3
The Environment for Containment of Advanced Weapons Technologies in the Former Soviet Union

SOCIETIES IN TRANSITION

Uncertain Political Stability in the Successor States

Despite all of its undesirable features, the Soviet Union was the world's second-leading industrial country and offered a high degree of political predictability. Now, new independent states have replaced it, and all of them are witnessing the impacts of a realignment of sovereignty and the transition to new political, social, and economic forms. While long-term stability is the goal of each of the successor countries, such difficulties as economic decline, loss of social safety nets, growth of organized crime, increased ethnic conflicts, and widespread social anxieties currently characterize many of the fragmented parts of the former Soviet Union (FSU).

Since independence, political leaders in many successor states have attempted to establish radically new political and economic institutions. Western governments have applauded the long-term goals, especially the claims of many leaders that these efforts will enable the populations to have more direct voices in the evolution of their own societies. However, the current dislocations of millions of highly trained specialists and other workers have brutally shaken the social fabrics of the countries of the region. Also, the disruptions of governmental regulatory mechanisms and of economic and social support systems have resulted in both a sense of freedom of action and a feeling of financial abandonment at the enterprise and individual levels. There appears to be a widespread presumption



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 32
--> 3 The Environment for Containment of Advanced Weapons Technologies in the Former Soviet Union SOCIETIES IN TRANSITION Uncertain Political Stability in the Successor States Despite all of its undesirable features, the Soviet Union was the world's second-leading industrial country and offered a high degree of political predictability. Now, new independent states have replaced it, and all of them are witnessing the impacts of a realignment of sovereignty and the transition to new political, social, and economic forms. While long-term stability is the goal of each of the successor countries, such difficulties as economic decline, loss of social safety nets, growth of organized crime, increased ethnic conflicts, and widespread social anxieties currently characterize many of the fragmented parts of the former Soviet Union (FSU). Since independence, political leaders in many successor states have attempted to establish radically new political and economic institutions. Western governments have applauded the long-term goals, especially the claims of many leaders that these efforts will enable the populations to have more direct voices in the evolution of their own societies. However, the current dislocations of millions of highly trained specialists and other workers have brutally shaken the social fabrics of the countries of the region. Also, the disruptions of governmental regulatory mechanisms and of economic and social support systems have resulted in both a sense of freedom of action and a feeling of financial abandonment at the enterprise and individual levels. There appears to be a widespread presumption

OCR for page 32
--> that, at least for the immediate future, few political constraints will be placed on local initiatives aimed at economic revival. While in recent years countries throughout the world have undergone transitions to new forms of governance and to market economies, the national security dimension of the transitions in several countries of the FSU is unique. Russia possesses not only a ready inventory of nuclear weapons, but also the capability to develop, manufacture, and use other types of advanced weapons with sophisticated delivery systems. In addition, several other countries in the region have the capabilities to produce components that are core elements of such weapons and delivery systems. Also of great importance are the substantial quantities of direct-use nuclear material located at many sites in Russia and, to a lesser extent, in several other successor states. The combination of political uncertainty, economic deprivation, and availability of advanced weapons technologies has raised genuine concerns in many western countries over the determination and capability of a number of the successor states to maintain control over sensitive material, equipment, and technical information.1 Anxieties initially centered on nuclear-related items but now include biological and chemical weapons technologies and components for missile delivery systems. These concerns have become particularly acute in light of the many reports of attempted theft by criminal elements of items that might be of interest to other states and to terrorist groups. While most reported thefts have never been substantiated and the several confirmed reports of greatest concern involve only small quantities of direct-use material, the large number of reports—together with observations by western visitors of inadequate security measures attendant to sensitive commodities—has raised the immediacy of the issue among western governments. At the same time, the future political course in many of the successor states is far from clear. This is particularly troubling in Russia, where latent forces of nationalism and communism continue to raise the possibility of a return to the past. According to some political scenarios, Russia not only must mobilize existing forces but also might revive its dormant military production facilities, either for reasons of national security or national pride. Such action would undoubtedly be viewed as a hostile act by both near neighbors and distant foes of the past.2 1   Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has called proliferation "the greatest threat to the national security of the United States" (Opening Statement of U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Subcommittee on European Affairs, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, August 23, 1995). 2   The "cold warrior" speech by Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on December 14. 1992. outlined the possible foreign policy positions of a communist government. If his intent, as he later claimed, was to remind the West of the dangers, he succeeded. See New York Times, December 15, 1992, p. A 16:12. For other possible scenarios, see Daniel Yergin and Thane Gustafson, Russia 2010—And What It Means for the World (New York: Random House, 1993).

