January 31, 1995

THE HONORABLE JOHN D. HOLUM, DIRECTOR
U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
STATEMENT BEFORE THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS
COMMITTEE ON THE SECOND STRATEGIC ARMS
REDUCTION TREATY

Introduction

Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, I am pleased to testify in support of the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and to explain its role in strengthening U.S. national security in the post-Cold War era.

START II depends, of course, on START 1. If START I was the last Cold War treaty, START II is the first post-Cold War treaty -- one that makes use of a transformed strategic relationship to ensure stability and reduce the risk of war into the next century. It stands as a testament to the negotiating efforts of the prior administration and the implementation efforts of the present one -- and thus, to the bipartisan continuity that has characterized American national security and foreign policy at its best.

This year we face the broadest arms control agenda in history. Last week in the State of the Union address, the President emphasized several of our main priorities in 1995, among them to extend indefinitely the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enact a comprehensive nuclear test ban, and to eliminate chemical weapons. But the very first priority he mentioned was START 11. It is a critical part of the arms control agenda in its own right, and will also buttress other parts -- in particular, our effort to win indefinite extension of the NPT.

Defense by Other Means

I'd like to place START II into its larger context. With the downfall of the Soviet Union, many expected the need for arms control to disappear too. But in fact, the opposite has taken place.

The bipolar nuclear standoff is largely over, but we still have to extract its sharpest teeth. And beyond that, the Soviet-American arms competition has been replaced by the wider threat of proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in more and more countries.

To address these new threats -- in a security environment where access to technology is waxing and Cold War disciplines are waning -- requires both military might and the preventive medicine of arms control.

The START II Treaty confirms that the fundamental purposes of arms control and defense are exactly the same: to make us safer.

START II, for example, will slam shut what many described as a "window of vulnerability" posed by Soviet SS-18 heavy missiles with multiple warheads. START II will do that by removing --completely and verifiably -- all the remaining SS-18s and their launchers. A weapons system designed to do the same thing would, optimistically, cost many billions of dollars, and could do the job only with considerably less confidence, and only in the midst of a nuclear war -- which would signal failure of the prime, deterrent purpose for having nuclear weapons in the first place.

So arms control -- far from being in opposition to defense -- is a pillar of our national security that is complementary to defense, and no less vital.

The Importance of Binding Agreements

START II also confirms another important principle: that although de facto arms control can be very useful, formal, binding controls remain indispensable.

The Soviet Union's demise created a rare opportunity for us to reduce the threat of Russian weapons by helping to bear the cost of their destruction. Indeed, the promise of U.S. assistance was a major factor in the decisions of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to take down some strategic offensive weapons prior to the entry into force of START I. And the Nunn-Lugar program continues to make enormous contributions to our security, in facilitating the dismantlement of weapons that were pointed our way It deserves continued support.

But compensated approaches should not crowd out a preference, wherever possible, for formal arms control agreements. They are harder to accomplish. But they are also more durable -- so we can have greater confidence they will stick no matter what the state of U.S.-Russia relations. And these formal treaties also prescribe detailed means of verification -- including the START Treaties' twelve different kinds of on-site inspections -- so we can see for ourselves that reductions pledged on paper are made on the ground.

The Arms Control Harvest

This brings me to another truth underscored by START II: that the real benefits of arms control are in implementation, where we harvest the benefits sown in negotiations and signed agreements. Rose Garden ceremonies are nice. But the promise of arms control is fulfilled only when the weapons that could be used against us are actually averted or finally taken down.

That is the process that has begun with the START Treaty, whose seven-year reduction calendar has at last started running. We now need to set it underway in START II.

Strategic Arms Reductions

START II is made timely now because START I has entered into force. It sets limits for both sides of a total of 1,600 deployed ballistic missiles and bombers, and 6,000 total accountable warheads (of which no more than 1,540 may be on "heavy missiles") for each side. It also sets an overall limit on the throw weight, or lifting power, of each side's missile forces. Previous agreements had sought to constrain and channel the competition in strategic arms; the START agreement stopped and reversed it -- making the first actual reductions in strategic nuclear arms. When fully implemented, START I will bring an overall reduction of about 40 percent in our strategic nuclear arsenals from their Cold War peaks.

