I'm pleased to address the National Strategy Forum here in "The City That Works." For arms control and nonproliferation are part of a national strategy that works -- every day, quietly and cost-effectively -- to strengthen our national security and make Americans safer.
The Increased Need for Arms Control
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, many expected the need for arms control to disappear too. In fact, the opposite has happened. But perceptions lag behind reality: many registered the expectation without following the facts on the ground.
While the bipolar nuclear standoff is largely over, it has left behind tens of thousands of nuclear weapons that could once again be aimed our way. So we are just starting to extract those sharp teeth -- by formally removing thousands of missiles and warheads under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which went into force last December -- and working to ratify START II.
Meanwhile, the Soviet-American arms race has been replaced by a danger perhaps even more ominous: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- whether nuclear, chemical or biological, or the missiles to deliver them -- to rogue regimes and terrorists around the world.
In this new era our security depends on arms control and nonproliferation more than ever. For if the Cold War taught us anything, it is the necessity of both military might and arms control. Arms control is threat control -- in the apt words of Secretary of Defense Perry, it is "defense by other means." Every weapon we take or keep out of the hands of a potential adversary is one we don't have to defend against.
1995: Year of Decision
Accordingly, arms control now looms larger on our national agenda than ever before. As President Clinton has stressed repeatedly -- including just last week at the Air Force Academy -- we are pursuing this year "the most ambitious agenda to dismantle and fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction since the dawn of the nuclear age." Crowning that agenda is a Treaty that works: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT. The NPT is the cornerstone of the world's nonproliferation architecture. just last month, culminating several years of intense diplomacy, the Treaty's fate was decided at a conference of all 178 members in New York. Despite many predictions that the cause was hopeless, our view prevailed and the NPT was made permanent -- a momentous national security achievement for the United States, and for all nations. As the President told the Air Force Academy graduates, a permanent NPT "will benefit not only this generation of Americans, but future generations as well," by doing what it has already done for a quarter-century: tfpreventing scores of countries from developing and acquiring nuclear weapons." The NPT's extension now raises the stakes in another major negotiating challenge: concluding a comprehensive ban on all nuclear tests. Those negotiations resumed last week in Geneva. The NPT balances commitments by all countries not to spread nuclear weapons with commitments by all, including the five declared nuclear powers, to reverse the arms race and pursue nuclear disarmament. In fulfillment of that pledge, it calls by name for a comprehensive test ban -- the only measure specifically mentioned in the Treaty text. A month before the New York conference, the United States, Russia, England and France reaffirmed their solemn commitment to that goal. And then the conference itself again recommitted all states to negotiate a Comprehensive Test Ban. So it is clear the world will question the credibility and good faith of the nuclear weapon states more harshly than ever -- and the nonproliferation regime could be endangered -- if we do not make good on our repeated and renewed promise of a comprehensive test ban. Fortunately, President Clinton committed the United States to the test ban in 1993 not simply because it would help on the Non-Proliferation Treaty extension, but because it is deeply in our national interest. First, the test ban itself serves nonproliferation. True, primitive weapons can be made without testing. But the CTB will prevent any emerging nuclear states from gaining confidence in thermonuclear weapons -- hydrogen bombs -- and it would also be a very serious bar to their getting nuclear warheads down to the kinds of sizes, shapes and weights most dangerous to us -- deliverable in light airplanes, rudimentary missiles ... even a terrorist's luggage. And a CTB will also be a valuable barrier and hedge against any new qualitative arms races. If our military rivalry with Russia were to return, or if a new one should emerge with China, we will be very glad in years to come that we achieved a CTB now, locked it in -- and took a major step toward freezing all nations in place on the nuclear learning curve. So we are pushing hard in Geneva to conclude a CTB ... to make our children safer ... to show the world the nuclear weapons states mean what they say... to make sure that the first half-century of nuclear explosive tests is our last. America's nuclear weapons have been extraordinarily well tested. From this day forward, it is we who are being tested. Another leading negotiating priority is the global cutoff in production of fissile material for weapons. This is our best hope of putting a cap on the potential nuclear programs of the so-called nuclear threshold states -- India, Pakistan and Israel -- that are outside the NPT. 1995 is a decisive time for strategic arms control between the United States and Russia - particularly, as I noted, with implementation of the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and our efforts to bring START II into force. As the President has emphasized, "START II will enable us to reduce by two-thirds the number of strategic warheads deployed at the height of the Cold War." And when the START Treaty obligations are fulfilled, we will also slam shut the "window of vulnerability" that many saw embodied in the heavy Soviet multiple warhead land-based missiles. These SS-18 missiles are the most devastating weapons ever aimed at the United States. Arms control