OCR for page 32
--> Economic Dislocations and the Internal Security Environment Economic problems are pervasive throughout the region. While a small portion of the population in each country has prospered during the past several years. most have not fared well. Workers in the former Soviet weapons complex who previously enjoyed generous economic benefits and other privileges not generally available to the rest of the population are for the first time faced with low and uncertain paychecks and even with the loss of their jobs.3 Also, ministerial personnel with oversight responsibilities for sensitive activities have suffered serious reductions in real wages, together with declining professional standing in the eyes of the population. Restructuring the defense-related sectors, including defense conversion, is necessary in the FSU. However, it is a slow and occasionally chaotic process; and during these uncertain times, many managers, workers, and bureaucrats in the defense-related sectors are seeking new sources of incomes. Although some have been able to establish lucrative careers in the private sector, others pursue dual careers, both within and outside their home institutions, or search for new approaches to capitalize on previous large state investments in defense technologies. Against this background, the governments of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan are attempting to put into place new types of regulatory and security constraints for controlling militarily sensitive material and equipment. The systems and personnel they inherited from Soviet times provide the point of departure for introducing new approaches—often patterned after western experience-that are more appropriate for emerging market economies and that are capable of coping with the problems accompanying economic decline. The Lingering Soviet Security Legacy Security measures for sensitive material, equipment, and technical information were extraordinarily tight in the Soviet Union. Indeed, extreme measures were often applied to protecting items that in the West would not be considered highly sensitive, such as civilian transportation and communications equipment. Physical security at the institute and enterprise levels was rigorous. Closed laboratories existed in closed enterprises in closed areas in closed cities in closed regions. In Moscow and other open cities a number of educational and basic research facilities, as well as institutions more directly related to military activities, were cordoned off for decades from the general populace for national secu- 3   In 1992, defense orders in Russia were 68 percent lower than in 1991 (Gennadi Petrovich Voronin, "How Russia's Defense Industry Responds to Military-Technical Policy," Comparative Strategy, vol. 13, no. 2, April 1994, p. 81). In the same period, military orders in Kazakstan dropped 82 percent. (Andrei Kortunov, Yuri Kulchik, and Andrei Shoumikhin, "Military Structures in Kazahkstan," Comparative Strategy, vol. 14. no. 3, July 1995, p. 302).

OCR for page 32
--> rity reasons. At leading technical universities, for example, nuclear research reactors, acoustics laboratories, and wind tunnels were usually considered to be militarily sensitive facilities. The isolation of military-related research and production activities, both from each other and from civilian capabilities, was a common practice. There was minimal attention to opportunities for dual-use applications of skills, equipment, or production activities.4 Even in small closed cities, residents often were unaware of the professional activities of neighbors; and in laboratory buildings, specialists frequently had little idea of the purposes of activities in rooms adjacent to their own workstations. Checkpoints and search procedures were well established, and armed guards were omnipresent. A plethora of organizations were involved in developing and enforcing local security procedures, with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Security Committee, and the Ministry of Defense providing most of the well-paid manpower. Each ministry and organization responsible for production, services, or research activities (e.g., Ministry of Atomic Energy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of the Chemical Industry, Academy of Sciences) also had its own security personnel; and regional and local authorities were participants in a system that emphasized layers of both physical and organizational security procedures. The core of the security philosophy was continuous monitoring of the activities of people, since only people could divert or steal items. This meant that it was necessary to keep unauthorized people out of certain facilities and to ensure that the workers at the facilities did not violate procedures. The approach of maintaining constant scrutiny over sensitive segments of the labor force worked well in a political system where personnel surveillance was widespread. Meanwhile, at the national level, decisions concerning trade and other international technology transfer arrangements were highly centralized. The likelihood was small that individual officials or even ministers might make arrangements for shipping material or equipment abroad. Of course, once a decision was made for the international sale of a selected item or for cooperation with an institution in another country in a specific technical area, the ministry that carried out the decision sometimes could interpret its instructions in ways that resulted in different types of transfers of technology than might have originally been portrayed. Still, renegade ministers—acting alone and in isolation from the security forces—were few in number. Even the minister who arranged the export of caviar packed in sardine cans in the 1980s was quickly discovered and imprisoned.5 Finally, the possibilities for theft or diversion of sensitive material or technologies from within the Soviet Union by foreign agents, acting alone or in 4   Tarja Cronberg, "Civil Reconstruction of Military Technology: The U.S. and Russia," Journal of Peace Research, vol. 31, no. 2, May 1994, pp. 213-217. 5   This situation was discussed with American specialists involved in bilateral cooperation in fisheries research during the late 1980s.

OCR for page 32
--> concert with disloyal Soviet insiders, were not very great. While Soviet exports to countries throughout the world of material and equipment with clear military applications were commonplace, the exports of these items were, by and large, carefully considered actions approved at high levels in the government. Changes in the Security Environment The security environment in the FSU is quite different today than in former times. Of course, security systems are still in place, and penalties for security violations are severe. Also, export regulations, although still early in development, exist in the largest successor states; and these regulations, at least on paper, require that international sales and other transfers of material and technologies be approved by appropriate government agencies. Nevertheless, the erosion of security systems is evident, even in facilities where direct-use material is present. Also, particularly in Russia, the central government no longer has the pervasive direct control over all significant activities at the enterprise and institute levels that it once exerted, even though most key institutions remain either state owned or state controlled. Thus, managers at the local level believe they have a newly acquired prerogative to control the assets of their organizations in a manner that will be of most benefit to their institutions. These managers also have new responsibilities for financing their own facilities, including their security systems; with financial shortfalls, the security systems are not immune from budget cuts. Technical information related to advanced technologies has become a new type of commodity in the evolving market economies. It is increasingly used by enterprise and institute leaders to attract customers from abroad, and it seems unlikely that their decisions to release information take into account export control considerations, even though the information may be subject to the requirements of international control regimes. In short, control over industrial activities in Russia and the other successor states is being decentralized in very uncertain ways. The managers at various levels who have been involved in industrial activities may not be eager to clarify the currently blurred responsibilities for control of defense assets and related authorities for fear they might lose some of their newly-won autonomy. The situation as to security requirements and responsibilities may become still cloudier in some countries as privatization begins to encompass defense-related firms. Idle Scientists and Idle Equipment In Russia and several other countries of the FSU, the sharp reduction in military orders has left many scientists and engineers unemployed, with empty

