June 10, 1994

REMARKS OF THE HONORABLE JOHN D. HOLUM
DIRECTOR, U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
TO A CONFERENCE CO-SPONSORED BY THE CENTER FOR NATIONAL
SECURITY LAW AND THE ABA STANDING COMMITTEE ON
LAW AND NATIONAL SECURITY

Thank you for that warm welcome. It's my pleasure to join you this evening.

I'm not going to talk to you tonight about the crucial and well-publicized arms control negotiations underway around the world, although several are in progress.

Instead, I want to discuss something less glamorous -- but in today's security context, even more important. That is the steady work of bringing arms control to fruition, of translating the gains agreed to on paper into real results on the ground.

This is a particularly apt topic for the Director of ACDA. We are deeply involved in negotiations underway -- the comprehensive test ban, extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the fissile material cutoff, among others. But we also have a sharply expanding mission in the implementation of arms control agreements and regimes, which includes verification but goes well beyond it.

And it's especially important that I talk about this now because I see a danger looming to this vital mission.

What exactly do I mean by implementation? Over the Cold War years many of us developed the habit of thinking of arms control as a goal that conflicted with national defense. Politically speaking, that often may have been true. But as a practical matter, arms control and defense share a common purpose: to make us safer. Both address threats to our national security. Defense deters or defeats these threats. Arms control quietly takes them away.

In these terms, arms control negotiations can best be likened to our standing military forces. They represent the promise that an adversary's arsenals will be destroyed. But that promise isn't kept until those arsenals are actually taken down. Functionally, implementation -- not negotiation -- is where most of the action takes place in arms control.

North Korea comes to mind. What we face is not the negotiating goal of North Korea agreeing to forswear nuclear weapons. That was attained in 1985. At issue now is whether North Korea will live up to its commitments under the NPT. This compliance problem may involve further negotiations -- or other additional steps -- but at bottom, it is an implementation matter.

I also want to underscore here that, because the NPT is the world community's handle on nuclear programs like North Korea's, indefinite and unconditional extension of the Treaty is ACDA's highest priority for the coming year. I touch on this briefly tonight only because I know Tom Graham addressed it in detail earlier today.

-2- A number of recent agreements -- such as Conventional Armed Forces (CFE) in Europe, Open Skies, INF, START and START II, and the Chemical Weapons Convention -- are joining older agreements such as the ABM Treaty and the NPT to create a prodigious architecture of international arms control law. More agreements are on the way.

Realizing the full potential of arms control agreements is becoming a momentous mission for the United States and for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. We are entering what might be called the arms control implementation era.

In some cases that means breaking new ground on verification -- for example, international inspectors with a right to look inside sensitive government installations or into your clients' businesses. In others it means updating longstanding agreements to accommodate unforeseen conditions -- like the emergence of theater missiles, much more capable than Scuds, in the hands of rogue states.

Let me mention just some of the issues this burgeoning national security mission entails.

Chemical Weapons Convention

The Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC, presents an immense implementation challenge. It is also a tremendous achievement that will obligate the rest of the world to do what we have already largely decided to do: put an abominable genie back in the bottle and incinerate the bottle.

Today more than 25 countries are suspected of having chemical weapons or the ability to produce them. Significantly, no less than three-quarters of these countries have signed the CWC. Obviously we want them to ratify it as well, and to bring it into force as soon as possible.

The CWC may represent our greatest implementation effort yet -- whether viewed from the standpoint of history, of intrusiveness, of industry involvement, or of magnitude of coverage. To give you a rough idea, the IAEA oversees about 900 nuclear facilities in some 60 countries; by comparison, the CWC's implementing body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will have access to over 25,000 facilities in at least 120 countries.

The Convention is now before the United States Congress. I remain hopeful that the Senate will give its advice and consent to ratification soon, to spur ratification by scores of other countries that are taking their cue from us. This would place us among the original parties to the Convention -- and thus on the ground floor of establishing, among other things, the practical mechanics of routine and challenge inspections.

The CWC embraces for us the central and fundamental truths about chemical agents designed to kill and maim in the cause of war: To make them is a waste; to keep them an affliction; to use them an abomination. To champion their destruction makes us at once more exemplary, more civilized and more secure. We should get on with the task.