As the members of this Committee know, there was a long gap between the signing of START I in July 1991 and its entry into force on Dec. 5, 1994 -- a gap due to the intervening dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of four new independent states treaty parties where one stood before. Russia's START ratification made entry into force conditional upon all three of the new states with strategic nuclear weapons on their territories -- Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine -- ratifying START and joining the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states.

In the Lisbon Protocol of May 1992, all three agreed to do so, and to eliminate all nuclear weapons from their territories within the seven-year START I reduction period. After a great deal of intense diplomacy, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan have now ratified START and joined the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states. They have begun the process of returning a combined total of nearly 3,300 nuclear warheads and bombs -about 30 percent of the former Soviet total -- to Russia.

And so, a bit less than two months ago, START I entered into force -- marking success in our aim of preventing the emergence of any new nuclear weapon states from the former Soviet Union. This achievement, of course, was also made possible by the statesmanship of Belarussian, Kazakh, and Ukrainian leaders, who ultimately realized that holding on to their inherited nuclear weapons would undermine their national security, not enhance it.

We were well prepared for that step. With little fanfare, active preparations for START implementation have long been underway. Beginning in November 1991 -- before the Soviet Union disintegrated -- the START I implementing body, the joint Compliance and Inspection Commission, has been meeting in Geneva. Since then the JCIC has completed more than 50 agreements and joint statements, to ensure that START implementation can proceed smoothly and effectively It has made multilateral what was originally a bilateral treaty, resolved issues left open by START I negotiators, and solved new issues not anticipated by the Treaty drafters.

So START I's successful entry into force last month in Budapest was itself something of a miracle: A lot of hard work had to make a lot of things go right to make it happen. With all the seeds planted and the spadework done, we are now poised to harvest the great benefits to U.S. national security of the START II Treaty.

The Basics: What the START Treaties Do

When START I was signed, the United States and Soviet Union each had over 10,000 deployed accountable strategic warheads. Full implementation of that Treaty over the next seven years will reduce strategic arsenals by between one-third and 40 percent, depending on complex assumptions and counting rules. The United States and Russia will each then have no more than 6,000 deployed accountable strategic warheads (though each side could have more warheads actually deployed, due to the bomber discounting rules under START I).

Building on its predecessor, START II represents the most sweeping nuclear arms reduction agreement in history. As noted, it requires the total elimination of the most destabilizing strategic systems, and will take down total strategic arsenals to one-third of pre-START I levels. When START II is fully implemented, the United States and Russia each will have no more than 3,500 deployed strategic warheads. (And this is an actual limit, since START II does not employ the bomber discounting rules of START I.) All reductions and eliminations under START II must be completed by Jan. 1, 2003.

START II relies on START I for many of its implementing provisions, including its verification regime. At the September 1994 U.S.-Russia summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin stated their intention to seek early ratification of START II and to exchange instruments of ratification at the next summit in 1995.

Multiple Warhead Missiles

Perhaps the crowning achievement of START II -- and the clearest sign that it is in the United States interest -- is its treatment of MIRVed and heavy ICBMS.

A missile that has been MIRVed -- one carrying Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles -- can deliver several different warheads to different destinations. Indeed, Russia's latest SS-18s carry up to 10 warheads. They are uniquely suited for a first-strike strategy, and thus are the most destabilizing weapons in the world today. Because our own strategic doctrine led the United States to build more and lighter weapons instead, all existing heavy ICBMs belong to Russia. The START I Treaty cut the total heavy ICBM force in half. In connection with that Treaty, Senator Helms and others expressed concerns about continuation of the Russian SS-18 threat. START II answers those concerns, by cutting the total SS-18 force to zero. It thus completes a 20-year quest by the United States to eliminate the heavy ICBM -- a weapon that, more than any other, has symbolized the most dangerous and destabilizing aspects of the Cold War nuclear confrontation.

START II, therefore, means far more than reductions in strategic nuclear forces. It means a fundamental change in the nature of the remaining forces -- away from destabilizing arsenals with maximum first-strike potential, toward safer and more stable deterrent arsenals, which are less likely to foster a new arms competition and are more suited to nuclear planning that minimizes the chances of nuclear war. Russian Interests in START II.

It is clear that ratification of START II is not a gift for Russia, but for ourselves. But START II is also deeply in Russia's interests.

