strategy also involves extensive operations in the Defense, State and Homeland Security departments and the intelligence community.

State's Proliferation Security Initiative, for example, focuses on scenarios in which nuclear material gets out of a foreign storage site, past border guards and through a port security check. It allows the United States and allied governments to block shipment of nuclear materials or technology to other countries, said Stephen Rademaker, who oversees the program.

In 2003, the program helped block a shipment of nuclear centrifuges from Malaysia, via a port in the United Arab Emirates, to Libya. The incident led to the unraveling of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan's secret proliferation network, and ultimately, to his arrest.

If a country involved in such smuggling "has a track record of supporting international terrorism, we really have to worry that at some point they'll transfer such weapons to international terrorists," Rademaker said.

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G.  G8 Global Partnership

Nonproliferation: a priority of Russia's G8 Presidency
RIA Novosti
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An interview by Anatoly Antonov, director of the Foreign Ministry's Security and Disarmament Department, on the non-proliferation aspects of the G8 policy with the newspaper Vremya Novostei.

Question: The G8's non-proliferation documents on peaceful uses of sensitive nuclear technologies, which the G8 adopted in Sea Island (2004) and Gleneagles (2005), are sometimes viewed by developing countries as a deliberate attempt to keep them away from modern achievements. What can we do to preclude such an interpretation?

Answer: We should create political and economic conditions that would discourage the non-nuclear countries' desire to acquire sensitive nuclear technologies. The goal is to elaborate multilateral attitudes to the nuclear fuel cycle that would guarantee access to the relevant services for the non-nuclear countries that pledge not to create a full nuclear cycle. But it is especially important to prevent terrorists from getting hold of weapons of mass destruction.

Q: The idea is formulated in UN Security Council resolution 1540, which was adopted in April 2004. How is it being fulfilled?

A: Our priority is to ensure the fulfillment of all its clauses by all countries. We have created Committee 1540, which analyzes national reports provided by 124 countries and additional information supplied by 40 states. Much is to be done in this sphere, and therefore we think the Security Council should extend the mandate of Committee 1540.

Q: Is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) effective in the modern world? The 2005 conference on it failed to adopt a consensus final statement, while the nuclear scandals involving North Korea and Iran act as a kind of anti-promotion.

A: The NPT is an invaluable element of international security and stability, which the follow-up conference has proved, even though it failed to formulate practical recommendations for strengthening the NPT. However, it has reaffirmed the main point -- that the NPT can and must be used to deal with new challenges and threats to the non-proliferation regime.

Settling the situation with the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea remains on the G8 agenda. We will continue the search for new political and diplomatic approaches to settling this problem. We will use the services of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to find a mutually acceptable solution on Iran, which would allow Tehran to develop nuclear power engineering and at the same time ensure a purely peaceful dimension of its nuclear program. The solution of the North Korean nuclear problem entails the country's re-accession to the NPT, the resumption of IAEA inspections, removal of the international cordon around North Korea, and broad economic assistance. An effective site for creating the necessary mechanism is the six-party talks [between China, the United States, Russia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea - Ed.].

Q: The IAEA Committee on Safeguards and Verification was set up by the organization's Board of Governors at the G8 summit initiative in Sea Island. What is the Committee doing now?

A: We are outlining the range of questions it would tackle, as it should not copy existing verification structures of the IAEA. It could be used to promote the fulfillment of Resolution 1540, to improve the safeguards mechanism, and to standardize the additional protocols to NPT safeguards. So far, this instrument of ensuring the transparency of national nuclear programs is effective in 71 countries. In 2005, the G8 called on non-members to step up their accession to the NPT. The work on the standardization of the additional protocol will continue this year.

Q: Has control of nuclear exports been reinforced?

A: On the G8 initiative, the Nuclear Suppliers Group is strengthening control over the transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies [uranium enrichment and chemical processing of nuclear fuel waste - Ed.] and elaborating criteria of their delivery. Sensitive nuclear technologies can be used to create nuclear weapons. The G8 will continue working on this question.

While the rules of transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies are being coordinated in the multilateral format, the G8 is pursuing a "strategy of prudence" adopted in Sea Island and reaffirmed in Gleneagles. It means that the G8 member states will not initiate new programs of the transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies to countries that do not possess them.

Q: Doesn't this violate the principle of guaranteed access to the "peaceful atom" for non-nuclear countries that have pledged not to create a nuclear fuel cycle?

A: A year ago, the IAEA published the report by the Expert Group on multilateral approaches, which stipulates a mechanism of helping the countries with "moderate" energy requirements to develop a nuclear power industry without the expensive full nuclear fuel cycle. It is working on the practical aspects of the concept. And the G8 will address this issue within the framework of the energy security agenda of Russia's G8 Presidency.

Q: What about India, which is not an NPT signatory and hence is denied access to peaceful nuclear technologies?

A: We cannot ignore India's energy requirements. It is a rapidly developing country with a good non-proliferation record. We should probably make an exception in this case without adopting new norms that may erode the non-proliferation regime.

Q: What does Russia plan to do during its G8 Presidency to combat biological threats?

A: Fighting infectious diseases is a priority of our G8 Presidency. The non-proliferation agenda includes a joint inventory of international mechanisms and efforts to ensure biological security. We are preparing a follow-up conference on the convention on the prohibition of biological weapons.

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H.  Plutonium Disposition

Russians balk on light-water reactor deal
United Press International
(for personal use only)

Russia will only build a light-water reactor to burn 34 tons of excess plutonium if it is paid for by others, a U.S. energy official said Wednesday.

The United States and Russia agreed in the year 2000 to each burn 34 metric tons of plutonium in a nuclear reactor, thus providing both energy and keeping the material out of the hands of terrorists.

Russian government officials now want to use the plutonium to fuel a Russian-built fast-breeder reactor, said Jerald S. Paul, the principal deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Energy Department during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

"The Russians are no longer committed to the program as" agreed in 2000, Paul said. "They are still committed to the destruction of 34 metric tons of plutonium but their preference is for a fast (breeder) reactor unless the international community provides all the money to do it."

Fast-breeder reactors are generally considered a greater proliferation risk than light-water reactors as they produce, or "breed," more fissile material than they consume; depending on the configuration of the reactor, the material could be used for weapons. Light-water reactors must be refueled every few months to continue to produce fissile material.

The Russians are building a BN-800 (800 MWe) fast-breeder reactor at Beloyarsk.

The program to build mixed-oxide fueled light-water reactors in South Carolina and in Russia has hit repeated snags. The two countries were initially supposed to begin burning plutonium in 2007, but that date has been pushed back to at least 2013, according to Energy Department documents. The countries lost two years over disagreements about who would be liable in the event of a nuclear accident in Russia. The United States has a $10 billion fund for nuclear accidents.

The international community has donated about $850 million for the construction of a Russian light-water reactor, which will cost an estimated $2.7 billion, up from initial estimates of $1.5 billion. The U.S. MOX reactor will cost about $3.5 billion, up from the $1 billion estimated in 2002.

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I.  Biological Weapons

Defense agency's effort to secure Soviet pathogens grows
David Francis
Government Executive
(for personal use only)

A U.S. program to secure and catalog biological agents at former Soviet laboratories has moved forward quickly in recent years, with increased cooperation from five former Soviet republics speeding progress, U.S. Defense Department officials said this week.

The United States has been working closely with the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to consolidate dangerous pathogens stored at "antiplague" sites, Scott Levac, manager of the Threat Agent Detection Response program at the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said at a briefing Tuesday. The goal is to create a disease surveillance network for each nation and consolidate biological agents to no more than three sites in each country, reducing the chance that terrorists would acquire the pathogens.

To date, 11 institutes for consolidating pathogens have been established in the five countries. These "central reference laboratories" are former antiplague laboratories converted for use in the program by the United States and the governments of former Soviet states, with the two sides splitting the cost.

The program has also engaged former Soviet scientists with biological weapons expertise by offering them work in the new facilities.

"We have really gone out of our way not only to engage individuals but the [research] organizations" inside each country, Levac said.

The United States expects to spend around $400 million on the program over the next five years, said Jim Reid, director of Cooperative Threat Reduction policy at the Pentagon. He added that close cooperation with the former republics has allowed the budget to grow significantly from the $2 million set aside in 1998.

Cooperation has "allowed us to kind of develop the system in an environment that was supportive of what we were trying to do," he said.

Reid also said that Threat Agent Detection Response is not taking place within Russia. "Significant policy differences" and disagreements over certification requirements have stopped work on the program between Moscow and Washington, he said without elaborating on disagreements over policy or certification.

Top-to-Bottom Cooperation

The Threat Agent Detection Response program is using some former Soviet antiplague sites as bases of operation. The Soviet Union established the sites in order to detect and respond to disease outbreaks, Levac said.

Experts consider the facilities to be public health and proliferation risks, as they contain agents such dangerous pathogens as anthrax, bubonic plague and tularemia. One of the primary goals of the program is to improve security at the antiplague sites in which such agents are being consolidated and to collect dangerous agents from shuttered laboratories before they fall into the hands of terrorists.

All consolidation facilities must meet U.S. Biosafety Level 2 or 3 security standards, which require sufficient security to protect agents that present risks to workers and the public.

Levac said the program functions on three levels - local, regional and state. Experts at the local level are trained to recognize and respond to disease outbreaks. These experts would report any outbreaks to the central reference laboratories, which would then dispatch teams of epidemiologists to respond.

Sentinel stations have been established at the regional level, with the number of stations depending on the size of the country. Workers at these stations are dispatched to recover pathogens from old Soviet research laboratories around the republics, package them safely and ship them to the central reference laboratories.

At the central reference facilities, human and veterinary pathogen samples taken from laboratories around the country are consolidated and cataloged, with information on the pathogens sent to an electronic database in the United States. These laboratories have state-of-the-art security and all workers undergo thorough background checks to protect against security breaches. Each state has at least one of these, Levac said.

This "top-to-bottom" cooperation creates a comprehensive statewide disease surveillance program, Levac said.

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J.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

Russia Confirmed Its Willingness To Destroy Its Chemical Weapons on Schedule
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Russia confirmed its willingness to destroy all of its chemical weapons within the timeframe specified in international agreements.

The Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this announcement in connection with the ceremony marking the start of operations in the first section of the chemical weapons destruction facility in Kambarka (Udmurt Republic).

"Russia will honor its obligations stemming from the Chemical Weapons Convention and intends to finish destroying its chemical weapons by the dates specified in this agreement," the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured everyone.

The convention envisages the destruction of all of the chemical weapons in Russia (40,000 tonnes) by 2012.

The ceremonial opening of the first section of the facility in Kambarka took place on 1 March. It was attended by representatives of the RF Presidential Staff, the Federal Industry Agency, the RF Ministry of Defense, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other Russian agencies and by foreign guests.

The facility in Kambarka is the second enterprise to be built in Russia within the framework of the federal targeted program for "The Destruction of Stockpiled Chemical Weapons in the Russian Federation." About 1.8 tonnes of lewisite, a particularly dangerous blister agent, were destroyed in a trial run at the facility in December 2005.

In all, 6,360 tonnes of lewisite will be destroyed in Kambarka. The facility was built with the financial and technical assistance of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, and the European Union.

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Russia, UK to sign agreement on chemical arms disposal
Russia & CIS Military Newswire
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Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has supported the Foreign Ministry's proposal to sign an agreement with the British government so that Canada can contribute to the chemical weapons disposal program in Russia, the Russian Cabinet's press service told journalists on Wednesday.

The governments of the two countries are expected to exchange notes on this matter.

According to an earlier memorandum on mutual understanding between Great Britain and Canada on further provision of Canadian aid to chemical weapons destruction in Russia, the volume of aid is to reach 10 million Canadian dollars ($8.53 million). The money is to be spent by the British government on developing infrastructure of the chemical weapons destruction facility in the town of Shchuchye in the Kurgan region.

Additional 55 million Canadian dollars ($46.95 million) will be allocated for procuring equipment for the section munitions destruction shop in Shchuchye.

The British government plans to spend the Canadian money through the British aid program.

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K.  Nuclear Forces

Russia: Commander Says Aircraft Nuclear Forces at 'Proper Technical Level'
(for personal use only)

The aircraft component of the Russian strategic nuclear forces, unlike the Air
Force in other countries "is very young" and is at the proper technical level,
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force General Vladimir Mikhailov said
at a meeting with military attaches of CIS and foreign states on Thursday.

Aircraft - carriers of nuclear weapons "have been in service for 50 years in
a number of Western countries," Mikhailov noted. "Three types of our carriers
appeared only in the 1960s and the Tu-160 bomber - only 20 years ago, after
1980," the Air Force commander said.

Besides, we are modernising our strategic missile carriers and bombers by
upgrading radioelectronic and navigation equipment, targeting devices for
giving aircraft possibilities to apply their weapons in any weather, round the
clock and with more precision, which makes it possible to fulfil the set tasks
more efficiently," noted the Russian AF commander.

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Vice Premier and Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov: 'It Is No Big Deal That I Personally Do Not Know How a Howitzer Works'
(for personal use only)

The date 28 March 2006 is a significant date in the "biography" of the Defense Ministry. The first "civilian" defense minister, Sergey Ivanov, became head of the military department exactly five years ago. Today Ivanov is the only one of the three siloviki appointed in 2001 by President Vladimir Putin -- and dubbed "political ministers" back then -- who is still in his post. And the Defense Ministry chief has actually gained "weight," receiving at the end of last year the post of vice premier responsible for the realization and implementation of the state defense order. Sergey Ivanov personally told correspondent Dmitriy Litovkin about how he sees his achievements in the post of defense minister.

(Litovkin) Sergey Borisovich, what reasoning was the president guided by when he offered you the post of head of the military department? What tasks did he set? Did you have misgivings about this appointment?

(Ivanov) I was not afraid. There were, of course, some internal misgivings, but there was not the kind of uncertainty that arises when you are appointed to a structure that is formally unfamiliar to you. And here is why. First, on the (Russian) Security Council I had been very much involved with the Armed Forces, because it was absolutely clear that they needed modernization. I am deliberately not using the word "reform." Because it has rather negative connotations for normal, ordinary people who lived through the 1990s, and mentioning that word is politically damaging. I say this straight out. So, not reform, but modernization. Second, I am, after all, a colonel-general of the reserve who served 25 years in the state's military organization, and the characteristic mode of any organization, be it the Defense Ministry, the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs), or any special service, rests on the principle of sole leadership, orders, and a strict hierarchy of subordination. Therefore I had no particular difficulty psychologically in joining a new system.

