Frank A. Rose
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Statement by the United States of America at the 2010 OSCE Review Conference
Vienna, Austria
October 20, 2010

Mr. Chairman/Madam Chair, Colleagues,

It is a pleasure to be here with you today and to have this opportunity to share thoughts and hear from you as we approach the Summit. Building on the accomplishments we have made since the Helsinki Final Act thirty-five years ago, we believe the Summit in Astana should result in a commitment to continue our work to update and modernize our arms control and CSBM instruments. This Review Conference affords us a moment to reflect on how far we have come, to examine where we are, and to look toward where we want to go.

I don’t think there is any doubt among us that conventional arms control is a key element for cooperative and indivisible security in Europe. The OSCE Framework for Arms Control, an interlocking web of mutually reinforcing agreements in the OSCE's political-military toolbox, including the Treaties on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and Open Skies, the Vienna Document 1999, the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, the Global Exchange of Military Information and others, continues to make a very important contribution to European security. Specific elements of these arms control agreements are in need of updating to reflect the evolution in the size and character of military forces, doctrine, and activities since the end of the Cold War, but their core principles of transparency, openness, and confidence are no less important now than when they were agreed. Our commitment to their full implementation and further development is essential for enhancing stability and security within the OSCE area.

I want to begin looking at how far we have come in our effort to strengthen the OSCE's political-military toolbox by noting the current effort to update and enhance the Vienna Document. The Vienna Document 1999 continues to contribute significantly to transparency, openness, and confidence. While some measures are used rarely, if at all, others are employed more broadly, helping to increase transparency and build trust among the participating States. I have in mind the annual exchange of military information and the more than one hundred inspections and evaluation visits that take place each year. Nevertheless, we all recognize that there are elements of the Vienna Document that should be modernized. Over the past year, our delegations here in Vienna have laid the foundation for this modernization with agreement on a process for moving forward with much-needed updates to VD99 in the coming weeks and months.

For our part, when the Forum for Security Cooperation resumed in September, the United States identified four priority areas for updates to Vienna Document 1999:

  • increasing opportunities for inspections and evaluations;
  • enhancing inspection/evaluation teams;
  • lowering thresholds for notification and observation; and, improving and updating implementation modalities, including the content of the Annual Exchange of Information.

We want to update VD99 because we recognize that conventional arms control and CSBMs are useful tools for building and maintaining trust, increasing transparency about military forces and activities, and strengthening security in the OSCE region.

Looking at another part of this framework, our work on the CFE Treaty regime is a key part of our efforts toward ensuring the viability of conventional arms control. Although not all OSCE participating States are CFE States Parties, we know this Treaty regime plays a significant role in increasing security and stability in Europe. The United States has worked closely with our NATO Allies and CFE partners to break the long impasse and move on to strengthen and modernize the CFE regime for today’s Europe. The concrete proposals that we and 27 other countries around this table have put forward are grounded in the most essential guiding principles of conventional arms control and European security: reciprocal transparency and verification, reciprocal limits and restraint, and host nation consent for the stationing of foreign forces on sovereign territory. We will continue to work with all involved states to make concrete progress this year toward the goal I believe is held by all of us – a modernized Euro-Atlantic conventional arms control regime which truly reflects 21st century realities.

I would also like to highlight the contribution that the Open Skies Treaty makes to the Euro-Atlantic security environment. The Treaty's 34 members have conducted over 700 observation flights since entry into force, making a significant contribution to increasing openness and transparency across the OSCE area. At the June 2010 Open Skies Review Conference, Treaty members reaffirmed their commitment to the Treaty and collectively identified activities for future work to modernize the Treaty. A number of these activities are already underway, and we will work to continue the ongoing strong collaboration among Treaty partners.

In addition to these arms control elements, the Forum for Security Cooperation has made progress on strengthening other parts of the OSCE’s existing politicalmilitary toolbox, notably:

We have made efforts to facilitate implementation of the OSCE’s Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security by developing a comprehensive reference guide to assist participating States in their reporting.

The OSCE’s contribution to non-proliferation is demonstrated by work on a Best Practice Guide on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (the first chapter has been published and a second is in development) and preparation of a workshop next January to address the role of the OSCE in facilitating implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540. Also, Ministers issued a declaration last December in Athens, reaffirming our commitments to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

We agreed on – and have begun implementing – a Plan of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, to focus the OSCE contribution in this field in order to strengthen and improve existing measures to counter the dangers presented by uncontrolled proliferation and destabilizing accumulation of illicit weapons in the OSCE space.

