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Moving Beyond Missile Defence

The Search for Alternatives to the Missile Race

Jürgen Scheffran


The US governments push for missile defence is based on two premises: that missile proliferation can not be prevented by political means, and that missile defences can be effective. This paper seeks to critique both of these assumptions, and to explore alternatives to missile defence.

In the light of technical difficulties, and the lengthy development periods for both ballistic missiles and missile defences, there is a realistic chance for political initiatives to contain the emerging missile race. A global missile threat from states such as North Korea, Iran or Iraq does not exist, and will not materialise in the near term; nor will George W. Bush have a working missile defence to deploy during the current presidency. Instead of panicking, and rushing to join or counter a non-existent missile shield being rushed towards deployment to meet a non-existent missile threat the international community would be better advised to take joint action and collaborate on preventing a missile race on earth and in outer space, and promoting the disarmament of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Diplomatic initiatives are required to reduce the role of ballistic missiles in critical regions (Northeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East) and to develop an international norm against ballistic missiles. This is the only way of countering the US tendency to move away from multilaterally agreed arms control and disarmament towards deterrence based on less, but still significant numbers of, nuclear weapons and more defences, including space weapons. Such a doctrine could create enormous uncertainties, instabilities and risks for international security. Even for the US, the situation might then get out of control, undermining its own national security [1].


Building an International Norm Against Ballistic Missiles

The preamble to the Non-Proliferation Treaty calls for "the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery." However, ballistic missiles and other delivery systems have been largely ignored in international arms control and disarmament negotiations. This deficit was recently pointed out by Jayantha Dhanapala, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs: "Why is public debate mired today in a duel between deterrence and defence, with scant attention to missile disarmament?" [2] As the dangers of an offense-defence missile race become imminent, the need for an international initiative to control ballistic missiles becomes more urgent.

Previous efforts have been limited to the US-Russian arms control process (the INF and START treaties) and export controls by the major suppliers of missile technology. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) defines the restrictions on the transfer of missile-related technology capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. Since 1987, MTCR membership has increased from 7 to 33 states. In addition, 7 countries have declared they will abide by its rules. While some missile programmes have been stopped or delayed, the effectiveness of the regime has been limited. The MTCR is not a binding treaty, there are no specific verification or enforcement mechanisms, and membership is essentially restricted to the suppliers. Existing ballistic missile arsenals are not addressed, the asymmetry between "haves" and "have nots" is ignored, and various shorter-range missiles have been deployed in a number of developing countries [3].

Notwithstanding this weakness, several potentially significant initiatives to improve the situation have recently been launched:

From Missile Control to Missile Disarmament

A missile control regime needs to take into account the various stages of missile development, and any asymmetries among missile owners. As missile development advances, the perceived threat increases. Once a missile has been tested, bans on deployment will be more difficult since rapid breakout from an agreement remains possible and will require stricter controls.

Strengthening international ballistic missile controls will be a long-term process necessarily involving the adoption and evolution of a wide range of measures, from the comparatively modest i.e. a Code of Conduct, bolstered export controls, and missile monitoring and launch-notification agreements to far-reaching disarmament treaties establishing global missile bans. Intermediate options would include restrictions on missile testing, and the creation of missile-free zones. Obvious candidates for such areas would be Latin America and Africa, both of which have already established nuclear-weapon-free zones.

A missile non-proliferation regime, however, allowing missile owners to keep their arsenals, would have limited efficiency compared to non-discriminatory missile disarmament. The only way to deal with asymmetries between countries would be to set up an international norm against ballistic missiles that entitles all countries to equal rights. Even though the prospects for such a comprehensive disarmament regime based on multilateral agreements currently seems remote, particularly given the attitude of the new US administration, this should not exclude conceptual thinking and diplomatic initiatives that broaden political support for such a regime.

To build momentum for a comprehensive alternative, a step-by-step approach is appropriate. Test restrictions would effectively prevent new missile designs and limit modification of traditional technology, although unsophisticated indigenous missile systems could still be developed and deployed with minimal testing. A ballistic missile test-flight ban would preclude the testing of new missiles and reduce the chance of accidental or intentional war.

In order to prevent a missile race and buy more time for political initiatives, it would be particularly helpful to institute a moratorium on the further development, testing and deployment of ballistic missiles. To address concerns about asymmetries and discrimination, a "missile freeze" could cover both offensive and defensive missiles and be designed as a temporary measure while countries negotiated disarmament steps for missiles and other delivery systems. Simultaneous regional security initiatives would be crucial to diminish incentives for missile development.

When planning next steps, long-term perspectives should be taken into account. In 1992, expanding the proposal discussed between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1986 Reykjavik Summit, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) developed a model for the elimination of ballistic missiles (ZBM: Zero Ballistic Missiles) [6]. Such a regime would aim at the complete elimination of offensive ballistic missiles and combine unilateral declarations with regional and global multilateral agreements. The ZBM proposal which the FAS backed up with a complete draft treaty combined a comprehensive framework with a step-wise approach, including bilateral cuts between the USA and Russia, ballistic-missile-free zones, an international Missile Conference, the creation of an International Agency for Ballistic Missile Disarmament, and finally agreement on the varying schedules necessary to reach zero ballistic missile capability.



