"Implementation of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program"

General Thomas Kuenning, U.S. Department of Defense

Carnegie Moscow Center
18 May 1999

It is certainly a pleasure to be back in Russia, working on our joint business of cooperation, on our efforts to reduce and secure WMD. My job in this business is implementation of the CTR program. Policy people basically decide the areas in which we will cooperate, and then it’s my job to go out and, as we say, ‘make it happen.’ I think that the business of ‘making it happen,’ the business I carry on with my Russian colleagues because it’s a cooperative program, requires cooperation on all sides. I think that the business of making it happen is so important that we are able to do it in spite of the political problems that exist between our countries at this time.

One of the most important aspects of making it happen is getting the funding necessary out of the Congress of the United States for projects that we have going on and that are planned. In the United States at this time the Congress is considering our budget for the next fiscal year, that is FY 2000. President has requested that $475 million be applied to the CTR program in FY 2000. I am fairly confident that the Congress is headed towards approval of nearly all that amount. My purpose for this particular trip to Moscow and other places in Russia is twofold. First, I am here to talk to my colleagues in the various ministries that we deal with, to look at the projects that we have on going, and more importantly to focus on the projects that we have planned for the future. In my discussion with colleagues in these various ministries, we have talked about those projects. We have also talked about the political environment, and the agreements that govern and provide guidelines for our cooperation. The main agreement to which we refer is our Umbrella agreement, which was signed originally between our presidents on June 17, 1992. That agreement is scheduled to expire on June 17 this year, and for both of our governments it has been very hard to negotiate an extension for that agreement. I am very confident that that agreement will be extended. However, since we do not have it extended at this point, we have had to do some planning for the ‘what if’ case: what if, for some reason that agreement did not get extended? If this unfortunate event occurred, it would stop all cooperative programs in Russia. And this would mean that over 14,000 people in Russia who are working on the CTR projects would no longer be employed on those projects. Let me close this little story by saying that I am very confident that this agreement will be extended because the negotiators at the MFA, as well as DOD are working very hard on this extension.

The other purpose of my visit here is to visit four of the ongoing projects that we have. Today I was at Sergiev Posad to visit the Security Assessment and Training Center that we are working on with the Ministry of Defense, 12th Main Directorate, as a test bed for proving out equipment to improve security at nuclear storage sites. This facility is scheduled to open in the fall of this year. I also visited a Facility where we are assisting the Russian Federation in eliminating submarine-launch ballistic missiles. Tomorrow we are going up to Severodvinsk, to the Zvezdochka shipyard to visit the facility where we are engaged in the elimination of SSBNs. And I also hope to visit the central analytical and chemical laboratory, here in Moscow on Thursday.

Let me just review the scope of various projects that are ongoing and that are planned in the CTR program. I will not go into detail on this, but will just mention the highlights of what the project is about. Then if you want to pursue any of them in the question-and-answer period, you are certainly free to. In the area of offensive arms elimination, I mentioned the SSBN elimination project at Severodvinsk. We also have two other shipyards where we are engaged in the same kind of activity. The next project I mention is a project to destroy solid rocket motors, a project to be built at Votkinsk in the Udmurt Republic, which we hope to start construction on late this summer. The next major project that we have scheduled is a massive project for cooperation in a number of areas, including the elimination of many liquid ICBMs and their launchers. This project may also include efforts to eliminate the launchers of solid rockets, the mobile solid rocket systems. The final area I should mention briefly is a project that we plan to have under contract approximately a year from now, or a little over a year from now. We really are in developmental stages of the project at this point. - - To this effort we are working closely with our colleagues from Ministry of Economics. The last projects that I will mention in this area of offensive strategic arms reduction are a couple of projects to convert the fuel and oxidizer from liquid ICBMs and SLBMs into useful industrial products.

In the area of cooperation in the security of nuclear weapons, there are number of projects that we are involved in. I have already mentioned the Security Assessment and Training Center at Sergiev Posad. This project at Sergiev Posad will lead to the definition of vast amounts of physical protection equipment that we will purchase, and that will actually be used to improve the physical security at various weapons storage sites.

Another area in the security arena we are working on are efforts to help out in the transportation of nuclear weapons in a secure way, either to centralized storage areas or from centralized storage areas to areas where weapons ultimately will be disassembled. In the past we have procured a number of things, such as secure rail cars or modified rail cars to carry these weapons, guard cars, and containers to hold these weapons. Now we are involved in re-certifying some of those railcars and actually working on a mechanism whereby we might financially assist in the actual transport of those weapons.

The next major project area is an effort to convert the reactor cores of the three remaining reactors producing weapons-grade plutonium. These reactors must be converted because the communities that they support still need the heat and the power produced by these reactors.

The next major area is an effort to secure fissile material that is weapons-grade material, which comes out of disassembled nuclear weapons. In this effort we are building a facility at Mayak, just east of the Urals, primarily to store plutonium. We also hope to start a couple of projects related to this project at the fissile material storage facility, and those projects will deal with the processing and packaging of weapons or weapons materials for ultimate storage at Mayak.

The last major area of cooperation that I will discuss is in the chemical and biological area. Of course, both of our nations as signatories to the CWC have a major challenge in eliminating the stockpile of chemical weapons that we have, and we have relatively equal amounts. For the US program, most recent costs were approximately $16 billion to do this. I have heard that General Petrov estimated the cost of the Russian program to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 billion. The central piece of the project here is an effort by the United States, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, to build a chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuche. We expect this effort to cost approximately $ ¾ of a billion. I must tell you that of all the projects we are engaged in for the cooperative effort, this project is the one that has the weakest support from the US Congress. Each year for the past few years we have had a challenge in getting the amount of money for this particular project from the annual budgets from the Congress. A similar battle is going on this year.

The next project in this major area of chemical and biological weapon elimination cooperation is a project to dismantle facilities that were involved in chemical weapons production. Current efforts are underway in Volgograd and Novocheboksarsk. In the future, we also plan to be involved in helping increase the security of the chemical weapons stockpile before it is destroyed, and perhaps also involve ourselves in a cooperative effort to better secure some of the potentially harmful toxins maintained in some of the biological laboratories.

The final project I will mention is an effort to collaborate with former biological weapons scientists in developing vaccines and in numerous other kinds of projects which are productive for both of our societies.

As you can see we have a vast area, and a vast number of projects in which we are cooperating, and I am very happy to say to you that our level of cooperation in the implementation phase is as robust and as positive as it has ever been. As I said to some of my colleagues today during a toast, I believe we are making a real difference in the quality of life, safety, and security of the generations to come. And frankly I am proud of the work that my colleagues and I are doing, as well as the dedicated professional contribution of my Russian colleagues to our work here. It is a good team effort. Thank you very much. That is a relatively rapid summary of nearly a billion dollars worth of work going on in cooperation with Russia, and I will be happy at this time to discuss these projects in a little more detail or take any of your questions.