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For this reason, the joint committee decided that future cooperation should be considered in two aspects. First, can the two countries implement existing programs in the former Soviet Union as full partners, working in the most efficient and effective way possible? Second, can they expand their cooperation to include joint efforts to solve proliferation problems in other countries and regions of the world? Exploration of the potential for a cooperative relationship that progresses to a fuller partnership was seen as an important goal for this study.

Despite the many accomplishments of U.S. and Russian cooperative threat reduction efforts to date, impediments to joint work have limited progress in the past and threaten to do so in the future. Some of these problems are the result of restrictive practices that flowed from the U.S. reaction to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and subsequent initiatives to combat international terrorism. Others are residual constraints not yet eliminated from the Cold War era. Still others involve legal issues, such as taxation and liability, managerial and organizational problems, project financing, and weaknesses in U.S.-Russian scientific and technical cooperation. Many of these challenges originate in legitimate concerns about national security matters in both countries and different perspectives on current international issues. Indeed, political leaders in Moscow and Washington often have very different objectives based on their own national interests as well as their own political doctrines and outlooks.

Many thorough and serious studies have reported on the continuing impediments to cooperation and the necessity of overcoming them to speed up joint work on securing fissile materials (such as uranium-235 and plutonium-239) and other critical tasks.2 Recognizing this very real problem, the U.S.-Russian committee responsible for this study sought answers that would be practical and that could be pursued either in Moscow or in Washington, wherever they would be most relevant. The fact that they are offered as consensus U.S. and Russian recommendations makes them unique and, it is hoped, powerful in both capitals. This report’s emphasis on solutions, however, in no way downplays the very real challenges that continue to obstruct the joint cooperation.

This report responds to these challenges in three ways. First, it provides an in-depth exploration of methods of overcoming impediments to existing cooperation. Second, it examines the potential for expanded cooperation based on a fuller concept of partnership. Third, it offers specific conclusions and recommendations that can be used to achieve the first two goals. The report records the consensus of the Russian and the American committee members on concrete and well-defined steps toward improving cooperation that will have utility and relevance in both countries.

This executive summary provides a synopsis of the report and identifies the key recommendations from each of the report’s main sections. Additional recommendations are presented in the full text of the report. Finally, it should be noted that members of the joint committee relied primarily on two mechanisms for gathering the information on which this report is based: commissioned papers by U.S. and Russian experts and meetings of joint committee members with small groups of experts in Moscow and Washington in January and February 2005.3

POLITICAL ISSUES

To accomplish the vision of full partnership described above, the joint committee agreed on a two-tiered approach: first, a short-term commission should examine past progress and determine a joint strategy for future cooperation; second, a joint group made up of agency representatives from the governments of both countries should supervise cooperative efforts for the indefinite future.

As a first and fundamental step, the joint committee recommends that the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States establish a Joint High-Level Commission with the responsibility of preparing a strategy for current and future U.S.-Russian cooperation to combat nuclear proliferation.

This High-Level Commission could be organized in several ways. For example, its membership could include current and former government officials as well as eminent nongovernment experts, or it could be made up of government officials supported by an advisory group of nongovernment experts. In any case, the joint committee believes that experts from outside the government should participate in the commission’s work. The rationale for this approach is linked to the joint committee’s view that the cooperation is progressing to a new stage—fuller partnership—that has both positive potential and a number of continuing pitfalls that must be countered. The definition and description of a strategy for this new stage will require a brainstorming approach that might not be possible under the constraints of a purely governmental body or with only one type of expert—e.g., individuals from the scientific community—in the room. The main emphasis should be on developing new ideas and directions for the cooperation. For this reason, the joint committee concluded that the premium for the organization of the group should be placed on bringing a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds to the table. Thus, despite the difficulties of organizing a mixed governmental-nongovernmen-

2  

See, for example, the study by Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier, Securing the Bomb 2005: The New Global Imperatives. Online. Available at http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/publication.cfm?program=CORE&ctype=media_feature&item_id=398&ln=releases&gma=49. Accessed May 6, 2005.

3  

The list of meetings is provided in Appendix E.



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