September 26, 1997

FACT SHEET
SECOND AGREED STATEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 26, 1997, RELATING TO THE ABM TREATY

The Second Agreed Statement is also referred to as the Agreed Statement relating to higher-velocity theater ballistic missile defense (TMD) systems. Under this Agreed Statement, higher-velocity TMD systems are those having interceptor missiles whose velocities exceed 3.0 kilometers/second. This agreement codifies the provisions of the Helsinki Summit Joint Statement, as agreed to by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin on March 21, 1997. Like the First Agreed Statement, the Second Agreed Statement will enter into force simultaneously with the Memorandum of Understanding on Succession (MOUS).

Under the Second Agreed Statement, during tests of higher-velocity TMD systems:

  • the velocity of the ballistic target-missile will not exceed 5.0 kilometers/second.

  • The range of the ballistic target-missile will not exceed 3,500 kilometers.

Apart from the limits on ballistic target-missile maximum velocity and range, the higher-velocity TMD systems of the Parties must comply in other respects with the provisions of Article VI(a) of the ABM Treaty. Determining the Treaty compliance of a Party's own higher-velocity TMD systems will remain the national responsibility of each Party. The higher-velocity TMD agreement does not establish any velocity limitations on TMD interceptor missiles and does not impose any other restrictions on testing or deployment of such systems.

The U.S. Navy's Theater-Wide (formerly referred to as "Upper Tier") TMD system is a system with an interceptor missile whose velocity is likely to exceed 3.0 kilometers/second. As currently configured or designed, Navy Theater-Wide has been certified ABM Treaty compliant by the United States. Nothing contained in the Second Agreed Statement itself would change the current U.S. compliance certification status of the Navy Theater-Wide TMD system.

The Parties also agreed not to develop, test, or deploy space-based TMD interceptor missiles or space-based components based on other physical principles (OPP) such as lasers that are capable of substituting for space-based TMD interceptor missiles. The ABM Treaty prohibits the development, testing, and deployment of space-based ABM systems. As a practical matter, distinguishing space-based ABM interceptor missiles from space-based TMD interceptor missiles is difficult if not impossible. Similar difficulties arise in distinguishing between space-based components based on OPP capable of substituting for ABM interceptor missiles and space-based components based on OPP capable of substituting for TMD interceptor missiles. The development, testing, and deployment of air-based, sea-based, and land-based TMD or other non-ABM systems based on other physical principles is not constrained or prohibited by either the Second, or the First, Agreed Statement.

By agreement, all higher-velocity TMD systems will be subject to the Confidence-Building Measures Agreement (CBMA).

Further, to help increase transparency and build confidence in compliance with Treaty obligations, additional documents have been agreed upon which are associated with the Second Agreed Statement: (1) a non-legally-binding unilateral statement of plans by each Party; and (2) a Joint Statement on the annual exchange of information concerning certain plans. The unilateral statement on plans issued by each Party states that each Party has no plans to:

  • flight test a higher-velocity TMD interceptor missile against a ballistic target-missile before April 1999;

  • develop TMD systems with interceptor missiles exceeding a velocity of 5.5 kilometers/second for land-based and air-based TMD systems or with interceptor missiles exceeding a velocity of 4.5 kilometers/second for sea-based TMD systems;

  • test TMD systems against ballistic target-missiles with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs); or

  • test TMD systems against reentry vehicles deployed or planned to be deployed on strategic ballistic missiles.

The Joint Statement obligates each Party to update annually the status of its plans. Nothing in the Second Agreed Statement or the associated Joint Statement limits the rights of a Party to change its plans. Furthermore, the Parties agreed that a change in a Party's plans will not undermine the legal standing or duration of the Second Agreed Statement on higher-velocity TMD systems. If a Party's plans change, the Joint Statement reiterates the obligation in Article XIII of the ABM Treaty to discuss in the SCC questions or concerns raised by a Party as well as possible proposals for increasing the viability of the Treaty, which could include possible proposals to amend the Second Agreed Statement. In order to modify or amend the Second Agreed Statement, a consensus is required among all the Parties to the ABM Treaty.