Cooperative Threat Reduction
This report reflects the deliberations of the drafting panel on
Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that met on March 30, 1995 during the
Forum on the Role of Science and Technology in Promoting National Security
and Global Stability. The report was compiled by the session drafter and
is a summary of the issues raised during the discussion. All points do
not necessarily represent the views of all of the participants.
- Steve Miller, Harvard University
- Government Co-chair: Gloria Duffy, Department of Defense
- Nongovernment Co-chair: Steve Miller, Harvard University
- Richard Falkenrath, National Research Council
- Sieg Hecker, Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Akihiro Aoki, Embassy of Japan
- Kennette Benedict, The MacArthur Foundation
- Tyrus Cobb, Defense Systems & Electronics
- Andrew Goodpaster, Atlantic Council of the United States
- David Jeremiah, Technologies Strategies & Alliances
- Leon M. Lederman, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
- Darrol Paiga, Semi/Sematec
- Ian M. Ross, AT&T Bell Laboratories
- Richard Solomon, United States Institute of Peace
- Charles A. Zraket, The Mitre Corporation
- Joseph Duffey, U.S. Information Agency
- Raymond Garthoff, Brookings Institution
- Inta Brikovskis, National Academy of Sciences
- Glenn Schweitzer, National Academy of Sciences
- Gary Horlick, O'Melveny & Myers
- Andrzej Rabczenko, Embassy of Poland
Cooperative Threat Reduction
--Summary of Drafting Panel Discussion--
The history and scope of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program
is summarized in the White Paper prepared for the Forum. The CTR
program, also known as the "Nunn-Lugar" program, is run by the
Department of Defense and is directed primarily at the four former
Soviet Republics that inherited the nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union:
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. The panel noted that there are
other programs within the US Government that seek to reduce threats to
the United States on a cooperative basis with our international
partners, including those outside of the former Soviet Union. 1 Cooperative threat reduction is a broad based official
activity, so the panel did not confine its discussion to the DePartment
of Defense's CTR program. 2
The panel reached Consensus on eight key points concerning U.S.
cooperative threat reduction activities. The panel was unable to provide
direct answers to the three "cross-cutting questions" posed by the White
House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in part because the
panelists did not believe that these questions were clearly relevant to
the experience with cooperative threat reduction activities to date. The
panel was also unable to reach consensus on the appropriate priorities for
U.S. cooperative threat reduction activities.
1. The panel recognizes and acknowledges the achievements of the
Nunn-Lugar program to date.
The Nunn-Lugar program has had great success at meeting its
central objective: reducing the threat to the US through assistance in the
dismantlement of former Soviet strategic nuclear weapons aimed at American
cities. Assistance provided through the Nunn-Lugar program has played a
critical role in securing Ukraine's accession to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state;
accelerating the former Soviet republic's implementation of the START I
Treaty; and helping ensure that the former Soviet Union's nuclear weapons
are consolidated in Russia under safe and secure conditions. The panel
recognized that the limited costs of these activities, compared to
acquisition of major defense weapons systems, understate their
significance. These have been some of the most important achievements in
US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.
2. The panel believes that US cooperative threat reduction program
should be adjusted to take advantage of what has been learned to date.
The United States now has over four years of experience working
cooperatively with the former Soviet republics in the area of threat
reduction. Current and future cooperative threat reduction programs,
therefore, should be adjusted to reflect the lessons that have been
learned. Although the panel has three preliminary conclusions on this
matter (points 3, 4 and 5), a careful, comprehensive bipartisan study of
what has worked and what has not worked in cooperative threat reduction is
3. The panel believes that US cooperative threat reduction programs on
the working level have had the highest rate of success.
US officials in charge of specific programs within the cooperative
threat reduction framework report a good record of success when the
programs are directed at, defined and implemented by their Russian
counterparts on the working level. The material control and
accountability laboratory-to-laboratory program executed by the Department
of Energy, for example, has been met with enthusiasm on the Russian side.