(Litovkin) I don't know about you, but the first time I saw you visiting a troop unit I had the impression that the military were frankly "shouting and screaming"...

(Ivanov) Yes. At first that probably was the case. However, I will say more: The fact that I am a "civilian" also has certain advantages. Firstly, I do not have the established links that any military man has. For instance, in order to reach the post of defense minister in the Army, you have to serve at least 40 years in the Armed Forces. During that period you develop a string of relationships. If you are from the Airborne Troops, you have a special attitude toward former colleagues in the Airborne Troops. If you are from the Strategic Missile Troops, then the same applies to the Strategic Missile Troops. But in this sense I -- and everyone acknowledges this -- do not and cannot have any favorites in any of the Armed Forces' combat arms or branches of service. I am objective toward everyone. I have no "soap" in my eyes, as the saying goes. I think this is a big plus. The minus side was not so much for me as for the military. I admit that. At first they simply could not see the defense minister as a civilian. True, that stage did not last long, about 12-18 months. Secondly, if we are a civilized, democratic state, having a civilian as head of the Defense Ministry is normal. If you like, we have now overcome a certain psychological barrier and have even forgotten that it ever existed.

Because I was familiar, in general, with what was happening both in the building on Arbat Square (Defense Ministry) and actually among the troops, the process of starting the new job passed off with no particular upheavals or other major problems for me.

(Litovkin) Your appointment to the post of defense minister in 2001, for many experts, meant the start of the radical resolution of the problem of Army reform. As an "outsider," you were not linked to the Army structure. However, there was no leap forward in reform. Now, the liberals often blame you for the fact that Army reform is not going quickly or visibly. They say that, given the size of the Stabilization Fund, it would have been possible to reform the Army on a larger scale and more resolutely. For instance, to man the Armed Forces entirely with contract personnel, to rearm units with modern models of arms and military equipment, and to increase officers' pay. Finally, to give apartments to all the servicemen who need them. Why is this not happening?

(Ivanov) In general I am not a supporter of any radical actions or fuss. In my view, before taking even a step, it is first necessary to choose the right direction and look to see where you might be putting your foot, so as not to fall and lose the ability to move. That is why, on questions of military organizational development, I advocate gradual and systematic progress toward the required goal, avoiding as far as possible any sudden spurts or vacillations from side to side.

At the same time I understand, of course, that in any matter everyone -- both those who are involved and those who are observing from the sidelines -- want to see visible results as soon as possible. However, the difference between these two categories of people is that the former are doing everything possible to put the plans into practice, while the latter can only give advice, while bearing no responsibility. And some of the most "pressing" advisers do not really know how to do anything except engage in demagoguery. I remember how, in the course of the discussion of the FTP (Federal Targeted Program --) for the transition to manning certain military units with contract personnel, the right-wing leaders called on us to limit their pay to $100-$200 and said that "there is no need to do anything more." In general, the problems of the so-called right lie in the fact that they are not, and do not want to be, familiar with the real life of the state's military organization.

Now, as regards additional funding for the Armed Forces. Naturally, I vote "in favor" with both hands. However, given the present economic realities, the state allocates to defense precisely as much as it can afford. Concerning the Stabilization Fund: its main purpose is to prevent a situation from arising in our country in which a significant influx of petrodollars would lead to uncontrolled inflation, which would have an extremely negative effect on the national economy. Without systematic development of the economy, there can be no progressive growth in the military budget.

(Litovkin) In general, you have an unenviable mission, for a politician. The reform of the state's military organization is a process that is not only complex, but contradictory. Certain politicians see you as Putin's successor, but the fact that today you are having to tackle a task that is highly unpopular in society -- to review the number of deferrals from Army service, to cut military faculties (at nonmilitary higher educational establishments) -- could be described as "political suicide"...

(Ivanov) I will say at once that my work in the post of defense minister is aimed at strengthening the defense capability of our state, and does not have the goal of self-publicity or, as it is fashionable to call it nowadays, spin, ahead of the presidential election that is coming up in 2008. That is why I always think only about what is good for the job that has been entrusted to me, and do not seek to please or favor anyone.

As for the unpopularity of some of the military department's initiatives -- in particular, reviewing the number of deferrals of the military draft and grounds for exemption from it, as well as cutting military faculties -- here it is necessary to understand that we are doing this absolutely deliberately. Recently, by virtue of a number of objective and subjective factors, the Defense Ministry leadership has encountered serious difficulties in drafting citizens into military service. Out of the total number of citizens of draft age who are on the military register, in 2005 only 9.1% were placed in Army service (for comparison: in 1994 the figure was 27%).

The other potential draftees were exempted from military service on legitimate grounds or were entitled to a deferral of the draft. In this connection, the words of Sharikov in (story by Bulgakov) spring to mind: "I'll go on the register, but I'm not going to serve." Not much has changed since then. We promised society that by 1 January 2008 we would reduce the term of service under the draft by half, to 12 months, and not send draftees to "hot spots" (for this, we have permanent readiness units manned by contract personnel). One thing leads to another -- that is to say, in making the transition to a one-year term of service, we need approximately twice the number of draftees.

We advocate reducing the number of grounds for exemption from military service and draft deferrals. At the moment there are 25 grounds, and these can be notionally divided into four main groups. There are deferrals for studies, and social, professional, and medical deferrals. Social deferrals will remain, in part. Deferrals on health grounds will be preserved 100%. I will say more: I am in favor of further toughening the demands on the draftees' state of health. As for professional deferrals, in my view they should practically not exist, and the first steps are already being taken to abolish them.

At the same time, there will be no blanket abolition of grounds for exemption from military service or deferrals from the draft. Let me remind you that, in all, it is planned to abolish or change nine grounds for exemption or deferral, out of 25.

(Litovkin) A strange metamorphosis is taking place in society's consciousness. At first the Army was accused of being unable to "wage war," of lacking modern arms and military equipment. This was considered the main indication of the absence of reform. Today all this is more or less present, but problems of law and order have appeared. And again people have started to say that all the efforts of the past years have been in vain, if dedovshchina (bullying of recruits by their seniors) is flourishing in the barracks and it suits the commanding officers to conceal it. In the consciousness of the man in the street, everything is still as it was before in the Army -- there is no reform...

(Ivanov) You rightly observed that at first the criterion for assessing Army reform was what is on the surface. That is, the state of combat readiness, the level of the troops' equipment with arms and military equipment. Everyone could see: exercises were not taking place, ships were not going to sea, aircraft were not flying because of lack of fuel, and all the new equipment was going for export. Recently the situation has changed radically, and now society's attention is focused on what is concealed behind the fences of military encampments and the walls of the barracks. This is, shall we say, the next stage.

Here I wish to note that despite the individual cases of violations of the regulations and military discipline that occur, the Armed Forces are still the most law-abiding institution in our society. Thus, whereas on average in the country the number of crimes per 10,000 people is 246 today, in the Army and Navy this figure is 167. And the latency percentage (not further clarified) in the Army is an order of magnitude lower than in civilian life. Clearly this is still too much, and we are doing everything in our power to reduce Army crime to a minimum.

Now, about dedovshchina. It exists, as in any other army. We are fighting it and will continue to do so. There is no magic wand here -- a package of measures is needed. In the near future, after bringing together all the proposals, including those from the civil society, we will announce them. But even in the future the state of affairs in the Armed Forces will continue to be assessed on the basis of the existence of other problems of some kind. And, if I may say so, the less significant they are, the stronger our Army will be. For instance, in the United States the existence of cold apple juice and biological toilets in front-line positions has a significant influence on the level of combat capability of personnel. I hope one day our critics will start to say something similar, and, coming from them, it will sound like the highest praise for the results of the reform of Russia's military organization.

(Litovkin) Last year you invited to a conference at the Defense Ministry representatives of public organizations, some of whom take a very negative view of your work. At that time you attributed this move to the need for dialogue with all strata of Russian society. Recently, this practice has ended...

(Ivanov) Why ended? The Defense Ministry seeks to pursue a policy of maximum openness so that our actions are understood by citizens. In shaping our relations with Russian society and its institutions we are guarded by the principles of objectivity, constructive dialogue, and mutual responsibility. And we collaborate actively with the Public Chamber, the President's Council for Promoting the Development of Institutions of the Civil Society and Human Rights, and other organizations and movements that are no strangers to the problems of the Armed Forces and the defense of the state in general.

Last year a memorandum on collaboration was signed by the Defense Ministry and the plenipotentiary for human rights in the Russian Federation. I think interested parties have also been able to observe the changes that have taken place in the style of the military department's work in the sphere of public relations. Now, Russian citizens can obtain information on the most pressing issues at first hand, rather than making use of reports from biased sources that are often deliberately distorted. There are now regular press conferences and briefings with the participation of the Defense Ministry leadership and representatives of the top Armed Forces command. Our site on the global information network, the Internet, is fully functioning. We have even gone so far as to place the bitter statistics about our dead on the web site every month.

(Litovkin) You have been at the helm of the country's military department for five years. What do you consider the chief result of your work?

(Ivanov) To put it briefly, I can say that now the Army and Navy are not only in a condition effectively to fulfill the tasks relating to their purpose, but also -- and this is no less important -- they are living the normal life of a military organism. In five years, their structure and numerical strength have been optimized.

New models of arms and military equipment that are intended to form the basis of the system of armament of our Army in the period through 2020 have, on the whole, not only been developed, but for the most part already adopted into the armory. Now we are already making series purchases and delivering to the troops entire sets of arms and military equipment at once, thereby rearming entire subunits at once. And all this is thanks, among other things, to the fact that the volume of appropriations allocated under the National Defense article (of the federal budget) and channeled specifically into the development of the Armed Forces is increasing from year to year.

In addition, the intensity of combat and operational training of troops and forces has increased substantially. For instance, last year alone the Ground Forces carried out 31 regimental tactical exercises, 12 of which involved live firing, while Russia's ships carried out 28 long-distance voyages. A number of international exercises were held with the Armed Forces of China, India, and Uzbekistan.

The program for the transition to manning certain units and formations with servicemen serving on a contract basis is also being successfully implemented. Within this framework, 42 formations and troop units with a total strength of 60,623 soldiers' and sergeants' posts are already manned on the basis of the new principle.

Another very important result is the series of measures to improve the military education system. The best proof of their effectiveness is the fact that the situation regarding students at military higher educational establishments and young lieutenants in our country is gradually stabilizing. Thanks to the work being done, the number of dropouts from the higher educational establishments is steadily falling. Whereas in 1998 one in every three students cut short his studies for various reasons, in 2005 the figure was only one in six. An increasingly small number of lieutenants are submitting requests to terminate their contracts immediately on arrival at the place of service. For comparison: Whereas in 2003 there were 102 people who did this, in 2004 the figure was 89, and in 2005 -- 74.

Officers' pay is also rising (not counting inflation): a platoon commander and lieutenant with five years' service now receives 3.69 times more than five years ago; a company commander and captain with eight years' service -- 3.56 times more; a battalion commander and lieutenant colonel with 15 years' service -- 3.45 times more; and a regimental commander and colonel with 22 years' service -- 3.08 times more.

In the same period, the Defense Ministry has acquired 60,500 apartments for servicemen, by means of construction and purchase. The service housing stock has been increased by 121,600 apartments. The waiting list of officers without housing who are entitled to own their own housing has fallen by more than 15,000 in five years. By the end of this year it should fall by almost 10,000 more, while 71,000 military men will remain on the waiting list. With a view to accelerating the resolution of the servicemen's housing problem and giving a fundamentally new character to this work, the implementation of the mortgage savings system has begun.

(Litovkin) Do you think you have succeeded in bringing the Armed Forces up to a qualitatively new level compared with the Soviet Army?

(Ivanov) I would not compare the present Armed Forces with the Soviet Army. There are too many differences. There is the number of personnel, the missions and plans for the combat use of troops and forces that have changed with time, the different organizational and manning structure, and so forth. However, I can say one thing with full confidence: Today, just as in Soviet times, the state's military organization is capable of guaranteeing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country and effectively defending its national interests.

Here I wish to stress particularly: The realities of our time are such that the threat of a large-scale war, including nuclear war, being unleashed has been reduced to a minimum. However, despite the fact that the present-day doctrinal principles and strategic concepts of the majority of the world's states regard war as a national disaster and a threat to the existence of human civilization, military force, whether we like it or not, still remains the traditional means of achieving political goals. At present there is evidence of a steady tendency toward widening the range of its use, including its use as an effective means of countering threats to international security.

As for questions of military planning, here we are guided by geopolitical requirements and the principles of defense sufficiency. On this basis, the priority tasks facing the Armed Forces at the present stage of military organizational development are: maintaining the nuclear forces at a level that ensures guaranteed deterrence against the unleashing of aggression against Russia and its allies; and increasing the combat potential of the general-purpose forces, first and foremost the permanent-readiness formations and troop units.

Therefore, while adhering unfailingly to the position of unconditional fulfillment of all previously signed and ratified international agreements, we are developing in a balanced manner all the components of the Strategic Nuclear Deterrent Forces and maintaining their combat strength at the required level.

In tackling the second task we seek to achieve a result that will make it possible promptly to create, in any strategic salient that is threatened, mobile and self-sufficient troop groupings capable of effectively ensuring the military security of the state. That is to say, this could be compared to the children's game where the required shape is constructed out of building blocks. In this way we seek, having the necessary quantity of forces and resources, always to be ready to form them into a military grouping to resolve the specific task.

(Litovkin) Forgive me, of course, but if we can talk about your successor, will he also be a civilian?

(Ivanov) I don't know. All defense ministers are appointed by the supreme commander in chief (the president). But I do not rule out that the next head of the military department -- after all, I am not immortal, I am not Kashchey the Deathless (fairytale character) -- will also be a civilian. I am not asserting this, but I am not ruling it out. And it is no big deal that I personally, for instance, know nothing about how a howitzer works. I simply do not need to know that. I have generals and colonels for that. People who need to know it themselves, and believe me, they know it. But my task is to define the strategy for the development and modernization of the Armed Forces, the budget, and social provision for servicemen. That is my job, my bread and butter. And here, of course, I always do my utmost to ensure that the Army is provided with everything it needs. That is my job. But understanding how an aircraft flies or a tank moves... That does not happen anywhere in the world. And in this respect we are also no different from the civilized world.

(Litovkin) That is to say, our defense minister is, after all, a politician...

(Ivanov) Of course. Not a military leader, not a captain. A strategist.