OCR for page 32
--> pockets and time on their hands.6 Sophisticated machinery sits idle, excess components for weapons and supporting systems have been stockpiled, and unused raw materials and waste products clutter many establishments. Administrative personnel responsible for financial accounting, inventory control, and facility maintenance also have been reduced. Questions linger as to whether buildings may have been abandoned without a careful inventory, sorting, and, as appropriate, safeguarding of their contents. Thus, concerns abound in the West as to whether sensitive items remain in responsible hands. Search for Industrial Conversion Opportunities At the same time, directors of enterprises and institutes engaged in activities involving sensitive material, equipment, and technical data search for new sources of financial support. They do not seem inhibited by export laws and regulations in their entrepreneurial efforts.7 While undermanned security staffs would like to minimize access to sensitive facilities, most enterprises and institutes that were part of the Soviet military-industrial complex have opened their doors to outsiders interested in applying Soviet military know-how to civilian activities.8 Relatively few paying customers from within the FSU or from abroad have been attracted to the products of industrial conversion efforts, but the new industrial entrepreneurs nevertheless continue their efforts to find previously untapped sources of income. There is no other alternative if they are to meet their payrolls. Many enterprises and institutes have unveiled previously concealed military technologies that have possible commercial applications, hoping that their products will find markets. Increasing numbers of foreigners are being invited into facilities they had once known only as dark anonymous recesses in the industrial landscape. While it presumably is clear that material or equipment is not to be removed from these premises without evidence of completion of formal procedures, there often seems to be confusion as to whether documents and other types of information that reveal the essence of the technological achievements can be sold or given as an enticement to visitors. 6   For example, see Alexander Gordeyev, "Out of Work, Can Build Chemical Weapons," Moscow Times, June 3, 1994, p. 5, which describes the conditions at the Shikhanyi Branch of the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Technologies, and Bill O'Neill, "What Can You Do with a Missile Designer?." New Scientist, vol. 138, no. 1871, May 1, 1993. 7   This general impression was reinforced by discussions at specific facilities during the committee visit to Russia in May 1996. 8   Some, but not all, of the most sensitive nuclear, chemical, and biological research and production institutions remain tightly sealed from outsiders.

OCR for page 32
--> As to commercial uses of controlled material (e.g., isotopes, titanium alloys, graphite compounds) and equipment (e.g., neutron generators, aircraft components, optical sensors), many local advocates of conversion have actively promoted the sale of such items for quick financial returns. Ministry officials, even though they may be concerned about the need to protect the industrial know-how of a country, may have considerable difficulty resisting the lure of foreign payments at a time when cash is in short supply. At the same time, recognizing that electronic communication and data links will further erode attempts to contain information considered to be of a proprietary nature, some enterprise directors restrict access to the Internet at their firms to centrally controlled modems. Response of Organized Crime to Economic Opportunities "Criminal" involvement in the sale or diversion of technological assets of the military-industrial complex of the FSU also is of concern. As has been widely reported in the press and other publications, government officials who would be considered corrupt by western standards are frequently involved in efforts to divert the economic assets of their country to private hands, including assets of the former Soviet military-industrial complex. Indeed, the susceptibility of government officials to schemes for diverting government assets is considered to be so pervasive, particularly in Russia, that interests in personal gain influence even the most sensitive decisions.9 One obvious route for criminal groups to obtain access to sensitive and valuable commodities is for them to gain financial and management control of firms that possess the commodities and to sell the products abroad for quick financial returns. In Russia about 500 of the key military-industrial enterprises, including many in the nuclear and aerospace fields, will not be privatized in the near term; thus, it should be difficult for criminal elements to control these firms directly. However, the 1,500 other firms in Russia that contributed to the military effort and perhaps several hundred in the other successor states are in the process of privatization, and some might be attractive targets for penetration by organized crime.10 9   For a broad perspective of corruption in Russia, see Vladimir Shlapentokh, "Russia: Privatization and Illegalization of Social and Political Life," Washington Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 1, Winter 1996. pp. 65-85; Stephen Handelman, Comrade Criminal: Russia's New Mafia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995); and Crime and Corruption in Russia, Briefing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Washington, D.C., June 1994. For examples related to the military-industrial complex, see Graham Turbiville, "Organized Crime and the Russian Armed Forces," Transnational Organized Crime, vol. 1, no. 4, Winter 1995, esp. pp. 73-77, and Graham Turbiville, "Weapons Proliferation and Organized Crime: The Russian Military and Security Force Dimension, USAF Institute for National Security Studies, Proliferation Series, Occasional Paper 10, June 1996. 10   Turbiville, op. cit., pp. 57-64.