A crucial aspect of missile control is verification, not least the effective matching of verification tasks to available technology [7]. National or international technical means of verification could focus on observable rocket characteristics (number, size, range, payload, deployment mode, launch preparations, flight trajectory), which provide indications of rocket type and performance. Much missile-programme infrastructure, such as production facilities, test ranges, tracking and communication facilities, missile containers and missile-carrying vehicles is highly visible. The biggest complication might be the dual-use of ballistic missiles and SLVs. Differentiating between both rocket types is difficult, since much of the technology is easily convertible. However, some functional differences and operational characteristics could be used to improve distinction, such as differences in the basing mode, the testing procedures, the payload, flight trajectory, guidance systems and re-entry [8].

A variety of technical and non-technical means of verification exist to monitor ballistic missiles and their elimination. Remote sensing in the visible, infra-red or radar spectra, based on satellites, aircraft or on the ground, allows observation of missiles and the related launch and test facilities. Some of the verification tasks can be performed by commercial satellites, which are becoming increasingly cheap and efficient. Reconnaissance overflights (under the Open Skies regime) provide an alternative to satellite monitoring for many countries and can even supply superior information. During testing and training, a rocket communicates with its operators by sending and receiving telemetry signals which can be intercepted by receivers on ground stations, vehicles and satellites. Non-encrypted telemetry provides the necessary information on missile characteristics.

To ensure adequate verification of ballistic missile elimination regimes, technical means of verification need to be accompanied by inspections. As the experiences of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspections in Iraq have shown, a regime of unimpeded fast access to suspect sites is required to detect evidence of non-compliance. Verification problems are much easier to solve when states cooperate and are willing to exchange information. Systematic inspections of all ballistic-missile-related sites can provide basic information on an initial balance. Random short-notice inspections of declared sites should be augmented by a system of challenge inspections to undeclared sites. Pre-launch inspections would ensure that no undesired payload is used.

To determine the basic payload type in particular, to detect re-entry vehicles at the front of a rocket without disclosing proprietary information, non-intrusive devices and techniques can be applied, such as scanning and radiographic devices. Ground-based equipment for different regions of the radiation spectrum could be mutually complementary: nuclear radiation detection could search for alpha, beta and gamma decay, indicating nuclear materials. Neutron detection would exhibit information about the types of materials used, in particular whether they include explosives. X-ray equipment could provide basic design information while preventing violation of commercial interests. In case of suspicion, more precise X-ray detection, computer tomography or in exceptional cases the opening of the payload in the presence of inspectors could remove uncertainties about non-compliance.

The efficiency of verification depends on the stage in the missile life-cycle that is to be controlled. Limits on research and development (R&D) would effectively prevent indigenous missile development in its early stages, but dual-use is the biggest verification problem here. With space cooperation and conversion of military R&D facilities, plus inspection of suspected sites, verification could exclude the most relevant developments but would require extensive procedures likely to interfere with legitimate civilian R&D.

Stationary testing can be monitored by remote sensing of ground-based facilities from air and space, thermal detection of missile plumes, and on-site inspection. Since ballistic missile launches can be detected with early warning satellites and ground- or air-based radars, a ballistic missile test-flight ban would be rather easy to verify by remote sensing and interception of telemetry. Potential launch facilities can be inspected by non-destructive measurements.

In general, a ban on missile deployment can be adequately verified, depending on the missile deployment mode, the degree of information exchanged and the security risk acceptable for the countries. Remote sensing would target rockets, transport vehicles and infrastructure. There is a high probability of detecting deployment in the open-air or in silos, but it is obviously harder to discover concealed deployment.

Detection of production would depend on remote sensing and inspection of suspected production facilities. Routine and challenge inspections would use chokepoint monitoring with non-intrusive devices at portals and the perimeter of assembly plants without entry into the site, comparable to the regulations of the INF and START treaties. Chances for detection increase with the extension of the detection period. No country can be certain that hidden storage would remain undetected by espionage, whistle-blowing or random challenge inspection. Ballistic missile destruction and warhead removal should be also open to inspection.

Under a comprehensive space-launch notification agreement and missile flight test ban, any non-controlled space launch would be prohibited, and the detection of any rockets outside of agreed launch pads would indicate a violation. To limit the risk of undetected activities, it would be particularly important to implement measures that prevent the transformation of space launch technology for ballistic missiles. A safeguards system for space launchers could place some of the "most critical" items under supervision by an international organization. International cooperation in civilian space programmes would also be important for containing the use of space technology for missile development.


Extending the Control Regime

The case for a regime to control and monitor space launchers is greatly strengthened when considered in the context of preventing an arms race in outer space. Such a regime, in fact, could serve the function of verifying a ban on space weapons, in particular anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons. Since man-made objects in orbit would enter space through space rockets, a monitoring system at space launch facilities could not only search for indications of ballistic missile use, but also for the space-weapon usability of the payload. This would provide increased transparency concerning space activities in general, and would effectively exclude the deployment and testing of space weapons using ground-based space launchers. Other types of space weapons, in particular aircraft launch and ground- or air-based beam weapons, require different verification provisions. A combination of the available technologies would provide quite efficient means for verifying an ASAT ban, including a test ban, and the remaining risk would certainly be no higher than if the situation remained uncontrolled [9].

