THE STCU'S OBJECTIVES

The STCU's goal and objectives are “to support R&D activities by Ukrainian scientists and engineers, formerly involved with weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, as part of the general process of conversion from a largely centralized planning military to a civilian, market-driven competitive environment, more useful for Ukraine” (see Appendix C ).

THE STCU'S MANAGEMENT AND FUNDING

Initially, as determined by diplomatic consultations among the four founding parties, the STCU's executive director and administrative officer are Canadian, the principal deputy executive director is from Ukraine, a second deputy executive director and the chief financial officer are from the United States, and the third deputy executive director is from Sweden. All other staff are Ukrainian. At the time of the committee's visit, the deputy executive director from the United States had not yet been appointed and the financial director had just begun.

The United States has contributed $15 million for the activities of the STCU, and Canada and Sweden have provided $5 million and $1.5 million, respectively. Ukraine is providing office space and other in-kind support, similar to the situation with the ISTC. There are strong indications that the European Union will join the STCU in 1996 at a level of $4 million to $5 million, and early in the establishment of the STCU, Japan expressed an interest in joining with a contribution of $3 million.6

THE STCU'S ACTIVITIES TO DATE

As of May 15, 1996, the STCU had received 346 proposals from Ukrainian scientists and engineers. Of those, 128 had passed the Ukrainian State Security Review, which is necessary before the STCU will officially accept a proposal and forward it to donor countries for evaluation.

The STCU Governing Board had its first meeting in December 1995, at which time it formally approved various official STCU documents and 12 proposals, for a total dollar amount of $1.6 million. The board held its second meeting in May 1996 and approved 37 additional proposals, bringing the total number of scientists and engineers supported by STCU grants to approximately 1,000.

THE COMMITTEE'S VIEWS

The STCU is in the early stages of its activities and is only beginning to sign contracts on funded projects. Therefore, it is too early to assess its impact on the proliferation threat and on Ukrainian science and technology, but the committee provides some initial observations below.

The STCU's staff and supporting management in the participating countries have established a fully functioning center in a remarkably short time, given the conditions in which they had to operate. The STCU 's facilities are first-rate; the telecommunications capabilities surpass those of all other institutes and offices that the committee visited; and the office environment is very pleasant and comfortable. The STCU is independent of other Ukrainian ministries and institutes and has a separate line item in the Ukrainian budget, which will help ensure that it is held in high regard by Ukrainian government officials.

The STCU management has interpreted its objective of supporting the transition to a market-based economy, to include supporting and contributing to the conversion of attitudes and work practices to those common in market-driven economies. The STCU staff consider the interactions with scientists and engineers during the proposal preparation process to be an important part of their jobs and strive not only to improve the scientific quality of proposals, but also to impart Western attitudes about peer review, competitive funding, and work ethics. These are valid and important objectives for the STCU.

RECOMMENDATION: The U.S. Government should expedite the appointment of U.S. representatives and staff to the STCU.

The committee does make one caution. The STCU staff, with the exception of the senior staff (executive director and principal deputy executive director), do not appear to have significant scientific expertise, leading to some concern that the nonproliferation and scientific goals of the United States are being subordinated to the STCU's broader goals of changing research attitudes and ethics. Of course, the scientific reviews by the United States and other participating countries are the primary means of determining and ensuring scientific merit. But STCU staff have significant input in proposal preparation and project monitoring. Moreover, unlike the ISTC, the STCU does not have a scientific advisory committee. It is important that the United States have representation at the STCU with adequate experience and expertise to support U.S. national interests and scientific goals.

In this regard the committee is concerned about the slow pace at which the United States is assigning staff to the STCU. As noted above, at the time of the committee's visit in May 1996, the U.S. deputy executive director had not been formally appointed and the financial officer had not yet arrived.7 While this may be attributed to unavoidable bureaucratic delays, the committee is concerned about the message

6  

Committee discussion with U.S. Department of State officials, February 1996.

7  

Since the committee's visit in May 1996, a U.S. deputy executive director has been appointed.



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