II. Eliminating Chemical Biological Weapons
Chemical and biological weapons (CBW) can be many times more destructive than conventional high-explosive bombs and shells, yet the technologies and materials to design and manufacture CBW munitions are far more readily available than those needed for nuclear weapons. Long recognized as weapons of mass destruction, their possible use in small quantities by terrorists against innocent civilians is a matter of continuing concern. This concern has been further increased since the 1995 Tokyo incident in which a religious-based terrorist group released the nerve agent Sarin in a crowded subway, killing 12 and injuring thousands.
In the past year we have continued to make notable strides toward the ultimate goal of totally eliminating chemical and biological weapons.
The U.S. is pursuing chemical disarmament along three tracks. First, we are urging universal adherence to, and effective implementation of, the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Second, we seek full implementation of two bilateral agreements with the Russian Federation: the Wyoming Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the Bilateral Destruction Agreement (BDA). Finally, through our participation in the Australia Group, we support broad CBW nonproliferation policy cooperation and harmonized export licensing requirements in appropriate circumstances.
The CWC prohibits all development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. It requires destruction of all existing chemical weapons within 10 years after the treaty enters into force, with a five-year extension possible only on the recommendation of the Executive Council of the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and final approval of its Conference of the States Parties.
More than 20 years of negotiations on the CWC were completed on September 3, 1992, when the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva forwarded the finished treaty to the United Nations General Assembly. On November 30, 1992, the General Assembly endorsed by consensus the supporting resolution, co-sponsored by 145 countries.
The CWC was opened for signature at a ceremony in Paris on January 13-15, 1993; 130 countries, including the United States, became original signatories.
The CWC entered into force April 29, 1997, 180 days after Hungary became the 65th nation to deposit its instrument of ratification. As of June 1997, 165 countries had signed the CWC and 95 had deposited instruments of ratification. Signatories include China, India, Pakistan, Israel, all of the European countries except the former Yugoslav states of Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, all former Soviet republics, and all Western Hemisphere states except Suriname and some English-speaking Caribbean nations. While non-signatories include Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Syria, approximately two-thirds of the 20 countries we believe have or are developing chemical weapons have signed the Convention.
President Clinton submitted the CWC to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification on November 23, 1993, stating that "This Treaty is one of the most ambitious in the history of arms control, banning an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. It is a central element of my Administration's nonproliferation policy. The Treaty will significantly enhance our national security and contribute to greater global security."
During 1996, the Administration continued to press for prompt Senate advice and consent to CWC ratification. On September 12, 1996, the Senate Majority and Minority leaders announced that the Senate would postpone floor debate on the CWC while an effort was made to reach agreement on amendments to the resolution of ratification.
President Clinton assigned top priority to CWC ratification in his September 24, 1996 speech to the U.N. General Assembly and expressed his determination that the U.S. be a Party to the CWC when the Treaty enters into force, saying,
"I thank the nations here that have ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. I deeply regret that the United States Senate has not yet voted on the Convention, but I want to assure you and people throughout the world that I will not let this treaty die, and we will join the ranks of nations determined to prevent the spread of chemical weapons."
Following an intensive, high priority effort, the Administration secured Senate advice and consent to ratification of the CWC on April 24, 1997.
Arms Control and Nonproliferation Objectives. The CWC is both a disarmament treaty and a central element of U.S. nonproliferation policy. It will result in the destruction of existing chemical arsenals while strengthening the global norm against the proliferation of these mass destruction weapons.
CWC Implementation. Because CW facilities are similar to many commercial chemical plants, and because many member nations have developed commercial chemical industries, CWC implementation will be a far more massive and ambitious undertaking than that of any previous arms control agreement.
Verification and other aspects of implementation of the CWC will be overseen by a new international agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW will have a full-time staff of approximately 500, including some 215 inspectors trained and equipped to inspect military and industrial facilities throughout the world.
To enable treaty verification to begin as soon as the Convention enters into force, the signatories established a Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) to develop detailed implementing procedures, procure inspection equipment, hire and train inspectors, and lay administrative groundwork for the OPCW. A Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) provided technical and administrative support to the PrepCom. The Hague, the Netherlands, was chosen as the location of both the PrepCom and the OPCW.
Since it was formed in February 1993, the PrepCom has held 16 formal plenary meetings to consider recommendations prepared by expert groups working year-round on specific issues. PrepCom accomplishments include:
Several important issues remain for PrepCom resolution.
Several developing countries continued to use PrepCom discussions of technological cooperation and assistance to protest export controls and trade restrictions. In particular, Iran, Cuba, India, and Pakistan desire that all trade restrictions among States Parties on chemicals and chemical technology be removed. This position has some support within the Non-Aligned Movement and will continue to be a subject of contention within the PrepCom. The U.S. and most PrepCom participants regard export licensing as a sovereign right, and support maintenance of export controls consistent with CWC obligations.