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L.  Official Statements

U.S. Sees Spread of Nuclear Weapons Greatest Security Challenge, State official highlights efforts to stop Iran, North Korea nuclear programs
U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs
(for personal use only)

Because nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are capable of killing on a massive scale, it is imperative that such weapons be kept out of the hands of rogue states and terrorists, says Stephen Rademaker, acting assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation.

In a March 27 speech to the Baltimore World Affairs Council, Rademaker said America’s commitment to working with its allies to stop the spread of these weapons of mass destruction is reflected in both the president’s new National Security Strategy and diplomatic efforts to defuse Iran's and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. (See related article.)

He pointed out that the report states the United States’ “strong preference and common practice is to address proliferation concerns through international diplomacy, in concert with key allies and regional partners. If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack.”

The consequences of an attack with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) potentially are devastating, Rademaker said, and the United States “cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize.”

He reminded the audience of Iran’s continuing failure to disclose fully and honestly details to the International Atomic Energy Agency of its nearly 20 years of secret nuclear experiments. (See related article.)

“A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable,” he said, adding that virtually the entire international community supports that view.

Rademaker also said that the United States has been working with the international community, through the Six-Party Talks, to bring an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

“It is regrettable that North Korea has taken hostage the Six-Party process,” he said, by making demands that contradict its commitment to the 2005 Joint Statement, a set of agreed-to principles on removing nuclear programs from the Korean Peninsula. But Rademaker confirmed that the United States is ready to return to the talks when North Korea is ready to implement its commitment. (See related article.)

In the meantime, Rademaker said, the United States will use “all tools available” to counter North Korea’s related illegal activities, including currency counterfeiting, smuggling, money laundering and the illicit transfer of WMD materials and equipment to others.

For further information, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

A transcript of Rademaker’s remarks follows:

(begin text)

Stephen G. Rademaker, Acting Assistant Secretary, International Security and Nonproliferation
Remarks to the Baltimore World Affairs Council
Baltimore, Maryland
March 27, 2006

(Remarks as Delivered)

Tackling the Hard Cases in Nuclear Proliferation

Earlier this month the Bush Administration released the 2006 National Security Strategy of the United States. The Strategy reiterates the President's determination to continue focusing on the grave dangers posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

While the National Strategy highlights our noteworthy successes over the past four years, such as elimination of Libya's nuclear weapons program and creation of the Proliferation Security Initiative, it squarely confronts the difficult challenges that remain. The National Strategy reiterates that the proliferation of nuclear weapons poses the greatest threat to our national security because of the unique capacity of these weapons "to inflict massive loss of life on a massive scale." Consequently, it is imperative that we keep such weapons out of the hands of rogue states and terrorists that aspire to threaten us with such weapons.

To this end, the National Strategy highlights the Administration's robust diplomatic efforts to combat the threat of nuclear proliferation. At the same time, it reaffirms that all options remain on the table as we seek to protect ourselves and our allies from the devastating consequences of WMD use. As the National Strategy states:

“Our strong preference and common practice is to address proliferation concerns through international diplomacy, in concert with key allies and regional partners. If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self-defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack. When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize. This is the principle and logic of pre-emption.”

The National Strategy reaffirms that our nation faces no greater challenge than that posed by Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. President Bush and Secretary Rice have reiterated that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable, including the possession by Iran of technologies that could give it a nuclear weapons breakout capability. The United States is not alone in taking this position; support for this view is virtually unanimous within the international community. It is important to consider why there is such broad consensus on this issue.

For starters, Iran concealed key elements of its nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the world for almost 20 years. In late 2002, the IAEA began an investigation of Iran's undeclared nuclear activities following revelations by an Iranian opposition group of previously undisclosed uranium enrichment and heavy water programs. In 2003, the IAEA confirmed that Iran was pursuing a systematic effort over two decades to hide secret nuclear activities involving undeclared uranium enrichment, undeclared plutonium separation, and other safeguards breaches using undeclared materials at undeclared facilities. These activities should have been disclosed to the IAEA. Over the course of its investigation, the IAEA produced 10 written reports documenting Iran's hidden nuclear activities.

Despite this history of concealment, Iran continues to deny that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and insists instead that it merely is seeking to exercise its "right" as a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to peacefully use nuclear energy. While the United States recognizes and supports this "right" in the ordinary case where it is carried out in conformity with the obligations of the NPT, Iran's case is not ordinary, considering the overwhelming evidence that Iran's nuclear program is not in fact peaceful.

There are two basic types of fissile material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon: plutonium and highly enriched uranium. Iran's clandestine nuclear activities have been aimed at producing both of these materials; in other words, acquiring what they refer to in the industry as the "nuclear fuel cycle". The IAEA's written reports document both undeclared uranium enrichment and undeclared plutonium separation activities carried out in violation of Iran's safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

At present, Iran is operating a small centrifuge cascade and conducting research and development activities at a pilot enrichment facility at Natanz. We know that this work is the beginning of a much larger effort to achieve an industrial-scale enrichment capability. In fact, Iran has notified the IAEA and stated publicly that [it] intends to begin installing the first 3,000 centrifuges in the fall. That number could produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon a year, but Iran wants to go even further. Its large-scale underground enrichment facility now under construction could hold 50,000 centrifuges.

On the plutonium side, Iran is presently constructing a large, heavy water-moderated reactor with technical specifications that are well suited for the production of weapons-grade plutonium. This reactor complements the previously constructed heavy-water production plant.

If these dual uranium and plutonium efforts were not proof enough of Iran's nefarious intentions, there is also the recently revealed fact that Iran received information from a clandestine nuclear proliferation network on casting and machining hemispheres of uranium metal. This revelation was alarming because there are no known applications for such hemispheres other than the production of nuclear weapons.

While the IAEA has patiently uncovered details of past Iranian nuclear activities and in many cases forced the Iranian regime to reluctantly retract previous false reports and deceptions, Iran still refuses to come clean with the IAEA by truthfully answering the Agency's remaining questions and affording the IAEA access to sites and personnel it has asked to see. The IAEA has accused Iran of "numerous breaches and failures" of its obligation to comply with its safeguards agreements. In his late February report to the IAEA Board, IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei expressed concern that despite three years of intensive efforts on the part of the IAEA, the IAEA remains unable to clarify the scope and nature of Iran's nuclear program, including assurances that there are no undeclared activities in Iran. In his report, ElBaradei noted that Iran still has not taken any of the steps the Board has called for, including re-suspending enrichment-related activities, ending construction of its heavy-water reactor, ratifying the Additional Protocol, and cooperating fully with the IAEA investigation.

As an Administration we have often been accused in the past of resorting too quickly to unilateralism, but no one can say that of our policy toward Iran. We have worked tirelessly with the international community to resolve diplomatically outstanding concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program. We have actively supported the efforts of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany -- the so-called EU-3 -- to negotiate a solution with Iran. These three countries reached an agreement with Iran in November 2004 that provided a framework for further negotiations, the so-called Paris Agreement. Most importantly, Iran promised under this agreement to suspend uranium enrichment-related activities, including uranium conversion and research and development related to enrichment.

Despite overwhelming international support for the Paris Agreement, and U.S. support for the EU-3 proposal to provide Iran robust economic incentives as part of a permanent suspension of Iran's enrichment activities, Iran broke off negotiations and repudiated the Paris Agreement last August. This left the IAEA Board with no choice in September 2005 but to find Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations. Included in the Board resolution was also the finding that Iran's clandestine nuclear activities and the lack of confidence in its stated peaceful intentions raised questions that fell within the competence of the United Nations Security Council. Nevertheless, we agreed to delay the Board's formal report to the U.N. Security Council for four months to provide Iran additional time to reconsider, change course and re-suspend its enrichment activities. Iran also had the opportunity to consider a proposal from Russia for a joint venture for uranium enrichment in Russia. When Iran failed to seize these opportunities, the Board finally last month voted to report Iran's noncompliance to the Security Council.

The Iran file is now before the U.N. Security Council. It is our hope that the Council will act to reinforce and strengthen the IAEA's role in dealing with the Iran nuclear file, including by providing new authorities to the IAEA. As a first step, the Council has been pursuing a strong presidential statement that reiterates the calls made by the IAEA on Iran to comply with IAEA board resolutions and return to full suspension of uranium enrichment-related activities. We believe it is essential that the Council make clear to the Iranian regime that it must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions or face stark consequences.

We also face a unique and daunting nuclear challenge with respect to North Korea. We know that North Korea has pursued a nuclear weapons program for more than 20 years in violation of its nuclear nonproliferation obligations. A key component of our strategy to address the North Korean nuclear program has been through a multilateral diplomatic effort involving not just the United States and North Korea, but also South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia -- commonly referred to as the Six Party talks. In a September 2005 Joint Statement issued at the last round of the Six-Party talks, North Korea agreed to abandon all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs. This was a welcome development; however, on the heels of the Joint Statement North Korea issued its own statement demanding that it be given a light water nuclear reactor immediately. Moreover, Pyongyang has stated that it intends to boycott any future talks unless the United States rescinds so-called U.S. economic "sanctions" against it.

The United States is committed to utilizing all tools available to protect against illicit North Korean activities, including efforts to end currency counterfeiting and smuggling, money laundering, and revenue generated from the illicit transfer of WMD materials and equipment. These U.S. actions are separate and distinct from the Six-Party talks and it is regrettable that North Korea has taken hostage the Six-Party process. Such behavior calls into question North Korea's commitment to the Joint Statement and the complete and verifiable elimination of its nuclear programs. The United States remains committed to the Six-Party process and stands ready to return to Six-Party talks to implement the Joint Statement.

To tackle the hardest cases of nuclear proliferation, we have been developing and exercising a number of robust nonproliferation and counterproliferation tools.

The Bush Administration has been a vocal proponent of a strengthened IAEA safeguards system, including the creation of a special IAEA Committee on Safeguards and Verification. We are pleased that the IAEA Board of Governors agreed to establish this committee to examine measures to strengthen the IAEA's ability to ensure that Member States comply with their international obligations. We are active participants in the Committee's discussions regarding specific measures to expand the Agency's technical capabilities and legal authorities.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 is another important tool in our international efforts to stem proliferation. UNSCR 1540 was adopted almost two years at the urging of President Bush. It imposes a legally binding obligation on all countries to put in place and enforce strong export control laws, as well as other legal and regulatory measures against proliferation. We look forward to the upcoming 1540 Committee report and working together with other states to assist states in implementing their 1540 obligations.

The Proliferation Security Initiative, or PSI, is an important counter-proliferation initiative through which we seek to disrupt illicit WMD and missile-related trade to state and non-state actors of proliferation concern. More than 70 countries have indicated support for the PSI. The PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles commits countries to act cooperatively to interdict WMD shipments consistent with national legal authorities and relevant international law. PSI is successful not only because of the tangible benefits accrued from disrupting illicit WMD trade, but also because of the intangible benefits derived from information sharing as well as in-depth operational, policy and legal discussions. The strength of the PSI lies first in its ability to bring to bear the diverse capabilities and legal authorities of participating states when we have information on proliferation-related shipments, and, second, in its effectiveness in encouraging states to strengthen these capabilities and authorities to deter, disrupt and prevent the proliferation WMD-related material and equipment.

In addition, we employ a variety of "defensive measures" to stem the trade in WMD materials and equipment as well as to disrupt and defeat the WMD programs of rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Our defensive measures are intended to address three key threats: the transfer of fissile material, the onward proliferation of WMD and missiles, and the threat of or actual use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

One key defensive measure to address these threats is our campaign to disrupt the financial networks that support illicit trade in WMD-related materials and equipment. In June 2005, President Bush issued Executive Order 13382, which authorizes the United States to "freeze" assets and block transactions of entities and persons engaged in WMD proliferation. For example, the United States has named 11 DPRK entities under the Executive Order on Proliferation Financing, as well as entities from Iran and Syria. We continue to urge other countries to adopt similar laws and regulations, consistent with their obligations under UNSC Resolution 1540, to stem the financial flows related to proliferation activities.

Using tools such as these, the Bush Administration has put together a comprehensive national and international effort to stem proliferation. Proactive and dynamic strategies are necessary in today's strategic environment, where we confront challenges ranging from terrorism and nuclear-armed rogue states to clandestine proliferation networks. We have no choice but to act, however, given the unimaginable potential costs of inaction.

Released on March 28, 2006

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United States, Allies Building Layered Defense Against WMD, Broad strategy seeks to deny terrorists nuclear, chemical, biological weapons
U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs
(for personal use only)

The threat of a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon attack by terrorists or hostile regimes requires a layered, global defense strategy, says Robert Joseph, under secretary for arms control and international security at the State Department.

In prepared remarks submitted March 29 to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joseph outlined America’s comprehensive efforts, both domestically and with international allies, to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

“Today's world requires a new policy, a broad strategy of active nonproliferation, counter-proliferation and defenses,” Joseph stated. “We must work together with other like-minded nations to deny weapons of terror from those seeking to acquire them. We must work with allies and friends who wish to join with us to defend against the harm they can inflict. And together we must deter anyone who would contemplate their use.”

In his remarks, Joseph discussed:

• The three pillars in America’s national security strategy: counterproliferation, nonproliferation and consequence management;

• U.S. government programs in the departments of Defense, Energy and Treasury, coordinated by the National Security Council, to gather and analyze intelligence and meet the counterproliferation challenge; and

• America’s work with international partners.

That work includes efforts to strengthen control over WMD materials in Russia and the former Soviet Republics, the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction, support for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540, requirements that nations take action to prevent WMD proliferation activities within their territory, strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigative powers, the Proliferation Security Initiative, an active, 70-state partnership that works to deter, disrupt and prevent illicit trade in WMD.

Joseph also outlined the challenges ahead, which he said include:

• Supporting international efforts to roll back Iran and North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs,

• Eliminating the spread of WMD and related technologies, and

• Preventing WMDs from falling into the hands of terrorists.

“We will work to harness, in an effective multinational way, all relevant collective resources to establish more coordinated and effective capabilities to prevent, protect against, and respond to the global threat of WMD terrorism,” Joseph said.

For further information, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

The text Joseph’s prepared remarks follows:

(begin text)


Senate Armed Services Committee
Sub-Committee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
March 29, 2006


I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide a written statement to the Sub-Committee regarding the threat to U.S. national security from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and delivery means, and the Administration's strategy for combating that threat.