ABM Demarcation

The talks in Geneva to clarify the ABM Treaty show that, at times, implementation -- is negotiation -- with high stakes.

When the Treaty was negotiated, we and the Soviet Union did not resolve the demarcation between prohibited strategic defenses and permitted theater defenses. In 1972, there was no compelling need to do that.

But there is today -- not because we have changed our minds, but because the world has changed.

Recall the memory of SCUD missiles launched by Iraq. Now consider the specter of far more advanced theater missiles, possibly armed with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, in the hands of a Libya, North Korea, or Iraq. That explains why this Administration wants to prepare capable theater defenses for our own forces and our allies and friends.

But we want to do so within the ABM Treaty, because the Treaty is important to the offensive force reductions now underway, and indispensable to the potential for further cuts.

Since last December our Acting Commissioner to the Standing Consultative Commission, Stan Riveles, has led the U.S. delegation through three rounds of demarcation negotiations in Geneva. The original U.S. proposal focussed on the velocity of the target missile, to define the threat our systems would be designed to defend against.

Since then, in the course of our negotiations, this proposal has been incorporated into a broader set of limits on such defensive systems that includes, but goes beyond, target missile velocity. The participants are discussing additional elements, such as confidence-building measures to provide assurance that our respective Theater Missile Defense systems are not used for nationwide strategic defense.

These negotiations have generated some concern, particularly among the staunchest defenders of the ABM Treaty, which went through some perilous times in the 1980s. But the best way to preserve the Treaty is not to fossilize it, but to treat it as a living text that can still advance our security in a dramatically changed world -- and to do so, I remind you, not through unilateral fiat, but through negotiation with our Treaty partners.

The Clinton Administration's policy aims to protect us first and foremost through arms control -- by working hard to prevent new threats -- and second, by legally pursuing the development of theater defenses for those cases where arms control is not yet successful. Instead of pitting arms control and defense against one another, it marries the two.

The START Treaties

The START Treaties underscore another vital implementation task -- addressing the bulk of all the world's weapons of mass destruction that can be delivered with devastating force on our own country.

START was signed in July 1991, and START H in January 1993. Some think that means we have taken care of the problem of Soviet heavy missiles and counterforce capabilities, and deeply cut back strategic nuclear forces. Well, not quite.

We and the Russians are retiring missiles and bombers controlled under START, and eliminating some associated launchers as well. Under related agreements, some warheads are being moved out of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, where they were left when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Nuclear force reductions in the former Soviet Union are being advanced in part through a $1 billion program of assistance for the safe and secure dismantlement of former Soviet nuclear weapons -- which is a national security bargain.

But it is essential to keep in mind that no country is yet legally required to destroy a single missile, bomber or submarine under the START Treaties. They have not yet entered into force. START awaits Ukraine's accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state, which Russia made a condition of its own ratification. START II in, turn, depends on START and its entry into force. So what is being done now is in anticipation of but outside these formal arms control obligations.

I'm not such a purist as to suggest that is objectionable. Voluntary and compensated reductions are very much in our national interest.

But these valuable de facto efforts cannot substitute for de @re arms control. Why? Because our relationship with Russia could deteriorate, and things done voluntarily can be reversed. If Russia were to become more adversarial, weapons we have paid to remove could be replaced. So we are far better served by having reductions and eliminations agreed, ratified, and legally binding -- regardless of how the future unfolds.

And of course, whether or not the relationship becomes more difficult, it will be of great value to put into force the detailed verification provisions -- including the web of twelve different kinds of on-site inspections -- that the Treaties provide.

That means two things. First, we must make sure that nothing we are doing prior to entry into force of the START Treaties will interfere with their formal legal implementation or compromise the compliance process.

Second, we must aggressively pursue efforts in the START Treaty's Joint Compliance and Inspection Commission (or JCIC) to resolve issues that must be worked out prior to, or shortly after, START's entry into force.

The U.S. delegation to the JCIC, led by Ambassador Steve Steiner of ACDA, has been making great progress on those issues. The five parties in the JCIC have already completed some 35 agreements and joint statements. The issues that remain include some of the most difficult and intractable issues kicked down the road -- or not even considered -- in the original negotiations. Even as to these tough nuts, we are moving toward solutions.