Virtually all PrepCom members continued to oppose the Russian approach to implementation of declaration, verification, and conversion requirements for chemical weapons production facilities, which are inconsistent with CWC requirements and would substantially weaken the CWC's verification regime. Under the Russian approach, many chemical weapon production and development facilities would not be declared and subject to the CWC verification regime. In an effort to spur progress, the U.S. continued its bilateral efforts to resolve these issues consistent with CWC's requirements.
In anticipation of entry into force of the CWC, the PrepCom increased its attention to CWC implementation activities during the period preceding CWC entry into force as well as the period immediately afterwards. Leading issues involved inspector candidate training, final development of the information management system, conduct of the first conference of states parties, and the first year OPCW budget.
ACDA's Role: ACDA is the lead U.S. Government agency on CWC implementation. Its responsibilities include:
Our industry outreach informs U.S. companies about their obligations under the CWC. ACDA's outreach efforts, previously built around annual industry seminars around the country, are shifting to hands-on workshops to help companies identify whether they are covered and, if so, how to meet applicable CWC requirements. ACDA is also increasing the flow of information papers, presentations at trade meetings, and coordination with U.S. chemical trade associations including the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association. Future CWC industry workshops, jointly sponsored by ACDA and the Department of Commerce, are planned.
The Russian Federation has the world's largest stockpile of chemical weapons. The United States has initiated bilateral CW agreements with the Russian Federation to dispose of these weapons, in parallel with preparation for implementation of the multilateral CWC.
On September 23, 1989 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a two-phased CW data exchange and verification experiment. This initiative was designed to build confidence in the CW area and thus facilitate completion and implementation of the CWC.
Phase I provided for an exchange of general data on chemical stocks and production facilities, and for a series of reciprocal visits to CW facilities. This phase was successfully completed in February 1991.
Phase II provided for an exchange of detailed data and for reciprocal inspections at facilities that had been declared as part of each country's CW program. Phase II began with signature of implementing documents at the Moscow summit on January 14, 1994. Despite some difficulties, Phase II activities were concluded on December 10, 1994, with the sides exchanging and consulting on the data, and conducting the agreed inspections. Consultations are continuing in efforts to seek additional information, clarify data, and resolve concerns.
In this agreement, signed June 1, 1990, the United States and the Soviet Union (now Russia) each agreed to destroy all but 5,000 tons of their respective chemical agents and to halt any further production. The BDA has not yet, however, entered into force. By mutual agreement, the BDA schedule has now been aligned with the CWC schedule, which will require destruction of U.S. and Russian CW stockpiles within 10 years after the CWC's entry into force. The U.S. continues to encourage Russia to implement this agreement to help with cost effectiveness and verification enhancement. The Russians continue to focus their efforts on the CWC.
ACDA's Role: In March 1993, ACDA led the United States delegation in Geneva that conducted the complex and detailed negotiations for implementation of the BDA including draft protocols to the BDA. Formal agreement is still pending on the protocols provisionally agreed in Geneva in March 1993. The United States supported the protocols as final, but upon further review in Moscow, Russia sought further changes in the protocols because of concerns relating to the conversion of chemical weapons production facilities.
We continue to press the Russians at the highest levels to resolve all outstanding CW issues and to complete the arrangements for bilateral verification. Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin agreed in July 1996 to have a special group address CW issues. ACDA Director John Holum is head of the U.S. side. The Russians also agreed to host a visit to Volgograd to address specifically the issue of conversion of CW production facilities there.
On April 17, 1997, Russia passed a federal law mandating destruction of Russia's chemical weapons. The Russian parliament continues to seek solutions to the problem of funding the Russian CW destruction program.
In response to concerns about Russian official statements in mid-1996 that the BDA has fulfilled its function and was no longer important, the Administration has informed the Congress that if the BDA is not in force when the CWC is implemented, Russian chemical weapons elimination will still be subject to systematic verification under the CWC, which would be performed by the OPCW. It is important to remember that, in contrast to the CWC, the BDA does not require total destruction of CW stocks nor does it provide a multilateral framework that includes challenge inspections for addressing compliance concerns.
On July 30, 1992, the United States and Russia signed an agreement under the Nunn-Lugar program to cooperate in destroying the Russian CW stockpile. Pursuant to this agreement, the U.S. offered to provide $25 million in funds under the Nunn-Lugar legislation to help Russia plan CW destruction facilities and demonstrate CW destruction technology. A work plan outlining an approach to U.S. assistance in the Russian CW destruction program was concluded in January 1994. In May 1994, the U.S. Government selected Bechtel National, Inc. as the Comprehensive Implementation Plan Contractor to help develop the Russian CW destruction program. The 1995 work plan was signed in April 1995 and includes an additional $30 million of Nunn-Lugar funds to help Russia establish and equip the Central Analytical Laboratory for reliable and efficient environmental control of CW destruction. The work plan also initiated a joint evaluation of the Russian two step CW destruction process. The evaluation, completed in 1996, showed satisfactory agent destruction levels. Additional laboratory scale tests are planned to refine and define the operating conditions to be used to design a bench scale reactor system for further testing and development of CW destruction process equipment. An Implementing Agreement, signed in July 1996, outlines the roles of both countries in the creation of the first pilot Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility at Shchuch'ye. Plans in mid-1996 envision construction by 2002 and full operation by 2004 following facility prove out.