OCR for page 32
--> Criminal groups are reported to be systematically penetrating the banking and other financial institutions of the region. They are then in position to exert indirect control over the activities of enterprises, including state enterprises, that depend on financing through the banking system.11 In addition, organized crime has targeted the security services of the region, according to local officials.12 Employees of the security forces, which guard nuclear and other sensitive facilities, and of the customs services, which provide surveillance for illegal imports and exports at international control points and along the borders, would seem particularly vulnerable. They have suffered losses in their professional prestige and receive greatly reduced paychecks. Organizational changes, procedural changes, and hiring of inexperienced personnel have further eroded the morale of professionally competent employees who had become accustomed to exercising unchallenged authority in the past. Not surprisingly, many seek ways to supplement their meager salaries. Some are particularly well positioned to engage in illegal activities should they be so inclined.13 A past history of bribes offered by criminal elements at border crossing points is a major concern of the customs services of the four successor countries. Customs officials providing documentation for shipments at internal control points also have been implicated in improprieties. Again, the poor pay of customs authorities seems to be the root of the problem. Compounding this problem of bribery are the extensive external boundaries that did not previously exist and the need to establish customs services in all of the countries except Russia from scratch. Thus, it is not surprising that the extent to which sensitive items have leaked through the porous borders unbeknownst to officials in the capital cities is not known, but officials have recognized that it probably has happened.14 While there is no publicly available evidence that the governments of countries of proliferation concern or terrorists have allied themselves with criminal elements in Russia or other successor countries in an effort to obtain sensitive material, equipment, or technical data, such linkages in the future cannot be ruled out. 11   See, for example, Aleksandr Zhilin, "Financial Dealings Dramatically Increased in Russia," reprinted in Transition, vol. 6, no. 11-12, November-December 1995, pp. 9-10. This issue was also a major theme at a panel sponsored by the International Research and Exchange Board entitled "Organized Crime in Russia: Economic and Political Aspects" that was held at the University Club in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 1996. 12   Committee's visit to the region in April and May, 1996. See also Turbiville, op. cit., pp. 85-89. 13   This general impression was reinforced by many discussions during committee visits to the four countries. 14   This issue arose, for example, in discussions during the committee visit to Kazakstan in April 1996.

OCR for page 32
--> Terrorist Groups in the Background? Organized crime is rapidly spreading its reach throughout the successor states and onward across the oceans, always turning its attention to those types of activities that offer opportunities for quick financial returns. These groups are undoubtedly aware of the potential value to international terrorist organizations of military-related items left over from Soviet times or produced in Russia and other successor states. The Aum Shinrikyo (Aum Supreme Truth) group used chemical warfare agents to terrorize subway passengers in Tokyo in March 1995, thereby underscoring the reality of the interests of such terrorist organizations in some of the most deadly weapons. This cult claimed more than 30,000 members in Russia. The terrorists acquired a helicopter and other equipment from Russia that presumably were to be used in chemical dispersion systems. The Russian Government apparently has cracked down on further activities of the cult.15 However, reliance on Russian technology, albeit in this case relatively simple and uncontrolled technology, indicates the resourcefulness of such groups in developing foreign connections. The FSU will continue to be an attractive source for many types of controlled and uncontrolled items with dangerous applications.16 Economically and politically inspired terrorism, including state-terrorism, is on the rise throughout the world. Terrorist activity in Russia has taken many forms, including the planting of a radiation source in a Moscow park and explosive devices in the Moscow subway and in buses. Possible linkages of terrorists with criminal elements in the FSU, coupled with the availability of potent military hardware and technology, are of great concern.17 15   For information on Aum Shinrikyo, including the group's activities in Russia, see Murray Sayle, "Nerve Gas and the Four Noble Truths," The New Yorker, April 1, 1996, pp. 56-61, and "Russia: Aum Shinrikyo Exploits a Spiritual Void," Asiaweek, vol. 21, no. 18, May 5, 1996, p. 34. 16   For additional information see testimony of the Hearing on Nuclear Smuggling and the Fissile Material Problem in Russia and the NIS by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Europe of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. August 22-23, 1995. 17   Concerns about increased terrorist activity arose during committee visits to Russia in May 1996. For information on the incident in Izmailovo Park, see articles in The New York Times on November 24, 1995, p. A1, and November 25, 1995, p. A5. The most prominent subway bombing took place shortly before the 1996 presidential election. See details in The New York Times, June 12. 1996. p. A14.

OCR for page 32
--> WEAPONS TECHNOLOGIES OF ALL TYPES IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION The Expansion of Weapons Activities in the USSR Following World War II, the United States, Soviet Union, and, to a lesser degree, certain other industrialized countries rapidly expanded their efforts to develop advanced technologies that could provide the basis for new military capabilities with greatly enhanced destructive power. The United States relied heavily on these advanced technologies to offset Soviet superiority in conventional armaments and troops. Within a few years the technology competition between the superpowers became as important as the quantitative arms race, particularly in the nuclear and missile arenas. The two countries sought to upgrade a broad range of technological capabilities, recognizing the critical role of advanced military hardware and supporting systems in regional and local conflicts as well as in global strategic confrontations. Much of the military technology efforts in the United States and Soviet Union during the 1950s centered on development and production of strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Also, intensified efforts expanded the stockpiles of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium that could be used in bombs and then in missile warheads and even artillery shells. Soon more destructive weapons using nuclear fusion as well as fission principles were a reality. Meanwhile, chemical explosives continued to be a standby of all armies; and the variety of biological and chemical warfare agents available for use increased. In the 1960s intercontinental ballistic missiles based on land and in submarines quickly supplemented the large inventories of long-range bombers in both the United States and the USSR. In the 1970s cruise missiles and smart weapons appeared in military inventories. And in the 1980s the possibility of mounting nuclear weapons or destructive lasers on satellites gave another dimension to the design of weapons systems. Conventional battlefield technology also continued to advance, with the development of highly sophisticated tanks and short-range rockets. All the while, advances in electronics, optics, high-strength materials, and many other newly emerging technologies provided the basis for improved military systems. The quest for more powerful, more accurate, and more effective offensive weapons systems and for defensive systems to counter the new offensive technologies soon involved a very large number of government enterprises, private-sector firms, and research and development institutions throughout the industrial complexes of many countries. Military requirements were reflected in laboratory design and testing activities, in the production of machine tools and other indus-

