Russian Arms Control Violation Prompts Joint Staff Assessment
Russian Arms Control
Violation Prompts Joint Staff Assessment
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C.
Marshall Jr., DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD
News) – December 10, 2014 – Russian violation of an arms control agreement
poses a threat to U.S. and its allies’ security interests, leading the Joint
Staff to conduct a military assessment of its threat, a senior defense official
said here today.
Brian P. McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense
for policy, testified alongside Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for
international security, in a joint hearing before the House Armed Services
Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces, and the House Foreign Affairs
Committee’s subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade regarding
Russian noncompliance with the Intermediate Nuclear-Range Forces treaty.
In the course of “closely” monitoring compliance of arms
control treaties, McKeon said, it was determined that Russia was in violation of
the INF treaty.
Joint Staff Assessment
Despite diplomatic engagement on the issue since 2013, McKeon
said, Russia continues to remain in noncompliance.
“As a result of Russia’s actions,” McKeon said, “the Joint
Staff has conducted a military assessment of the threat were Russia to deploy an
INF treaty-range ground-launch cruise missile in Europe or the Asia-Pacific
“This assessment has led us to review a broad range of
military response options,” he said, “and to consider the effect each option
could have on convincing Russian leadership to return to compliance with the INF
treaty, as well as countering the capability of a Russian INF treaty-prohibited
McKeon emphasized that the department doesn’t want to engage
in an “escalatory cycle” of action and reaction.
“However, Russia’s lack of meaningful engagement on this
issue -- if it persists -- will ultimately require the United States to take
actions to protect its interests and security along with those of its allies and
partners,” he added. “Those actions will make Russia less secure.”
Treaty Importance, Steps Taken
“We believe the INF treaty contributes to not only U.S. and
Russian security,” McKeon said, “but also to that of our allies and partners.
For that reason, Russian possession, development or deployment of a weapons
system in violation of the treaty will not be ignored.”
From the beginning, he said, the objective has been to
preserve the viability of the INF treaty and convince Russia to come back into
compliance with its obligations under it.
The U.S. has engaged Russia, McKeon said, with a
multi-pronged approach beginning with diplomatic engagement while discussing
other potential measures in coordination with allies.
“Unfortunately, Russia has not been forthcoming with any
information, nor has it acknowledged the existence of a non-compliant cruise
missile,” he said.
“Instead, the Russian side has chosen to accuse the United
States of violating its obligations under the INF treaty,” he said. “In our view,
all of Russian’s claims are categorically unfounded.”
McKeon said the U.S. has been, and remains, in compliance
with all of its obligations under the INF treaty, which was fully addressed
during a September meeting with Russian officials in Moscow.
“These Russian claims, we believe, are meant to divert
attention away from its own violations,” he said.
Gottemoeller testified that in addition to the INF treaty,
Russia also is in violation of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty
and that there are concerns with its compliance with other treaties as well.
Despite a “significant challenge” ahead, McKeon said, there
are hopes the Russian federation will remember why the Soviet Union signed the
INF treaty in the first place.
“By agreeing to that treaty, the United States and Soviet
Union ensured that both parties benefitted from the removal of weapons systems
that posed a real and credible threat to European security,” he said.
McKeon reiterated that the U.S. takes treaty compliance “very
seriously,” and the ramifications of Russia’s actions and a U.S. response affect
more than just one arms control agreement. “They affect our agreement to pursue
future arms control and nonproliferation regimes,” he said.
“Such a violation threatens our security and the collective
security of many allies and partners,” he added. “This violation will not go
unanswered, because there is too much at stake”
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallDoDNews)
Brian P. McKeon
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
The Defense Department on Facebook
The Defense Department on Twitter
DoD News on Facebook
DoD News on Twitter
DoD News Broadcast Channel