As Russia continues its struggle toward democratic reforms and free markets, START II codifies continued strategic parity for the Russian Federation, at sharply reduced force levels and hence much lower costs.

START II also serves Russia's interests by removing a disparity flowing from START counting rules. START made heavy bombers accountable for fewer weapons than they actually carried. The United States has maintained more (and more heavily loaded) bombers than the Russians. START II generally counts actual bomber force loadings, and also will require reductions in sea-based forces -- those we have traditionally favored, as opposed to heavy ICBMS. Thus, from Russia's perspective, this Treaty is more balanced, while from both our perspective and theirs, it is more stable.

So START II serves several broad purposes. It harnesses the transformed nature of the strategic relationship between the United States and the Russian Federation. It helps democratic forces in Russia move away from the Cold War strategic arsenal it inherited and removes any incentives Russia might have to resume an arms race with us. It gives both sides real numerical parity, without requiring either side to invest vast sums in strategic modernization. Above all, whatever the future holds, START II significantly increases the stability of the resulting nuclear balance. With or without further steps, START II means a safer America and a safer world.

Verification

In the implementation of all arms control agreements, rigorous verification is indispensable. Let me talk a bit about what that means.

I do so from a particular vantage point. ACDA, as you may know, is the primary federal agency charged with developing negotiated approaches to verification. We have a statutory responsibility to assess for the Congress whether arms control agreements can be verified, and to report back if there is any change. We also report to the Congress on compliance, or noncompliance, with arms control agreements. Throughout ACDA's history, the Agency has stood for rigorous verification of arms control agreements.

Evaluating verifiability is a demanding legal requirement and also a matter of nuanced judgment. We begin with a technical comparison of our information-gathering capabilities against the constraints in an agreement. Then we decide whether this level of verifiability is good enough -- weighing such factors as the past compliance record of the parties, the incentives they might have to cheat, and the degree to which undetected cheating could pose a national security risk.

The U.S. policy standard of "effective verification" is necessarily rigorous. We must retain the ability to detect militarily significant violations, with high confidence, in sufficient time to respond effectively with defense adjustments or other responses, as needed. We have also stressed the need to scrutinize politically significant violations or patterns of minor violations before they become militarily significant.

We are confident that START II is effectively verifiable -- as reported to the Congress in April 1993 under Section 37 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act. START H verification is based in large part on the capabilities and provisions designed to verify START I, and reflects the same assumptions and considerations. As with START I, the United States will rely on data derived from national technical means (NTM) to verify compliance with START II Treaty limits. In addition, a combination of definitions, counting rules, operational constraints, notifications, prohibitions and on-site inspections will aid NTM.

START I verification depends on three basic tools:

Because some START II limitations have no exact START I counterparts, START II also includes the following unique verification provisions:

START and Nonproliferation

START II should be ratified on its own considerable merits. But early ratification will have a significant added benefit: it will fortify the United States final drive to ensure, this Spring, the indefinite and unconditional extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), by confirming that we are fulfilling the process of deep cuts in nuclear arms.

The NPT politically and legally enables all of our nonproliferation efforts worldwide, from Ukraine to South Africa to North Korea. It is rightly seen as the crown jewel of arms control.

The NPT works. It should be made permanent, like virtually every other multilateral arms control treaty.

The main reason why non-nuclear weapon states should support this outcome is that the NPT is a security instrument for them -- because it helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of their neighbors or rivals. If the NPT's future is uncertain, the nonnuclear weapon states -- especially those in regions of tension -- will be less secure.

But that basic reason for supporting indefinite extension is now fortified by a remarkable record of progress consistent with NPT Article VI, in which the nuclear weapon states promise measures to reduce and eliminate their nuclear arsenals -- to negotiate in good faith toward a cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament.

The nuclear arms race has not only ceased, it has been reversed. In recent years, we and the former Soviet Union have: eliminated over 2,500 intermediate- and shorter-range missiles, taking an entire class of weapons systems out of commission; decided unilaterally to withdraw and dismantle thousands more tactical nuclear arms; and agreed in the START Treaties to take more than 17,000 nuclear weapons off missiles and bombers. The race now is to bring down nuclear force levels as quickly, safely and securely as possible.