A control regime on ballistic missiles and space weapons could be also extended to the international control of ballistic missile defences. In contradistinction to the current US quest to abrogate the ABM Treaty, or at least transform it beyond recognition, the regime could include proposals for strengthening the Treaty by making its general provisions more precise and verifiable, and/or by internationalising the accord. Fourteen years ago, John Pike presented some ideas on how to minimise definition problems and establish verifiable limits for various ABM components [10]. Such limits would relate to the altitude, relative distance and velocity of interceptor tests, and to limits on laser brightness or to the aperture of sensors and mirrors.


Conclusion: the Role of Citizens, Scientists and the Public

Citizens and non-governmental organizations can play an important role in promoting and implementing missile control and disarmament. In order to increase public awareness, a greater public discourse on the missile problem and its resolution is required. By building a network of information exchange and debate, experts, civil society and officials could be jointly engaged in this process. Activities could include meetings and conferences involving scientists and technicians, as well as protests at, and attempts to conduct citizen inspections of, critical facilities. A notable example of collaborative work is the project "Moving Beyond Missile Defence," launched by INESAP, the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation in collaboration with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) in March 2001. The project assesses the problems posed by missile proliferation and missile defence, and promotes political options to resolve these problems on an international level.

Although comprehensive proposals may currently seem utopian, they may become more, not less, important as a means of preserving stability and reducing uncertainty in a world of dangerous and costly missile defences. If the missile race on earth and in space is not prevented, the situation could soon become unstable, complex and even run out of control. Even the United States may wish to take international measures to reduce uncertainty and prevent damage to its own security interests once ICBMs, ASATs and laser weapons of other countries are fully developed. Whether a control system will work in a hostile environment is questionable. The best chance to prevent the missile race and space warfare exists now; such an opportunity may never come again.



[1] See J.Scheffran, "Missile Defence, International Stability and Preventive Arms Control," Paper presented at a workshop on National and Theater Missile Defences after the US Elections, Berlin, February 14-16, 2001.

[2] Eliminating Nuclear Arsenals: the NPT Pledge and What It Means, speech by Jayantha Dhanapala to the All-Party Group on Global Security and Non-Proliferation, House of Commons, London, July 3, 2000. For full text, see Disarmament Diplomacy No. 47, June 2000.

[3] For an early analysis, see J. Scheffran, A. Karp, "The National Implementation of the Missile Technology Control Regime: US and German Experiences," in: H.G. Brauch, H.J. v.d.Graaf, J. Grin, W. Smit (eds.), Controlling the Development and Spread of Military Technology, Amsterdam: VU University Press 1992, pp. 235-255.

[4] For details of the first experts-level meeting, see M. Rice, "Russia Proposes Global Regime On Missile Proliferation," Arms Control Today, May 2000; for the second meeting, see Disarmament Diplomacy No.54, February 2001.

[5] Ballistic Missiles Foreign Experts Roundtable Report, March 30-31, 2000, Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development, April 7, 2000; The Missile Defence Debate: Guiding Canadas Role, Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues, 2001. For a preliminary report on the Liu Centre consultation, prefaced by a statement from the Centres Director, former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy:  

[6] "Revisiting Zero Ballistic Missiles - Reagans Forgotten Dream," FAS Public Interest Report, May/June 1992; L. Lumpe, "Zero Ballistic Missiles and the Third World," Arms Control, Vol.14 (1), April 1993, pp. 218-223; A. Frye, "Zero Ballistic Missiles," Foreign Policy, No.88, Fall 1992, pp.12-17.

[7] See further: J. Scheffran, "Verification of Ballistic Missile Bans and Monitoring of Space Launches," in: W. Liebert, J.Scheffran (eds.), Against Proliferation Towards General Disarmament, Münster: Agenda 1995, pp. 156-164; J.Scheffran, "Elimination of Ballistic Missiles," in: J. Rotblat, M. Konuma (eds.), Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, World Scientific, 1997, pp.310-326; L. Trost, "Designing Ballistic Missile Control Monitoring Systems" (Excerpts from report of the Cooperative Monitoring Center), INESAP Information Bulletin, No.14, November 1997; M. Smith, "Verifiable Control of Ballistic Missile Proliferation," Trust & Verify, No. 95, January/February 2001.

[8] J. Scheffran, "Dual Use of Missiles and Space Technologies," in: G. Neuneck, O. Ischebeck (eds.), Missile Technologies, Proliferation and Concepts for Arms Control, Baden-Baden: Nomos 1993, pp.49-68.

[9] For a summary of the basic options and technical problems, see J. Scheffran, "Verification and Risk for an Anti-Satellite-Weapons Ban," Bulletin of Peace Proposals, Vol.17, No.2, 1986, pp.165-174, the analysis for which was conducted in the context of: H. Fischer, R. Labusch, E. Maus, J. Scheffran, "Draft Treaty on the Limitation of the Military Use of Outer Space," reprinted in: J.Holdren, J. Rotblat (eds.), Strategic Defences and the Future of the Arms Race, New York: St. Martins Press, 1987.

