IV. Controlling Conventional Weapons

Unlike chemical and biological weapons which we hope to eliminate, and unlike nuclear weapons which we hope will never again be used, U.S. policy recognizes that conventional arms are essential to national defense. Still, while they cannot be eliminated nor their use prohibited in the foreseeable future, their availability and use can be significantly controlled. Towards this end, U.S. conventional arms control efforts range from unilateral restraint to multilateral agreements and treaties designed to limit force levels and prevent destabilizing accumulations of conventional arms.


European security concerns have changed dramatically since the early 1990's when members of two groups of states, NATO and the former Warsaw Pact, agreed to reduce the conventional armed forces in Europe west of the Ural Mountains (the Atlantic-to-the-Urals, or ATTU, region) and make the levels of conventional equipment for each side approximately equal. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, signed in 1990, is a critical cornerstone of European security and stability. Employment of a wide variety of Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBM) under the Vienna Document has also made important contributions to European security. The Open Skies Treaty, which has not yet entered into force, is designed to further promote openness and confidence.


Continued implementation and adaptation to new circumstances of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) is a fundamental U.S. objective. In its six years of operation, this Treaty has substantially improved predictability, transparency, and stability among the States Parties. It sets numerical limits on tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, and combat aircraft for 30 countries in the region between the Atlantic and the Urals. Further, it provides for the periodic exchange of detailed information on military forces, including locations and types of equipment, and for unprecedented rights to conduct on-site inspections.

At the end of 1997, more than 51,300 items of Treaty-limited equipment have been destroyed or permanently converted to non-military use in order to meet reduction liabilities, and over 2,700 on-site inspections have been conducted. These inspections, conducted by representatives from both groups of states, have examined weapons destruction events, as well as sites or areas reported or suspected to contain military equipment. CFE Treaty-related activities have significantly reduced the potential for major international conflict within the ATTU region.

ACDA's Role: Throughout 1997, ACDA participated actively in the interagency policy formulation process for the CFE Treaty. Under the direction of the Head of the U.S. Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), ACDA's senior representative on the OSCE delegation is the Chief U.S. Delegate to the Joint Consultative Group, the forum for CFE Treaty implementation and adaptation. In this capacity, he is the principal U.S. representative in the negotiations to adapt the Treaty and he also continues to conduct bilateral and multilateral discussions on questions of Treaty implementation and compliance.

CFE Treaty Evolution

The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was signed in Paris on November 19, 1990, by 22 members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact. On June 14, 1991, the Soviet Union entered into two accompanying commitments -- one legally binding and one a political commitment. The first details the Soviet reduction obligation related to equipment of Treaty-limited types in naval infantry and coastal defense forces. The second agreement committed the Soviet Union to destroy more than 14,500 pieces of military equipment of Treaty-limited types east of the Ural Mountains, an area outside the Treaty area of application. This political commitment resulted from NATO concerns about Soviet military equipment moved out of the Treaty area of application (ATTU) during the negotiating period prior to signature.

The CFE Treaty entered into force on November 9, 1992, (after a provisional application beginning July 17, 1992). In the two years between signature and entry-into-force, both the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union dissolved. On June 5, 1992, all States Parties agreed upon arrangements through which CFE's eight formerly Soviet states -- Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Georgia -- assumed the former Soviet Union's rights and obligations provided in the CFE Treaty and associated documents. For example, each State Party agreed that combined maximum levels of all eight States Parties' holdings of Treaty-limited equipment (TLE) were not to exceed the equipment ceilings which applied to the former Soviet Union.

In May 1996, States Parties held the first Conference to review the operation of the Treaty. In the Review Conference Final Document, States Parties reaffirmed the fundamental role of the Treaty as a cornerstone of European security and their adherence to its goals and objectives. The Parties acknowledged the changing European political and security landscape. Final Document Annexes addressed the resolution of major issues involving the Treaty's flank provisions and Russian obligations to destroy equipment east of the Ural mountains, as well as other implementation issues either resolved at the Conference or remanded to the Treaty's Joint Consultative Group. The Flank Agreement entered into force in May 1997 after approval by all parties.

A major achievement of the Review Conference was the agreement to begin negotiations on "adapting" the CFE Treaty to the new security environment. Initial efforts focused on defining the terms of reference of this process, and at the Lisbon Summit in December 1996 heads of state agreed to the scope and parameters for the adaptation process.