Almost immediately upon assuming office, President Bush emphasized that WMD proliferation was the major security threat of the 21st century, requiring a new, comprehensive strategy. In a speech at the National Defense University on May 1, 2001, the President said:

“...this is still a dangerous world, a less certain, a less predictable one. More nations have nuclear weapons and still more have nuclear aspirations. Many have chemical and biological weapons. Some already have developed the ballistic missile technology that would allow them to deliver weapons of mass destruction at long distances and incredible speeds. And a number of these countries are spreading these technologies around the world.”

Today's world requires a new policy, a broad strategy of active nonproliferation, counterproliferation and defenses. We must work together with other like-minded nations to deny weapons of terror from those seeking to acquire them. We must work with allies and friends who wish to join with us to defend against the harm they can inflict. And together we must deter anyone who would contemplate their use.

A year later, in his first National Security Strategy of the United States and the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, the President expanded both on the requirements to meet today's threats and on the tools we would marshal against them. The National Strategy to Combat WMD is the first of its kind -- a broad strategy uniting all the elements of national power needed to counter the full spectrum of WMD threats. Previous U.S. approaches had focused almost exclusively on nonproliferation. The Bush Administration has dramatically expanded U.S. nonproliferation efforts to prevent acquisition of WMD, related materials and delivery systems by rogue states or terrorists. At the same time, the President recognized the reality that preventive efforts will not always succeed. Therefore, the National Strategy to Combat WMD put new, and necessary, emphasis on counterproliferation - to deter, detect, defend against, and defeat WMD in the hands of our enemies. Further, the National Strategy also focused on consequence management, to reduce as much as possible the potentially horrific consequences of WMD attacks at home or abroad.

The three pillars in the National Strategy of counterproliferation, nonproliferation and consequence management do not stand alone, but rather come together as seamless elements of a comprehensive approach. Underlining that point, the National Strategy identified four cross-cutting enabling functions that are critical to combating WMD: intelligence collection and analysis; research and development; bilateral and multilateral cooperation; and targeted strategies against hostile states and terrorists.

To succeed in our effort to combat WMD proliferation, we must apply all elements of national power - diplomatic, economic, intelligence, law enforcement, and military.


The Bush Administration has given new vitality to the use of diplomatic tools to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. assistance to other countries to reduce and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and delivery vehicles -- through DOD's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, the Department of Energy's nuclear nonproliferation programs, and the smaller but nonetheless important State Department programs -- has been at record funding levels. The President has committed an average of $1 billion a year to these critical efforts; we greatly welcome the consistent, strong support of the Sub- Committee, the Committee, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, for these essential programs. Moreover, with the proposal in 2002 for the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, the President successfully called on our foreign partners to commit their fair share to the effort to meet what is a global responsibility. We continue to work closely with the other G-8 members to realize fully the potential of this critical commitment. Although much remains to be done, the Global Partnership has already had important success in increasing non-U.S. funding for securing and eliminating sensitive materials, technologies and weapons.

While the bulk of U.S. nonproliferation assistance remains focused on the states of the Former Soviet Union, we have also expanded our efforts to address proliferation threats more broadly. It is noteworthy how these programs have evolved to meet today's threats, from an early focus on denuclearizing Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan and on reducing the former Soviet strategic arsenal, to an increasing concentration on measures to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related materials. Landmark DOE programs include the Global Threat Reduction Initiative to reduce fissile and radioactive material worldwide, and the Second Line of Defense and Megaports programs to install radiation detection capability at major seaports, airports and land crossings. While the statutes authorizing the CTR program give it less flexibility than its DOE counterparts for work outside the former Soviet states, DOD is taking full advantage of the flexibility it has been given to eliminate chemical weapons in Albania.

The United States has also spearheaded the effort for the United Nations Security Council to take on its responsibilities to maintain peace and security against WMD threats. A major milestone was the passage in April 2004 of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540. In adopting UNSCR 1540, the Security Council - for only the second time since its founding - invoked its Chapter VII authorities to require nations to act against a general, as opposed to a specific, threat to international peace and security. In particular, UNSCR 1540 requires all states to prohibit WMD proliferation activities, such as we witnessed with the A.Q. Khan network. It further requires that states institute effective export controls, and enhance security for nuclear materials on their territory. The United States stands ready to assist other states in implementing UNSCR 1540; here too, DOE and DOD nonproliferation assistance programs, as well as those of the Department of State, are key instruments for the Administration's strategy to combat WMD.

The United States also has led the way to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency's ability to detect nuclear proliferation. We instituted a successful effort to increase the IAEA's safeguards budget. We have strongly supported the IAEA Additional Protocol, to strengthen the Agency's ability to uncover clandestine nuclear programs. The President submitted the U.S. Additional Protocol to the Senate, which gave its advice and consent to ratification in 2004, and called for all other countries to adhere to it as well. The President also successfully urged the creation of a new special committee of the IAEA Board of Governors to examine ways to strengthen the Agency's safeguards and verification capabilities.

In addition to the President's proposals to strengthen the IAEA institutionally, he challenged the international community to rectify the greatest weakness in the nuclear nonproliferation system: the ability of states to pursue nuclear weapons under the cover of peaceful energy programs. The lesson of Iran and North Korea is clear: some states will cynically manipulate the provisions of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to acquire sensitive technologies to enable them to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities - the very capabilities the treaty is intended to deny.

To close this loophole, the President has proposed that uranium enrichment and plutonium separation capabilities - the two primary paths to acquiring fissile material for nuclear weapons -- be limited to those states that already operate full-scale, fully-functioning facilities. In return, he called on the world's nuclear fuel suppliers to assure supply, in a reliable and cost effective manner, to those states that forego enrichment and reprocessing. We are working with other fuel provider states and with the IAEA to put in place assurances that will convince states with power reactors that their best economic interest is not to invest in expensive, and proliferation risky, fuel cycle capabilities. The Department of Energy plays a critical part in developing these Presidential initiatives and working with other nations to bring them to fruition.

DOE's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which Secretary Bodman announced last month, offers the promise for the longer term of enhancing global access to nuclear energy while strengthening nonproliferation. An important emphasis of the initiative is to provide a basis for states to benefit from civil nuclear power while avoiding the costs and challenges of enriching fresh fuel on the front end of the fuel cycle and disposing of spent fuel on the back end. To that end, GNEP envisions a cradle-to-grave fuel leasing regime under which states that currently have the full fuel cycle would provide fresh fuel for nuclear power plants in user nations. The spent fuel would then be returned to a full fuel-cycle nation and would be recycled using a process that does not result in separated plutonium. The Department of State is working closely with DOE to engage international partners to participate actively in GNEP.


We refer to another set of tools as "defensive measures." A key requirement of counterproliferation is to protect ourselves from WMD-armed adversaries. Combating WMD requires both offensive and defensive capabilities, to deter, detect, defend against, and mitigate the consequences of WMD and missile attack. As the President stressed in May 2001, we require new methods of deterrence against the proliferation threats of today. A strong declaratory policy and effective military forces are essential elements of our contemporary deterrent posture, reinforced by effective intelligence, surveillance, interdiction and law enforcement. Because deterrence may not always succeed, our military forces must be able to detect and destroy an adversary's WMD before they are used, and to prevent WMD attack from succeeding through robust active and passive defenses and mitigation measures. All of those requirements place particular demands on the Department of Defense. Major milestones in implementing the Administration's comprehensive approach to combating WMD were marked in: January 2005, when the Secretary of Defense designated U.S. Strategic Command as the lead combatant command for this mission; in January 2006, when General Cartwright announced the initial operating capability of the new STRATCOM Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction in partnership with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; and in February 2006, when the Department of Defense issued the first National Military Strategy to Combat WMD.

Another critical defensive measure undertaken by the Bush Administration to combat weapons of mass destruction is the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which shows the close interaction among - and the creative use of - diplomatic, military, economic, law enforcement, and intelligence tools to combat proliferation. Within the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community and the Department of State all play essential roles in PSI. The participating countries are applying laws already on the books in innovative ways and cooperating as never before to interdict shipments, to disrupt proliferation networks, and to hold accountable the front companies that support them. PSI has now expanded to include support from more than 70 countries, and continues to grow. It is not a treaty-based approach, involving long, ponderous negotiations that yield results only slowly, if at all. Instead, it is an active -- and proactive -- partnership to deter, disrupt and prevent WMD proliferation. And it is working.

Economic and financial tools are also key elements of our defensive measures. Adopting many of the means developed in the war against terrorism, we are now working with our partners to cut off the financial flows that fuel proliferation. UNSCR 1540 requires states to take and enforce effective controls on funds and services related to export and transshipment that would contribute to WMD programs. Consistent with UNSCR 1540, in July 2005, G-8 Leaders called for enhanced efforts to combat proliferation through cooperation to identify, track and freeze financial transactions and assets associated with proliferation-related activities.

President Bush augmented U.S. efforts in this area when he issued in July 2005 a new Executive Order, which authorizes the U.S. Government to freeze assets and block transactions of entities and persons, or their supporters, engaged in proliferation activities. Currently 16 entities - 11 from North Korea, 4 from Iran, and one from Syria - have been designated under the Order, and we are actively considering additional ones.

Our efforts to combat proliferation can also be aided by other financial tools which are not specifically designed against WMD proliferation. For example, in September, the Treasury Department applied authorities under the USA PATRIOT Act against an Asian bank that provides financial services to North Korean illicit activities, such as counterfeiting and drug trafficking. In designating Banco Delta Asia as a "primary money laundering concern" under the USA PATRIOT Act, Treasury acted to protect U.S. financial institutions while warning the global community of the illicit financial threat posed by the bank.


I would emphasize three proliferation challenges to illustrate the path ahead.

The first is to end the North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs. The President has made clear repeatedly that, while all options remain on the table, our strong preference is to address these threats through diplomacy.

In the Six-Party Joint Statement of September 2005, North Korea committed to abandoning all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs. This was a notable development, but we still must agree on, and implement, the detailed requirements of North Korean denuclearization and its verification. That task will be difficult. Indeed, North Korea's demand for a light water reactor immediately after the Joint Statement was issued, and its more recent refusal to return to negotiations until the United States rescinds what Pyongyang calls "economic sanctions," underscore the problems ahead. We have made it clear that we are committed to pursuing successful Six Party negotiations, and we continue - with essential input from the Departments of Defense and Energy - to develop our detailed concepts for the verified denuclearization of North Korea. At the same time, we must and will continue our defensive measures, and expand them as required, to ensure that we can protect ourselves from the proliferation actions of the North, as well as from its illicit activities such as money laundering or counterfeiting.

In some ways, the challenge Iran poses to the nuclear nonproliferation regime is even more daunting and complex than the North Korean threat. We have now moved to a new phase, in which the Security Council can add its considerable authority to the international effort to counter Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.

The Council will not supplant the IAEA effort, but reinforce it - for example, by calling on Iran to cooperate with the Agency and to take steps the IAEA Board has identified to restore confidence, and by giving the IAEA new, needed authority to investigate all aspects of the Iranian nuclear effort. The Council should make clear to the Iranian regime that it will face increasing isolation and pressure if it does not reverse course, take the steps called for by the IAEA Board, and return promptly to negotiations. We will continue to consult closely with the EU-3 and the European Union, with Russia, China, and many other members of the international community as this new diplomatic phase proceeds. Indeed, Secretary Rice is meeting tomorrow in Berlin with her colleagues from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China to discuss the way forward.

Absent even more provocative actions by Iran, we envision a graduated approach by the Security Council, interacting closely with the IAEA. The Security Council can take progressively firmer action, to the extent necessary, to induce Iran to come into complete compliance with its NPT and safeguards obligations, suspend all its enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities, and cooperate fully with the IAEA. We have been negotiating a Statement by the President of the Security Council that would send a clear message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. If Iran defies the Security Council Presidential Statement, as it has the IAEA Board of Governors resolutions, we will urge a Council resolution to put increased pressure on Iran to comply. The resolution could be grounded in Chapter VII of the UN Charter, given the threat to international peace and security posed by Iran's nuclear program. In issuing such a resolution, the Council could require Iran, within a specified short period of time, to comply with all elements of the IAEA Board resolutions, as well as with additional Council requirements such as opening up to substantially increased IAEA investigative authority. If Iran still does not comply, we will look to even firmer Council action. Our aim is that Iran will be persuaded to reverse course by the obvious resolve of the international community, shown first in the IAEA Board of Governors and beginning this month in the Security Council.

The second challenge is to end proliferation trade by rogue states, individuals and groups. As I described, we have made progress over the last few years. We have moved from the creation of international export control standards to their active enforcement - through enhanced national legislation, PSI interdictions, international law enforcement and financial cooperation. We have shut down the world's most dangerous proliferation network. We are steadily reducing the opportunities available to proliferators. But we must continue to expand and deepen our efforts - using all available national and international authorities and, where necessary, creating new ones -- until the proliferation trade has been effectively ended.

The final challenge that I would mention is the need to prevent terrorist acquisition and use of WMD, and especially of biological and nuclear weapons. If terrorists acquire these weapons, they are likely to employ them, with potentially catastrophic effects. The biggest hurdle that a well-organized terrorist group with appropriate technical expertise would have to overcome to make a crude nuclear device is to gain access to sufficient quantities of fissile material. Although terrorist use of other weapons is more likely, the consequences of a terrorist nuclear attack would be so catastrophic that the danger requires particular attention. On the biological weapons side, with today's dual-use capabilities and access to particular, dangerous pathogens - many of which exist in nature or could be relatively easily obtained and cultured -- the bioterror challenge presents a low-cost means to prosecute a potentially high-impact attack.

Many of the tools we have in place to combat proliferation by rogue states are relevant against WMD terrorism. A few examples are: reducing the global stocks of fissile material and securing those which remain; improved nuclear and biological detection capability; and the interdiction of trafficking in nuclear weapons and biological weapons components. A key difference, however, is one of scale. We cannot rest as long as enough material for even one nuclear weapon remains unsecured.

While many of the tools are the same, preventing WMD terrorism requires different approaches from those we have followed against state WMD programs or against conventional or non-WMD-related terrorism. For example, intelligence collection and action against the proliferation of WMD have traditionally focused on state-based programs, while anti-terrorist intelligence has focused on individuals and groups. Intelligence regarding the nexus of terrorism and WMD must cover the full range of state and non-state threats and their interrelationships. We are working hard to close any remaining gaps and to ensure that the intelligence process supports our strategic approach to combating WMD terrorism.

That strategic approach entails working with partner nations to build a global layered defense to prevent, detect and respond to the threat or use of WMD by terrorists. To prevent, we will undertake national, multilateral and global efforts to deny terrorists access to the most dangerous materials. To protect, we will develop new tools and capabilities with partner nations to detect the movement of WMD and to disrupt linkages between WMD terrorists and their facilitators.