[10] J. Pike, "Quantitative Limits on Anti-Missile Systems A Preliminary Assessment," Washington D.C.: FAS, 4th, May22, 1987; a shorter version can be found in: "Scientific Aspects of the Verification of Arms Control Treaties," part II, pp.137- 198, Hamburger Beiträge zur Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik, June 1987.


Dr. Jürgen Scheffran is a physicist and senior researcher with the interdisciplinary research group IANUS at the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany. He is co-founder of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP), Editor of the INESAP Information Bulletin, and Chair of the project Moving Beyond Missile Defence. He can be contacted by e-mail at:


The present article has been published in Disarmament Diplomacy, No. 55.


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Moving Beyond Missile Defence

Project Information by July 20, 2001


In the spring of 2001, the project group INES Against Proliferation (INESAP) and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) decided to start a common peace project. After a first phase of preparations, they now come out with detailed information.


Summary description

Current plans to build missile defence systems against the projected "missile threat" pose serious problems in the coming years for international security and stability, arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. The project "Moving Beyond Missile Defence," pursued by INESAP in collaboration with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, aims at developing alternatives to the emerging missile race. The project will introduce science-based proposals into the international debate and the political decision-making process on missile defence, and promote concepts and initiatives that enhance international stability and cooperation on governmental and non-governmental levels.

An international Study Group of experts assesses the political and technical link between missile proliferation and missile defence, and develops a science-based framework for feasible and adequate responses to the missile threat. The Study Group explores and promotes innovative ideas on how the roots of the problem can be resolved by political and diplomatic initiatives, and evaluates concrete arms control and disarmament proposals (e.g. limitations of ballistic missile testing, improving international missile control, ballistic missile free zones, Zero Ballistic Missile regime, regionally extended ABM Treaty, nuclear-weapon-free world, space weapons ban). Technical issues, such as the monitoring, verification, and the dual-use of relevant technologies, will play a prominent role. For each of the topics, international expert teams will be formed, and all proposals are discussed in their global and regional context. Results and recommendations are to be closely integrated into an international policy-oriented process and the decision-making of relevant countries by means of media work, conferences, briefings, and lobby meetings. In order to strengthen the science-policy link, political decision-makers, diplomats, the media, and NGOs shall be involved in regional activities (North-East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Europe, Russia), with Europe as a key player. Findings of the Study Group will be presented to media and political representatives and distributed in INESAP publications (Study Group Reports, Briefing Papers, and INESAP Information Bulletin) as well as in other publications and via electronic communication channels.

"Moving Beyond Missile Defence" is an essential element in the future activities of the INESAP network, which has been restructured in early 2001. Since its foundation, the main objectives of INESAP have been to promote nuclear disarmament; to strengthen existing arms control and non-proliferation regimes; to develop and promote cooperative approaches to curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; and controlling the transfer of related technology. INESAP draws on international experts in various disciplines and combines research, networking, policy advisory, and action in its work.


Detailed description of the project

Project background

Official US policy envisions a considerable threat to the US, its troops and allies by ballistic missiles of so-called "rogue nations" within the next few years. To counter this threat, the US plans to build a variety of multi-layered land-, sea-, air- and space-based missile defence systems in the US and abroad. Under President George W. Bush, these plans have gained new momentum and are vigorously pursued, undermining the basis of the US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and other arms control agreements in the near future.

Russia opposes the US plans and threatens to take political and military countermeasures. China is worried that the US are less concerned about North-Korea than about containing Chinese power and strengthening US influence in the region, in particular in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Israel not only has acquired a nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capability, but is also developing missile defence against missiles from neighbouring countries which feel provoked to increase their arsenals. European NATO countries are developing extended air-defence systems to protect their homelands and forward deployed troops. The combined proliferation of ballistic missiles and missile defence systems could lead to a "missile race" that severely undermines security in various regions. Consequently, many experts in the arms control community, politicians, and NGO representatives fear that missile defence systems would undermine stability, impair arms control and cooperation, and lead to an arms race on earth and in space.


Issues addressed by the project

The project "Moving Beyond Missile Defence" has been launched jointly by INESAP and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. The project is based on the premise that missile defence is not an effective tool against missile proliferation, that it would be counterproductive by increasing the dangers of missile proliferation, and that it could lead to a new arms race. Because of technical difficulties and the lengthy development periods for both ballistic missiles and missile defences, the project recognizes a realistic chance for political initiatives to contain the emerging missile race. Instead of rushing to join a non-existing missile shield, the international community would be better advised to take joint action and collaborate on preventing a new arms race by strengthening and extending the international control regime for nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and space weapons.

With this project, INESAP wants to raise attention and provide a basis for international initiatives to prevent a missile race by political and diplomatic means. Previous efforts in missile control have been limited to US-Russian arms control (START, INF) and to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which restricts missile-related exports from supplier countries. Recent initiatives and proposals (e.g. by Canada, Russia, China, Iran, UN General Assembly) have pointed to the need to overcome some of the limitations of the current regime, moving towards a more comprehensive international missile and space control regime. Independent scientists have been developing proposals for multilateral ballistic missile disarmament since the early 1990s. Increasingly, the link between missile defence and space warfare has inspired efforts to prevent an arms race in space and ban space weapons.

