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other former Soviet states, particularly in Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. It was feared that the resulting difficulties could simultaneously increase those governments’ incentive to retain the nuclear weapons on their soil (providing a significant claim to important international status), make them incapable of retaining those weapons safely and securely, and leave them vulnerable to the blandishments of proliferators.

The shared U.S. and Russian substantive concerns which facilitated completion of the Nunn-Lugar Umbrella Agreement in 1992 were joined by the presence of procedural incentives and the absence of procedural obstacles to agreement. The Umbrella Agreement and the framework for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II were major, reinforcing deliverables for the June 1992 summit, the first between the U.S. and Russian presidents. The June 17, 1992, strategic arms framework agreement2 and the subsequent January 1993 START II encapsulated, in both symbol and reality, much of the new strategic relationship between the United States and Russia, providing for major reductions in strategic warhead levels and a ban on multiple-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles. The link between strategic reductions and Nunn-Lugar cooperation was explicit; both the June 1992 Joint Understanding and START II provided that reductions could be completed some years before the final deadline if the United States could contribute to the financing of the destruction of strategic offensive arms in Russia.

Finally, the Nunn-Lugar Umbrella Agreement was concluded in something of a legal and regulatory vacuum for Russia. There were few, if any, precedents in international agreements, or constraints in domestic law and regulation, for the new Russian state concerning assistance issues like freedom from taxation, liability protections, and privileges and immunities for government personnel engaged in Nunn-Lugar projects. For its part, the United States did build on a large body of precedent, drawing for the Nunn-Lugar agreement on existing defense assistance agreements with other states.


By 1999, many, if not most, of the factors behind the negotiation of the CTR Umbrella Agreement in 1992 had changed dramatically. On the positive side, the program had become far larger, more important, and longer lasting than either side had expected in 1992. The original agreement had a seven-year duration, tied to the predicted construction time for the fissile material storage facility at Mayak (expected to be the longest-duration Nunn-Lugar project). Even in the mid-1990s, the United States Department of Defense publicly estimated that all CTR work would end in 2001. However, by 1999, it was clear that the program’s work was far from complete.

Given the success and importance of CTR to both sides, the United States expected that extension of the Umbrella Agreement would be a simple affair, accomplished through a straightforward exchange of diplomatic notes amending the agreement’s expiration date from June 1999 to June 2006. However, Russia called for significant amendments to the agreement, particularly regarding tax exemption, liability protections, and privileges and immunities.

The problems in the negotiation of the CTR Extension Protocol did not stem from a diminution on either side of the substantive interest in the cooperation. To be sure, several of the shared U.S. and Russian aims in establishing Nunn-Lugar cooperation were no longer relevant. One critical common objective in 1992—the denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan and safe return of their nuclear warheads to Russia—had been successfully achieved by the end of 1996. Further, CTR was no longer the sole United States nonproliferation cooperative effort in Russia. “Brain drain” programs initially funded by CTR were now led by the United States Departments of State and Energy, with their own agreements separate from the CTR Umbrella Agreement. The U.S. Departments of State and Energy also had instituted a large number of important new nonproliferation cooperative programs with Russia, such as plutonium disposition, export control and border security, and biological engagement.

On the other hand, U.S.-Russian cooperation under CTR itself was much broader and more extensive than either side had envisioned in 1992. For the first three years of the program (fiscal years [FY] 1992 to 1994), total CTR funding was $852 million, of which projects in Russia accounted for 51 percent ($436 million). For the three years up to the Extension Protocol negotiations (FY 1997 to 1999), CTR funding had increased to $1.185 billion. Moreover, Russia’s share of the total had increased to 73 percent ($866.5 million). Long-standing CTR projects like strategic arms elimination and chemical weapons destruction had grown significantly and had been joined by new efforts like nuclear warhead storage and transport security.

Closely linked to the sides’ continued interest in the substance of CTR cooperation was Russia’s financial situation. Especially with the economic setback in August 1998, Russia’s ability and willingness to pay for CTR-type work remained seriously constrained. Moreover, CTR assistance meant jobs in Russia’s military-industrial complex. While the economic and employment impact of CTR in Russia was limited, it was important—even essential—in certain areas of high value to the central and local governments. One of the best examples was strategic submarine dismantlement, which was contracted directly with Russian submarine shipyards.


The framework agreement was officially entitled The Joint Understanding on the Elimination of MIRVed ICBMs and Further Reductions in Strategic Offensive Arms.

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