OCR for page 32
--> trial equipment, and in the manufacturing of weapons components themselves, as unique military specifications added new demands for supplies. Layers of Technologies Supporting Production of Military Systems Many thousands of components are essential for a functioning weapons systems. For example, a nuclear warhead may have 4,000 or more components, in addition to the "physics package" containing the nuclear material. These include electrical arming and triggering devices, compact power sources, and containers for holding and directing the material.18 The warhead, in turn, is but one of the many components placed into a missile or aircraft delivery system. Design and production of each of the components in the warhead, as well as the thousands of components in the delivery system, obviously have become critical focal points of efforts to use the latest technologies in all aspects of weapons development programs. Special-purpose machinery, high-hazard facilities, and raw materials that are in limited supply are often essential in the manufacturing cycle of nuclear or other weapons material. Similarly, production of other components for the warhead or the delivery system may require unique equipment and facilities and most certainly requires specialized designs. Stepping back one step further in the manufacturing process, new technologies may be needed to build the special-purpose machinery, to construct and equip the high-hazard facilities, and to extract and process the needed raw materials. In some cases each of these technologies may be supported by still more layers of technology. Thus, the development and building of modern weapons involve a large variety of institutions and skills. Not only are the technologies that are incorporated into individual components critical to the effective functioning of a weapon, but the integration of these technologies into an overall system represents a highly significant technological achievement in and of itself. Throughout this chain of interrelated production modules, skilled people are essential. Thus, efforts to prevent the spread of weapons technology must be broadly based—from containing destructive material, to controlling equipment that directly and indirectly produces the material, to safeguarding documentation that charts the course of weapons development, to discouraging a brain drain of knowledgeable personnel who could quickly reproduce well-honed approaches in countries seeking new weapons capabilities. A "defense-in-depth" strategy to inhibit the free circulation of each of the critical elements greatly complicates the efforts of any state or terrorist group intent on developing a functioning weapons system. An important factor in efforts to prevent the diffusion of sensitive items has been and will continue to be the dual-use character of many of the technologies 18   Briefing of committee members at Sandia National Laboratories, February 1996.

OCR for page 32
--> involved, including the dual applications of the destructive material itself (e.g., HEU can be blended with natural uranium to produce low-enriched uranium, which can be used in fuel rods for civilian reactors, certain agents that are effective as biological weapons can be used in vaccines, and some chemical precursors incorporated into pesticides have the potential for use in weapons). Soviet designers seldom used civilian products as the point of departure for their weapons systems. However, Soviet leaders and now the Russian Government have been very interested in adapting military technologies for use in civilian markets. Of course, they must pay attention to the cost constraints imposed by the marketplace that were not considered in producing military hardware, particularly in the USSR, where cost control did not receive high priority. Nuclear Weapons Capability All nuclear weapons of the Soviet military forces have been returned to the confines of Russia. They number in the tens of thousands. Operational warheads are within the custody of the Russian Ministry of Defense. In addition to weapons and supporting systems that are maintained in a state of readiness, the Ministry of Defense controls many other nuclear weapons and weapons components. Some of these weapons and components are being stored in preparation for dismantlement; others are awaiting entry into service in upgraded weapons systems; and still others are spares, rejects, or simply extra devices being maintained at field sites for a variety of reasons. In addition, warheads in various stages of assembly and disassembly are the responsibility of the Ministry for Atomic Energy. On the order of 200 tons of plutonium and 1,200 tons of HEU are available in many forms in the successor states.19 Most of this direct-use material is located in Russia. Some is or will be used in weapons; some is earmarked for future nuclear reactors; some is used in research activities; and much is being stored while ultimate disposition is determined. Very limited quantities are retained at facilities in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakstan, Latvia, Georgia, and Uzbekistan. Most of the material in these six states is associated with civilian-oriented nuclear research activities. In addition to direct-use material, Russia has a well-developed capability to manufacture equipment necessary for producing HEU and plutonium. For example, for decades it has had the capability to manufacture centrifuges, a relatively straightforward technology for enriching uranium to a level adequate for weapons. 19   General Accounting Office, "Nuclear Proliferation: Status of U.S. Efforts to Improve Nuclear Material Controls in Newly Independent States," GAO/NSLAD/RCED-96-89, (Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office, March 1996), p. 3. Estimates vary on the amount and enrichment level of HEU in the FSU.

