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Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty Chronology

For information on National Missile Defense please refer to the Ballistic Missile Defense Page


1967 -- June 23 U.S.-SOVIET SUMMIT At a summit meeting in Glassboro, New Jersey, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara discuss with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin the relationship between the deployment of strategic defenses and the size of offensive arsenals. The United States proposes the adoption of strict limits on strategic anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems, a suggestion rejected by the Soviet premier.

1967 -- September 18 SENTINEL DECISION Secretary McNamara announces the U.S. decision to deploy a "thin" national ABM system, named Sentinel, to defend its population against an accidental Soviet missile launch or a limited Chinese long-range ballistic missile attack.


1969 -- March 14 SAFEGUARD DECISION U.S. President Richard Nixon announces the Safeguard system, a re-orientation of the Sentinel missile defense program from a thin population defense to a system to protect "our land-based retaliatory forces against a direct attack by the Soviet Union."

1969 -- November 17 SALT I TALKS The United States and the Soviet Union begin the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) on limiting both ABM defensive systems and strategic nuclear offensive systems.


1972 -- May 26 CONCLUSION OF SALT I TREATIES President Nixon and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev sign two basic SALT I documents in Moscow:

  • An Interim Agreement limiting strategic offensive weapons.

  • The ABM Treaty, limiting strategic defensive systems.

The ABM Treaty constrains strategic defenses to a total of 200 launchers and interceptors, 100 at each of two widely separated deployment areas. These restrictions are intended to prevent the establishment of a nationwide defense or the creation of a base for deploying such a defense. The treaty also codifies the principle of "non-interference" by one party with the national technical means of verification of the other, thereby protecting the right of overflight by reconnaissance satellites. In addition, the ABM Treaty establishes the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) to handle treaty-related compliance and implementation issues.


1974 -- July 3 ABM TREATY PROTOCOL The United States and the Soviet Union sign a protocol reducing the number of ABM deployment areas permitted to each side from two to one, and the number of ABM launchers and interceptors from 200 to 100.


1975-1976 SAFEGUARD SYSTEM A single U.S. Safeguard ABM deployment site with 100 launchers and interceptors and associated radars is completed at Grand Forks, North Dakota. High operating costs and limited capabilities lead to a decision to deactivate the site in 1976. The main radar at Grand Forks becomes part of the North American Air Defense Command missile early warning system.


1978 -- November 1 ABM AGREED STATEMENT The SCC concludes an Agreed Statement to the ABM Treaty to establish rules for the use of air defense radars at ABM test ranges and to clarify the meaning of the term "tested in an ABM mode." Under this statement, an interceptor missile is deemed tested in an ABM mode if it has attempted to intercept a strategic ballistic missile or its elements (i.e., reentry vehicles) in flight trajectory.


1983 -- March 23 U.S. STRATEGIC DEFENSE INITIATIVE In an address to the nation, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announces his intention to commit the United States to a research program, "consistent with our obligations under the ABM Treaty," that will study the feasibility of defensive measures against ballistic missiles to maintain the peace. The program comes to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). President Reagan expresses his desire to find "the means of rendering... nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete." He calls for "a long-term research and development program to begin to achieve our ultimate goal of eliminating the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles."

1983 -- July/August KRASNOYARSK RADAR The United States reveals that it has detected a large early warning radar under construction near the city of Krasnoyarsk in the Soviet Union. This installation is roughly 800 kilometers from the nearest border and thus in violation of the ABM Treaty (which requires that all such radars be located on a nation's periphery and oriented outward). The United States raises the issue of the Krasnoyarsk radar in the fall 1983 SCC session.


1984 -- January 23 PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON SOVIET NON-COMPLIANCE The Reagan administration issues the first of a series of reports on Soviet non-compliance with arms control agreements. This report deems the Krasnoyarsk radar an outright violation of the ABM Treaty.


1985 -- March 12 NUCLEAR AND SPACE TALKS OPEN The United States and the Soviet Union begin the Nuclear and Space Talks (NST) in Geneva. In the Defense and Space Talks (DST) portion of the NST, the United States seeks to discuss a transition from deterrence based solely on the threat of nuclear retaliation to increased reliance on defenses, either ground- or space-based, against ballistic missiles.

The Soviet Union, in response to the U.S. SDI program, seeks a comprehensive ban on research, development, testing, and deployment of "space-strike arms."

