First Report of the Deep Cuts Commission – Preparing for Deep Cuts: Options for Enhancing Euro-Atlantic and International Security – April 2014
1. Four years ago, the United States and the Russian Federation concluded the New START Treaty. Even after New START, however, both nations will still possess nuclear arsenals that far exceed reasonable deterrence requirements. Both continue to rely on nuclear weapons employment strategies that are based on traditional Cold War planning assumptions, with hundreds of nuclear arms assigned to targets in each other’s territory and available for prompt launch.
2. Achieving further nuclear reductions could enhance national, Euro-Atlantic, and international security to the benefit of all states. This first report
by the trilateral German-Russian-U.S. Deep Cuts Commission examines a number of obstacles impeding progress and it offers practical options that would enable the key parties to make headway. While the current environment does not promise an early breakthrough on further nuclear reductions, this report recommends that all sides should pursue a more energetic dialogue and explore a range of options to overcome and resolve key obstacles.
3. Even before Washington and Moscow agree to begin formal negotiations on a New START follow-on agreement, measures can be taken to achieve further strategic reductions within the current treaty framework. One option is for the United States to accelerate the pace of planned reductions so that nuclear force levels reach or fall below the New START limits ahead of the 2018 implementation deadline for the Treaty.
4. This measure could be accomplished through executive action by the U.S. President. Russia is already below two of the three numerical limits in the Treaty. The United States could also commit itself to continue reducing below New START limits toward the levels of Russian forces, which would be consistent with the results of the Nuclear Posture Review conducted by the Obama administration. Such reductions could improve the political landscape.
The Role of the USA & Russia
1. Russia and the United States should initiate talks on a New START follow-on agreement mandating additional significant and stabilizing cuts — for example, establishing limits of 500 deployed strategic delivery vehicles and 1,000 deployed strategic warheads for each side.
2. In order to enhance prospects for achieving a follow-on agreement, the United States should accelerate New START-mandated reductions ahead of the 2018 implementation deadline; the United States and Russia could consider further independent, reciprocal force reductions below New START ceilings.
3. Russia and the United States should reinvigorate bilateral strategic stability talks with the goal of pursuing confidence-building initiatives that help to address concerns relating to missile defense, tactical nuclear weapons, conventional precision-guided weapons, and outer space weapons. They should at the same time engage other nuclear-weapon states and encourage them to improve transparency and eventually to freeze or reduce their arsenals, using any useful precedents from the U.S.-Russian experience.
The Role of Germany
1. Germany has a role in addressing European security issues. It is a responsible NATO ally and participates in the alliance’s nuclear sharing arrangement. Through these arrangements, Berlin is involved in discussions on the future of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe and the planned deployment of missile defense systems by NATO.
2. Germany is a reliable long-term cooperation partner of Russia and its second largest trading partner. Germany is also a champion of cooperative arms control in Europe.
3. The future of the OSCE and the CFE Treaty are important vertices of German foreign and security policy. Berlin has always been interested in a cooperative U.S.-Russian relationship. The benefits of cooperation have helped Germany, together with its allies and partners, to shape a peaceful Europe.
4. Germany has emerged as a vocal proponent of international disarmament. Under the frame-work of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative—a group of 12 middle powers—Berlin advances policies and concepts for multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Addressing Tactical Nuclear Weapons
1. The United States and Russia should reconfirm their mutual commitment to the 1991 and 1992 PNIs, undertaking confidence-building measures such as exchanging data on the total number of nuclear warheads destroyed over the past twenty years, and conducting site visits to former but now empty storage facilities.
2. The United States and Russia should resume the U.S.-Russian dialogue of nuclear experts in order to develop non-intrusive measures to provide for verifiable and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons. Germany should take the lead within NATO to formulate a coherent NATO policy on the role
of TNWs in Europe and terms for their withdrawal.
3. The CAI provides for a system of air-space monitoring between Norway and Russia, Poland and Russia, and between Turkey and Russia and concurrently connects (through data transmission) two coordination centers (one in Warsaw and one in Moscow) with data collection units. The CAI’s mandate and facilities could be expanded to include the BMD function as well.
4. In addition, the parties Russia and the United States should intensify efforts to make their BMD capabilities more transparent, considering the options of data exchanges on certain technical criteria and joint annual exercises on the tactical and theater BMD level. NATO should make more explicit the connection between Iran’s nuclear and missile threats and the pace and scope of NATO’s EPAA deployments.
5. NATO and Russia should initiate discussions about long-term options for a joint NATO-Russian BMD study center and/or a center for NATO-Russian surveillance and monitoring of missile threats and space objects, possibly building on the NATO-Russia Cooperative Air-space Initiative