has put them on the path to total extinction. Another major focus emphasized by the President is often summarized in the phrase linuclear smuggling" -- the risk that as the former Soviet Union disarms, immense quantities of weapons-grade fissile material, plutonium and highly enriched uranium, are being taken out of weapons. You've all seen the press reports of nuclear material turning up in places like Czechoslovakia or Germany So far we know of no thefts of weapons quantities of weapons grade material -- but we also don't know what we don't know. So we must sustain and intensify a major effort to enhance fissile material security, accounting, and controls there and worldwide, coupled with vigorous, cooperative law enforcement, to close down this illicit trade before countries such as Iran, Iraq or Libya -- or terrorist groups -- get their hands on the raw materials for a bomb. Also this year, the United States must lead in bringing the Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC, into force. This landmark Treaty will outlaw chemical weapons entirely -- not only their use, but their production, stockpiling, transfer, or even possession. it puts strict controls on the substances that go into chemical weapons, and it has the toughest verification regime of any arms control agreement ever -- including short notice challenge inspections of suspect sites, both public and private. Worldwide, the CWC will make chemical weapons harder to make and easier to trace. It will give us new ways to deal with the 25 countries of concern who, without the Treaty, can legally produce and stockpile chemical weapons. And as the President pointed out last week, the CWC "would make a chemical terror, like the tragic attack in the Tokyo subway, much more difficult." It's time Congress made its contribution, by ratifying the CWC as well as by moving ahead on the START 11 Treaty. These agreements will save us billions of dollars and make every American safer. This year we are also negotiating vigorously for a system to strengthen compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention. Our aim is to safeguard every American from the terrible threat of biological weapons, by negotiating in Geneva to harness advances in both detection technology and arms control. Time doesn't permit me to do any more than mention some of the other important matters we're working on now: implementing the Framework Agreement to freeze and roll back North Korea's nuclear program; protecting the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty against efforts to dilute it; ensuring that we can develop highly effective theater missile defenses while maintaining the benefits of the ABM Treaty; advancing the President's landmines initiative; and working to strengthen and enforce common export controls to impede the spread of nuclear, chemical, biological and missile technologies. Several of the efforts I've mentioned illustrate a major cross-cutting challenge for the United States this year: what my South Dakota roots lead me to call the arms control harvest. Rose Garden ceremonies are nice, but the promise of arms control isn't fulfilled until agreed reductions are verifiably made. With new treaties like START, START II, and the CWC -- plus others now in process such as the test ban and the fissile material cutoff -- joining older agreements already in force, the United States faces a burgeoning mission in reaping the benefits of arms control. ACDA is the nation's agent for these efforts -- so I am acutely aware of the fact that arms control agreements do not tend themselves. Assuming they do is a bit like thinking that you've fed a hungry man by giving him a menu. ACDA's Future In sum, the United States right now is addressing arms control missions that will fundamentally shape the nation's security for years to come. Few dispute that these are major national concerns. And we are working harder than ever on this agenda. So it presents a stunning irony that Senator Jesse Helms has chosen this, of all times, to undermine this vital national security mission. The new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has thus far managed to exploit his seniority and party solidarity to urge that the point on the spear of American arms control be broken off: that ACDA be done away with as a "Cold War relic" -- notwithstanding the biggest agenda we've ever had -- and that ACDA's functions be buried deep down in an enlarged, one-size-fits-all State Department megabureaucracy ... even over the forceful objections of the President and the Secretary of State. The reasons why the Helms plan is A bad idea can be summarized in three points -- and one illustration. The first point is that even as a small agency, an independent ACDA can keep arms control high and visible on the nation's agenda. Today the ACDA director reports directly to the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor -- and to the President. The Helms plan would sink the function two levels down in the State Department bureaucracy, where it would have to compete with 21 other assistant secretaries, and report upwards through two layers of supervision, for even the Secretary's attention, and with no access beyond that. Senator Helms says this would give nonproliferation "the attention it deserves." He must not think it deserves much attention. Second, it is not only the priority attached to arms control, but policy for arms control, that would suffer if ACDA were abolished. The dominant day-today mission of the Department of State is country relations -- an entirely legitimate and necessary responsibility which, however, is distinct from and often in conflict with arms control or nonproliferation interests. A telling example was the initial negotiation of the NPT itself in the late 1960's -- which the State Department initially opposed out of deference to some friendly countries (Germany and Italy) who wanted to explore the nuclear option. An independent ACDA pushed for a different policy, and ultimately persuaded the rest of the government. Under the Helms plan that wouldn't have happened -- the Secretary of State could simply have said "no" and ended the matter. That basic reality of conflicting missions is arguably more important now than ever. During the Cold War -- when arms control dominated U.S.