On February 20, 1997, NATO tabled proposed basic elements for adaptation of the CFE Treaty. This NATO approach to adapting CFE aims to preserve the key benefits of the existing Treaty, while eliminating its bloc-to-bloc structure and further reducing equipment entitlements. The NATO proposal calls for a system of national ceilings on equipment to replace CFE's structure of bloc limits. It also calls for replacing the Treaty's nested zone structure with nationally-based territorial ceilings. The proposal includes a "stabilizing measure" to prevent increases in the territorial ceilings of states in the geographic center of Europe -- Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the territory of Ukraine outside of the flank zone, and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast.

In June, Allies put forward their anticipated national ceilings which reflected significant reductions from their current national maximum levels of holdings of TLE.

On July 23, 1997, the 30 CFE states agreed on a "Decision Concerning Certain Basic Elements for Treaty Adaptation" which incorporated many of the elements of the NATO proposal, in particular the core structural elements that will guide negotiators in their further efforts:

  • The group structure, originally designed to achieve balance between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, will be replaced with national ceilings on the same major categories of equipment.

  • The Article IV zone structure, originally designed to address the concentration of forces along old dividing lines, will be replaced by a system of nationally-based territorial ceilings.

  • The limitations of the flank regime, as modified by the Flank Agreement of May 1996 will be maintained.

  • The 30 CFE states will aim for a significant lowering of the total amount of TLE permitted in the CFE area.

  • The adapted Treaty will be open to states which wish to join on a case-by-case, consensus basis.

  • The Basic Elements decision takes note of the NATO's March 14 statement that the Alliance will not rely on additional stationing of substantial combat forces on the territory of new members.

On December 2, 1997, Allies laid out in greater detail principles on how the mechanisms of the adapted Treaty would operate and also provided illustrative numbers for territorial ceilings for each Ally. The OSCE Copenhagen Ministerial in mid-December received a status report on the negotiations.

Treaty Implementation

Considering the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, and the political and economic turmoil in most of the successor states, implementing this complex Treaty has generally been smooth, improving gradually throughout the 42-month reduction period as nations gained familiarity with procedures and developed trust in the on-site inspectors.

CFE Treaty compliance overall has been good although not perfect. Through 1997, more than 51,300 items of treaty-limited conventional equipment have been destroyed or demilitarized under CFE in order to meet reduction liabilities in the Treaty area of application. In addition, another 9,900 items have been notified by Russia for destruction or conversion beyond the Treaty area of application, and the States Parties have notified another 2,400 items as voluntarily reduced below their allowed limits. The 30 States Parties have provided detailed information on the status and location of remaining major conventional weapons. More than 2,700 detailed on-site inspections have been conducted. Beginning in November 1995 and continuing through April 1996, residual level validation inspections of all sites were conducted to verify the disposition within the ATTU of military forces of the 30 CFE States Parties, as well as compliance with Treaty TLE limits that went into effect on November 17, 1995.

At the beginning of 1996, full implementation of the Treaty faced a number of challenging issues. Foremost among them was the flank issue, centered on Russia and Ukraine seeking relief from the Treaty's equipment limits in the flank zone, citing various military, political, and economic concerns. In conjunction with the Treaty's May 1996 Review Conference, the CFE States Parties reached a flank agreement, ending over two years of debate that threatened to undermine the Treaty. The agreement is comprised of a map realignment adjusting territory in the flank zone, additional constraining and transparency measures on forces in the affected areas, and caps on equipment. Provisional application of portions of the flank agreement began May 31, 1996. By the beginning of 1997, the Flank Agreement had been agreed by all 30 CFE states, and the entire agreement entered into force on May 15, 1997. Overall compliance status and major unresolved issues are discussed in Chapter VII.

2. CFE-1A

CFE limits major offensive military equipment but does not limit personnel. Follow-on negotiations yielded a political agreement to limit the personnel strength of the conventional armed forces belonging to each State Party and located in the CFE area of application. This agreement was signed in Helsinki on July 10, 1992, and is formally known as the Concluding Act of the Negotiation on Personnel Strength of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, or CFE-1A.

Data on personnel strengths are provided as part of the CFE annual information exchange.


The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) is responsible for negotiation and implementation of CSBMs. Following up on decisions from the December 1994 Budapest Summit, the FSC has added emphasis to implementing existing commitments and given attention to regional security problems, including the aim of developing regional arms control and confidence- and security-building regimes that respond to specific security needs. It also developed an overall Framework for Arms Control in Europe and the Future Agenda for Arms Control, which were agreed by the FSC at the 1996 OSCE Summit in Lisbon.