Because we can never be certain of our ability to prevent or protect against all potential WMD terrorist attacks, we will cooperate with partners to manage and mitigate the consequences of such attacks, and to improve our capabilities to attribute their source. Thus, we will work to harness, in an effective multinational way, all relevant collective resources to establish more coordinated and effective capabilities to prevent, protect against, and respond to the global threat of WMD terrorism.


The strategic approach to combat WMD proliferation that the President first laid out almost five years ago continues to provide an essential guide to action against this paramount threat.

Our strategy, supported by the new measures we have adopted to implement it, is flexible and dynamic, suited to the changing nature of the proliferation threat. Under the overall interagency leadership of the National Security Council, the Departments of State, Defense, and Energy work closely together at all levels - along with the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, and the Intelligence Community -- to ensure the full and coordinated implementation of the President's strategy.

While we have made substantial progress in countering today's proliferation threats, we cannot be satisfied. We must continue to heed the warning that the President gave in 2002: "History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act. In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security is the path of action."

(end text)

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Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
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Ivanov: Good afternoon. I am glad to see such a big turnout of the media. I was planning this meeting and I have invited you first of all in order to tell you about the recently created Military Industrial Commission under the Russian government. And then I will try to answer any questions that you may have with maximum frankness.

So, on the Military Industrial Commission. Let us get down to business. I visited defense enterprises frequently before, but that was in my capacity as Defense Minister, and as a customer. In the last five years I have visited all the important defense enterprises. After the decision was taken to appoint me as a vice premier of the Russian Federation with the function of coordinating the work of the military industrial complex, I also visited many enterprises both in the Siberian part and in the central part of the country -- Tambov, Kaluga, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow and practically all the other regions.

And it was already then that I realized that the activities of the Military Industrial Commission, and such a commission has existed all along, had to be made more prompt and, if you like, more robust in monitoring the execution of its decisions. On the whole, looking at the state of the military industrial complex in the Russian Federation I can say that it is not bad because to this day our industry produces all the main types of modern weapons, all without exception: rockets, spacecraft, submarines, planes and so on.

But it does not mean that the defense industry has no problems. Problems exist and chief of them consists in the following. The loading of defense industries with defense orders has substantially diminished in recent years for understandable reasons. And the load of various enterprises varies between 20, 30 and sometimes 50 percent. That is normal, it is the same trend in the whole world. Our problem lies elsewhere. These enterprises are not loaded enough with production of high-tech civilian goods. I am not calling on these enterprises to produce cooking pots, pressing irons and so on. That would be stupid and wasteful. But there is a possibility -- and a number of enterprises have successfully launched the manufacture of high-tech civilian products. I could cite examples. And one should increase the loading of enterprises with such products.

What can be done to achieve that goal? Just as a suggestion, I think that many of our enterprises in the defense sector could produce equipment for our energy people, for the oil and gas industry, including the equipment that at present is bought from other countries. This is also high-tech production, for example, equipment for geological prospecting which involves electronics, thermal vision and other equipment. This was just an example, one of many.

On the whole, it can be said that our country, our people need high-tech civilian goods, including household appliances. When visiting enterprises which build long-range missiles, I saw that some of them also manufacture modern and attractive looking lawn mowers. The demand for them will continue to grow. The fact that defense industries are operating below capacity leads to consequences connected with the increased cost of the products because the directors of these enterprises, willingly or unwillingly, include the idle floor space which has to be heated and maintained and provided with electricity into the final cost of the product, that is, the armaments. This is not good news for me as customer.

These are the main problems that exist and I am quite openly identifying them. Of course, there is also the problem of quality control, control of the quality of military hardware produced. And there are some other problems, for example, the maintenance of the mobilization component of such enterprises. Besides, there are some enterprises, for example, those producing ammunition, which are loss- making in any country because these enterprises have to occupy a huge area due to the production technology used, they have to consume a lot of power, water. In this case we create fully state- owned and state-financed (kazyonny) enterprises. That is an enterprise with a special status that enables us to subsidize the maintenance of production areas and capacity.

All the defense industries have already become integrated in the market economy. They have to operate at a profit, there is no other way. And there is the question of governability of these enterprises. I think that the royal road is the creation of industrial holding companies. Some holdings of this kind have already been created and are operating successfully. For example, the Almaz-Antei holding which produces air defense weaponry, the Tactical Missile Weapons holding, the helicopter-building holding. The President recently signed a decree on the creation of a unified aviation corporation which takes in the whole of aviation. I think this is the royal road that we will take.

Besides, the government has already made a number of decisions to create more holdings, for example, the space rocked holding, the armor holding, the radio electronics holding without which no modern weapons can be built. Next in line, I think, is the shipbuilding holding company will be the next in turn, I think. A separate one for surface vessels and another one for submarines. This is what concerns the state of the defense industry.

The defense industry also requires financial rehabilitation. Everyone knows cases when very serious defense enterprises went bankrupt. Sometimes those bankruptcies have an objective nature, but quite often they are fraudulent bankruptcies. This happens when this or that industrial group just wants to gain control of land, capacities to be able to shift them for other purposes. We should closely monitor such things, and the latest meetings of the Military Industrial Commission have paid due attention to those problems.

Another effective way, in my opinion, of using the potential of our defense industry sector is employing it, in some cases, in the implementation of national projects, because defense industry enterprises, as practice shows, can successfully produce construction hardware, medical equipment, motor transport and even agricultural machinery -- if those require high technology, if they are able to complete, why not?

Now, on the Military Industrial Commission proper. It has always existed, but the new commission has a new specific feature. It is that the commission will work on a permanent basis. This has not been the case for a long time. We are not going to create any bureaucratic monsters, any bureaucratic organizations. The MIC will include all those which it used to include, that is, most ministers of the Russian Cabinet, the heads of agencies and relevant services. But there will emerge a new permanent body, whose activities will be directly steered by my first deputy, Vladislav Putilin, who has a minister rank, and there will be five officials with just one of them to engage in bureaucratic activities. He will have a deputy head of the government office rank, because -- at the beginning I spoke about promptness -- decisions by the commission should be quickly registered as government ordinances or, if required, as the president's decrees.

Another official will be in charge of research, because it is certainly impossible to speak about the creation of promising samples unless there is science involved. That individual will lead the science and technology council under the Military Industrial Commission. The other three will deal with particular problems, for example, proceeding from the land, air, water principle. That is, for example, aircraft building, shipbuilding, hardware for land troops. Or there may be some other issues such as the element base or other. We will decide. The system should be flexible enough.

It looks like I have covered the main issues. Naturally, every member of the MIC will be personally accountable for decisions made. As I have said already, requirements will be tough. We have to closely link state defense orders, the state's armament program with the readiness of the defense industry sector to produce types of weapons the country and its armed forces really need, rather than those defense industry would like to sell or supply to the Defense Ministry. There is some contradiction here, and it does exist in every country.

The goal of industry, any industry is selling more at higher prices. The goal of any Defense Ministry is buying cheaper and of better quality. Along with other things, the Military Industrial Commission will deal with price formation and, certainly, quality.

The main types of weapons have been defined by the General Staff, by the Defense Ministry. This means that our industry needs retooling, modernization of capacities. This also requires some funds, by the way. I perfectly realize this and I believe that that the state armament program should be closely linked with the program calling for the modernization of the main defense industry enterprises. Otherwise, it won't work.

And there is the ratio which I describe as the I want-I can ratio. That is, the ratio of funds the state can provide for rearmament of the army, the navy and other armed forces to the ability of industry to implement that desire, including in terms of availability of funds and resources.

Let us wind it up then. On the Military Industrial Commission, I would just like to list the main tasks and comment on them, in conclusion, so there would be no misunderstanding.

First, restructuring of the whole defense industry sector, the makeup, structure, corporate relationships in this or that holding company, technological retooling of the core production capacities, which I have just spoken about. By the way, there is another very important task. It is taking an inventory and effective utilization of intellectual property of the state. The thing is that in recent years, hundreds of billions of rubles have been allocated for research and development activities. And products have been obtained. I find it very important that the state should effectively count the funds because the money allocated for R&D activities goes to state enterprises, to joint-stock companies and to private enterprises which exist already in the defense industry sector. And this is normal. But we should take stock of intellectual property because this concerns huge money amounts provided from the state budget. If we do it this way, control of the state over the defense industry sector will only strengthen, in my opinion.

Besides, all decisions related to the provision of up-to-date weapons to the troops should be implemented timely. It is necessary to make sure that modern weapons are produced, for which strategic resources and those in short supply should be provided. This also requires balancing defense requirements with the state's ability to provide the required resources in the framework of the state armament program -- by the way, we will adopt a new one this year, the state armament program to be implemented until 2015 -- or state defense orders or triannual budgets, because budgetary planning procedures have been modified now, and we have moved to three-year planning. That's good. That makes it possible to track the state's financial potential more confidently and more accurately and decide whether or not this or that project can be implemented.

And I have already mentioned that it is necessary to streamline state price regulation mechanism for defense industry products by combining technological and rear supplies for the military organization. The transition to a uniform authority ordering weapons and military hardware in the Defense Ministry and all other armed forces.

These are the main tasks the Military Industrial Commission faces. Thank you for your attention, on the issue. If you have something to ask, I am ready to answer.

Moderator: Dear colleagues, your questions, please.

Q: If I am not mistaken, it is five years today since you were appointed as defense minister. What could you say on the results of that five-year period? What have you managed to accomplish? What you have not from what you initially devised?

Ivanov: Well, I am not marking this. I do not regard this as an anniversary. It is a normal workday. But if you are serious when asking this question, get ready for a serious and long answer because I can't describe everything that has been done over the past five years in a couple of words. A lot was done and many things were not done, but I think what is most important is that when I took the office of Defense Minister five years ago, 70 percent of all budget appropriations for national defense were used for salaries and payments to the military. In plain words, this money was eaten away. And only 30 percent were investment in development. It was stagnation.

Today we spend only 60 percent of the defense budget on maintenance and 40 percent on development. We have changed the ratio by 10 percent. I think this is one of our most important strategic objectives that we have achieved. But I do understand that this is not enough. We plan to bring expenditures on development, and by that I mean combat training and rearmament, to 50 percent. In other words, the ratio should be fifty-fifty. And then the system will be quite effective. Even though it is already better now than it was five years ago.

I am not talking about structural changes because, as a rule, they are of little interests to the public. But some structure changes were made within the Defense Ministry. We have three main commands. We have restored the Main Land Troops Command. So, there are three main commands and three branches of service: the Main Land Troops Command, the Main Navy Command, and the Main Air Force and Air Defense Command. And there are three branches of service: the Strategic Rocket Forces, the Space Troops and the Airborne Troops. The structure of the Armed Forces will not change in the foreseeable future.

Now about our numerical strength. As you probably remember, I said many times at the beginning of the 2000s that the Armed Forces must be compact and mobile to meet modern requirements. The number of troops has been cut by 200,000 over the past five years. It was a challenge because each serviceman is a real person, in most cases married with children, this serviceman needs a flat and a job, he needs to be adapted to civilian life. And 200,000 servicemen who faced redundancy claims -- this required huge financial expenditures and, before cutting once, you have to measure it seven times. We did not reduce even one serviceman from combat units. We reduced mainly command and ancillary structures that do not affect the combat readiness of the Armed Forces. I can tell you firmly and with responsibility that not a single unit, let alone of permanent readiness units, not a single combat unit was cut. The peak of cuts is behind us.

By 2011, we will have to cut 35,000 positions in five years. In the previous five years we cut 200,000. In the next five years we will have to cut only 35,000. Today the numerical strength of the Armed Forces, just in case some of you don't know this, is 1,134,000 personnel. We will have to cut 35,000 by 2011. And we think that after that we will reach the optimal size of the Armed Forces.

By the way, by the year 2011 we will also have to cut, which is quite natural, the number of top officers, i.e. generals and admirals, in order to maintain the ratio of one general or admiral to 1,000 subordinates. This is a standard international practice. We will stick to it. And I hope that other military structures will follow our suit to make sure the command does not get blown out of proportion.

Now about rearmament. In 1996-2000, the Armed Forces adopted only 40 new samples of arms. In five years. Last year alone, 400 new arms and pieces of hardware were adopted. Make the comparison. Four hundred. Expenditures for R&D and arms purchases in the past five years that I have been in office have been growing steadily. And I think this is normal and right because Russia will not be competitive in this complex and contradictory world without modern arms in terms of defense and security.

We must draw our combat capability not from large troop numbers but from modern arms and hardware to ensure our security. That we spent generously on R&D in 2001-2003 was a conscientious strategy and it is already beginning to pay off because we have been buying mass produced arms more and more since last year. And we buy them in sufficient numbers to arm a whole unit or formation, be it a battalion or a squadron.

One example from the Navy. In 1994-2000, Russia did not lay down any surface ships. Nothing at all in seven years. Not a single ship, at all. Now we have laid down all varieties of surfaces ships, including a new frigate. About 20 new corvettes are under construction, and our Navy will get the first of them already this year. Small ships and cruise boats, large landing ships have been laid down. I repeat we are building a variety of ships.

As for submarines, you know that we have started building new strategic submarines. These include the Yuri Dolgoruky, which is to be commissioned by 2007, the Alexander Nevsky, and the Vladimir Monomakh, which was laid down recently. All these submarines will be armed with the new strategic system Bulava.

Topol-M has been steadily supplied to the army over the past several years. This year its mobile version will become available. In other words, we have switched on to an entirely new variety of missile systems for the Strategic Nuclear Forces.

Now about the budget in general because as I try to answer your question I get a better idea of what the budget was like before and what it is like today. I will get the statistics now and give you some figures. Annual appropriations made by the Defense Ministry in 2002-2005 increased on average by 28 percent. This year's budget expenditures will grow by 3.5 times from 2000. In absolute figures, the defense budget in 2000 was 205 billion rubles, and it will be 711 billion rubles this year. I think the growth is obvious.

The Defense Ministry's budget ranges within 2.7-3 percent of GDP. This is a normal international practice. The growth of the defense budget over 5 years has been inevitably connected with the growth of the Russian economy in general. I want to tell you that economy and defense capability are closely interconnected. If the economy does not grow, nor will the defense budget grow. At the same time, if we have no effective defense capability, I doubt our economy would grow so rapidly because these are intertwined factors. We must maintain this balance without going to extremes. And I think the government has succeeded in doing so over the past five years.