1985 -- October 6 U.S. "BROAD" INTERPRETATION OF ABM TREATY U.S. National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane introduces a new, "broad" interpretation of the ABM Treaty on national television. Under the "broad" interpretation, space-based and mobile ABM systems and components that are based on "other physical principles" (i.e., lasers, particle beams) may be developed and tested but not deployed. Under the traditional, or "narrow," interpretation of the treaty, the development and testing, but not the deployment, of ABM systems based on other physical principles are allowed only for fixed, land-based systems and components.

1985 -- October 11 U.S. POSITION ON ABM TREATY President Reagan determines that the "broad" interpretation of the ABM Treaty is fully justified. However, the president directs that, as a matter of policy, the SDI program will continue to be conducted according to its more restrictive interpretation.

1985 -- November 1 U.S. DST PROPOSAL The United States tables a proposal at the DST with the following major provisions:

  • A commitment to jointly explore how a cooperative transition could be accomplished should new defensive technologies prove possible.
  • An "open laboratories" arrangement under which both sides would provide information on each other's strategic defense research programs and provide for visits to associated laboratories.

1986 -- October 11-12 REYKJAVIK SUMMIT At a meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev nearly agree to significant reductions of offensive ballistic missiles. Sharp differences over SDI, however, prevent a settlement. In response to a Soviet proposal that the United States provide a 10-year commitment not to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, the United States offers to accept such a commitment until 1996 contingent upon:

  • A 50 percent reduction in the strategic offensive forces of the United States and the Soviet Union by 1991.
  • Elimination by 1996 of all U.S. and Soviet offensive ballistic missiles.
  • Agreement that either side could deploy advanced strategic defenses after 1996 unless both sides agreed otherwise.
In conjunction with a commitment to abide by the ABM Treaty, General Secretary Gorbachev seeks to ban the testing of space-based "elements" of a missile defense system outside of laboratories. President Reagan rejects this proposal because of its potential impact on the SDI program.


1987 -- April 15 NEW U.S. DST PROPOSAL During meetings with General Secretary Gorbachev and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz makes a new U.S. DST proposal:

  • Both the United States and the Soviet Union would commit through 1994 not to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.
  • This commitment would be contingent on the implementation of agreed Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) reductions.
  • After 1994, either side could deploy defensive systems of its choosing, unless mutually agreed otherwise.
The United States also proposes that both sides annually exchange data on their planned strategic defense activities, provide reciprocal briefings on their respective strategic defense efforts, permit visits to associated research facilities, and agree to procedures for reciprocal observation of strategic defense testing.

1987 -- December 7-10 WASHINGTON SUMMIT At a summit meeting in Washington, President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev agree to seek an agreement on the DST that would require both nations to observe the ABM Treaty, as signed in 1972, while conducting research, development, and testing as required, which are permitted by the ABM Treaty, and not to withdraw from the ABM Treaty for a specified period of time for the purpose of deploying advanced defenses.


1988 -- January 22 DRAFT U.S. DEFENSE AND SPACE TREATY The United States tables a draft DST treaty that includes the following provisions:
  • Entry into force contingent upon entry into force of START.
  • Unlimited duration, with a "specified period" of non-withdrawal from the ABM Treaty to be negotiated.
  • Continued observance of the ABM Treaty through that period.
  • After the "specified period," either party is free to choose its own course of action, including deployment of strategic missile defenses that are prohibited by the ABM Treaty, upon six months' written notice of its intention to do so.

1988 -- March 17 DRAFT U.S. PREDICTABILITY PROTOCOL The United States proposes a draft Predictability Protocol to the draft DST treaty. The protocol includes provisions for:

  • An annual exchange of programmatic data on planned strategic defense activities.
  • Annual meetings of experts to review the data exchanged and plan further measures, cited below:
  • Reciprocal briefings on strategic defense efforts;
  • Reciprocal visits to associated research facilities; and
  • Reciprocal observations of strategic defense tests.

1988 -- March 22-23 U.S. PROPOSAL ON SENSORS At a Washington meeting of Secretary Shultz and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze, the United States presents a new initiative that would permit the development, testing, or deployment of space-based sensors without restriction.