The CSBMs agreed within the OSCE, primarily in Vienna Document 1994, have allowed member states to monitor each other's military force structure and activities. The extensive sharing of information about military structures and activities elicited by Vienna Document 1994 and other OSCE agreements has significantly enhanced stability in Europe.

The ability to refine and update provisions, and to construct new measures, allows the OSCE to respond to political-military changes. In 1997, the FSC agreed to review Vienna Document 1994 during 1998.

ACDA's Role: ACDA actively participates in formulating CSBM policy and supports, on site, the U.S. delegation to the OSCE in Vienna, in particular, by coordinating U.S. participation in the Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting for CSBMs.


The Open Skies Treaty establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the entire territory of its signatories, which includes the United States, Canada, and almost all European countries. It is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in observing military or other activities of concern to them. Currently covering territory from Vancouver, Canada, to Vladivostok, Russia, Open Skies is the most wide-ranging international effort in history to promote openness and transparency of military forces and activities. It is an open treaty, with provisions for expansion to other OSCE members and, potentially, throughout the world. The Open Skies Treaty has not yet entered into force. Although 24 of the 27 signatories have ratified the Treaty, the remaining three --Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine -- must ratify for entry-into-force to occur. In the meantime, parts of the Treaty have been provisionally applied.

The Treaty is based upon the following principles:

  • complete territorial openness and access;

  • using unarmed aircraft for observation flights;

  • using commercially available sensor suite equipment;

  • annual quotas for overflights; and

  • data dissemination to all States Parties.

The Treaty requires consensus decisions to upgrade sensors, adjust quotas, and admit new participants. The Open Skies Consultative Commission (OSCC) in Vienna, Austria is the forum established to facilitate implementing the Treaty.

The Open Skies Treaty is based on a U.S. initiative of May 1989. It was signed by 26 countries on March 24, 1992, and ratified by the United States on November 2, 1993. The 27 current signatories are: Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other OSCE participating states may apply for membership after EIF, but newly independent (formerly Soviet) states can accede at any time.

In anticipation of EIF, and to prepare aircrews and inspectors, as well as collect additional data on sensor capabilities, many signatories have been conducting joint trial flights. These flights also validate flight procedures and air traffic control mechanisms, while building confidence for operations after EIF. In 1997, the United States conducted the first joint trial flights with the Russian Federation, which were regarded as very successful by both parties involved.

As currently envisioned, implementing the Open Skies Treaty will increase transparency and build confidence throughout Europe. Its scope could be expanded geographically in the future by either including additional countries or developing similar regional regimes elsewhere using the rules and procedures for Open Skies as a basis for new agreements.

Current OSCC dialogue is focussed on procedures for certifying aircraft and sensor suites, and other issues related to implementing observation flights, including flight procedures, sensor methodologies, and formatted notifications required by the Treaty.

ACDA's Role: In 1997, ACDA continued to participate actively in the interagency policy formulation process for the Open Skies Treaty. Under the leadership of the Head of the U.S. Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the ACDA senior representative in Vienna, Austria is the Chief U.S. Delegate to the OSCC. An ACDA staff member chairs the OSCC Working Group on Notifications and Formats, one of four working groups negotiating technical matters related to implementing the Treaty. The USG continues to promote the earliest possible EIF, encouraging States Parties which have not done so to ratify.


The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, initialed in Dayton on November 21, 1995, and signed in Paris on December 14, 1995, included a section on arms control to complement the political, economic, and military efforts to bring about peace and long-term stability to this war-torn country and the surrounding region. Annex 1-B represented an ambitious and unprecedented endeavor to bring Parties from the battlefield to negotiated arms reductions within eight months. It envisaged three steps:

  • a confidence-building agreement among the Parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina to be reached within one month;

  • an arms reduction agreement among the Parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY) to be reached within six months; and

  • a regional arms control regime including states neighboring the former Yugoslavia, with no specific deadline.

The Dayton Accords directed that these agreements be negotiated under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE assigns a Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office for each negotiation, who is also responsible for overseeing implementation.