-Soviet relations -- there was little chance it would be overlooked or overridden. But now arms control most often means pressing our nonproliferation goals with more than 150 nations -- with most of whom we have many diplomatic, trade and other priorities besides arms control. So the case for a distinct arms control voice has actually grown in this new era. My third point is that arms control is a specialized, technical process that requires deep expertise -- not the kind of work best performed by generalist foreign service officers on three year rotations, and I say this with the deepest respect for the foreign service. Arms control often is rocket science -- literally. Over half our employees hold advanced degrees, in such areas as nuclear physics, biochemistry, engineering, mathematics, and other technical subjects directly relevant to their arms control work. Dissipation of our distinctive competencies in arms control negotiation, law, implementation and verification would be a profound loss to the nation. So for all of these reasons, this urgent national mission would be severely undermined by the Helms plan. And here's the illustration -- the recent success on extension of the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty, for which ACDA was selected to spearhead the United States effort. Several years ago, ACDA set up a small unit of less than a dozen employees for whom, however, NPT extension would be a full-time job. Led by my predecessor, Tom Graham, now the President's Special Representative for Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament, they have been quietly at work since, explaining to scores of countries -- often in person -- why NPT extension was not a favor to the nuclear powers, but a vital security instrument for every country. These years of spadework were repaid when our arguments were echoed repeatedly in New York by other countries as they began to focus on the issue and join the debate. Meanwhile, ACDA also led our government's efforts on related substantive positions -including our positions on the testing moratorium, the comprehensive test ban, and other compelling evidence that the United States takes seriously its responsibilities to take down the overarmament of the Cold War. These positions earned the United States priceless credibility in the NPT process. And finally, ACDA continuously and single-mindedly pushed the issue of NPT extension to the forefront of the government's attention -- so that what began as a small country-by-country effort grew into a unified, closely-coordinated global campaign led by the President, the Vice President, the National Security Advisor, the Secretaries of State, Defense and Energy, and all the other national security agencies and top officials. In the end U.S. global leadership -- not pressure, but authentic leadership -- was strongly asserted and profoundly effective. ACDA could never have done this alone, not a chance, and I would never make such a claim. But I am convinced of this: without ACDA as the advocate, catalyst, and coordinator, it also would not have been done. Yet we return from triumph in New York to find Senator Helms merrily moving ahead with our demise. Why? Not to save money. ACDA is a lean, efficient agency of 251 employees, with a baseline annual budget of about $45 million. Though our missions have grown five-fold since the late 1960s, our budget is the same in constant dollars as it was in 1966. ACDA costs each American less than a quarter a year -- literally, the price of a bag of peanuts. By comparison, the savings from successful arms control -- an estimated $20 billion per year from strategic reductions, for example -- dwarf the costs of negotiating and implementing those agreements. Arms control invests millions to save billions. Nor is this a plan to make government work better. Serious students of government efficiency -- including David Osborne, who helped Vice President Gore kick off this Administration's initiative to reinvent government -- say that the most effective public entities are those with a single clear mission. The notion that an enlarged State Department mega-bureaucracy is the most efficient way to do arms control is a pretext that defies all experience and common sense. Nor is this a plan to help the Secretary of State better manage the foreign policy establishment. Rather, the Secretary of State, along with the Secretary of Defense, has recommended to the President that he veto the bill, because he values our independent role. Divining motives is complicated -- especially in Washington. But one clue may lie in the fact that throughout his entire 22-year career in the Senate, Jesse Helms has consistently worked against arms control -- opposing even the major treaties negotiated by Presidents Reagan and Bush. So to Senator Helms, our leading role on the President's ambitious arms control agenda may not be a sign of our value, but the clinching reason to get us out of the picture. But whatever its intent, the Helms plan is in practical effect an assault on the presidency and the separation of powers, a crippling of arms control and nonproliferation, a lurch toward isolationism -- all masquerading as government reform. And my hope and expectation is this: that over time, the internationalist mainstream of the Republican party will again find its voice. Most Republicans, I believe, will in time refuse to let the strong and sound internationalist tradition of Arthur Vandenberg, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and George Bush be run over by the mischievous but deeply damaging isolationism of Jesse Helms. In the post-Cold War world, arms control bears ever greater weight as a pillar of U.S. national security. I am confident the 104th Congress, once it considers the case on its merits, will not dislodge that pillar or weaken its foundation. As a nation, we will once more choose engagement over isolationism, world leadership over retrenchment, true security over retreat.