OCR for page 32
--> Russia, together with the United States, has the world's largest multipurpose array of nuclear-related technologies, including large quantities of operable equipment. At the same time, many of the hardware and software requirements for nuclear weapons programs overlap very directly with demands for similar technologies for nuclear power, medical isotopes, and other civilian uses considered essential to the stability of the economies of several FSU states.20 The capabilities of several other successor states in the nuclear technology arena also are significant. Ukraine and Kazakstan have considerable storehouses of know-how, including hands-on experience in using nuclear material and related equipment in ways that could be helpful to states seeking to make the transition to nuclear weapons status. Finally, in Ukraine, Kazakstan, Armenia, and Lithuania, as well as in Russia, there are nuclear power reactors where spent fuel rods are stored. Some spent fuel has been collected for reprocessing at two sites in Russia (Mayak and Krasnoyarsk); and 20 to 30 tons of extracted plutonium (and more continues to be extracted) from fuel rods are stored at Mayak.21 But most spent fuel rods remain at the reactor sites, both inside and outside Russia. For the foreseeable future, Russia is the successor state most capable of reprocessing spent fuel (and blanket material), so the fissile material could eventually be available for use in weapons. Biological and Chemical Warfare Capability Most of the Soviet capability related to biological warfare (BW) and chemical warfare (CW) was concentrated in Russia. Many research and production organizations were involved; and stockpiles of weapons, weapons components, and ingredients for weapons were stored at various sites under the control of the Ministry of Defense. Many of these items, particularly stockpiles of chemical agents, continue to exist.22 Russia is taking the initial steps toward consolidating its CW arsenal and preparing for its destruction, with the U.S. Department of Defense and its contractors participating through the Cooperative Threat Reduction program. Destruction will be required if Russia ratifies the Chemical Weapons Convention. 20   For example, Russia and Ukraine rely on nuclear power for 12 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of their electrical supply. 21   Information provided by Russian nuclear reactor specialists involved in extracting plutonium from fuel rods during the committee visit to Russia in May 1996. 22   See Roland Lajoie, "Cooperative Threat Reduction Support to the Destruction of Russia's Chemical Weapons Stockpile," pp. 1-3; Vladimir Orlov, "Chemical Weapons: Costly to Produce, Costlier to Destroy," Moscow News, January 26, 1996, p. 4; Milton Leitenberg, Biological Weapons Control (College Park, Md.: Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland, PRAC Paper No. 16, May 1996), pp. 3-23; and Anthony Rimmington, "From Military to Industrial Complex? The Conversion of Biological Weapons Facilities in the Russian Federation," Contemporary Security Policy, vol. 17, no. 1, April 1996, pp. 80-112.

OCR for page 32
--> However, the destruction will be very expensive, costing billions of dollars in Russia alone. Indeed, this price tag is a major reason for Russian hesitancy to ratify the convention.23 CW agents were produced in about one-half dozen plants in Russia in quantities comparable to U.S. production levels. These plants are now either closed or are producing chemicals for civilian uses, according to the Russian Government. Many of the most toxic chemicals produced in these plants for civilian uses will be subject to reporting requirements when the Chemical Weapons Convention is adopted.24 The U.S. Government has repeatedly asserted that Russia has not adequately demonstrated its compliance with the 1972 Biological Warfare Convention, which bans the production of offensive BW agents. The Russian Government denies these allegations, although it has acknowledged that there was an offensive BW program on the territory of Russia prior to 1992. In any event, it is clear that a number of facilities have either been converted to civilian activities or abandoned altogether. Some are engaged in defensive military research, as permitted by the Biological Weapons Convention.25 Limited BW and CW capabilities existed outside Russia, particularly in Kazakstan. BW and CW production and testing facilities were located there during Soviet times. These facilities are now closed or devoted exclusively to civilian activities, according to Kazakstani officials.26 Large pools of highly skilled chemical and biological scientists available in several successor states, together with the relative simplicity of facilities necessary to produce BW and CW agents, raise concerns as to the technical potential for some facilities, particularly those in Russia, to revert to military activities in the future. Also, certain civilian activities have characteristics and equipment 23   Discussions during the committee visit to Russia in May 1996. See also Igor Khripunov. "The Human Element in Russia's Chemical Weapons Disposal Efforts," Arms Control Today, July/August 1995. 24   For the reporting and verification requirements for chemical plants not producing weapons, see Part IX of the Verification Annex (Regime for Other Chemical Production Facilities) of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. 25   Article I of the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development. Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction bans biological weapons "that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes." The ACDA 1995 Annual Report notes that the U.S. and U.K. continue to work with the Russian government "to ensure complete termination of the illegal BW program" (see Chapter 2, Section B of the report). See also 1996 Confidence Building Measures of the Russian Federation, which is on file with the United Nations Centre for Disarmament Affairs (Ref: 1 -96/CDA/BW-III/Add.II. October 21, 1996, pp. 10-42). Discussions of various allegations concerning the Russian program are set forth in Milton Leitenberg. "Biological Weapons Arms Control." Center for International Security Studies, University of Maryland, October 25, 1995. 26   Discussions with Kazakstani officials during the committee visit to Almaty in April 1996.

