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US Department of Defense,
December 2000
Strengthening Transatlantic Security:
A U.S. Strategy for the 21st Century

Arms Control

   The United States and its NATO Allies will continue to have a shared interest in arms control regimes that enhance security and stability at the lowest possible level of forces consistent with preserving Alliance capabilities for collective defense and other security-building missions. Among the arms control regimes applicable specifically to European ter-ritory, none is more central than the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). Signed in November 1990 by the 16 members of NATO and 6 members of the Warsaw Pact, the CFE Treaty estab-lished equal East-West (i.e., “bloc-to-bloc”) limits on five key categories of conventional armaments—battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters. This approach was appropriate at the time, since it eliminated the Warsaw Pact’s longstanding and destabilizing numerical superiority in armor and artillery. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and break-up of the Soviet Union, those former Soviet states in the area covered by the Treaty (Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals) acceded to the CFE Treaty, which now covers 30 Treaty Parties. 

   The CFE Treaty’s accomplishments to date are remarkable. More than 70,000 pieces of Treaty-Limited Equipment have been destroyed, more than 3,500 intrusive on-site inspections have been conducted, and those inspections—along with the CFE Treaty’s detailed reporting requirements—have provided unprecedented transparency and pre-dictability of military forces in Europe.

   The CFE Adaptation Agreement signed in November 1999 updates the original CFE Treaty. Once it has been ratified and enters into force, the Adaptation Agreement will create a new, highly stable, transparent set of limitations on conventional forces and bring the CFE Treaty into line with today’s European security environment.

   The CFE Final Act associated with the Adaptation Agreement contains several significant political commitments by Treaty Parties, including agreements on the complete withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Moldova and partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia. The Final Act also reaffirms Russia’s commitment to bring its equipment levels in the “flank” region, which includes the North Caucasus (and Chechnya), back down below the “flank” limits set forth in the adapted Treaty. President Clinton has stated that he will only submit the Adaptation Agreement to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification when Russian forces have been reduced to these levels, and Allies have taken similar positions.

   In addition to the CFE Treaty, the United States will continue actively to support full implementation of, and compliance with, other arms control and Confidence Building Measures (CBM) regimes that help to build security and stability in Europe. These include:

- The Vienna Document, updated at the 1999 OSCE Summit in Istanbul, which builds trust and enhances stability among OSCE members through various measures, such as inspections of military units, base visits, observation of exercises, and notifications of military deployments.