The Agreement on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Article II Agreement) was signed in Vienna on January 26, 1996. As directed by the Dayton Accords, this Agreement drew on the OSCE's Vienna Document and the CFE Treaty (described in Sections 1 and 3 above) and added new measures to support the military cease-fire agreement. Among other things, the Agreement requires exchanges of information on military forces and the notification of military activities, and imposes restrictions on deployments of heavy weapons. It also provides for inspections of military forces and monitoring of weapons manufacturing capabilities. The Agreement established a Joint Consultative Commission to oversee implementation. Implementation of this agreement, though difficult, has been generally successful. The first Review Conference will be held in February 1998.

The Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control (the Article IV Agreement) was signed in Florence, Italy, on June 14, 1996. As mandated by the Dayton Accords, this Agreement mirrors the CFE Treaty, adapted in particular ways to the requirements of the region, and establishes ceilings on:

  • tanks;

  • armored combat vehicles;

  • artillery pieces of 75mm and above;

  • combat aircraft; and

  • attack helicopters

at lower levels and in accordance with a 5:2:2 ratio among the FRY, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Within Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ceilings reflect a 2:1 ratio, as mandated by Dayton, between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Muslim-Croat Federation) and the Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serbs). Reductions were required of all Parties, to be completed in two phases, ending October 31, 1997. The Article IV Agreement also incorporated an inspection regime similar to that of the CFE Treaty, and established a Sub-Regional Consultative Commission to oversee implementation. Implementation of this agreement had a difficult start. During the first phase of reductions, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina reduced a total of approximately 1,500 heavy weapons, but the Republika Srpska failed to report its weapons accurately and refused to accept its reduction obligation. Under pressure from the international community, Republika Srpska subsequently improved its declaration of holdings and reduction obligation. By the scheduled end of the reduction period, on October 31, 1997, all Parties had fulfilled their declared reduction obligations. In aggregate, the Parties reduced over 700 tanks, 800 armored combat vehicles, 60 combat aircraft, and 5,700 pieces of artillery. A definitive assessment of compliance must await completion of the 4-month period of validation inspections. The first Review Conference will be held in June 1998.

The Agreement envisaged in Article V of Annex 1-B of the Dayton Accords, which has the aim of increasing stability in the region surrounding the former Yugoslavia, has yet to begin. The United States believes the first step toward an Article V Agreement is to establish a security dialogue among the states of southeastern Europe.

As the primary initiator of the Dayton peace process and as a member of the Contact Group (a group of countries consisting of the United States the UK, France, Germany, and Russia, which were the "Witnesses" or guarantors of the Dayton Accords) in support of the Dayton Accords, the United States is committed to ensuring their full implementation. Arms control can make an important contribution to peace and stability in the region.

ACDA's Role: The Agency has participated actively in the formulation of U.S. policy in support of these arms control agreements and in the actual negotiation and implementation of them. ACDA seconded an expert to advise and assist the OSCE's chief negotiator for the Article IV Agreement both during the negotiations and its implementation during 1996 and 1997. The Agency also provided an expert to reinforce the U.S. OSCE Delegation for the Article II and Article IV negotiations. In addition, ACDA experts continue to participate actively in the U.S. policy-making community as we look toward continued implementation of the two Agreements in 1998 and the initiation of Article V negotiations.


Because they are designed to remain lethal for decades, long-lived anti-personnel landmines (APL) have taken a terrible toll on civilian life and limb around the world, disproportionate to their military utility. The United States is committed to eliminating these weapons.

The President has directed the Department of Defense to develop APL alternatives so that by the year 2003 we can end the use of all anti-personnel landmines except in Korea. Our objective is to have alternatives to APLs ready for Korea by 2006. We will also search aggressively for alternatives to our mixed anti-tank systems, which contain AP submunitions.

More than 90 percent of U.S. anti-personnel mines and munitions are remotely delivered and short-lived. They self-destruct 4 hours to 15 days after emplacement with extremely high reliability. Should self-destruction fail, which has not happened in more than 32,000 tests, the mine or munition will self-deactivate from battery exhaustion. Remote delivery renders these mines or munitions highly effective militarily; short active lifetime renders them no more menacing to civilians than are other weapons of war.

Anti-personnel mine issues are being considered on three separate tracks: Amendments to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW); the "Ottawa Process"; and the Conference on Disarmament (CD). The United States believes that each process can make a valuable contribution to minimize civilian APL casualties and that the processes should be complementary rather than competitive.