OCR for page 32
--> requirements similar to those for production of BW and CW agents, heightening apprehensions that undetected weapons-related activities could be initiated in the future. Given the ease of transferring the technologies across poorly defined boundaries—either embedded in equipment, recorded in documents, or carried in the knowledge of scientists—security systems will inevitably be less than perfect in preventing the proliferation of BW and CW technologies. Missile Technologies The Soviet missile development and production facilities were located primarily in Russia and secondarily in Ukraine, while testing and launch facilities were sited in Kazakstan. Suppliers of components were located in almost every republic of the FSU. Many enterprises and institutes that were involved in missile-related activities are pinning their future hopes on yet-to-be-realized opportunities in the field of space exploration, including opportunities for selling rocket and satellite components and for marketing launching and tracking equipment abroad. Several of the largest enterprises, such as the Energiya and Khrunichev enterprises in Russia and the Yuzhmash enterprise in Ukraine, have projects under way with foreign partners. Most of the missile manufacturing facilities that were the pride of the Soviet military complex remain largely intact as their directors search for new marketable products, and they retain a weapons capability that remains of concern from the viewpoint of proliferation.27 Conventional Weapons Systems Military Aircraft Production and testing facilities for military aircraft were centered in Russia and Ukraine. Military airplanes were made in other successor states as well, and component manufacturers could be found in almost every state. Many enterprises and laboratories of the aviation complex of the FSU are trying to remain in the forefront of technology through contracts with foreign entities that enable them to retain at least a portion of their facilities in an operating state. From the western perspective, these facilities lag well behind in many technical areas because of equipment obsolescence and loss or degradation of previously elite scientific work forces. Nonetheless, the facilities deserve careful attention as their managers attempt to adapt dual-use technologies embodied in 27   Unconfirmed reports during 1995 and 1996 suggest that aggressive enterprise directors may be seeking new outlets in China for their rockets, which has raised concerns over Russia's commitment to requirements under the Missile Technology Control Regime. See, for example, Bill Gertz, "Russia Sells Rocket Motors to China," Washington Times, February 13, 1995, p. 1.

OCR for page 32
--> machine tools, high-strength materials, electronics, optics, and other fields with military origins to solving civilian problems. Throughout the region there is excess aircraft production capacity. Even with the most optimistic projections of the recovery of the Russian economy and success in selling aviation products abroad, this capacity is far beyond the domestic and export needs of Russia and the other successor states. Most of the institutes and enterprises of the Soviet military-industrial complex are attempting to sell their old products, as well as new innovations, in previously untapped markets throughout the world. Demands from developing countries for Russian military hardware, including fighter aircraft and supporting systems, are of special interest. While the demand for military hardware in the United States, Europe. and elsewhere has been flat or declining in recent years, during the past several years it has been reported in the press that Russian organizations have been quite successful in selling equipment abroad, particularly to China and India.28 Other Conventional Weapons Almost all of the successor states have facilities for producing other types of conventional weapons, ranging from sophisticated airborne smart weapons and attack submarines to hand-carried assault guns. These activities will undoubtedly continue, although research and development efforts in Russia to enhance existing weapons systems have declined dramatically in the face of dwindling budgets. The international arms market for Russian-origin weapons was established many years ago. Given the willingness of Russian enterprises to provide such weapons at bargain prices, demand will undoubtedly continue. However, because of competition from arms manufacturers in the West and related diplomatic pressures, Russian equipment—both old and new—will undoubtedly find its most receptive buyers in precisely those states that are of concern to the U.S. Government (e.g., submarines to Iran). While the demand for reliable and inexpensive Russian handheld weapons will continue, the market for larger items, including tanks and rockets in addition to submarines and aircraft, seems less certain. Throughout Russia, and to a lesser extent in other countries of the region, there are large stores of surplus equipment and excess weapons for supporting military operations left over from Soviet times. Some of this equipment has been cannibalized. Some is inoperable. Some has been adapted for civilian tasks. 28   See "Rosvooruzheniye Expects 1996 Arms Sales to Top $7 Billion" and "Russia Competes Again for Arms Trade," both in Moscow Times, March 28 and April 3, 1996. Also, in July 1996 the Foreign Broadcast Information Service reported that a licensing request for production of Sukhoi-27 fighter aircraft in China was being developed. On February 3, 1997, Rosvooruzheniye told ITARTASS press service of plans to market 200 to 300 of the most advanced Russian weapons systems in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and confirmed sales of S-300 air defense missiles to Cyprus.

OCR for page 32
--> Almost all has been poorly maintained. Nevertheless, vehicles, radar sets, vision enhancers, flak jackets, and hundreds of other items of importance in military operations are available. Many of the custodians of these stockpiles have been torn for several years between (a) profits to be gained through surplus sales or illegal diversions, and (b) obligations to preserve military capability.29 Other Dual- Use Technologies Meanwhile, the factories and institutes that produced many types of military hardware are busy seeking customers for new civilian products that draw on military-oriented technologies.30 It is difficult to identify research products of the past several years that have made the jump to marketable items without deep involvement of western firms. But even if the successor states are unable to capitalize on dual-use approaches, western countries will continue to worry that other states of proliferation concern could tap these technologies and use them for military purposes. INTERESTS OF COUNTRIES OF PROLIFERATION CONCERN The United States and other western countries have branded the current regimes of North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya as aggressive seekers of advanced weapons capabilities that would present threats to international security. All of these countries have long histories of cooperation with the Soviet Union. Also, the rocket and nuclear capabilities of India and Pakistan are of considerable concern, and the Soviet Union and its successor states have had active ties with these countries. Other countries of the Middle East, China, and even countries of Southeast Asia and Latin America are constantly upgrading the level of sophistication in their weapons and are turning to Russia as one possible supplier of their military needs.31 The list of western nonproliferation concerns is headed by the possibilities of (a) the acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability by any state not now having such capability, and (b) the improvement of nuclear capabilities by states that 29   Discussions during the committee visit to Russia in May 1996. 30   See, for example, L. Kosals, "Defense R&D institutes in a Changing Russia," Working Document No. 5, International Conference on Science, Technology, and Innovation Policies in Russia, sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Moscow, September 21-23, 1995. 31   Israel is also believed to be an undeclared nuclear weapons state and is not a party to the NonProliferation Treaty. However, the U.S. Government has not been concerned about Israel's weapons capability in the same way as these other countries.