ACDA's Role: ACDA participates in interagency policy coordination for the CW destruction agreement, which is executed by the Department of Defense.
The United States continues to seek on two fronts to eliminate the threat of biological weapons. First, we have been active in efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention by drafting a legally binding protocol. Second, we have been active participants in the Australia Group, which seeks to stem BW proliferation through nonproliferation policy coordination and harmonizing export controls on precursors and equipment useful in the development and production of BW; most recently, we led revisions to the Group's BW controls list to include items which Iraq found useful in developing its indigenous BW program.
The 139 Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 (BWC) undertake not to develop, produce, stockpile, or otherwise acquire or retain microbial or other biological agents or toxins, whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes, or weapons, equipment, or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.
Arms Control Objective. Since entry into force of the BWC, confidence in the effectiveness of the Convention has been undermined by instances of non-compliance, notably on the part of the former Soviet Union and Iraq. In March 1992 President Yeltsin publicly renounced the Soviet BW program and pledged to completely eradicate it from the Russian Federation. While the U.S. recognizes President Yeltsin's commitment, we continue to have concerns that elements of the former Soviet offensive BW program remain. The second country which has conducted a large-scale offensive BW program is Iraq. Although the BW program was begun before Iraq became a State Party to the BWC in 1991, the U.S. believes Iraq continued its BW efforts after acceding to the Convention and likely remains in violation today. To deter noncompliance and reinforce the global norm against proliferation of biological weapons, we support negotiation of a legally-binding protocol that provides for reasonable, cost-effective, and mutually reinforcing mandatory measures that enhance compliance with the BWC. These measures would include both off-site and on-site activities as a means of providing openness and transparency.
Status of Negotiations. The 1991 BWC Review Conference mandated the convening of an Ad Hoc Group of Government Technical and Scientific Experts which met four times in 1992 and 1993, and adopted a consensus report on the scientific and technical merit of 21 potential verification measures.
A Special Conference held in Geneva in September 1994 established another Ad Hoc Group, open to all States Parties, to consider appropriate measures, including possible verification measures, and draft proposals to strengthen the Convention and incorporate them into a legally binding document.
The Group held productive working sessions in July and November 1995, and July and September 1996. The Ad Hoc Group submitted a progress report of its work to the Fourth Review Conference in late November 1996.
Prospects for the Forthcoming Year. The Ad Hoc Group has established its work program for the first nine months of 1997 and is scheduled to meet for three weeks each in March, July and September. The group will complete its work as soon as possible. The draft protocol, when completed, will be forwarded to States Parties for adoption at a special conference.
ACDA's Role: ACDA is the lead U.S. Government agency for BWC negotiations. Our responsibilities include:
U.S.-British-Russian Trilateral Process. In a Joint Statement in September 1992, senior government officials from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation affirmed their commitment to full compliance with the BWC and declared that biological weapons have no place in their armed forces. The Russian Federation agreed to take tangible steps to resolve U.S. and British concerns about the offensive BW program inherited from the former Soviet Union.
Russian President Yeltsin proposed a number of steps to remove ambiguities about BWC compliance, including visits to non-military biological facilities. A delegation of U.S. and UK officials visited Russian non-military sites in October 1993 and in January 1994. The Russians reciprocated during February-March 1994, visiting three U.S. non-military facilities and one British facility. The three governments also agreed to hold expert working group sessions and to visit military biological facilities. The U.S. and the UK continue in an effort to work with the Russian Federation to ensure complete termination of the illegal BW program.
Progress toward entry into force of the CWC and establishment of an Ad Hoc Group to draft a legally-binding protocol to the BWC are significant advances toward international control of both types of weapons.
But all the news is not good. Some 20 countries either have or are seeking to acquire a chemical weapons capability. A number of countries, including Iran, Iraq and Libya, have chemical weapons stockpiles. In many cases, as exemplified by Iraq, BW programs have historically followed closely on the heels of CW programs.
We must, therefore, strengthen international barriers against chemical and biological weapons proliferation by enhancing multilateral export-control regimes.
Status of Activities. In 1996, the U.S. continued to lead the international community in CBW nonproliferation, including:
ACDA's Role: During 1996, ACDA continued to participate in CW and BW nonproliferation initiatives, and to be a member of the U.S. delegation to the Australia Group.
During 1996, ACDA participated in the interagency review of approximately 700 license applications to ensure that U.S. companies were not contributing to foreign CBW programs.
As a charter member of the U.S. Government's interagency Chemical and Biological Weapons Interdiction Group (SHIELD), ACDA participated in U.S. efforts to stem the flow of chemical weapons precursors to rogue states including Iran and Libya. This U.S. effort has included arrest and successful prosecution of individuals attempting illicit trade in precursors and dual-use equipment. ACDA also contributed to U.S. initiatives to encourage countries that possess chemical or biological weapons to adhere to the CWC and to the BWC by admitting possession of these weapons and destroying them.