The assessment of the problems and the development of solutions are inherently linked. The project centres on the following questions:

Project objectives and goals

The projects main objective is to develop and introduce science-based proposals, developed by an international team of experts, into the international debate and the political decision-making process on missile defence, and to promote concepts and initiatives that enhance international stability and cooperation on governmental and non-governmental levels. The project shall serve as a nucleus for improved ballistic missile control and an international norm against ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons and space weapons. The project shall raise public awareness and understanding of the problems of missile proliferation and missile defence, allowing citizen groups to voice their concerns about the dangers of missile proliferation and missile defence and utilize findings of the international Study Group to lobby political decision makers for alternatives.

The following sub-goals are pursued in the project "Moving Beyond Missile Defence:"

Project methods

"Moving Beyond Missile Defence" will be done in several stages and is planned for a period of two years.

For the evaluation of the above-mentioned questions, INESAP brings together and coordinates an international Study Group of scientists and security-policy experts. The main issues of the study will be explored by subgroups which exchange and discuss the results of their research among each other, both at and between meetings. Drawing on previous studies and projects, the Study Group

will analyze the available information, evaluate the different proposals in terms of technical and political feasibility and implications, and integrate them into coherent documents, each of which are to be presented to a particular audience. Individuals invited to participate in the Study Group come from a wide variety of countries and organizations. The regional workshops are used as an occasion to progress the planning of the Study Group, with most of the coordinators of particular issues being present. A Study Group workshop is planned for spring 2002. Most of the Study Group work will be done between these meetings by electronic mail.

The project focuses on the key areas where development and deployment of missile defences are likely to have a major impact: North-East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Russia. Therefore, an essential element of "Moving Beyond Missile Defence" are regional workshops, which serve the purpose of integrating regional frameworks into the international project. One workshop or conference in each of these regions gives certain individuals from the Study Group a chance to learn from each other directly, to exchange and discuss opinions and assessments, to get a better understanding of the regional situation, and to network with local people as well as to explore alternatives and find out differences of opinions and assessments.

All workshops will also be used to discuss further project planning and strategizing among the project coordinators and additional individuals.

A. After the founding workshop of "Moving Beyond Missile Defence" which was held in Santa Barbara on March 19-21, 2001, the planned regional workshop in Shanghai/China Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2001) is an essential next step in proceeding with the project, linking both global and regional project activities. The workshop is hosted by the Program on Arms Control and Regional Security (Dingli Shen) at Fudan Universitys Center for American Studies. North-East Asia certainly is a key region in the current missile defence debate. US plans for a national missile defence as well as for theatre missile defence Systems in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea can have a severe impact on the region. Stability in North-East Asia is very fragile, the Taiwan Strait conflict is latent, and the arms build-up in the region continues on all sides. China fears that its small arsenal of nuclear-tipped long-range ballistic missiles would be invalidated even by a limited missile defence and announced asymmetric measures as a response. In addition, China is one of the countries that take US documents for dominance in space very serious, and warns of the danger of a new arms race on the earth and in space.

The Shanghai workshop will focus on implications of missile proliferation and missile defence in North-East Asia. Additionally, the workshop will serve to launch the projects international Study Group and to plan activities and next steps for the following months. Contributions at the workshop will be used in the chapter on North-East Asia of the Study Group findings. Non-regional contributions will also be prepared for use in chapters covering an international regime for the control of missiles, nuclear weapons and space weapons. In addition to dealing with regional issues, the Shanghai workshop will serve as the starting point of the Study Group work. The coordinators of the Study Group chapters will meet at the workshop to outline a six-month working plan and progress will be reported at the Berlin conference in June 2002. Project coordinators will also use the chance to discuss the next steps in the project and to detail the planning for the Berlin conference.

B. To involve Europe and Russia as key players, it is planned to hold a conference in summer 2002 in Berlin, Germany. The conference will present first results of the Study Group work (in particular on the link between missile control and nuclear disarmament, and on the regional chapters North-East Asia, Europe and Russia). This location was chosen for three reasons:

In addition to discussion of the regional focus, the Berlin conference will be used to create a greater outreach of the project. Other NGOs will be invited to co-convene the conference. Politicians, security experts, military, media, and a wider NGO audience from Germany and other European countries will be invited to attend the conference. In Berlin, the first Report of the Study Group will be presented along with first Briefing Papers. Detailed planning for the Berlin conference has yet to be done.

C. Further regional workshops are foreseen to be held in the Middle East and in South Asia. Both regions are plagued by rapid horizontal and vertical proliferation of ballistic missiles and the availability of weapons of mass destruction in at least some of the countries. Here more than elsewhere there exists an urgent need for regionally based solutions and security frameworks which shall be discussed in cooperation with participants from the region.