1988 -- August 31 U.S. STATEMENT ON ABM TREATY REVIEW CONFERENCE In a unilateral statement following the Third U.S.-Soviet Review Conference on the ABM Treaty, the United States states that: "Since the Soviet Union was not prepared to satisfy U.S. concerns with respect to the Krasnoyarsk radar violation...the United States will have to consider declaring this continuing violation a material breach of the treaty. In this connection, the United States reserves all its rights, consistent with international law, to take appropriate and proportionate responses in the future."


1989 -- February 9 PRESIDENT BUSH ON SDI: President George Bush announces in an address to a Joint Session of Congress that he will "vigorously pursue" the Strategic Defense Initiative.

1989 -- September 22-23 WYOMING MINISTERIAL During two days of meetings between U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze in the state of Wyoming, progress is made in several areas:

  • The Soviet Union drops its linkage between achieving a DST agreement on the future of ABM systems and completing and implementing START. The Soviet Union indicates, however, that it reserves the right to withdraw from the START treaty if the United States does not abide by the ABM Treaty.
  • The Soviet Union agrees to eliminate its illegal radar at Krasnoyarsk without preconditions -- a long-standing U.S. requirement for the signing of any strategic arms control treaty.
  • Secretary Baker invites Soviet experts to visit two U.S. laboratories involved in SDI research.

1989 -- October 23 SOVIET RE-PLEDGE TO DISMANTLE RADAR In a speech to the Soviet Parliament, Foreign Minister Shevardnadze acknowledges that the Krasnoyarsk radar is a violation of the ABM Treaty and repeats the pledge to dismantle the installation.


1990 -- March-April U.S. PREDICTABILITY INITIATIVES The United States proposes an executive agreement, not tied to the ABM Treaty, on predictability measures in the field of strategic missile defense. The proposal, which is designed to build confidence, would involve the exchange of data on defensive programs, meetings of experts, briefings, visits to laboratories, observations of tests, and notifications of ABM tests.


1991 -- January 29 GLOBAL PROTECTION AGAINST LIMITED STRIKES In his State of the Union address, President Bush announces a change in the mission of the SDI program from defense against a large-scale ballistic missile attack to "providing protection against limited ballistic missile strikes -- whatever their source." The new Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS) program would include some 1,000 space-based "Brilliant Pebbles" interceptors, 750 to 1,000 long-range ground-based interceptors at six sites, space-based and mobile sensors, and transportable theater ballistic missile defenses.

1991 -- June 13 U.S. AND SOVIET UNILATERAL STATEMENTS AT START The Soviet Union makes a formal, unilateral statement that START "may be effective and viable only under conditions of compliance" with the ABM Treaty. The United States replies, in a formal unilateral statement, that "changes in the ABM Treaty agreed to by the parties would not be a basis for questioning the effectiveness or viability" of the START Treaty.

1991 -- September 27 CALL FOR AGREEMENT ON GPALS President Bush announces unilateral cuts in U.S. tactical nuclear weapons and calls upon the Soviet leadership "to join us in taking immediate concrete steps to permit the limited deployment of non-nuclear defenses to protect against limited ballistic missile strikes -- whatever their source -- without undermining the credibility of existing deterrent forces" (see section 5, September 27, 1991).

1991 -- October 3 NEW U.S. GPALS PROPOSAL The United States tables a new proposal in the DST indicating it is "prepared to discuss specific limits on the scope and timing of defense deployments" to permit the United States and the Soviet Union to implement GPALS while retaining confidence in each side's deterrent offensive forces.


1992 -- January 13 RUSSIAN SUCCESSION Russia announces its succession to the Soviet Union in all treaties.

1992 -- January 28 PROTECTION AGAINST ATTACK President Bush, in his annual State of the Union address, calls for congressional support "in funding a program to protect our country from limited ballistic missile attack."

1992 -- January 31 RUSSIAN PROPOSAL FOR JOINT GLOBAL DEFENSE SYSTEM Russian President Boris Yeltsin, in an address to the United Nations Security Council, reaffirms Russia's "allegiance" to the ABM Treaty, calling it "an important factor in maintaining strategic stability in the world." He proposes elimination of existing anti-satellite (ASAT) programs and suggests a ban on weapons especially designed to destroy satellites. President Yeltsin also announces that Russia is "ready to develop, then create and jointly operate, a global defense system instead of the SDI system." President Yeltsin says he is calling for the United States and Russia "to jointly devise a global system for protection from space," while both sides continue to "faithfully observe...all of the provisions" of the ABM Treaty.