The FSC’s Security Dialogue continues to afford us a unique platform to hold the types of discussions that I believe are valuable contributions to our shared security. On June 1st of this year, my boss, Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller, provided a joint presentation with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov of Russia on the New START Treaty. We have provided speakers on a wide range of security topics in recent years, including the U.S. Africa Command, the U.S. European Command, missile defense, and MANPADS. We encourage active participation by all in the Security Dialogue and believe these exchanges help us learn from one another and understand how we can work better together to achieve our shared goals of increased security and stability through transparency.

Over the past year, we have been pleased with the way the arms control experts in the FSC have worked constructively with the Chairman-in-Office and the Permanent Council to contribute to the ongoing Corfu Process. The result has been discussions in the FSC that complement broader OSCE discussions addressing the range of European security issues.

These accomplishments, and I’ve highlighted just a few, clearly show momentum is building in our efforts to strengthen the OSCE's political-military toolbox. Now, I want to use this as the starting point to talk about where we are, and where we are going.

So, where are we now? And where do we want to go?

Right now, we are preparing for the Summit in December, which will chart the course for future OSCE work. However, we don’t do this in isolation – the FSC was fully engaged on a range of issues even before there was agreement to hold the Summit this year. We fully believe that efforts to achieve both short and long term goals of strengthening the OSCE's politico-military toolbox are equally important. This means we are prepared to engage on these issues now as well as in the future. Our work in the FSC will not end after preparations for the Summit conclude. Therefore, as we ready ourselves for Astana, we should also be thinking strategically about how our work will continue in 2011.

Let’s look for a moment at Vienna Document 1999. I don’t think anyone would disagree that there is always room to improve cooperation, transparency, and predictability. We believe the willingness that we see demonstrated by participating States to update the Vienna Document, in tandem with other efforts underway to modernize the CFE Treaty regime and Open Skies Treaty, as well as efforts to improve other CSBMs in the politico-military toolbox, has helped to energize renovations of the current arms control architecture and improve military transparency throughout the OSCE area.

I am pleased that work on updating and modernizing Vienna Document is underway, with substantive discussions taking up a large part of the FSC’s time. The United States has put forward papers on some of our priority issues, specifically, on increasing verification opportunities and enhancing team size and composition, and we are glad to see the wide range of proposals that have been put forth by others. We believe that discussions should be as comprehensive as possible and that no one should be discouraged from putting forth a proposal, either of political or technical significance, for consideration at 56. Even as we work for tangible progress this fall, we should also ensure that the FSC takes the time it needs to consider all of the proposals that come forward.

We want leaders at the Summit to be able to recognize the work of the FSC on updating VD99, highlight tangible progress towards enhancing military transparency in Europe and launch an overall concept of future OSCE work on arms control and CSBMs. To demonstrate the importance we attach to this effort, we should commit ourselves to intensify efforts to enhance the Vienna Document in 2011.

As we seek to improve our security tools, I think it is important that we keep two thoughts in mind. First, as we move into the next decade, we want to ensure the continued effectiveness of our existing CSBMs. We should consider creative ways to continue to improve implementation – this means looking for more effective ways to meet obligations and “to do more with less” as militaries reform and technological advances increase. For example, last July, the parties to the Open Skies Treaty adopted decisions that allow them to begin the transition to digital sensors, which will result in both cost-effective and technological improvements.

Second, we should look for ways to expand our CSBM regime to cover new areas and threats that are relevant for the 21st century. This could mean adding new provisions and commitments to the agreements we already have, as well as developing new and/or complementary sub-regional and regional CSBMs.

In this regard, I’d like to thank the Russian delegation for beginning the work on what could be an overall concept for future OSCE work on arms control and CSBMs that will carry us beyond the Summit. Although political and economic realities have changed in the last decade, the fundamental principles on which the basis of our cooperation is grounded have not changed. I have in mind the shared principles set forth in the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris, and other OSCE commitments. Thus, we believe that any future work that we embark on in this forum should reflect these timeless principles, many of which are reflected in the Russian paper.

Finally, let me close by offering my encouragement to our representatives in the FSC as they address these major initiatives. Updating one of the OSCE’s fundamental documents – the Vienna Document 1999 – that, along with its predecessors, has ensured openness and transparency in the OSCE space for over two decades, and reaching agreement on a future plan of work are not small tasks. There is much work ahead. Nevertheless, I am encouraged by how far we have come and believe we will continue building on the positive momentum generated this year. We can make progress already this fall on these priority tasks. The Summit provides us with a unique opportunity to highlight that progress and set the stage for further work. Thank you.