Speaking of rearmament expenditures separately, I can say that the annual growth was about 25 percent, including inflation. In 2003, we spent 117 billion rubles on rearmament, 144 billion in 2004, 187 billion in 2005, and we will spend 236 billion rubles this year. The growth is obvious.

Now about combat training. I hope you will agree with me that not so long ago there was a strong stereotype that five years ago there was practically no combat training in the army, the ships were moored, and all exercises took place only in the maps. It was like that not so long ago. But we have made a great progress in terms of combat training. It was one of my priorities that the Armed Forces without combat training cannot be really regarded as efficient armed forces because the lose skills and combat capability and everything else. And I have been paying this very much attention since 2001.

Last year we carried 31 large-scale exercises at the level of regiments across Armed Forces. For the first time in the post-Soviet history we held an exercise at the level of a division that involved shooting practices. We hadn't done anything like that since 1991.

We can say that the Navy has stepped up its activities too. Last year our surface ships made 28 long trips, and one can come across the Russian Navy's flag quite often across the world. I constantly demand that the troops engage in combat training on a permanent basis and be not destructed for anything else.

Another stereotype that some beginning to forget nowadays but that existed just recently is the so-called struggle for the harvest. You may probably remember that when fall came, one could see soldiers in the fields, hoisting vegetables onto the trucks or collecting the harvest. I stopped that. This will no longer be. The army must do its own job, not harvest potatoes. There are other people to do this.

As for the other problem, it still exists but not as big and not as widespread, but it still exists. We try to expose and punish for that harshly. I mean a situation when commanders assign their soldiers to do some work for their own benefit. We dismiss such commanders without investigation. For example, I dismissed deputy commander of the Moscow Military District for this in one day. Such practices are unacceptable.

Now about service on a contract basis. Five years ago this seemed to be unrealistic. We only had a couple of contract servicemen in some of the units, but the effect was very small. This is why we made a strategic decision in 2002 to fully man only permanent readiness units with contract servicemen, not the army in general, but only permanent readiness units in the Land Troops, the Airborne Troops and the Marines.

Over 60,000 private and sergeant positions in these units have been manned with 60,000 contract servicemen. We have no doubt that we will implement this federal program by the end of 2007. We will hire 25,000 more contract servicemen this year to meet the target. By the beginning of 2008 contract servicemen, including officers and warrant officers, will account for 70 percent of the Armed Forces. This is a very big and expensive project. But the government has money and we will do it. By the way, this will allow us to shorten military service from three years now to 12 months from 2008.

Now about discipline and order. We can't boast of a lot of progress in this field, and I want to say this publicly and straightforwardly right away. Even though the Armed Forces are one of the most law-abiding institutions in the society and even though the level of crime and law offenses in the Armed Forces is much lower than in the civilian sector, this cannot serve as a justification. I want to say that the army has always been and should always be an example of discipline and order, and many of the good aspects of army practices could be used in civilian life too. By the way, I can often hear civilian officials say that orders are fulfilled quickly and swiftly in the Defense Ministry. This happens because this is a military organization, and it cannot be in any other way here.

But the level of crime and law offenses in the Armed Forces is still unacceptably high. We say this openly and publish data in all open sources, including on the Internet. We are taking measures to improve the situation. Ninety nine percent of all violations, including corruption and theft, are exposed by the military themselves through various inspections and checks. And we will not let it up, we will only step it up.

If some want to know the statistics, in case you don't know it yet or haven't looked it up on the Internet, I can repeat it for you. A total of 1,064 servicemen died in the Armed Forces last year. It's a terrible number. We also have a breakdown by the category. Sixteen people died because of hazing. One serviceman died of hazing in the first two months of this year. Thirty people because of manslaughter last year and four this year. Twenty people died because of mishandling arms. Thank God, there have been no deaths for this reason this year. Road accidents claimed 324 lives last year. This is the biggest category. But you know what happens on our roads, and this could not but affect the Armed Forces too. It's all the same.

Suicides. Last year 276 people committed suicide. In the first two months of this year, 33. Accidents also claimed 276 people, and this year 42. Criminal actions by civilians resulted in 105 deaths last year. But that's servicemen killed by civilians, just criminals in the country. All told, 202 servicemen died as a result of bullying in the armed forces during five years. These are grim statistics. It's horrible, come to think of it. But if you look at national statistics and at what is happening in the country at large, it is even more horrible.

According to the Interior Ministry data, last year 1,080 children died at the hands of adults. Not in some correctional facilities for juveniles, but children killed by adults. Teenagers from amongst whom the army is recruited committed 150,000 crimes during the year, of which 36 are serious and very serious crimes. Teenagers are those who are about to be drafted into the army. This is the kind of society we have.

I repeat, it is of course impossible, to separate the army from society, and nobody is setting such a task because the army is part of society. But it does not absolve the commanders of all levels of responsibility for maintaining order and discipline at a higher level than in civilian life. And this should always be the case.

So much for discipline. We are planning to hold, at an early date, the second army-wide meeting of young officers here in Moscow to discuss just one topic: the state of law and order and discipline in the forces and measures to improve the situation. We are planning to invite representatives of the civil society to attend that meeting. We are not avoiding them and we are not hiding from them.

Now, the last body of issues, one of the most important: it is the social problems of servicemen because unless these problems are addressed, all talk about modernization of the armed forces becomes meaningless. About salaries. I'll read out the statistics of what has changed over the five years. Regimental commander, that's a colonel of course. Length of service, 22 years. As of January 1, 2001, his salary was 4,668 rubles, now it is 14,375 rubles, an increase by 3.08 times. Battalion commander, lieutenant-colonel, length of service 15 years. Used to be paid 3,518 rubles, now his pay is 12,139 rubles, an increase by 3.45 times. I am reading this and I shudder at the thought that the wives would hear me...

Company commander, a captain. Length of service 8 years. Used to get 2,917 rubles five years ago. Horror of horrors. Now he gets 10,393 rubles, an increase by 3.56 times. Platoon commander, a lieutenant. Length of service 5 years. Used to get 2,473 rubles. Now he gets 9,137 rubles, an increase by 3.69 times. The biggest increase. And by the way, the generals themselves suggested that salaries should be raised first for junior officers because their plight is the worst. Platoon commanders, company commanders -- they had their salaries raised in five years more than regimental commanders, division commanders and so on. This is deliberate policy. So, they have enjoyed the highest pay raises.

And of course the technicians, too, have got their salaries raised by more than three times in five years, and that does not take into account inflation and monetization of in-kind benefits. Let us take inflation over five years, it's 87 percent. And still, we see that the real increase of servicemen's salaries is on average 1.5-2 times. Not enough? Of course it isn't. But it isn't all that little, given the economic potential of the state.

The plans for further pay raises have already been announced and every serviceman knows what his salary will be in 2007 and in 2008. So much for salaries.

Now the housing problem. First, and I can safely regard it as a feather in my cap: we have launched the mortgage system, something that Russia never had before. I can tell you honestly that only two or three years ago not a single officer had any idea what a managing company is, what a specialized depositary is. They didn't know such words. Today, this is routine. The mortgage system is working.

And most importantly the housing, especially for those servicemen who signed their contracts before January 1, 1998. The waiting list of those who don't have apartments of their own, and these include those who need housing, and those who need to improve their housing conditions, that waiting list at the Defense Ministry has diminished during five years. In the 1990s it was growing relentlessly, without any hope.

I will not give you absolute figures. The number of servicemen in need of permanent housing stood at 95,000, I mean families of servicemen, in 2001. At present that number has dropped to 71,000. The waiting list is growing smaller. You know that at the initiative of the President and Supreme Commander a program has been adopted which we refer to as 15+15, that means allocating 15 billion in 2006 and again in 2007 to solve the housing problem in five of the most difficult regions of the Russian Federation: Moscow, the Moscow Oblast, St. Petersburg, the Leningrad Oblast and Kaliningrad where we are to build about 18,000 apartments in two years.

Thus the waiting list for apartments will be cut, especially in the most difficult regions where this issue is the most difficult to solve because I don't have to tell you what the cost of housing is in Moscow and St. Petersburg. And we envisage real prices, 1,000 dollars per square meter. That money can build normal housing for you if it is tightly controlled and nobody is allowed to steal it. This system is already in place.

In this way we will further reduce the waiting list for apartments and provide everyone who signed contracts before January 1998 with housing by 2010. I believe we can do it, and we will do it. There will be no servicemen who are entitled to housing but have no housing. We will continue building ministry housing too to help solve the problem that exists in the Armed Forces and the military organization in general.

I meet with officers quite often, and they no longer complain about their salaries as they did only four years ago. Housing is now their biggest problem. We will commit all resources to the resolution of this problem and other problems I mentioned above, including the transition to 12-month military service. I promised this and I will keep my promise. You should have no doubt that.

That's all in brief. I am sorry for such a long answer, but it matched the question. I told everything I wanted to tell you. I am open to your questions.

Q: There have been many interpretations of what actually happened at the Chelyabinsk Tank School, to be more precise of the Sychev case. And the main interpretations differ. Could you tell us about the results of the investigation that was conducted by the Defense Ministry?

Ivanov: Indeed, there has been so much speculation about the Sychev case lately, but only court and no one else will tell us what exactly happened at the Chelyabinsk Tank School. You won't get another answer from me.

As for our own investigation, the Commander of Land Troops, General Maslov, studied the case very closely and he announced his conclusions, but they have nothing to do with the judicial investigation. Only court will have the final say in this case. Thank God, we live in rule-of-law state. But the Sychev case must not distract attention from the problems of discipline and order in the army in general. I have already given you statistics. Irrespective of this case, we will take all measures and all efforts to at least reduce the number of crimes, and not only related to hazing, because this is a very serious problem and it would be naive to think that we can solve it overnight. I want everybody to understand this.

Q: Your opponents, including some public organizations, such as the Soldiers' Mothers' Committee, think that military reform is as radical as it should be and, based on this, accuse you of nothing else but army disintegration. What, in your view, could be behind these statements, and how do you take such statements?

Ivanov: I take them calmly. We live in a free country. As for army disintegration, I don't think our army is disintegrating. I have given you arguments, numbers and facts that in my view clearly show that our Armed Forces are not disintegrating. I don't know why such radical calls are made. I have heard them. Some ask why Ivanov and the Army in general do not want to have a completely professional army consisting only of contract servicemen and do so in two days, for example. Indeed, what a big deal. But that's demagoguery. And it's intentional demagoguery. It distorts the essence of the problem and reveals a lack of understanding. This will require huge expenditures. No one has ever set the goal of having the entire army manned with contract servicemen. And no one has made such promises. I want to emphasize this so that no one tried to ascribe things to be that I never said.

Perhaps, not everybody is pleased with what is happening in the country and the armed forces in particular and they feel the urge to criticize us. Let them criticize then. But we will continue along the chosen road calmly and persistently.

Q: I have a question about federal troops in Chechnya. A year ago their number was announced as 100,000. Then it was 80,000 and now we hear 40,000. Does this mean that so many troops have left Chechnya? And how do you assess the role of Chechen police in Chechnya and can they restore order in Chechnya?

Ivanov: I prefer to speak about what I am responsible for. As for Chechnya, let me begin from the start. In 1999-2000, I remember that time very well because I was Security Council Secretary at that time, and it is related to the Armed Forces, in order to get a 80,000- or 90,000ong force at that time, in order to restore constitutional order in the Russian Federation and defeat large gangs, we would have had to look for individual combat-capable units across the country and bring them altogether, which we did. We brought them over from the Far East and Siberia.

Today the number of units manned entirely with contract servicemen in the North Caucasus Military District alone is bigger than the whole force we needed at that time. We no longer need to bring anyone over from other parts of the country. If, God forbid, but I don't believe this will happen, but hypothetically speaking, if we for some reason need a force of such size manned with professionals, with contract servicemen, we already have it.

A lot of things have happened since then, but I am still grateful to the officers and conscripts who broke the back of these big bandit units and ensured the progress of the Chechen Republic in economics, and also in the field of security. As of today, the Defense Ministry has only the 42nd division, fully manned with contractees that will be stationed on the territory of the Chechen Republic and will not leave, because it is on that part of the Russian territory on a permanent basis. That's about 15,000 servicemen. Not soldiers, as you have said, but servicemen, including officers and generals. That's the overall number.

And we have practically no other Defense Ministry troops there. There is no need for them there any more. The situation has changed. And of course, no conscripts are being sent to Chechnya. I promised three years ago that in a year or a year and a half conscripts will not be sent for military service on the territory of the Chechen Republic. I have kept my promise. That's it. Conscripts will not serve in Chechnya and are not serving there now. Soon, there will be no conscripts in the adjacent regions of the Russian Federation, in Dagestan and Ingushetia. There, too, all the Defense Ministry units are being switched to the contract system. So, parents need not worry on that score.

As for other forces, I am not in a position to assess the effectiveness of the Interior Troops and the Federal Security Service, although I am aware that the effectiveness is fairly high. And for some time now there has been no question about any large bandit units on the territory of the Chechen Republic. Large bands will never be formed by the remnants of the underground bandits.

As for the local forces, I can speak for the Defense Ministry. Yes, we have two battalions which are, in terms of organization, parts of the 42nd division which I mentioned. Two battalions, called respectively East and West, are manned by contractees, Russian citizens permanently residing on the territory of the Chechen Republic. These two units -- East and West -- are doing a very effective and competent job, they know the local terrain, local mores and customs and they have the trust of the local population. We have frequently, in the past, shown the results of their operations in the form of killed militants, captured foreign mercenaries with foreign passports, a huge number of ammunition dumps -- they are cleaning all this up. But there haven't been and won't be any large-scale combat actions on the territory of the Chechen Republic.

Q: The newspaper Vremya Novostei. Sergei Borisovich, a lot of articles are published about the armed forces and that unpleasant phenomenon of corruption. Does it really have such deep roots?

Ivanov: Corruption. It exists in the armed forces, just like it exists in the whole society. It is impossible to build a stone wall between the two. The level of corruption, thievery and bribery in the armed forces is of course much lower than in society and the country as a whole. But they exist. And we are fighting them. I have already mentioned officers who are trying to have their subordinates do all kinds of menial jobs in order to line their pockets. But one must draw a distinction there. If there is no personal gain, and situations do happen in the country when, for example, there is a technogenic disaster or a flood or whatever, and in such situations I tell all the commanders: Don't ask for any permissions or sanctions, send your people over immediately. When there was a power cut in half of Moscow, I remember that engineering troops, railways troops often came to the rescue. And that is right. Because the army must help society in such cases. But you understand that nobody is talking about personal gain in such situations.