In general, these programs attempt to negotiate assistance requirements
with officials who would a ctually implement--and thus, benefit from the
assistance provided--rather than work through the higher layers of the
Russian bureaucracy. As a corollary, US programs that offer tangible
benefits to the Russian officials charged with implementing the program
also show a high rate of success.
4. The panel believes that US cooperative threat reduction programs
should focus on building self-standing, sustainable, non-military
industrial enterprises in the former Soviet Union.
The panel supports the goals of defense conversion, but believes
that it is important to differentiate between short-term sustainment of
former Soviet military enterprises and building non-military, free
standing, profitable enterprises of the former Soviet defense sector.
Privatization efforts should be given priority. Programs which award
government contracts that must be renewed each year, and that do not
require the development of long-term self-sustainability, risk offering
temporary relief to Russi an defense enterprises without securing any
guarantees against a future return to military production. The
Entrepreneurial Workshops for Defense Conversion in Russia, jointly run by
ACDA and the Department of Energy were cited as programs that seek to pro
vide entrepreneurs and enterprises inside the former Soviet defense sector
with the seed-money and skills necessary for long-term commercial
viability in non-military activities.
5. The panel believes that criticizing Russia for the difficulties
encountered in US cooperative threat reduction programs is
The panel recognizes that some US cooperative threat reduction
programs have encountered delays and difficulties, but believes that
Russia should not be publicly criticized for these delays and
difficulties. The Russian officials dealing with US cooperative threat
reduction programs represent a sovereign nation and have conflicting
political. economic, and bureaucratic interests that should be recognized
and understood, not disparaged. Since cooperative threat reduction is
above all a "cooperative" endeavor, antagonizing or blaming our principal
interlocutors can only be regarded as self-defeating.
6. The panel believes that US cooperative threat reduction programs
should be decoupled from US foreign aid and assistance programs.
The Nunn-Lugar program and other cooperative threat reduction
activities should not be conceived, compared to, or publicly characterized
as foreign aid or assistance. Cooperative threat reduction is, to use
Secretary Perry's apt phrase, "defense by other means". Although
cooperative threat reduction programs involve assistance in the form of
grants and/or transfers of goods and services to other governments or
foreign nationals, the panel believes the benefits of these activities
accrue to the US. These activities directly contribute to the national
security of the United States as surely as any weapons system acquisition
7. The panel believes that US cooperative threat reduction programs
should be insulated from vicissitudes in American relations with the
Soviet successor states, particularly Russia.
Following from Point 6, the panel believes that it would be unwise
to cancel or curtail the Nunn-Lugar program and other cooperative
threat reduction activities because of difficulties in the broader
political relationship. These programs should not be treated as a source
of "leverage" over Russia or the other newly independent countries. This
would seriously undermine the business-like relationships that US
officials have worked hard to establish with their Russian counterparts.
More importantly, however, the panel believes that US cooperative threat
reduction programs serve US national security interests independently of
the overall tenor of Russian-American relations. Indeed, if relations with
Russia do worsen, the dismantlement of Russian strategic nuclear weapons
and other weapons of mass destruction will become more--not less--vital to
US national security interests.
8. The panel believes that the working-level relationships built under
the rubric of cooperative threat reduction will broadly assist US
Like the United States, Russia has a strong interest in preventing
the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and contacts at the working
level assist the two governments in identifying common aims and possible
areas for collaboration. In the context of the lab-to-tab program for
example, the Russian government has now expressed an interest in jointly
developing a global non-proliferation strategy. More generally, by
nurturing good working level relationships with experts and officials in
the Russian military-industrial complex, the United States lays the
groundwork for future initiatives.
CONCLUSlONS: Although the panel reached no final overarching
conclusions, the discussion and exchange of views was considered useful.
Additionally, programs in the science and technology area were
recognized by the panel as critical elements of the cooperative threat
reduction activities being undertaken by the US.
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