Chapter 15 - Soviet Arms Treaty Violations

Chapter 14 on Conventional and CBW forces and include Soviet Chemical Weapons Threat, published by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1985, and Soviet Biological Warfare Threat, published by DIA in 1986. These reports exposed redacted, previously classified details on the massive secret Soviet CBW programs. They also presented the Administration’s rationale for its far-reaching CBW arms control proposals at major international forums, including the U.N. Committee on Disarmament, and compelling case for the necessary modernization and strengthening of U.S. deterrent and defensive CBW programs.

Impact of Reports on Soviet Violations. The compelling illustrated public diplomacy reports and their updates had substantial Cold War impact when distributed globally through diplomatic channels and to U.S. research and academic communities. Their exposure of Soviet CBW treaty violations and warfare practices put significant international pressure on the totalitarian Soviet leaders unaccustomed to being caught and chastised for such gross violations of international arms control and human rights obligations. The texts also lent support to developing U.S. verification procedures for effective CBW arms control limitations while setting precedents for the Administration’s wider interagency consideration of Soviet arms violations involving Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM), nuclear arms, nuclear testing, agreements, and conventional forces.

3. Strengthened NSC Authority on Assessing Soviet Compliance: Senior Arms Control Group and Arms Control Verification Committee—1982, 1983

Systematic early investigation of issues of Soviet compliance and their implications for defense and arms control as directed by President Reagan was from the beginning of his presidency strongly supported by the NSC, the Department of Defense, the Verification Bureau of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), and top levels of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Yet reluctance elsewhere in the bureaucracy substantially slowed the interagency process throughout the first two years.

At this point, as described below, NSC authorities were enhanced to ensure that the President’s new national security criteria that took compliance and verification-related defense requirements seriously could be applied. New Reagan directives were distributed through the NSC system to the arms control Interagency Groups to a special Arms Control Verification Committee and to arms control public diplomacy groups coordinated by NSC staff, and to a presidentially-tasked General Advisory Committee. This guidance also directed how Presidential findings should be briefed to the Congress and Western allies, the forces of public diplomacy efforts, and the way in which violations issues should be raised in diplomatic channels like the SCC.

“Effective” versus “Adequate” Verification Certification. For the American people and the Soviet government, Reagan’s most famous statement on Soviet arms treaty verification compliance issues was his principle of “doveryat, no proveryat” or “trust, but verify.” The full implications of this short phrase were broad since Reagan’s related policy guidance derived from his instinctive mistrust of Soviet ideology and behavior and drove his insistence on unprecedented assessments and new principles for developing “effective” verification as national security insurance to deter and detect likely Soviet cheating.

Reagan early approved at NSC levels the definition of “effective” verification as requiring that the U.S. intelligence community could certify to the president that it had “high-confidence” about the databases and verification protocols, including through non-NTM means like on-site inspections. Through the NSC process, the intelligence community was now required to formally certify that all proposed U.S. arms control treaties and their provisions meet the high-confidence standard. However, critics from Washington’s traditional arms control community considered such criteria unduly provocative to the Soviet Union and impossible to achieve. Accustomed to the vague standard of “adequate,” they continued to attack Reagan’s tough new standard as “not serious” about arms control. They were also upset by a parallel new Reagan arms control criterion that required Joint Chiefs of Staff certification of defense programs affected by arms control.

Joint Chiefs Certification. Early in 1982, as a core part of newly integrated arms control and defense strategies, Reagan directed that the Joint Chiefs certify that the effect of any and all specific proposed arms control treaty provisions would leave “sufficient” U.S. capabilities. In effect, arms control must now help “provide for the common defense” and support, not undermine, U.S. defense and related national security requirements. This requirement was attached to Reagan’s U.S. arms control proposals over the next several years.

“Soviet Military Power” Reports and Violations Issues. Closely integrated into the above efforts (at both classified and public levels) were detailed reports of the best available facts on Soviet military programs redacted for public use as appropriate by the U.S. intelligence community. As reviewed in Chapter 10, a pub-

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