CCW now requires unmarked anti-personnel mines to self-destruct and self-deactivate rapidly and with high reliability; it also bans nondetectable APL. (For a more detailed description of this protocol, see the 1996 ACDA Annual Report.) The major APL producers, stockpilers, and exporters are Parties to the CCW, and have indicated their intention to ratify the amended landmine protocol. As of the end of 1997, 12 states have ratified; 20 are required for entry-into-force. The amended mines protocol was submitted to the United States Senate for approval on January 7, 1997; we strongly urge Senate approval so that the United States can be an original Party to this agreement.

On September 17, 1997 in Oslo, Ottawa Process participants completed negotiations on a Convention totally banning APL. This Convention was opened for signature in Ottawa on December 3, 1997. While the Ottawa Convention has more than 120 signatories, some of the major historical APL producers, stockpilers, and exporters have not signed and are not expected to do so in the foreseeable future.

The United States was prepared to sign the Ottawa Convention if two conditions were met: First, that mixed anti-tank munitions containing both anti-tank and anti-personnel components not be captured by the Convention. These weapons are short-lived and thus do not contribute to the humanitarian problem caused by APLs. At the same time, they are important to the safety of our troops, and to enabling those troops to perform their mission of protecting civilians in Korea and elsewhere. Second, that we have a nine-year transition period to replace our pure anti-personnel landmines. Since these requirements were not accepted in the Ottawa Convention, the United States is unable to sign it at this time. However, the United States will sign the Ottawa Convention by 2006 if we succeed in identifying and fielding suitable alternatives to our APLs and mixed munitions by then.

Countries participating in the Conference on Disarmament include the major mine producers, stockpilers, and exporters. In 1997 the United States sought to establish an ad hoc committee within the CD to begin negotiations on an APL ban. Regrettably, we were not successful. In 1998, prospects are more hopeful for establishing negotiations on a global ban on APL exports.

ACDA's Role: An ACDA representative participates in all U.S. landmine negotiation and policy formulation, and originated the requirement for self-destruction and self-deactivation. ACDA chairs the interagency policy formulation meetings on anti-personnel landmine negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament. ACDA has provided legal and other support to all U.S. APL delegations.


The post-Cold War era has witnessed a substantial reduction in military spending and defense-related procurement in most countries, which ironically has produced increased military and commercial pressures within industrial states to expand foreign sales to compensate for the contraction in domestic defense markets. Meanwhile, the widespread development and acquisition of advanced conventional military capabilities are being accelerated by the erosion of the distinction between military and advanced commercial technology.

Arms Export Controls

Regulation of international conventional weapons transfers, therefore, is becoming increasingly important to national and international security. ACDA is the only U.S. government agency chartered by law to conduct arms control assessments of proposed defense-related exports, without competing agency mission objectives. Under the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act, ACDA reviews proposed commercial defense trade exports licensed by the Department of State, and government-to-government Foreign Military Sales and military assistance programs. Each year we evaluate more than 1,200 proposed government-to-government and commercial arms-transfer applications to determine whether they might:

  • contribute to an arms race;

  • support international terrorism;

  • increase the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict;

  • prejudice the development of bilateral or multilateral arms-control arrangements; or

  • adversely affect the arms control policy of the United States.

In assessing export cases, ACDA also takes into account:

  • regional stability and military balance;

  • legitimate defense needs of the recipient relative to threats;

  • the military force structure, strategy, and doctrine of the recipient and its neighbors;

  • whether the transfer would constitute a "new" or advanced military capability;

  • whether it would provide offensive or power-projection capabilities;

  • whether it would represent an excessive or destabilizing acquisition;

  • proliferation implications; and

  • risks of misuse or unauthorized retransfer.

We pay particular attention to exports involving:

  • aerial refueling;

  • submarines;

  • unmanned aerial vehicles;

  • standoff and "smart" weapons;

  • high-performance computers; and

  • advanced weapons and development and manufacturing technology.

Dual-use Export Controls

ACDA also evaluates licenses administered by the Department of Commerce for the export of dual-use items subject to nonproliferation (nuclear/chemical/biological weapons and missiles), national security, regional stability, and terrorist controls. In early 1996 the U.S. Government inaugurated a new computer-based interagency license referral system as required by Executive Order 12981, which provided the Agency for the first time with prompt and direct access to export license information. This system has allowed ACDA to provide a careful and timely review of all licenses, and to participate equally with other agencies in the license decision-making process at every level. Recognizing the importance of ensuring that export controls do not impede legitimate commerce, ACDA achieved an average response time of only eleven days, faster than any other agency involved in the licensing process.