1992 -- June 17 WASHINGTON SUMMIT DECLARATION At a summit meeting in Washington, the United States and Russia agree to create "a high-level group to explore on a priority basis" the concept of a Global Protection System (GPS). The group will discuss:

  • "The potential for sharing of early warning information through the establishment of an early warning center.
  • "The potential for cooperation with participating states in developing ballistic missile defense capabilities and technologies.
  • The development of a legal basis for cooperation, including new treaties and agreements and possible changes to existing treaties and agreements necessary to implement a GPS."

1992 -- September 21-22 SECOND U.S.-RUSSIAN GPS MEETING At the second U.S.-Russian meeting on GPS after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States tables a protocol to the ABM Treaty that would:

  • Permit six sites with 150 interceptors each.
  • Permit unlimited ABM development and testing.
  • Permit unlimited space-based sensor development and testing.
  • Redefine "testing in an ABM mode" to permit more capable theater ballistic missile defenses.
  • Permit the transfer of ABM systems to other states.
The protocol would last for 10 years, at which time either side would be free to deploy space-based defenses.

1992 -- October 9 BISHKEK AGREEMENT At Bishkek, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) sign an agreement pledging to support and implement the ABM Treaty.

1992 -- November 3 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION During his campaign for the U.S. presidency, Bill Clinton renounces the goal of a space-based defense system and supports the development of an option for "a limited missile defense system within the strict framework" of the ABM Treaty. Clinton, who is elected president on November 3, also supports the development and deployment of theater missile defense (TMD) systems "to protect our troops from short- and medium-range missiles."


1993 -- July 13 U.S. "NARROW" INTERPRETATION OF ABM TREATY A senior U.S. government official informs the Congress that "it is the position of the Clinton administration that the 'narrow,' or 'traditional,' interpretation of the ABM Treaty is the correct interpretation and, therefore, that the ABM Treaty prohibits the development, testing, and deployment of sea-based, air-based, space-based, and mobile land-based ABM systems and components without regard to technology utilized" (see October 6, 1985).

1993 -- September 27-October 1 FOURTH ABM TREATY REVIEW The fourth ABM Treaty Review Conference reaffirms the parties' "commitment to the ABM Treaty" and the importance of "maintaining the viability of the treaty in view of political and technological changes." The review also discusses the issue of state succession to the agreement in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

1993 -- November 29-October 3 U.S. PROPOSED ABM TREATY "CLARIFICATION" The United States presents a proposed ABM Treaty "clarification" to establish guidelines for deployment of theater missile defense systems, which are permitted by the ABM Treaty. The United States proposes to define a TMD interceptor as one with a demonstrated capability to intercept a ballistic missile whose reentry vehicle velocity does not exceed 5 kilometers/second, roughly the reentry speed of a warhead on a 3,500-kilometer range missile. The Clinton administration also formally withdraws the revisions to the ABM Treaty put forward by the Bush administration in September 1992 and agrees to multilateralize the treaty.


1994 -- January 24-February 4 RUSSIAN PROPOSAL FOR TMD INTERCEPTOR VELOCITY LIMITS Russia proposes that, in addition to placing limits on the speed of target vehicles, TMD interceptors themselves be limited to a velocity of 3 kilometers/second. This speed limit would permit deployment of the U.S. Army ground-based Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and Navy lower-tier defenses, but would not permit the deployment of higher-speed systems such as the Navy upper-tier or the Air Force air-launched boost-phase intercept system. The United States rejects the proposal.

1994 -- July 11-13 U.S. PROPOSAL ON TMD INTERCEPTOR SPEED LIMITS In high-level talks with Russia on ABM Treaty clarification, the United States proposes a speed limit of 3 kilometers/second for land-based interceptors, 4.5 kilometers/second for sea-based interceptors, and 5.5 kilometers/second for air- based interceptors.

1994 -- August RUSSIAN RESPONSE ON TMD INTERCEPTOR SPEED LIMITS Russia accepts a 3-kilometer/second speed limit for TMD interceptors in all basing modes, but seeks to restrict higher-speed TMD interceptors to the test phase. Deployment of higher-speed TMD interceptors would be subject to further negotiation.

