Text Only | Disarmament Diplomacy | Disarmament Documentation | ACRONYM Reports
back to the acronym home page
WMD Possessors
About Acronym

Disarmament Documentation

Back to Disarmament Documentation, June 2002

US Withdrawal from ABM Treaty/Russia Withdrawal from START II, June 13/14

I. US Withdrawal from ABM Treaty

Statement by President Bush

'Statement by the President', The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, June 13.

Six months ago, I announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, and today that withdrawal formally takes effect. With the Treaty now behind us, our task is to develop and deploy effective defenses against limited missile attacks. As the events of September 11 made clear, we no longer live in the Cold War world for which the ABM Treaty was designed. We now face new threats from terrorists who seek to destroy our civilization by any means available to rogue states armed with weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Defending the American people against these threats is my highest priority as Commander-in-Chief.

The new strategic challenges of the 21st century require us to think differently. But they also require us to act. I call on the Congress to approve the full amount of the funding I have requested in my budget for missile defense. This will permit the United States to work closely with all nations committed to freedom to pursue the policies and capabilities needed to make the world a safer place for generations to come.

I am committed to deploying a missile defense system as soon as possible to protect the American people and our deployed forces against the growing missile threats we face. Because these threats also endanger our allies and friends around the world, it is essential that we work together to defend against them, an important task which the ABM Treaty prohibited. The United States will deepen our dialogue and cooperation with other nations on missile defenses.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin and I agreed that Russia and the United States would look for ways to cooperate on missile defenses, including expanding military exercises, sharing early-warning data, and exploring potential joint research and development of missile defense technologies. Over the past year, our countries have worked hard to overcome the legacy of the Cold War and to dismantle its structures. The United States and Russia are building a new relationship based on common interests and, increasingly, common values. Under the Treaty of Moscow, the nuclear arsenals of our nations will be reduced to their lowest levels in decades. Cooperation on missile defense will also make an important contribution to furthering the relationship we both seek.

Back to the Top of the Page

Article by Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz

'Beyond the ABM Treaty', Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Wall Street Journal, June 14.

Last year the president announced our intention to withdraw from the 1972 ABM treaty. Yesterday, that withdrawal formally took effect. As a result, we are now free to develop, test and deploy effective defenses against missile attacks from states like North Korea and Iran - states that are aggressively seeking weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. As the president said in his State of the Union Address, we will not allow the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most dangerous weapons.

We need to defend against all avenues of attack with weapons of mass destruction. Missiles in the hands of states that support terrorism are a growing threat to the US and our friends and allies. We've watched rogue states invest scarce resources to acquire increasingly capable missiles even while they starve their people. Until yesterday, because of the ABM treaty, we have not been able to develop appropriate defenses against this threat.

We are at a turning point in defense and deterrence policy. We can now move forward with the robust development and testing program that the Department of Defense has designed to take advantage of new technologies and basing modes. Recent tests provide a foundation on which to proceed. Development and testing will continue, but we will also begin to deploy effective layered defenses against limited missile attack.

Tomorrow, the US will break ground in Alaska on silos to house missile-defense interceptors. These silos, scheduled to be completed in 2004, are part of our test program but could give us, for the first time, an emergency capability to protect our country in a crisis. We are determined to improve these initial defenses over time, building additional silos there and possibly in other locations for operational deployment of ground-based interceptors.

This week, the US is also testing an interceptor from a Navy destroyer against a missile off the coast of Hawaii - a needed step toward deployment of sea-based missile defenses. If our testing and development efforts progress as planned, we should be able to begin initial deployments of sea-based interceptors in the 2004-2005 period.

We will soon reach another milestone in our pursuit of advanced technologies for missile defenses as well. The prototype Airborne Laser is scheduled to attempt to shoot down a target missile. If successful, the program could represent a major advance in missile-defense capabilities.

In addition to limiting development and deployment, the ABM treaty prohibited us from sharing and working on missile defense with other nations. The president is committed to working closely with them now to address the shared threat we face and helping to extend missile-defense protection to our friends and allies. Over the coming weeks and months, the administration will open a new phase of dialogue on the issue. We will explore ways to deepen existing cooperative efforts and begin new joint programs to develop missile-defense systems.

The end of the ABM treaty also marks a historic milestone in our strategic relationship with Russia. We no longer have a treaty that divides us by assuming that our security is derived from our ability to destroy each other. We can now base our relations not on mutual destruction but on mutual interests. It was clear during President Bush's visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg that both our countries are committed to the new course.

Over the past year, we have worked hard to improve relations with Russia, and made good progress together. Today, the US removes a Cold War structure that prevented us from defending ourselves in the name of preserving the nuclear balance of terror.

We take this step in full confidence that doing so will not cause an arms race with Russia, as some had predicted. In fact, the treaty recently signed in Moscow will reduce our nuclear arsenals to their lowest levels in decades. Even more important, we have agreed to cooperate on a host of economic, political, and security issues of common interest, including missile defense.

As a result of hard work and determination on both sides, relations with Russia - and between Russia and our NATO allies - are entering a new and promising era. Future US-Russian summits will not be dominated by the question: What treaty are you planning to sign to regulate the nuclear balance of terror? Instead, we will focus on cooperating to meet the security challenges facing both our nations, the war on terrorism, and what we can do to enrich the lives of our peoples through closer economic, cultural, and political ties.

At the dawn of the 21st century, the time has come to bury the last vestiges of the Cold War and to reorient our national security policies. By working with others, forging relationships with new friends like Russia, and adapting to meet new challenges, we can make the world a safer place for years to come. Our withdrawal from the ABM treaty represents an important step in bringing about a safer world for all Americans, as well as for our friends and allies.

Back to the Top of the Page

II. Russian Withdrawal from START II

'On Legal Status of the Treaty Between Russia and the USA on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms', Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 1221-14-06-2002, June 14.

In May 2000, the Russian Federation ratified the Treaty Between Russia and the USA on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II Treaty), and the ABM Treaty-related New York understandings of September 26, 1997. There was mutual understanding with the American Side that the USA would act similarly. This would have made it possible to realize the important agreements concerning the strategic offensive and defensive arms of the two countries.

But the USA refused to ratify the START II Treaty and the New York understandings. Moreover, on June 13, 2002, the United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty, with the result that this international legal act, which served for three decades as the cornerstone of strategic stability, has ceased to be in force. Taking into account the aforesaid actions of the USA and proceeding from the provisions of the Federal Law on Ratification of the START II Treaty, the Russian Federation notes the absence of any prerequisites for the entry of the START II Treaty into force, and does not consider itself bound any longer by the obligation under international law to refrain from any actions which could deprive this Treaty of its object and goal.

Back to the Top of the Page

© 2002 The Acronym Institute.