As international commerce increases, the importance of harmonized export controls among trading nations to prevent even unintended proliferation of weapons capabilities has taken on new urgency. In this respect, ACDA actively supported and participated in USG efforts to promote and assist in the adoption of effective and comprehensive national export control systems on a worldwide basis. ACDA staff have provided their expertise to foreign governments in a wide range of fora, from bilateral consultations to multilateral export control workshops and seminars in far-flung parts of the globe. These missions have been instrumental in achieving enhanced awareness, introduction, improvement, and expansion of export controls, wider international adherence to global nonproliferation norms, and increased membership in the various multilateral nonproliferation regimes.

Interagency Participation

ACDA participates in various interagency committees and working groups concerned with technology and arms transfer, and security assistance issues. These bodies and their functions include:

  • Satellite Technical Safeguards Agreements Working Group: Governs the control of technology involved in launching U.S. satellites abroad.

  • GPS International Working Group: Negotiates agreements concerning the international use of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

  • Nonproliferation and Export Control Interagency Working Group: NSC-chaired assistant secretary-level group that develops and oversees implementation of U.S. policy on the full range of nonproliferation and export control issues.

  • Operating Committee: Commerce-chaired office director-level group that reviews and decides dual-use export cases about which there are interagency differences or which require escalation under E.O. 12981.

  • Advisory Committee on Export Policy: Commerce-chaired assistant secretary-level committee chartered under E.O. 12981 to adjudicate and decide dual-use export cases that have not been resolved because of lower-level interagency differences.

  • National Disclosure Policy Committee: DoD-chaired senior-level committee that evaluates and makes decisions on the foreign release of classified U.S. defense systems and technology.

  • Missile Technology Export Control Group: State-chaired staff-level committee that reviews export license applications for items subject to missile proliferation controls to non-MTCR countries.

  • Missile Trade Analysis Group: State-chaired staff-level entity that reviews all-source intelligence on the worldwide trade or diversion of missile-related technology and attempts to interdict those that could contribute to proliferation; and analyzes missile-related transfers that could be subject to sanctions under U.S. law.

  • Missile Annex Review Committee: State-chaired working-level committee that provides technical assessments of both U.S. and other MTCR Partner proposals for changes to the MTCR Equipment and Technology Annex.

  • Chemical and Biological Weapons Control Group: Referred to as SHIELD, this State-chaired working group:

    • reviews export license applications for dual-use CW- or BW-related goods, technology, and services;

    • seeks to persuade foreign governments to prevent exports that could contribute to CBW proliferation; and

    • analyzes CBW-related activities that could be subject to U.S. sanctions.

  • Technology Transfer Working Group: State-chaired interagency group body that reviews intelligence reports, open marketing literature, and other available information on possible unauthorized use or diversion of U.S.-origin defense articles and dual-use items, or arms transfers sanctionable under U.S. statutes, and initiates appropriate interdiction, enforcement or diplomatic actions.

  • Subgroup on Nuclear Export Coordination: State-chaired working group that reviews license applications for the export of nuclear and nuclear-related dual-use goods and technology.

  • Nuclear Export Violations Working Group: State-chaired working group that assesses worldwide transfers of nuclear and nuclear-related goods and technology and attempts to interdict those transfers that could contribute to nuclear proliferation.

Multilateral Export Control

ACDA contributed to policy formulation and execution with respect to the 33-member Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, which was established July 1996 and became fully operational in November 1996. The Wassenaar Arrangement succeeded the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), which was disestablished in 1994 as a result of the Cold War's end. The Wassenaar Arrangement is designed to promote transparency, responsibility and appropriate restraint in the international transfer of arms and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies. It complements but does not duplicate the work of other nonproliferation regimes.

Membership in the Wassenaar Arrangement is open to producing/exporting nations meeting international nonproliferation and export control norms. The current 33 members are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. ACDA participated in interagency deliberations during the course of 1997 to establish U.S. positions on Wassenaar Arrangement issues and ACDA representatives served on U.S. delegations to Wassenaar Arrangement meetings.