Military draft stations. They are a problem. Facts have been recorded of some members of the staff of draft stations taking bribes. We know about it. We deal with these cases in a severe manner. But we are also thinking how to change the system to eliminate the temptation, on the one hand, to give bribes. One of the measures being studied on my directive at present is rotation of the officers who work in draft stations. Especially those officers who are in direct contact with the civilian population. It is not right that an officer works in a draft station for decades and considers that he is holding this position for life. I disagree with this. I think there should be rotation.

Service in the draft stations is important. It can be a stage, even a brief stage, in an officer's career. Such proposals are being studied now.

Another systemic measure, and this may be the first time I am speaking about it publicly, because the time has come to make it public -- is the system of orders and procurement of weapons, assets for the rear and the armed forces and the whole military organization.

A decision in principle has been made already. I reported to the President and he approved the decision. From January 1, 2007, the system of making contracts with suppliers will be moved out of the Defense Ministry into a civilian agency, and that will work under the Russian Federation government, dealing not only with supplies for the Defense Ministry, but also for all other armed units.

Naturally, orders will be placed by each particular agency which will decide what should be purchased, how many aircraft and missiles, how much should be allocated for R&D, what is to be developed, how much is to be allocated for maintenance. This will be decided by each particular agency, the Defense Ministry in our case.

But contracts on the manufacture of those products will be made by civilians in a different organization, not by the Defense Ministry, by officers or generals. In fact, this is a move aimed at combating corruption. The military should deal with their own business, while specialists, including civilians, should make contracts. This is the system existing worldwide.

And this will mean the observance of the President's instructions and my instructions aimed at further decommercialization of the armed forces. And this will be accomplished.

Q: Dear Sergei Borisovich, could you comment on reports that on the eve of the military operation in Iraq in 2003, the Russian side allegedly provided information on movements of US troops for the Iraqi leadership?

Ivanov: Strange to hear a Los Angeles Times correspondent address the defense minister this way: Dear Sergei Borisovich. I know US journalists and as a rule they address me in a different way.

Well, what you have said is absolute nonsense. Naturally, we did not provide any information to anyone. Why has this surfaced now? First, three years have passed since the start of war in Iraq, but it has not gone as smoothly as they would like. And they are now trying to divert attention, point their finger at someone. They are usual things and I am not surprised, frankly speaking.

There is nothing to comment on. Absolute nonsense.

Q: Would you be kind enough to repeat that in English for the American audience, Sergei Borisovich?

Ivanov: I believe it's total rubbish. Thank you. Without using the proper American words. Starting with "bull".

Q: It looks like Russia has not identified real military threats for itself at the moment. Still, in theory, I would say there is a feeling at least that they still remain. It might be possible to recall a report published by an authoritative US magazine. It concerns superiority of American strategic forces over Russian and Chinese forces. My question is: What is being done to ensure Russia's external security?

Ivanov: This question requires an extensive answer. First, I agree with you that there are threats. There always are threats. They can grow or diminish. They can modify, but they do exist. I fully agree with you. And we have to be always ready.

As for external security -- we have dealt with that very energetically in the past five years -- I would say that the Russian Federation's policy have grown by far more clear in the CIS space in those five years. I think you will agree. The Collective Security Treaty Organization has grown stronger and it now has a clear military component: collective rapid deployment forces. We also have bases now, for example, Russia has an air force base at Kant in Kyrgyzstan.

If we look wider at this problem, first, we have only focused on areas directly neighboring on the Russian Federation because this is particularly where clear and obvious threats come from. They are terrorism and drug trafficking. By the way, far from all those threats have military nature. This explains why the CSTO has not dealt exclusively with military issues. This concerns cooperation between Interior Ministries, drug control departments, and naturally, the Foreign Ministries, security services. This is all interrelated.

NATO. Our relationships with NATO have improved in general in spheres on which accords were reached between the heads of state in 2002 when the Russia-NATO Council was established: on terrorism, non- proliferation, joint military exercises. Two years ago no one could have imagined that state-of-the-art multi-purpose nuclear submarines of the Russian Federation and France would maneuver side by side when sailing on the surface and would act in line with joint plans. Those who would have suggested this ten years ago would have been put in a lunatic asylum. But such things are real today.

I could mention also other exercises, Operation Active Endeavor. Definitely, we have improved mutual understanding on issues of mutual interest. This does not mean, though, that everything is perfect between Russia and NATO, that there are no problems. There still are certain problems, there are contradictions, and we have openly stated that and everyone knows this quite well.

I believe that in recent years the Asian direction of our policy has also grown more clear, including the defense and security sphere. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization works. Major military exercises have been held with India, China, Uzbekistan. They are the countries that are not CSTO members. I am only listing those countries. This is a reality of today.

Russia's policy in the security sphere, in my opinion, has grown more pragmatic. It is based, certainly, on our own national interests first and foremost, and it should proceed from those interests in the future, not on any other things. I am stating this openly.

Certainly, we should take account of the interests of our neighbors, partners, if they take account of our interests, naturally, if there are no double standards applied. Perhaps, far from everyone likes this, and I can understand this. Perhaps, this leads to discontent which is sometimes manifest in general political declarations, statements, criticism of Russia for having no this or that. We should treat this calmly.

We have not pursued an aggressive foreign policy, policy in the security sphere. We have not called for confrontation, but we have safeguarded and will safeguard our national interests. If someone dislikes this, this is not our problem. Perhaps, someone would like Russia to have a weak army, a disintegrated army. That's quite possible that someone may want this. Someone would like Russia to let energy resources be easily pumped out of the country, preferably at minimal prices, with Russia sitting in the corner. This will not be the case.

Q: I have two questions to ask you. First, everyone knows, everyone sees what pressure the United States, the West have put on Syria and Iran recently. My question is: how can this influence military cooperation between Russia and those countries? In an interview with me 18 months ago, you may recall it, you spoke about preventive strikes, this was the first time you spoke about them. In what cases could Russia deliver preventive strikes? Thank you.

Ivanov: As for the Middle and Near East, the situation in that big region is very tense. I think it's an axiom that needs no proof or an extensive answer.

As for our relations with any country, not only Syria or Iran, this applies to all countries. In brief, we develop our relations in accordance with international law. I often hear criticism that Russia sells arms to the wrong states and the wrong regimes. If one follows this logic, we must not sell anything to anyone even though the United States of America sells two times more arms than Russia, and it sells them not only to democratic countries. I will not name any countries in order not to hurt anyone, but I think you have no doubts that they have nothing to do with democracy. And their arms sales amount to billions of dollars.

So, we regard this as unfair competition or attempts to replace real competition with politics. We recognize the rules of market competition. We have learned to play these games. We had good teachers in the 1990s, and we stick to these rules: the market -- free competition, the price -- the quality, that's it.

As for Iran, there is the complex issue of the so-called Iranian nuclear dossier. Russia's position on nonproliferation does not differ from that of the rest of the world, and I would like to emphasize this. I know what I am saying because I am the Chairman of Russia's Inter-Agency Commission on Export Control. Russia is strongly against the proliferation or even a threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in any form, be it nuclear, biological or chemical form. But I do agree that such a global threat exists and that it is quite serious. Our cooperation with the US, NATO and the EU countries in this field is quite close and is based on fundamentally identical approaches toward this issue.

The tactic, sanctions and pressure are a different matter. We must comply with all nonproliferation regimes strictly. Russia is firmly adhered to this view and pursues a matching policy. We do not sell prohibited items to anyone, no matter what some may say or accuse us of pursuing purely political goals. No one has given us any proof that Russia has supplied dual-purpose technology to Iran or other countries because such facts simply don't exist. By the way, we cite facts when certain equipment is illicitly supplied to a country. For example, the notorious gas centrifuges in Natanz. Everybody knows where they came from. They came from Pakistan. And they turned out to be in Pakistan because of the "activity" of the West European consortium URENCO. So you can judge for yourself who is engaged in proliferation and who is not.

The Iran issue is quite complex. Our offer to enrich uranium in Russia remains on the table. But this is a comprehensive offer, and it must be considered within the IAEA. Iran must either clearly accept the offer or reject it to resolve all the concerns the international community has. In other words, it must give clear answers. That's as far as nonproliferation is concerned. As for democracy and its rapid march across the planet, that's a different story.

Q: What about preventive strikes?

Ivanov: I will answer this one briefly because there is nothing new to it. Russia always thought, thinks and will think that it has the right to deliver preventive strikes without using weapons of mass destruction -- we emphasize this specifically every time -- if we know absolutely that a large terrorist act against Russian citizens or Russian facilities is being prepared in a certain part of the world. This right is already formalized in a law that was recently passed by the Duma. It officially provides for the use of Armed Forces outside Russia's territory to fight terrorism. And we will certainly reserve this right. We will use it very carefully but to the point.

Q: I have a question about the Transdniestrian conflict. What kind of support Russia will provide there? And what will happen if the conflict escalates?

Ivanov: We do not want any conflict to escalate. Russia is one of the guarantors of the peaceful resolution of this conflict. It's a guarantor country. We have 1,500 Russian troops in Transdniestria. You know this. They have been there with the consent of the sides since the end of the bloody strife at the beginning of 1990s. If you mean those 1,500 troops there, they have two missions to carry out. One is a peacekeeping one. Thank God, the conflict has rekindled over the past 10 years and there have been no deaths there anymore. And we should give big credit to our peacekeepers for that. The whole international community must say "thank you" to them for that. The second mission is to guard depots with the remains of Soviet arms and ammunition that were left there after the Soviet Union's break up.

Half of that amount has been removed from there over the past 15 years. Since the political problem had developed into a gridlock, Transdniestrian authorities did not allow the rest of the arms and ammunition to be taken out of there. I don't think you want this ammunition to end up in the wrong hands. At least we don't. This is why we have to keep soldiers and officers there to guard these depots to make sure that these supplies do not go to wrong people.

Q: I have a question about your visit to Surgut last week. What was the reason for your visit to Surgutneftegaz? You said today that the defense industry needs resources.

Ivanov: My trip to Surgut was not connected only with the visit to Surgutneftegaz, for I also visited the local military enlistment office because I wanted to know if it was ready for the coming spring draft. I also had a public mission to carry out for the New Generation fund to deliver aid to youth sports schools so that we had a healthy nation. And I visited Surgutneftegaz, too, because first of all I was simply curious how they extract oil, how they prospect for new resources, and how technically complex this process is. And I saw some similarities with the military-industrial sector. This is why this idea came to my mind.

I saw many things that are similar to what we have in the Defense Ministry, such as double control or even triple control, online reporting and accounting. By the way, I realized there that oil and gas extraction and the military organization have some things in common in terms of management and control because many things are based on discipline, order and one-man command. It was interesting. I think that's all.

Q: Some time ago mass media actively discussed a road accident that involved your son. It's going to be a somewhat harsh question. Suggestions were made that administrative resources were used to hush up this case. Is it true or not?

Ivanov: I am quite used to harsh questions. It's a question for me. Everything must be harsh in the Defense Ministry. First of all, my son is a grownup person, he is 29 years old. As you understand, he has to speak for himself. As for administrative resources, I have been in public politics for quite a while, since last century, actually since 1999, and I have always been aware of the fact that I am in the limelight both for my supporters and opponents. Everybody understands that. Because in this particular case any moves would be silly on my part. I have never said this, but if you are asking, I can say publicly that believe it or not I have never intervened, I have not made any phone calls to anyone, I have not done anything.

Naturally, my son suffered a lot in connection with that. I talked to him and I only recommended that he should arrange all sorts of examinations, all possible examinations. And there were dozens -- he told me, but I do not remember all details -- dozens of tests, and they were aimed at making the situation absolutely clear and transparent about who is to blame and whether or not one is to blame at all. That was the only thing I recommended to him.

Naturally, he suffered morally and a bit physically, because after that tragic incident he was strongly beaten by the relatives and acquaintances of the victim. He had a concussion, he stayed in hospital, but everything is okay now.

Q: Please, tell us how in the MIC framework you are going to support scientific research, maybe, theoretic research. Second, defense industry enterprises quite often had to support some social institutions such as nurseries or schools. What is the situation now? Will it change?

Ivanov: Thank you. That's a good question. Naturally, we need scientific research and the state, the Defense Ministry used to finance and will finance scientific research, especially what is known as fundamental science, not applied research. The thing is that without fundamental research there will be no applied research. Second, only the state can finance fundamental research. This is the practice that is common worldwide. We are not going to reject it.

This also concerns financing of defense aspects of scientific research. When providing funding for fundamental research, quite often we do not know what this may lead to. It may lead to huge civilian effects, better dual effects. This should be done. This is the state's task.

Now, on the social sector. In the past, some defense enterprises used to support whole cities with nurseries, schools, stadiums and other. They were states within the state. This is impossible now. This is the wrong approach now. The leaders of those enterprises perfectly realize this. I have talked to all of them and asked them: what do you have on your balance sheet? It was a routine question I asked them. They said they had parted with virtually everything, and this is the right approach.

Major factories, enterprises, research and production associations, holding companies should certainly deal with their business, rather than support social infrastructure. Other organizations should deal with that.

Q: In your opinion, are there grounds to say that the results of the parliamentary election in Ukraine put an end to plans for its NATO membership?

Ivanov: This is a provocative question. You are trying to draw me into a debate on the situation in an independent state, which is close to us, yet it is a different country. Well, the election has just been held. I think that in the coming days, the coming week they will hold energetic political consultations on the formation of a cabinet. After a cabinet is formed, this will give answers to many questions. An answer to your question will become clearer.

Let me refrain from any comments. Besides, it is up to Ukraine and its population to decide. Ukraine is a sovereign state. It is up to them to decide where they should or should not join. Perhaps, they will hold a referendum there to decide. But this is not an issue for me to comment on.

Q: Not long ago Russia promised assistance to Palestine. Is the Defense Ministry ready to help Palestinians now that the Hamas movement has come to power? Second, during President Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Algeria, accords were signed, including those related to the military sphere, which has caused concern in the neighboring country, in Morocco. There are hot spots there and a conflict over --

Ivanov: Western Sakhara.

Q: What is your attitude to that?

Ivanov: As for Palestine, financial aid to the Palestinian Authority has been provided and will be provided, like by other countries. I do not think anyone likes to see more and graver socio- economic problems to emerge on the Palestinian autonomy's territory. No one benefits from that.