The INF Treaty

With START, a good deal of our work has been directed to making a treaty that was negotiated as a bilateral agreement into a multilateral agreement. Implementation of the INF Treaty presents the same issue of multilateralization writ even larger. We have sought to bring all twelve successor states on board as parties to the INF Treaty.

In private practice, as you might expect, I had little exposure to the law of succession to treaties. Now I am becoming quite familiar with it. Indeed, it may well have seen greater application in the last five years than in the previous fifty. Virtually all of our originally bilateral arms control treaties until recently either had states that wanted to join as successors or that we wanted to see as successors, or both.

The broad question presented by such concerns was how to apply a bilateral agreement to a four or twelve nation context. The basic answer is, "You work it out." In practice this means challenging implementation, often including negotiation.

This has required new procedures and substantial diplomatic activity with all twelve successor states as well as the key implementing four -- again, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.

These parties do not necessarily like or trust one another. Sovereignty understandably has been an ongoing concern of the new states. Anything that even appears unequal, either in treaty implementation or in the conduct of the parties, can be disruptive -- and we invariably hear about it.

There are certain practical difficulties. Small delegations have no interpreters. Who should sit next to whom? Budgets are tight. Feelings can run high.

That means many seemingly uncontroversial implementation issues have become politicized. For example, none of the new independent states wants us to enter its territory for inspections through the territory of another party -- frankly, through Russia. So for the INF Treaty as well as START, the four implementing states now have their own points of entry for inspections.

An unexpected but significant side benefit has resulted from all these efforts relating to START as well as INEThey have given us a framework in which we have already been able to influence in productive ways the defense planning and national security decisions of our four partner states. By lending them our good offices to help work out complex issues between us -- and between them -- we have deepened our engagement with four critical countries during an important and formative period.

Conclusion

As I indicated at the outset, after about six months on the job I am sensing a danger to the arms control implementation and verification mission. It lies in several intersecting trends and conditions.

The first is the advent of the implementation era. With CFE, CWC, INF, START, the NPT, Open Skies, a possible global test ban, the fissile material cutoff, and other initiatives, we are piling up arms control implementation and verification requirements. So among national security missions, this (happily) is a growth industry.

But keep in mind that while arms control is considerably less expensive than additional defenses, it is not free -- especially when it comes to verification.

A second condition is that the agency with the principal policy role in implementation and verification -- which happens to be ACDA -- has abundant responsibilities, but controls none of the relevant assets. We are required, for example, to assess for the Congress whether arms control agreements can be verified, and to report back if there is any change. But verification depends on radars, sensors, satellites, on-site inspectors, and other assets owned and operated entirely by other agencies, not by ACDA.

And a third trend, with which you're all familiar, is that most agencies of the government are cutting their budgets, to attack more than a decade of deficits and thereby rescue the economy. The policy is sound and it's working. But deep cuts are expected from agencies like Defense, Energy, and Intelligence, whose missions have changed in the aftermath of the Cold War.

All of those agencies quite reasonably will apply their own standards of cost-effectiveness to their budgets -- balancing defense or intelligence requirements against arms control verification.

You can see the tension. Already it has occupied a considerable amount of my rime as Director of ACDA- In the months ahead it could well become a preoccupation. I invite you to worry about it too, if you are so inclined.

However we resolve this tension, my central message remains -- that on a daily basis, in our interagency implementing efforts, in the related work of the On-Site Inspecfion Agency, more broadly in the Departments of Defense and Energy, in the intelligence community, in the diligent and creative nonproliferation efforts of the Department of State -- real arms control is being steadily achieved.

We must implement our agreements with vigor and without delay. We must finish the jobs we have started. Parents as well as playwrights will tell you that the realization is no less important than the conception.

Because this is what arms control means to Americans. Most people are more interested in what we have done than in what we have agreed to do. They realize something that we inside the Beltway often forget: After the Rose Garden ceremonies have ended, and the strains of "Hail to the Chief" have died away, the heavy lifting has just begun.