Publication of Study Group findings, outreach, and lobbying

At various times, in particular at the end of each project stage, international perspectives, results and recommendations of the Study Group will be published in Reports, in Briefing Papers, in the INESAP Information Bulletin, on the Internet, and in as wide a range of articles as possible. INESAP will search for ways to ensure wide distribution of the project publications. Selected Briefing Papers shall be translated into the languages of a few key countries. In particular for the Berlin conference it is desirable to make some publications available in German in order to increase the outreach to the German audience.

Thematic work in the project is closely integrated into a policy-oriented process. In order to broaden the project support base, scientists and policy-oriented individuals from a wide range of organizations and institutes are invited to participate in the concept development and in the Study Group. To strengthen the exchange between the scientific and political fields, political decision makers, diplomats, the media and NGOs are invited to attend workshops, briefings, conferences, private meetings, consultations and other occasions where the Study Group findings will be presented and discussed on a national and international level. Only the major events (e.g. large workshops or conferences) must be organized by INESAP. Individual Study Group participants and INESAP supporters will arrange local events on their own initiative and use occasions organized by other groups to present the project findings.


Planned activities (preliminary schedule)

Some of the planned activities of the first project ended with the Berlin conference in summer 2001. Further project planning has yet to be detailed. The complete project is planned to take two years:

July - August 2001 Project presentation at 13th annual Summer Symposium on Science and World Affairs in Berlin;

Publish INESAP Information Bulletin #18;

Proposals for project funding.


Sept. - Nov. 2001 Preparation and organization of Shanghai Workshop;

Prepare international Study Group and media work.


October 2001 Participate in UN Disarmament Week, Oct 11-19 in New York, in panels on nuclear and missile disarmament and on space weapons ban;

Co-convene workshop at Bochum University on draft Treaty on the Limitation of the Military Use of Outer Space.


Nov - Dec. 2001 Regional workshop in Shanghai;

Planning and preparation of future activities.


January - April 2002 INESAP Information Bulletin #19 with results from Shanghai workshop and Study Group;

Informal meeting of project and Study Group coordinators;

Prepare first Study Group report; publish Briefing Papers.


April - June 2002 Participate in activities at NPT PrepCom;

Organization of Berlin conference, with focus on Europe and Russia;

Presentation of Study Group report, Briefing Papers, other publications INESAP Bulletin #20.


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After we printed the PLEDGE of the American Association of Science in the last issue of the Newsletter, we got response from our readers:


Philip Smith wrote:

I am angry!

Much ado has been made about the AAAS pledge not to work on weapons of mass destruction. The naivete of the enthusiasm about this less than adequate attempt at introducing an ethical element into the scientific enterprise is a disappointment to me.


Simply because this pledge implicitly approves of working on weapons that are NOT suitable for mass destruction. Working on napalm with "superior sticking qualities" is just fine, according to this pledge.

When the great Pyotr Kapitza got the Nobel Prize he was interviewed by a lady from the BBC. At the end of the interview she asked him if he had any special message for his fellow physicists. His message was beautiful in its simplicity; just four words: "Never work on weapons." You should know that Pyotr Kapitza himself refused (under Stalin!) to work on a nuclear weapon, or any other kind of weapon.

For thirty years I attempted to convince Pugwash to back a general pledge to NOT WORK ON WEAPONS. I never made any progress. The establishment did not wish to encourage a pledge that would limit the employability of scientists (sometimes with the argument that it would limit the "freedom of science"). In 1972 I chaired a working group at a Pugwash conference which formulated a simple pledge promising not to engage in work that was intended to harm human beings. Again and again the leadership refused to consider making it official. Now, finally, the American Student Pugwash pledge has been more or less accepted. But, as I understand it, the AAAS pledge has been enthusiastically received in Pugwash.

INES is politically more sophisticated than Pugwash (and the AAAS), and I hope that a little reflection will lead INES members to conclude that a less than total pledge is worse than no pledge at all. Remember that the establishment has always supported scientists, with the implicit agreement that the scientists would in all ways be loyal to the establishment. Archimedes worked on weapons. It is a myth that scientists are somehow morally superior to ordinary citizens. Please accept the fact that the absence of ethics in science is not accidental. Science, as we have known it, was never intended to serve humanity it was always intended to serve the "powers that be," whatever evil these powers may be doing. And that it has always done faithfully.

Are we strong enough to change this "tradition?"


Maurice Pigaht wrote:

Thanks to Philip Smith. I couldnt agree more with the sentiment behind his comments. I feel that I need to add two points though.

I have had it put to me by Pugwash members that if one enjoys the protection of an armed nation state, that one should also accept the need for military research. Even Gandhi used a similar argument in defense of his support of the British war effort. I have great reservations on the validity of this argument in todays western Europe, but it cannot be ignored, and forms the basis of objecting to a universal pledge by scientists not to work on ANY weapons.

Second. I have actually looked in detail at a few of the militarily funded research projects at my university (Imperial College, London), and found that many could be described as military only because of their funding, and others were too specific to be purely military (such as work on compressible airflow in ducts for Rolls Royce). Of course there were a handful that could unmistakably be described as weapons research (such as military jet fuels).

Third. I have actively promoted the American Student Pugwash pledge, and the most common comment (of those who bothered to read it) was how extremely ambitious, and even naive it is. To pledge that you will do no harm with your research ever is indeed very ambitious (although I did sign it). To expect other people to do so is even more ambitious. But then, that is one reason why I would wholeheartedly support the promotion of such a pledge universally.

