Working Session III – Arms Control and Confidence and Security-Building Measures

As delivered by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Celeste Wallander, Vienna, June 27, 2012

Mr. Chairman, I am honored to be back at the OSCE to discuss European security with all of you. Thank you for inviting me to speak today to the participants in the Annual Security Review Conference. The ASRC provides a valuable forum for exchanging ideas, and this session will enhance our continuing security dialogue by allowing us to focus on particular aspects of our security agenda.

My goal is to offer some “food-for-thought”, to use a phrase familiar to OSCE delegations, which will encourage us to spend the next several hours addressing some of the accomplishments and challenges we face, particularly with regard to arms control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures or CSBMs.

OSCE/FSC Contribution

We are all familiar with the important role that the OSCE plays in enhancing our collective security. During the almost 40 years we have been working together to address Europe’s security concerns, we have addressed a wide range of issues, some of which have been resolved, while others continue to require our attention.

And, of course, there are new concerns that have come to the fore, challenging us to find solutions using the traditional instruments we already have in our toolbox as well as taking advantage of 21st century advances.

The Forum for Security Cooperation (as its name suggests) addresses the range of issues facing OSCE states through its ongoing security dialogue. The United States welcomes the opportunity provided by the security dialogue to engage with our partners on key security issues.

Most recently, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose spoke to the FSC about the U.S. approach to missile defense on June 6, and next month, US European Command Director for Plans and Policy will provide an update on U.S. adjustments to its force structure stationed in Europe. Other participating States have similarly taken advantage of the security dialogue to share information about national policies and objectives, allowing the FSC itself to be a CSBM.

In addition to establishing robust best practices that have been exported to and modeled by other international organizations, the OSCE also plays a role in bringing together national experts and facilitating cooperation to address security challenges that would otherwise be too big to manage.

I have in mind the large amount of work done by the OSCE related to small arms and light weapons or stockpiles of conventional ammunition, which was highlighted at a special FSC meeting last month. A key aspect of this OSCE engagement is to help the requesting State address a particular concern and, where appropriate, build national capacity to prevent future complications.

The contributions by participating States over the past several years, including the recent ammunition destruction project in Cyprus, and efforts to remove mélange from storage sites in Ukraine, demonstrate the importance that this body, collectively, places upon addressing this type of security challenge.

But I know that delegations are especially interested during this session in the OSCE’s role in the development and implementation of arms control agreements and confidence- and security-building measures. The regimes in place in Europe today have contributed to our mutual stability for more than twenty years and need our attention to continue to do so.

Arms Control and CSBMs – Status

Sixteen years ago, the OSCE participating States established a Framework for Arms Control, creating a web of interlocking and mutually reinforcing arms control obligations and commitments.

A number of important agreements were already in place in 1996 to provide the basis for such a web, including the CFE Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty, the Dayton Article IV and V agreements, the Vienna Document, the Code of Conduct on Political-Military Aspects of Security, and the Global Exchange of Military Information. Although they have very different provisions, these, and other measures that constitute the web, all work to enhance mutual trust, predictability and confidence.

Let’s focus for a moment on the three conventional arms control agreements that play key roles in European security: CFE, Open Skies, and the Vienna Document. Each regime is important and contributes to security and stability in a unique way.

Each is valuable in and of itself, but when they work in harmony, the result is greater confidence for all of Europe. So when any thread of the web is weakened, we lose not only that single thread, but the strength and integrity of the entire web.

That is the situation we face today. These agreements are not being implemented as they should be. In some cases, problems are relatively minor, leading to states providing reports after the established due date, for example. In other cases, more complicated problems can prevent normal implementation of key measures. In still other cases – I am thinking here primarily, but not exclusively about CFE – political choices have resulted in significant gaps in our knowledge about, and confidence concerning, the military forces of European neighbors.

Although the uneven implementation of existing agreements poses a threat to confidence and stability in the OSCE region, this trend is reversible. All OSCE participating states should recommit to continued full implementation of these regimes, ensuring that these agreements can continue to be fully implemented, thereby achieving the transparency, trust and confidence that our governments intended.

It is clear the successful implementation of these agreements takes time and effort. In an era of constrained resources, arms control can be seen as too hard, too expensive, and impinging too much on other activities.

I hope that most representatives here today would agree that is a short sighted perception. We need to look at the overall potential benefits, not the day-to-day costs. In the long run, the predictability provided by arms control actually saves resources, as it avoids arms build ups, reduces the risks of accidental conflict, and builds trust.

Looking to the Future

In Astana, we all agreed our major instruments for ensuring military stability, predictability and transparency, should be revitalized, updated and modernized. Last year, we were able to update the Vienna Document. While the 2011 version does not contain the meaningful enhancements that many States wanted to include, we hope that it reflects a common determination to make the Vienna Document a living document to be updated on a regular basis.

Our aim should be to achieve agreement on proposals that will fundamentally increase information sharing and confidence among OSCE participating States. We need to revise this document so that its provisions are relevant to today’s post- Cold War, smaller military organizations.

It should not be the case that the Vienna Document’s thresholds for information and observation of military activities are so out of step with today’s reality that they are nearly irrelevant to events on the ground. It should not be the case that multinational participation on inspection and evaluation teams is seriously constrained by team sizes that were developed for a different – less collaborative – era. It should not be the case that in 2012 less information is being shared about key military forces – including the largest national military forces in Europe – than was available through arms control mechanisms five years ago. We need to change direction.

We also have the opportunity this year to look critically at several other instruments in the FSC toolbox. Last month, experts came to Vienna to take a hard look at the Plan of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons – with an eye toward identifying further contributions the OSCE might make.

Complementing this, the FSC has agreed to reissue the OSCE Document on SALW and all subsequent related FSC Decisions. Putting the extensive OSCE SALW documentation in a single instrument will make it more useful for the implementers on the ground.

Next month we will see the first annual meeting to address implementation of the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security. Establishing a unique annual meeting for this purpose demonstrates the importance that participating States place upon implementation of the Code.

Given current budget realities, we must also focus on developing more cost-effective approaches toward implementation, and getting maximum value out of current agreements.

As my colleague Acting Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller stressed at a March address to the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, we should look at ways to ensure that our regimes complement each other, potentially using new technologies, to find the most streamlined approaches to increase confidence and transparency. We should look at both new technologies and improved practices.

In order to prepare us for the future, recognizing the tools already in place, we must consider our future needs, and the types of arms control measures that will help achieve our security goals. NATO Allies reaffirmed in the Chicago Summit Declaration our determination “to preserve, strengthen and modernize the conventional arms control regime in Europe, based on key principles and commitments, and continue to explore ideas to this end.” I know this commitment is shared by many of our partners here at the OSCE.

Many of you have met with Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller in recent months on the future of military transparency in Europe. It is important that states continue to share their views on key objectives and basic principles for the way ahead, so that we can arrive at ideas that best serve the security interests of all OSCE states.

As a final thought, we have no easy task ahead of us, but we must press on. We have far to go and there are problems that we cannot anticipate, but our only chance of success is to continue to work together. I look forward to hearing your ideas on how we can build on our success and carry forward this work to meet today’s European security needs.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.