Arms Control:

Status of U.S.-Russian Agreements and the Chemical Weapons Convention

NSIAD-94-136: Published: Mar 15, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 1994.

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GAO evaluated the status of the Chemical Weapons Convention, focusing on: (1) U.S. progress in implementing two bilateral agreements with Russia; and (2) the costs incurred by the United States in preparing for and implementing the treaties.

GAO found that: (1) the implementation of the bilateral agreements has progressed slowly due to Russia's significant technical, political, and financial obstacles; (2) although Russia and the United States have begun to make progress in a number of areas, much uncertainty still exists over Russia's ability to safely destroy its chemical weapons; (3) although most countries have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, several key countries suspected of developing chemical weapons have not signed it; (4) it is unlikely that the convention will enter into force by January 1995, since only a small number of signatory countries have submitted their instruments of ratification; (5) the United States has funded the largest and most ambitious research and development program to develop effective international verification; and (6) the U.S. government is missing potential opportunities for cost savings from its funding of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In September 1994, Congress reprogrammed the $5 million in unobligated funds for ACDA's 1995 required contributions to support the Preparatory Commission.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider rescinding that portion of fiscal year 1994 funds appropriated to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) to pay for U.S. support to the Preparatory Commission that is clearly in excess of the funding required.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: ACDA and DOD do not intend to implement the recommendation. They stated that the organizations lacked the long-term technical oversight capability, as well as the financial resources, to fund 75 percent of U.S. research and development programs; that U.S. influence would be lost; and that other nations would want their research and development programs funded. While GAO still believes that its recommendation is valid, it cannot dismiss ACDA's and DOD's reasons for nonacceptance without considerable additional audit work. But because these organizations have no intention of implementing the recommendations, no additional followup work should be done.

    Recommendation: The Director, ACDA, and the Secretary of Defense should reach an agreement with the Preparatory Commission (and subsequently the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) on how the United States can be reimbursed for some of the costs of U.S. research and development efforts which directly support the chemical weapons verification regime.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: ACDA and DOD do not intend to implement the recommendation. They stated that the organizations lacked the long-term technical oversight capability, as well as the financial resources, to fund 75 percent of U.S. research and development programs; that U.S. influence would be lost; and that other nations would want their research and development programs funded. While GAO still believes that its recommendation is valid, it cannot dismiss ACDA's and DOD's reasons for nonacceptance without considerable additional audit work. But because these organizations have no intention of implementing the recommendations, no additional followup work should be done.

    Recommendation: The Director, ACDA, and the Secretary of Defense should reach an agreement with the Preparatory Commission (and subsequently the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) on how the United States can be reimbursed for some of the costs of U.S. research and development efforts which directly support the chemical weapons verification regime.

    Agency Affected: United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD conducted a formal review of the military service treaty compliance programs, as recommended in the report. In October, DOD plans to finalize a report on the results of its review.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should review the treaty compliance programs of the military services with the view of determining and implementing the most cost-effective system for generating and transmitting site-diagrams in the event of a challenge inspection.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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