Outgoing Chair, Imperial College Student Pugwash, Mechanical Engineering (UG), Imperial College


Joseph Rotblat wrote:

Dear Phil,

I hope that you are no longer angry.  I also get emotional from time to time but the state of being angry is not conducive to rational thinking, and it is through rationality that we, as scientists, have the best chance of achieving our objectives. Your statement that the pledge not to work on weapons of mass destruction implies approval of working on other weapons shows faulty logic.  If I say no to one thing, it does not mean that I say yes to everything else. It is also poor tactics.  If, for example, I campaign against cruelty  to children, it does not mean that I approve of cruelty to adults.  But cruelty to children is generally seen as so terrible that the campaign against it would stand a much better chance of being successful than a campaign against cruelty in general.  And success in a limited objective is better than no success at all. You apparently disagree with this.  You say that "a less than total Pledge is worse than no Pledge at all."  Do you really believe that if, through general acceptance of the Pledge, the establishments at Los Alamos, Livermore, etc. were closed down, the world would be worse off?  Surely not. Let me remind you of the old adage that "the best is the enemy of the good."  A recent example of this is Ralph Naders standing for the Presidency.  His ideas are laudable but by sticking rigidly to principles he allowed and he must take full responsibility for it a most pernicious regime to come to power and put us all into great peril. My warmest wishes to you, old friend, 

Yours sincerely,  Jo


Philip Smith answered:

However, I think that you are mistaken when you apply your approach to an ethical question, such as a pledge. There is no room for "small, constructive steps" in ethics, for the simple reason that any ethical statement is both a first and last step at the same time. Not only that, but the simpler an ethical statement is, the less likely that there is disagreement about its import. You criticized my rejection of the AAAS pledge on the ground that it does not explicitly state that work on weapons NOT suitable for mass destruction is permissible. But you fail to provide a justification for the ethically misty restriction to weapons of mass destruction. To put it clearly: why DONT you support a pledge against any work on weapons?

I dont want to make this message too long, but I would like to make small remark about rationality. You left Los Alamos. Was that a rational act? You and many others only went to work on a nuclear weapon out of fear that Hitler might get one first. When it became clear that that would not, could not, happen, were you acting rationally to stop your work? If you believe that, you are saying that all of those who continued their work were acting irrationally. Were you irrational or were all of the others irrational?

The point I want to make is that I believe that the idea that scientists are rational is a myth. Most of our behaviour is irrational; fortunately, I might add. Rational behaviour not only rules out anger, but also love. That kind of a world, a "computer robot" world, is not a world that I, for one, could live in.

Yours, with love, Phil


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An open letter to the delegates of the continuation of the 6th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Bonn, July 18-27, 2001.


Dear Madam or Sir,

During its ten years of existence, the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES)
has been actively engaged in questions of peace and environment. In this letter we bring to your attention a number of points of concern to us.

The Ethics and Science of Climate Change

Humankind is at present conducting a gigantic experiment: What will be the consequences of altering the composition of the atmosphere? Even if there are substantial uncertainties in the detailed effects of increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases, the scientific evidence of what will be the general outcome of the experiment if allowed to continue unabated is unambiguous. This evidence has been spelled out in e.g. the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and no further research is likely to change the general conclusions of that report.

A fundamental ethical dilemma posed by the phenomenon of climate change is that the present generation of decision makers is asked to act in response to a threat that will not seriously affect themselves, but which will have grave impact on the generations of their children and grandchildren. What morals can justify an abandonment of a principle of precaution not to knowingly instigate irreversible changes in the conditions on the planet to the detriment of generations to come?

There are, however, areas where our scientific knowledge is at present insufficient for rational decision making, and in these, research should be vigorously pursued. An example is the quantitative aspects of carbon sinks and reservoirs in living material. It is thus important not to allow the use of additional sink and reservoir activities under Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol until the effects of such use is quantitatively known to a reasonable accuracy.

Climate Change as a Source of Conflicts

Climate change is likely to lead to changing patterns of precipitation resulting in water and food shortages. This, together with rising sea levels, can result in pressures towards mass migration as well as conflicts at all levels, including outright war. Climate policy will thus become an integral part of a policy of peace and security, and conflict prevention will include mitigation of climate change effects as an important component. A policy which would ignore or postpone reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and thus amplify climate change, is highly irresponsible also from the point of view of world peace.

The Plight of the Developing Countries

Due to the long lifetimes of several greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, past emissions are responsible for todays warming. The main responsibility for the problems of climate change today and for many decades to come lies squarely with the developed nations. It is quite correct that the developing countries are exempted from cutting their emissions during the first commitment period. In the long term, we favour a framework of "Contract and Converge," in which the per capita emissions of all countries progressively converge to a level which would give total global emissions that would minimize the risk of irreversible climate change. There are deep ethical questions of international equity involved here, aggravated by the fact that the poorer countries will bear the brunt of the negative impacts of climate change resulting primarily from the actions of richer nations. Mechanisms transferring resources and knowledge from developed to developing countries allowing the latter to achieve a high quality of life using less carbon intensive energy sources are mandatory.