1994 -- September 27 "CONTRACT WITH AMERICA" In their "Contract With America" pre-congressional election platform, 350 Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives pledge to deploy both ABM and TMD systems.

1994 -- September 28 WASHINGTON SUMMIT At a summit meeting in Washington, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin issue a joint statement noting that they have "agreed on the fundamental importance of preserving the viability and integrity of the ABM Treaty." The two presidents also note that "[b]oth sides have an interest in developing and fielding effective theater missile defense systems on a cooperative basis. The presidents agreed that the two sides will conduct a joint exercise of theater missile defenses and early warning. This exercise would contribute to providing a basis for U.S. and Russian forces to operate together, for example, in peacekeeping operations."

1994 -- October 10 DEFERRAL OF DISCUSSIONS ON HIGHER-SPEED TMD Russia proposes to defer discussions on testing or deployment of TMD systems with interceptor velocities above 3 kilometers/second.


1995 -- April 12 U.S. NAVY UPPER-TIER COMPLIANCE REPORT A U.S. Department of Defense ABM Treaty compliance report to Congress concludes that, because the system "does not have capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles" and assuming it will not be "tested in an ABM mode," deployment of the Navy's upper-tier missile defense system would be permitted under the ABM Treaty.

1995 -- April 21 FIRST THAAD FLIGHT TEST The first flight test of the U.S. Army THAAD TMD interceptor takes place at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

1995 -- May 9-10 U.S.-RUSSIAN SUMMIT STATEMENT At a summit meeting in Moscow, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin endorse a set of principles for negotiations on TMD. They agree that "theater missile defense systems may be deployed by each side which (1) will not pose a realistic threat to the strategic nuclear force of the other side and (2) will not be tested to give such systems that capability."

These agreed principles mean that the ABM Treaty "does not apply to theater missile defense systems that may simply have a theoretical capability against some strategic missiles but which would not be militarily significant in the context of operational considerations."

In addition, the two presidents agree that "theater missile defense systems will not be deployed by the sides for use against each other," and that "the scale of deployment -- in number and geographic scope -- of theater missile defense systems by either side will be consistent with theater missile defense programs confronting that side."

The two presidents "under[take] to promote reciprocal openness in activities of the sides in theater missile defense systems and in the exchange of corresponding information" and "confirmed the interests of the sides in the development and fielding of effective TMD systems on a cooperative basis."

1995 -- November 17 AGREED FRAMEWORK FOR ABM-TMD DEMARCATION The United States and Russia agree on a framework for negotiating a demarcation line between ABM and TMD systems:

  • "Ballistic target missiles, against which theater missile defenses (TMD) systems are tested, will have a maximum range of no more than 3,500 kilometers and a maximum flight velocity of no more than 5 kilometers/second.
  • "All TMD systems with a demonstrated interceptor velocity of 3 kilometers/second or less and tested as above are compliant with the ABM Treaty.
  • "The sides will implement, on a reciprocal basis," a series of "confidence-building measures regarding TMD systems and components..." to include reciprocal exchanges of information and notification of tests.

The United States makes clear that, "with respect to those TMD systems with higher velocity interceptors, the status quo continues, which is to say that the United States will make compliance determinations based on the relevant provisions of the ABM Treaty."


1996 -- March 6 REORIENTED U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAM The Clinton administration announces a reoriented missile defense program that emphasizes those TMD systems intended to counter the existing short-range missile threat and defers deployment decisions on the most advanced TMD systems (THAAD and the Navy upper-tier) until after the year 2000. The administration also announces its plan to begin a national missile defense (NMD) "3-plus-3" program. This calls for the development over the next three years of the basic elements of an NMD that could be deployed in three more years if a threat emerges that would justify such a decision.

1996 -- April 21 MOSCOW SUMMIT At the Moscow G-7 meeting and bilateral summit, President Clinton announces "important progress" on the TMD demarcation issue. Negotiations in the Standing Consultative Committee (ABM Treaty) will resume in May with the aim of completing by June a first-phase demarcation agreement pertaining to systems with interceptor speeds up to 3 kilometers/second. A follow-on agreement on higher-speed systems is to be concluded by October.