As for assistance by the Defense Ministry, I cannot say anything definite in this respect. Such issues have been considered, but they should be absolutely transparent. Talks should involve all parties to the conflict, intermediaries, Quartet members, for example. Such talks used to be held in the past. They concerned supplies of APCs, mostly for police forces so the Palestinian Authority could itself effectively struggle against terrorists and offenders. Well, they should not run after well-armed individuals with sticks. Do you agree? They need to have something for that.

The situation is well known there. A change of power occurred in Palestine. An election is to be held in Israel today, if I am not mistaken. I don't think this is a topical problem today. After the situation stabilizes, I think it will be possible to revisit the problem and discuss it, but this should be done, I repeat, transparently, not behind someone's back because supplies to the Palestinian territory, in physical terms, are only possible across Israel's territory. This means that we need Israel's consent. We cannot supply secretly, behind Israel's back. We are not going to do this.

As for the fact that contracts with Algeria have caused concerns. Well, I don't think Algeria will use our military hardware to try to settle the Western Sakhara problem by using force. I don't think so. No one prevents Morocco from buying weapons from us. We are ready to consider this, especially as Russia and Morocco have long maintained military-technical cooperation.

Q: The American media has published several articles recently claiming that the United States is the only nuclear superpower left and that the United States could unilaterally destroy nuclear potentials of both Russia and China. Given that we are a channel broadcasting in English, and your English is flawless, could you -- if not, could you comment on those statements in Russian?

Ivanov: I have always made my addresses in Russian. This is my principle.

You know, if I comment on any statement, any article, if we move to this mode of work, I will have no time to work, as well as my subordinates. We will have to comment on something day and night.

I regard this, what you have mentioned, as a publication that is not serious. It is one of numerous publications of that sort. Take Baghdad, intelligence information allegedly provided to Hussein -- they are similar things.

We have powerful and effective nuclear forces. We have developed and perfected them. We have not rushed for quantities like in Soviet years. We give preference to quality and reliability, efficiency, unpredictability of flight paths and the like. We will focus on that.

On the whole, if such views are voiced, again, someone must be unhappy about something. Someone may dislike the fact that we have established good relationships with China. This leads to such publications in an attempt to unnerve us, irritate us. We should treat that calmly.

Q: Rapprochement has started between the United States and India. In your opinion is there a threat that Russia may lose, may be pressed out of one of its markets for weapons supplies? Are there any new potential markets for Russian weapons?

Second, there have been reports that financing has been increased for the modernization of the port of Novorossiisk. Does this mean that the Black Sea Fleet will be moved out of the Crimea, from Ukraine to Novorossiisk?

India is a big country, our strategic partner. India is the world's biggest democracy. After all, India is one of the few countries in the world that can be called a sovereign country. There are only a few sovereign countries in the world. There are many independent or pseudo-independent satellites, but there are few truly sovereign states. India is one of them.

We have long-standing and good relations with India. We understand it would be naive to demand that India maintain relations only with us and no one else. No one has ever set himself such a goal. We have areas of cooperation that are based on a strong foundation, including military-technical cooperation. I don't worry that it will end. However, this does not mean that Russia's industry and military-industrial sector can rest on laurels. In order to keep the market of military-technical cooperation with India in its present shape and be competitive, we must constantly develop and move forward. We understand this. But this is true of any country, not only Russia. Could you please, repeat the second part of your question?

Q: I was just wondering if there are some new markets with regard to India, and the second question was about Novorossiisk.

Ivanov: Right, new markets and Novorossiisk. So, different questions. New markets are always there, but one has to fight for them. We fight and we get to new markets. Russia is diversifying its military-technical cooperation. We are not making a secret out of it. But we prefer not to disclose our volumes and the features of the arms we supply because this is not so much secret information as it is commercial information, and commercial secrets must be guarded just as well as state secrets are. But markets are expanding. First of all, I would name South East Asia. There are many countries among our partners that could not have been among them before. But they are now. And that's good.

As for Novorossiisk, I have answered this question many times before, and there is no any expansion or acceleration there. We have an approved federal program build a modern base for the Black Sea Fleet in Russia. This program covers a long period of time and provides for building a base for the weapons that the Black Sea Fleet has now.

We did not have anything in 1991 when we left Poti in Georgia or Ochakovo in Ukraine, but not the Crimea. The ships and boats were tied to rocks or cane. That's not the way to do it. Now we have resources to build modern bases, coastal infrastructure and airfields of sea-based aviation because the Navy is not only ships, but also big infrastructure. In order to pout this infrastructure in order, we are going to build the base. The headquarters and the bulk of the fleet will stay in Sevastopol. As you know, the agreement will remain in effect at least till 2017.

Q: I would like to go back to the draft. Military service will be shortened to 12 months from 2008. You said recently that it will be cut to 16 months from 2007. And this brings to the question of draft deferments. Which of the current 26 deferments will be abolished?

Ivanov: Indeed, we are determined to shorten military service for draftees to one year from 2008. I have said this many times. And if we say A, we must also say B in order not to deceive anyone. If military service is cut to 12 months, a simple arithmetical calculation shows that we will need twice as many soldiers. I don't think I need to explain why.

This Thursday the government will consider four new bills, one of which will either cut or change nine of the existing 25 draft deferments. But these changes will not affect the sick, I mean they will not apply to health reasons or students, I am saying this once again. But we will change draft deferments connected with vocational activities as well as some social deferments that were introduced at the beginning of the 1990s on the tide of populism.

Most of the deferments will remain. But I assure you that we are the world's leaders by the number of draft deferments. As for which deferments will be changed on Thursday, I will not anticipate things because this is something for the government to discuss. It may as well reject the Defense Ministry's proposals. Let us wait for two or three days.

Q: What exactly is the Defense Ministry going to do to fight hazing? Are you going to take into account the opinion of different public organizations such as Soldiers' Mothers' Committee? And how will the Sychev case affect the spring draft that begins on April 1?

Ivanov: I am sure it will not have any impact on the draft because it is already in progress, the draft boards are working and nothing will change. It is not this case or hazing in general or the problem of crime in the army but the measures to be taken to shorten military service to one year that will have some impact. Military service from 2007 will be 16 months, not two years. We need a transitional period. And in this respect it will have an impact because in the spring of next year, in 2007, young men will be drafted for a year and a half, not two years. And this will require the draft boards to make some changes in their work.

As for civil society, we have long been working with it quite openly, I would say with sane representatives of civil society, with those who can listen to your arguments. We have long been working with the Human Rights Institute, and we have signed an agreement with the Public Chamber and human rights organizations. We allow them to visit military units. We publish all statistics because this resolves all concerns about pseudo statistics and false data that some politically engaged public organizations cite, intentionally or not.

Q: What was the reason for issuing methodological recommendations on how to cooperate with bodies that conduct preliminary investigation?

Ivanov: The purpose of the document is to improve the legal culture. It contains absolutely no new requirements and it couldn't. The Defense Ministry has no human rights, control or investigative functions. It simply explains how a citizen, because a serviceman is a citizen of Russia, and we should have an opportunity to conduct preliminary investigations more effectively, and we closely cooperation on that with military prosecutors. So, every serviceman as a citizen of Russia should be legally protected and should enjoy the same rights as other citizens who do not serve in the Armed Forces have. This is just a reminder and explanation of the rights and duties and other things concerning servicemen. Not more, not less. There is no additional meaning.

Let me speak about law and order and discipline again. We have not tried to conceal anything. We are not going to conceal anything. On the contrary, the Sychev case has made us -- naturally, I am not going to forestall a court verdict -- but this has made us yet again look attentively at the problem. A lot has been done already. All instructions have been reviewed.

What commanders should report on? Any incidents, including those unrelated to any offenses or crimes. I start every morning at work reading long reports on what happened in the armed forces during the previous day. You should understand that this concerns 1.2 million of servicemen and another 600,000 civilians. Nearly two million work and serve under my command.

Naturally, things do happen. They cannot stop happening from the point of view of statistics. There are crimes, there are accidents. Now that a new instruction has been issued, they report on everything, including on minor clashes, on someone having slapped his comrade on the backside, and they report -- hazing. We register it all, we read it all.

But we would rather not move to extremes. We are not going to say that absolutely any AWOL was caused by hazing. This is not true. This is a lie. If you like it, I can describe it as discrediting of the armed forces. And I am going to resolutely combat any attempts to discredit the armed forces. I see this as a threat to national security and I will do everything possible to stop this. There should be unbiased approaches.

Q: A question on changes in the system of defense orders. Cannot it happen that we will just form civilian intermediary firms which will manipulate the government and get an opportunity to profit on defense orders? Since you were appointed as deputy prime minister, there have been rumors, and you have also hinted at that, that certain political pressure has been put on you, including by way of discrediting the armed forces. Someone is interested in presenting the situation in the armed forces as disastrous. You have said this in the Duma. Could you clarify your position? Have you really felt political pressure in connection with this promotion?

Ivanov: I have not felt any political pressure. Well, people are different. We have the free press. I am convinced that civil society has been developing. Just compare civil society we had five years ago and civil society we have today. That's good, thank God.

Naturally, I have not felt any political pressure. Perhaps, someone dislikes what has been happening in the armed forces, someone dislikes it that the armed forces tend to grow stronger and more compact. But this is not my problem. I will do everything for that process to continue.

Q: Defense order?

Ivanov: Nothing of the kind will happen, as I have noted at the beginning. There will be no intermediaries. We will award contracts, the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the FSB. How much we decide to buy canned meat, buckwheat, ammunition -- this will be summed up and handed over into that civilian entity. They will not decide what should be purchased. We will tell them: here is the money, this is the amount we need. Buy that transparently and fairly, through open tenders, perhaps, electronic trading. We will control quality. The Defense Ministry will be in charge of acceptance procedures.

They will not act as intermediaries. They will make contracts. This will make it impossible for the military -- well, you know the way it is happening, when they agree that canned meat is purchased from someone and that intermediary gets a kickback. Everyone knows how this is happening. This will no longer be the case.

Naturally, it will be the same with weapons procurement. There will be a civilian agency that will deal with procurement of weapons and property for the rear in the interests of all agencies having armed units, not just the Defense Ministry. Naturally, this is a step forward from the point of view of efficiency, from the point of view of transparency of spending of the defense budget.

What is happening today? All sorts of agencies purchase the same at various prices. We are having to verify that. There is the service dealing with procurement for defense needs, and we get that information from them. Makarov guns, gas masks -- the Defense Ministry gets them at one price, Interior Troops get them at a different price from the same producer, the price for the FSB is still different. This means ineffective spending. We will put an end to that.

Q: It is an open secret and there has been much talk about you as one of the most likely successors of the incumbent president. What is your attitude to that? Has this helped you in your current position or not? Would you regret it to step down as defense minister if you are elected president?

Ivanov: A good question. Anyway, I will regret it when I have to step down as defense minister, but I will have to do it one day. I am not immortal to sit here at the Defense Ministry endlessly. I will have to go one day. I do not know where, but I will have to leave one day. Why so? Because I am used to working at the Defense Ministry, and I like my job. I feel that this work gradually yields some results, that we have managed to accomplish something. I am happy about that. I want to do more. I have not thought of any other posts. I should bring to the end what I have promised to do for six to eight years. We have to shift some military units to a contract basis. A shift to one year service for draftees. We need to rearm the armed forces faster and better. We have to deal with social problems. We have to provide housing. Frankly, the defense minister's task is to try to get more money in the defense budget year by year. I believe that we have partially resolved this problem, but only partially, not to the end. And everything should be brought to the logical end.

Look, we have been here for two hours.

Q: Speaking of dreams, what kind of a soldier would you like to see in the future Russian army? Well, education, form of service, age? In your opinion, when could this dream come true?

Ivanov: Let us speak about soldiers, because they make the core of any army, any armed forces. Privates in the army and the navy. For a long time, we will have all sorts of privates. That's inevitable. We will have privates and sergeants, those serving under contracts, those who have been called up as conscripts.

As for those serving under contracts, that soldier is 20 years old or even more. He is strong and healthy in moral terms. He is a professional. He has mastered all types of weapons. Night and day he focuses on one thing: combat training, nothing else. He does not have to engage in support work in the kitchen, he does not have to guard warehouses. He only focuses on combat training. In the evening, if everything is okay at the military unit, he goes on a leave.

Three years after he signs the first contract, he has a choice. And this is not a dream, this is reality. If he wants quality higher education at the state's expense, he can get it. He will have advantages in getting admitted to any higher educational institution after the end of the first contract, be it the Moscow Institute of International Relations or Moscow State University. Now he has cannot do it. I think you will agree that now it's simply impossible. But it will be possible in a couple of years from now.

Second, if he does not want to get higher education, because not all people really need it, -- you know, statistics surprises me. Last year the number of university enrollees exceeded the number of school graduates by 20 percent. That's not normal. But if a person does not need higher education and has no flat of his own, he can join a housing mortgage program and solve this housing problem in 10- 15 years. He can't do it in any other state structure.

Draftees. It's our pipe dream that all of them should have secondary education, as a minimum. Preferably, higher education. By the way this will improve order and discipline, too, as will the transition to one-year military service because hazing now exists only because there are four different drafts. There will be only two. And there will be less objective reasons for hazing. And this is one of the benefits of one-year service.

The other qualities, physical and moral, are the same. It should be the army of the people, not workers' and peasants' army, in the wrong sense of the word, as it is today. Even in Soviet times, it was not an army of workers and peasants, the way it is today, now that we only call up 9 percent of young people. I want it to be more intellectual. I want there to be more law and order, discipline, recognition that service in the armed forces is really an honor and a duty, and the public should appreciate those who serve or have served in the army, respect them and praise them. I would like to wind up here. Thank you very much. I have to work, not just give press conferences.

Q: Sergei Borisovich, one question on the military prosecutor's office. Will it be disbanded? Is there such a plan?

Ivanov: No such plans.

Q: Plans call for moving it --

Ivanov: There are absolutely no plans.

Q: It will remain in place then, right?

Ivanov: Yes.

In conclusion, about openness. We have published the Russian Military Review, where you can find everything that has happened in the armed forces over a year. I have spoken to you for an hour and a half --

Voice: More.

Ivanov: Well, that was a brief survey, and you can find everything in detail there. We will do it on a permanent basis for you to use information from the prime source. You can find photos, vessels, discipline, procurement, other issues.

Right. Al Jazeera was the first to attend the presentation. So, it goes to it. There will be a separate presentation where everyone will be able to get it. Thank you very much.

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