July 20, 1994

REMARKS OF JOHN D. HOLUM, DIRECTOR
U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
TO THE DES MOINES CHAPTER OF THE
COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

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, every bit as vital. 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 important to talk about this now because I see a danger looming to this mission -- a point to which I'll return.

But first, how does implementation fit in? Over the Cold War years many of us developed the habit of thinking of arms control as a goal in competition 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 and agreements are comparable 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. So functionally, implementation -- not negotiation -- is where most of the action takes place in arms control. It's where we actually engage the other side's forces.

North Korea comes to mind. What we face basically 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.

A number of recent agreements -- such as Conventional Armed Forces 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 and many businesses. In others it means updating long-standing agreements to accommodate unforeseen conditions -- like the emergence of theater missiles, much more capable than Iraq's Scuds, in the hands of rogue states like North Korea or Iran.

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: abolish chemical weapons completely -- to 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, three-quarters of these countries have signed the CWC. Obviously we want them to bring it into force as soon as possible -- which will happen six months after the 65th country has ratified.

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, which inspects for the NPT, 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.

The CWC embraces for us the central and fundamental truths about chemical agents designed to kill and disable 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

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

The ABM Treaty is the agreement by which we and the Soviet Union agreed in 1972 -- in the interest of stability -- to ban nationwide defenses against ballistic missiles, so that each country would have confidence in its own deterrent systems. But when the Treaty was negotiated, we did not resolve the demarcation between prohibited strategic defenses against intercontinental missiles and permitted theater defenses against shorter-range threats. Twenty-two years ago 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 image of SCUD missiles launched by Iraq during the Gulf War. 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. In a nutshell, that is 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 strategic nuclear force reductions now underway, and indispensable to the potential for further cuts. Indeed, as the numbers of offensive forces go down, the importance of the treaty goes up -- because the impact of any defenses would be proportionately greater.

Since last December my Agency's Acting Commissioner to the Standing Consultative Commission, the ABM Treaty's implementing body, has led the U.S. delegation through three rounds of demarcation negotiations in Geneva.

Last week I was privileged to lead an interagency delegation in high-level consultations in Moscow, Minsk and Kiev, to present the President's new proposal for resolving this issue soon. Our Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian counterparts had a number of questions, but our basic approach was well-received, and I am hopeful that it will form the basis for an early agreement. We would like to have a result in time to permit testing beginning late this year of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, which would be highly effective against theater missile threats we can foresee in the next decade.

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 not through unilateral fiat, but through negotiation with our Treaty partners.

Our 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 crucial implementation task -- addressing the bulk of all the world's weapons of mass destruction that could be delivered with devastating force on our own country.

START was signed in 1991, and START II in January 1993. Some think that means we have taken care of the problem of Soviet heavy missiles and multiple warhead capabilities and made deep two-thirds reductions in strategic nuclear forces. Well, not quite.

Both 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 Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, 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 of START. START II, in turn, depends on START. So what is being done now is in anticipation of but outside these formal arms control obligations.

I'm not such an arms control 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 facto arms control. Why? Because our relationship with Russia could deteriorate, and things done voluntarily can be reversed; 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.

So 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.

Implementation of the START Treaties is inherently complex. Fortunately, they were negotiated with some of these challenges in mind. One example is Russia's production of a new, single-warhead ICBM to replace multiple-warhead missiles. START provisions already govern how this new missile will enter accountability under the Treaty; provide specific U.S. inspection rights when the missiles exit the assembly plant and are deployed; and determine how each missile will be accounted for throughout its life.

The START Treaties were not, however, able to anticipate all implementation issues. One example relates to defense conversion -- specifically, the attempts of Russia and Ukraine to market space launch services based on their defense-based expertise and technology inherited from the Soviet Union. Many of these space launch services envision the use of former Soviet missiles.

That is permitted by START. But the missiles themselves remain accountable and subject to Treaty restrictions; they may not, for example, be transferred to other states. The implementation challenge we face is to ensure that we do not detract from either the accountability of these missiles or the Treaty's restrictions on them, but at the same time, do not unreasonably burden their peaceful commercial use.

This calls for intensive efforts by the five parties to the JCIC: the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. But they are working well -- quietly, out of the public eye -- to resolve issues that will decide whether the treaties will live up to expectations. Already the JCIC has completed some 35 agreements and joint statements falling into three broad categories.

The first involves largely technical issues identified but not resolved in the original START negotiations. In concluding the Treaty, U.S. and Soviet negotiators agreed to treat such issues as ones on which the parties "shall agree" once the Treaty was signed. For example, the Treaty provides the right to use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to orient inspectors during certain inspections, but specified that GPS receivers could not actually be used in such inspections until detailed procedures were worked out. During the most recent JCIC session that ended a few weeks ago, the parties completed and signed an agreement resolving this matter.

The second category includes issues -- often political in nature -- that were created as a result of the need to multilateralize the Treaty after the break-up of the Soviet Union. For example, the Treaty provided for at most three points of entry into the Soviet Union for U.S. inspectors. But now there are four independent nations subject to U.S. inspections, all of which understandably insist on having their own points of entry to receive U.S. inspectors on their national territory. We have thus concluded an agreement that Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine will establish their own points of entry at their capitals, and that Russia, because of its vast expanse, will maintain one point of entry at Moscow and another in the east at Ulan Ude.

The third category consists of implementation issues simply not anticipated by the Treaty drafters. One example is the delicate matter of how to tell inspectors arriving at a submarine base which submarines -- based on their proximity to the base -- contain missiles subject to inspection under the Treaty, without revealing other sensitive information. The parties agreed in the JCIC that providing a diagram of the coastlines and waters of the area around the base -- distinct from the site diagram for the base itself - would be the best way to meet this need.

These examples illustrate the breadth of implementation work we do -- ranging from highly conceptual negotiation to very practical nuts and bolts problem-solving. To succeed, we must identify issues, discuss them in the new multinational setting, and find solutions that bind all five parties to the same Treaty regime, while respecting the individual sensitivities and sovereignty of each of our Treaty partners -- and the objectives of the Treaty itself.

The INF

With START, much 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 law 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.

But a significant if unexpected side benefit has resulted from all these efforts relating to START as well as INF They 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 a crucial and formative period.

Conclusion

As I indicated at the outset, after almost eight 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. We are scrupulous in compliance and verification -- for our treaty partners and for ourselves. But verification depends on radars, sensors, satellites, on-site inspectors, and other assets owned and operated 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. 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 time as Director of ACDA. In the months ahead it could well become a preoccupation. I invite you to worry about it too.

However we resolve this tension, my central message remains -- that on a daily basis, away from public view, real arms control is being steadily achieved. We are implementing our agreements with skill and dispatch. We are finishing the jobs we have started.

Because this is what arms control means to Americans. Most people rightly 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.