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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 39, July - August 1999

Continuing Concerns over Y2K Nuclear-Weapons Preparedness in Russia

On 20 July, the US Defense Department expressed concern at the continuing pause in US-Russia cooperation on preventing the Y2K millenium computer bug from having any adverse effect on nuclear-weapons launch and warning systems. Cooperation on the issue was broken off by Russia in March in protect at the NATO bombardment of Serbia. According to Defense Department spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Cooper: "We have sent communications inviting them to participate in further talks...to get prepared for the transition that we're talking about. We have not had a reply yet." The US is hoping to work with Russia to establish an early-warning centre - the Center for Y2K Strategic Stability - for the transition period, through which each side would keep the other fully informed of system status. The Department would like to see the Center established at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

With regard to any effect on US nuclear systems, Admiral Rich Miles, Commander-in-Chief of Us Strategic Command, told reporters on 22 July: "I am confident our nuclear forces will be as safe, secure and reliable after 1 January as they are today."

Reports: US prods Russia on Y2K missile concerns, Reuters, 21 July; Pentagon says US military will be ready for Y2K, Reuters, 23 July.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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