OCR for page 32
--> already have embryonic weapons programs. As previously noted, the principal requirement for an initial nuclear weapons capability is direct-use material. As for rocket technology, the Persian Gulf war centered attention on Scud missiles and other rudimentary delivery systems that could draw on early Soviet technologies. While such technologies have become widely available from China, continuing technical contributions from FSU states to countries seeking primitive or advanced missile capabilities could be very significant. The ingredients for BW and CW weapons are relatively simple for determined parties to acquire. Packaging these ingredients into terrorist weapons is not complicated for scientists and engineers, even though they may have little experience in weaponry. Of course, experienced hands will reduce the hazards to the terrorists themselves while improving weapons efficiency. Turning such weapons into effective military weapons with significant destructive power on the battlefield is much more complicated, and in this area the skills and experience of Russia and other states of the FSU could be particularly helpful, indeed decisive. Dual-use technologies of many types are becoming commonplace throughout the world. Countries attempting to develop either weapons of mass destruction or advanced conventional weapons usually draw heavily on such technologies for both weapons components and supporting systems. Russia has dual-use items that can respond to many military requirements as well as civilian needs. As the previous security wraps are removed from advanced Russian military developments, many high-performance items may become available. Many industrial facilities of importance to the military-industrial complexes in China, North Korea, and the Middle East trace their origins to Soviet designers and engineers who participated in Soviet technical assistance activities targeted in these areas. Now as these plants age and modernization and replacement equipment is in order, the countries sometimes turn again to Russia for assistance in rehabilitating the facilities. Critical spare parts from Russia can often be important for the continued viability of the plants. At the same time, the level of technological literacy is on the rise in many developing countries. The strengthened cadres of well-trained technical personnel throughout the world serve to improve the capacity of Third World countries to absorb sophisticated technologies that are available from Russia, Ukraine, and other FSU countries. SALES AND SMUGGLING OF SENSITIVE ITEMS There are several routes of transfer of sensitive commodities from the FSU to countries of proliferation concern. First, governments throughout the world assert the right to sell arms and advanced technologies, often pointing to U.S. arms sales, which are far larger than the sales of any other country, in fending off criticisms of controversial transactions. Indeed, governments have different perspectives on the appropriateness of certain sales of sensitive items that are not

OCR for page 32
--> explicitly prohibited by international agreements. In times of economic hardship the Russian Government, for example, may give far greater weight to the financial aspects of foreign sales of sensitive equipment than does the U.S. Government. Thus, disagreements between governments may ensue over the appropriateness of specific sales that are either encouraged or authorized by the Russian Government. The proposed sales by Russia of nuclear centrifuge technology to Iran and of cryogenic rocket technology to India are cases in point. Second, in addition to sales orchestrated by governments, many enterprises in several successor countries are interested in entering into their own international sales and barter arrangements. Generally, governmental authorities are aware of major transactions, although in some cases enterprises may proceed with a sale knowing that questions to clarify procedures would only lead to bureaucratic delays. Third, smuggling activities are an obvious pathway for diversion. As noted, the thefts of small amounts of direct-use nuclear material in Russia have been of major concern, given the critical importance of direct-use material in the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities. Finally, the rise in organized crime within and outside the FSU has sensitized the entire international community to the possibility of significant contraband activities. There has been a rapid increase in the number of representatives of foreign organizations now resident in the FSU. Many represent well-known organizations with reputations for adherence to laws and high standards of business ethics, but others operate behind unmarked closed doors. Most of the governments of the FSU are gradually accepting new approaches to safeguarding sensitive materials and equipment using physical protection and detection techniques. This new emphasis does not mean that reliability of personnel can be disregarded. Rather, the governments understand that technical systems are very important for controlling sensitive items—whether they be items passing through exits from research and production facilities or packages transiting border crossing points. Such increased reliance on physical methods, as an important complement to the screening of employees, closely parallels western approaches. To assure the security of commodities and technologies of concern, significant upgrading of controls is necessary. The governments of the successor states of the FSU recognize this need. This provides new opportunities for productive bilateral cooperation among specialists in the fields of materials protection, control, and accountability and export control. IMPLICATIONS FOR COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS The implications of the foregoing developments in the FSU for bilateral cooperation in areas that affect the vital national security interests of all participating countries—and specifically cooperation in MPC&A and export control—are un-

OCR for page 32
--> certain at best. The current political leaders in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan appreciate the importance of improved MPC&A and export control systems. They are aware of the vast quantities of inadequately protected items with military significance located in the region—particularly in Russia. They acknowledge the deficiencies in current regulatory and security systems and recognize the benefits of engaging U.S. specialists in helping to upgrade their systems. However, the leaders in these countries could easily change, and new personalities may not have the same outlook toward the importance of cooperation in such sensitive fields. Indeed, future leaders could terminate bilateral programs abruptly. Thus, if these cooperative programs are effective, the importance of moving forward with them while the political doors are open is clear. Indeed, the deeper the base of support for cooperation in the four successor countries—support nurtured through working side by side—the greater the survivability of the programs in the midst of rapidly evolving political forces in the countries.