Flexibility Mechanisms and Effects on Economy and Employment

Within a framework of Contract and Converge it would seem that the flexibility mechanisms foreseen in the Kyoto Protocol emissions trading, joint implementation and the clean development mechanism could be useful both for the developed and the developing countries. However, as it is clear that there is a pressing need for real emission reductions in all developed countries, and eventually these have to be far larger than stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period, there must be a limit to the extent to which flexibility mechanisms can be used to offset failure to meet reduction targets.

Fears have been expressed that implementing the Kyoto Protocol would have a negative impact on economy and endanger jobs. In our view, here lies more of an opportunity than a threat. A number of studies have shown that the negative effect on economic growth of a significant programme of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy would be very small and that such a programme would increase employment. Within two decades readily exploitable oil supplies are likely to fall short of potential demand, leading to major price escalation.

Those countries which have adopted vigorous programmes of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are likely to weather such price increases better than countries which have not. Thus in addition to avoiding the potentially huge costs to most countries that would result from unchecked climate change, there are other economic and strategic advantages of early action to reduce fossil fuel use.

Who will provide the leadership?

As scientists and engineers we are deeply disturbed by the possibility that the "greenhouse experiment" will be allowed to continue towards its fatal conclusion. We would have expected the countries which are mostly responsible for starting and maintaining the experiment to provide the leadership for putting an end to this irresponsible behaviour. It is our sincere hope that not all of the developed countries will abandon that responsibility and that the Kyoto Protocol will be implemented as soon as possible in large parts of the world. We know that that would be only the first, but still a very important, real step towards protecting the climate of our planet.

For the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility,
The Executive Committee


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RIO + 10 = Johannesburg


At its Millennium Session in 2000, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to undertake a ten-year review of progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Rio Earth Summit. This review will take place at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2-11 2002 the Johannesburg Summit. However, an important challenge is to ensure that the outcome of the Summit is not limited to a review but leads to new visions, commitments, partnerships and plans for practical implementation to make sustainable development a greater reality at all levels.

As a unique and major feature of the preparations for the Summit, it was agreed that the main issues for the Summit would arise from participatory national and regional assessments and discussions drawing from all segments of society and regions of the world.

The global inter-governmental process, which will involve three preparatory meetings to be held in the first half of 2002, will benefit from Regional Inter-governmental Preparatory meetings ("PrepComs") to be held in all regions in the second half of 2001. In order to support this process and to take advantage of the views of experts, the United Nations is convening independent Regional Roundtables of eminent persons and leaders of civil society in the five regions of the world.

INES, as a UN accredited NGO is invited to participate in the preparations of the conference, in the first place to give input to the text of a conference declaration and to help in further developing that document. The text will be formulated in the time before the Summit and should be accepted at Johannesburg; it then would gain a similar status as the Rio Conference documents. At its meeting in Berlin in May 2001, the INES Council created a working group that will produce an adequate input contribution.

The number of NGOs and other organizations that participate in collecting the material for the document is large and the participants come from various and often opposite parts of the society. It therefore seemed advisable for INES, to combine its effort with some other NGOs with similar opinions. A collaboration has been set up with the Union Network International (UNI) and Friends of the Earth International (FoEI). The first input to the Johannesburg document will be submitted by the collaboration in September 2001. The document will then be discussed and further developed at the Prep Com meetings in 2002.

In its collaboration with other NGOs, INES may bring in specific scientific knowledge and formulate ideas about the role of science and engineering in a sustainable world. INES will also stress the defective implementation of the principles as formulated in the Rio documents. Equally it will insist upon the insertion of several subjects that have been completely or nearly completely omitted in the Rio papers and which are crucial for the establishment of a sustainable society, like peace and conflict, weapon reduction and the negative effects of globalization both in the Northern and Southern parts of the world.

In addition to the PrepCom Conferences and Round Table Meetings organized by the UN, many NGOs and other organizations will arrange workshops and meetings for the preparation of the Summit in the coming months.

For more information or suggestions contact Martin Quick or Joachim Spangenberg: ,

UNI is a new organization that networks existing trade unions with a total membership of 15 millions. Among them is FIET, the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees, to which INES had fruitful connections in the past.


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INES Council Meeting 2001

The INES Council Meeting in Berlin in May 2001 was preceded by a symposium "Rio + 10" which reflected the ten years after the Rio Conference in 1992; it analyzed the achievements and shortcomings of the development. Proceedings of this symposium are available in printed form from the INES Office; moreover they can be found on the website

The discussions in the Council lead to the formation of a working group that will prepare for the next years Summit at Johannesburg. A description of this effort can be found on page 12 of this Newsletter.

A second important item on the Council Meeting agenda was the initiative taken by the INES project group INESAP and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara. A worldwide action will be started to find alternatives to the proposed National Missile Defence project of the United States. See for details on page 6 of the Newsletter.

The Council looked back on the first ten years of INES existence and raised questions about the future. Special attention was devoted to the Africa project, organizing a first conference in Brussels and to the project to construct an Internet site for renewable material resources.


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