The Nuclear Posture Review has recently confirmed that nuclear weapons play a smaller role in our security strategy now than at any time since their inception. At last fall's summit in Washington, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin instructed their nuclear forces experts to intensify their dialogue in light of the changed international security situation, to include, after START H ratification, the possibility of further nuclear force reductions. They also agreed, once START II is ratified, to deactivate all strategic nuclear delivery systems to be reduced under START II, by removing their warheads or otherwise taking them off alert status.

The United States and Russia are also deeply engaged in a broad range of efforts to improve the safety, transparency and irreversibility of nuclear weapons reductions.

As the next step in this broad process, ratification of START II will send a resounding signal to the NPT review and extension conference in New York in mid-April that the United States is in earnest pursuit of its Article VI commitments under the NPT.

The Biden Condition and Further Steps

The START Treaties in general limit launchers, controlling warheads only indirectly. We have been concerned, as have the members of this Committee, about the need to address the warheads themselves, as well as the fissile material they contain.

I'd like to report briefly on our efforts consistent with the Biden Condition to the Senate Resolution of Ratification of the START I Treaty. Since ratification of START I, we have been addressing these issues in innovative ways. Specifically, we have put into place an agreement with Russia to purchase low-enriched uranium blended down from up to 500 tons of HEU from dismantled nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union -- permanently removing this material from the Russian stockpile. As part of our Nunn-Lugar program, we have also been working with Russia to improve the safety and security of weapons and fissile material from dismantled warheads. Finally, in Project SAPPHIRE, we worked with Kazakhstan to purchase HEU left there when the Soviet Union disintegrated, and removed the HEU from Kazakhstan to safe storage in the United States.

Our most recent efforts focus most directly on the Biden Condition, which calls for appropriate arrangements to monitor (a) the numbers of nuclear stockpile weapons on the territory of the START parties, and (b) the location and inventory of facilities capable of producing or processing significant quantities of fissile materials.

These goals are complex, because they touch upon information that is sensitive for both sides. Nevertheless, we have made considerable progress on a Safeguards, Transparency and Irreversibility (ST&I) regime. The U.S. proposal, following up on decisions made at the January and September 1994 U.S.-Russian summits, includes, among other things, reciprocal exchanges of detailed information on aggregate stockpiles of nuclear warheads and fissile materials, mutual reciprocal inspections to confirm stocks of HEU and plutonium removed from weapons, a cooperative arrangement to monitor warheads declared excess and awaiting dismantlement, and cooperative measures to confirm and clarify our reciprocal declarations of fissile material stockpiles, including limited stock-checks at fissile material sites, exchanges of fissile material production records, and visits to production sites.

Moving ahead on ST&I depends in part on an agreement forming the legal basis for exchanging classified information. In the meantime, we are devising procedures to measure plutonium in sealed containers, to improve confidence that it came from dismantled weapons.

Conclusion

When President Bush first transmitted START II to the Senate, he declared that it "is clearly in the interest of the United States and represents a watershed in our efforts to stabilize the nuclear balance and further reduce strategic offensive arms."

President Bush was right. But the Treaty is another kind of milestone as well: an apt symbol of the striking bipartisan continuity that has long characterized American arms control policy As former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger emphasized in his June 1993 testimony before this Committee, "While START II is one of President Bush's proudest accomplishments, and reflects his leadership and vision, it could not have been concluded in January 1993 without President Clinton's strong public support. That support was crucial to our efforts to convince Russian President Yeltsin that he could sign the START II agreement secure in the knowledge that those with whom he was dealing were speaking for the nation, and not merely for the outgoing administration."

The then-outgoing and incoming Presidents supported this Treaty for the same reason it has earned the endorsement of virtually every senior U.S. official who has examined it closely: START II is in the United States national security interest. It enhances stability, fosters transparency, and buries forever the first-strike strategies of a bygone era.

The continuing turbulence in the Russian Federation only underscores the Treaty's importance. Its ratification is not something we are doing for the Russians, but a hardheaded decision to reap the benefits of an agreement that buttresses our national security. The harvest of START II will be a safer America and a more stable world.

The time has come for the Senate to play its essential constitutional role. I join Presidents Clinton and Bush, and a parade of distinguished officials from both Administrations, in urging the Senate to give prompt and favorable consideration to the START II Treaty.