The Arrangement's Participating States have undertaken commitments set forth in the Initial Elements, which include maintaining effective export controls on a list of munitions and sensitive dual-use items and various information exchange requirements. The Arrangement operates by consensus. Through its transparency mechanisms, members will seek to detect and prevent destabilizing accumulations of arms and sensitive dual-use items and consult on appropriate courses of action. The United States is working to strengthen the regime, through expansion of reporting requirements on arms exports beyond the major weapons categories of the UN Arms Register and through greater transparency in dual-use exports. A number of proposals for strengthening the regime were submitted by the United States during the year.

At a December 1996 Plenary meeting, Participating States issued a public statement confirming that, as a matter of national policy, no participant transfers arms or ammunition to the parties to the conflict in Afghanistan. A similar understanding was reached during the course of 1997 with respect to the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa. At a December 1997 Plenary meeting, Participating States agreed to a voluntary process for providing information on weapons transfers beyond the current seven categories covered by the UN Register of Conventional Arms. The plenary agreed to changes which will take into consideration technological developments since the establishment of the Arrangement, and decided to conduct a study on criteria for assessing destabilizing weapons accumulations. Participating States also endorsed efforts by West African states to establish regional confidence-building measures centered on a regional small arms moratorium. Members acknowledged other international organizations' activities related to the purposes of the Wassenaar Arrangement, such as the Organization of American States' convention on illicit arms trafficking and its regional arms transparency initiative, and the EU Programme for Preventing and Combating Illicit Trafficking in Conventional Arms.

Regional Security Assistance Conferences

These annual conferences, organized by the joint commands, provide regional security assistance officers, attaches, industry and foreign government representatives, and Washington agencies an opportunity for candid discussion of arms and technology transfer issues. As a result of ACDA's initiative, senior and staff-level Agency officials participated in the PACOM, CENTCOM, and SOUTHCOM conferences in various capacities, including briefings, workshops, round tables, and as invited feature speakers, to ensure that the arms control perspective is an integral part of their proceedings.



The UN Register of Conventional Arms entered its sixth year of operation in 1997. For the six years of its existence, 138 different UN members have made contributions to the register (90 to 96 states each year). The United States continues to be one of the strongest supporters of the register. Along with its Western Allies, it continues to encourage states that have not done so to submit data and information on their conventional arms transfers to the register.

In 1997, the UN convened a Group of Governmental Experts on the continuing operation of the UN Register of Conventional Arms and its further development. The Group reached consensus on a final report which strengthens its utility by publishing submissions of military holdings and procurement through national production, which the United States and several other states have reported on a voluntary basis in the background section. The U.S. announcement that it would report model and type information was warmly welcomed by the Group. Unfortunately, the Group was unable to reach consensus on expanding the register at this time or adjusting the categories.

ACDA's Role: ACDA chairs the interagency policy formulation process for the UN Register. It also prepares the annual U.S. submission to the UN register, and conducts the bilateral consultations to resolve discrepancies in National Submissions. ACDA also furnished the U.S. Expert to the Experts Panel, as it has for the two previous panels.


Due to the procedural deadlock on all substantive issues, the CD Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) on Transparency in Armaments was not re-established in 1997. Despite the CD deadlock, the U.S. and Western states tabled at the 52nd UNGA a First Committee resolution calling for early continuation of discussions in the CD on transparency in armaments. The resolution passed the UNFC by a vote of 155(U.S.)-0-11.

UN Studies

In 1997, the UN Group of Qualified Governmental Experts on Small Arms concluded two years of discussions. The United States provided an expert to the 16-member panel. In addition to the three regular sessions held at the UN between June 1996 and July 1997, the panel also held intersessional workshops in Pretoria (September 1996), San Salvador (January 1997), and Kathmandu (May 1997). The panel examined the types of small arms and light weapons (SA&LW) actually being used in the conflicts being dealt with by the UN; the nature and causes of excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of SA&LW, including their illicit production and trade; and the ways and means to prevent and reduce the excessive and destabilizing accumulation and transfer of SA&LW, in particular as they cause or exacerbate conflict. The panel unanimously adopted a report containing specific recommendations on practical measures to reduce and prevent excessive accumulation and the use and proliferation of SA&LW, including their illicit trade. The 52nd UNGA adopted a resolution endorsing the recommendations of the report.

ACDA's Role: ACDA provided the U.S. expert to the 1997 Group of Governmental Technical Experts on the UN Register and the UN Group of Qualified Government Experts on small arms. It chairs the interagency policy formulation process for those groups.