1996 -- June 24 INITIAL TMD DEMARCATION AGREEMENT The United States and Russia conclude "an initial agreement distinguishing between defenses against strategic ballistic missiles [ABM systems]...and certain defenses against non-strategic ballistic missiles, i.e., so-called 'lower-velocity' theater missile defenses (TMD). This agreement will make clear that all TMD systems with interceptor velocities up to and including 3 kilometers/second are permitted under the ABM Treaty, so long as they are not tested against target missiles with velocities above 5 kilometers/second or ranges greater than 3,500 kilometers. The sides will continue discussions on demarcation of higher-velocity TMD systems."

1996 -- September 23 U.S.-RUSSIA BILATERAL MEETING At a bilateral meeting in New York between U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, the two issue a statement in which they reaffirm their commitment to the preliminary phase-one "demarcation" agreement on lower-velocity TMD systems. The two further announce agreement that the SCC will reconvene October 7 in order to get phase- one documents ready for signature and begin the phase-two negotiations on higher-velocity TMD systems.

1996 -- October 31 CANCELLATION OF SIGNING CEREMONY A signing ceremony scheduled to take place between U.S. Under Secretary of State Lynn Davis and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgi Mamedov for the already completed "first-phase" demarcation agreement pertaining to lower-velocity TMD systems is cancelled at the last minute, with both sides blaming the other for the delay. Russia refuses to sign and allow entry into force of the first-phase agreement without a second-phase agreement on more capable systems. The United States refuses to link the two agreements and cancels the signing.


1997 -- January 21 NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE ACT OF 1997 U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and 25 co-sponsors introduce the "National Missile Defense Act of 1997," requiring the United States to deploy a national missile defense system by the end of the year 2003; this differs from the Clinton administration's "3-plus-3" program, which requires the United States to develop an NMD system by 2000, at which point all ballistic missile threats to the United States will be evaluated and a determination will be made as to whether or not such a system should be deployed by 2003. The Bill made it out of the Senate Armed Services Committee on 24 April 1997 on a party line vote of 10 to 8. However, not further action was taken on the bill. On the same day, Senator Richard Lugar introduces the "Defend the United States of America Act of 1997," which requires the United States to develop an NMD system capable of being deployed by the end of 2003 with a congressional vote in 2000 to determine whether or not to deploy such a system.

1997 -- March 21 JOINT STATEMENT CONCERNING ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY At the Helsinki Summit, Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin issue a Joint Statement Concerning the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in which they:

  • Reaffirm the principles of the May 10, 1995, Presidential Joint Statement.
  • Reaffirm agreement on phase one of the ABM/TMD Demarcation agreement achieved at the SCC.
  • Articulate the four elements that will make up phase two of the ABM/TMD Demarcation agreement:
    • Limitation of the velocity of ballistic target missiles to 5 kilometers/second;
    • Limitation of the flight range of ballistic missile target missiles to 3,500 kilometers;
    • No development, testing, or deployment of space-based TMD interceptors or components based on alternative technologies that could substitute for space- based TMD interceptors;
    • Annual exchange of detailed information on TMD plans and programs.

      The accord also includes a series of "no plan" statements/commitment and agreement that "any questions or concerns either side may have regarding TMD activities," including matters that fall under phase two of the ABM/TMD Demarcation agreement, are to be raised and dealt with at the SCC.

May 1997: President Clinton agrees to submitt, but never actually does, the Memorandum of Understanding that identified the U.S., Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine as parties to the 1972 ABM Treaty. (As of December of 2001 the United States has not ratified this MOU).

26 September 1997: Russian Federation and the United States sign a wide range of documents modifying the AMB Treaty and the U.S. develops the "3+3 Policy.

  1. a memorandum of understanding on "multilateralization" specifying that Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan will jointly succeed the Soviet Union as parties to the treaty
  2. a first agreed statement, or "low-speed agreement," covering theater defenses whose interceptors have speeds of 3 km/sec or lower
  3. a second agreed statement, or "high-speed agreement," covering theater defenses with interceptors faster than 3 km/sec
  4. an agreement on confidence-building measures


14 October 1998: Fifth review conference on the ABM Treaty is completed in Geneva, Switzerland. The conferees, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States of America, "agreed that the Treaty continues to operate effectively and reaffirmed the fundamental importance of the Treaty, as a cornerstone of strategic stability, for strengthening international security and for promoting the process of further reductions in strategic offensive arms.


January 1999: President Clinton approached Russian President Yeltsin with a request to modify the ABM Treaty to allow the U.S. to deploy a limited National Missile Defense. This system was stated to only protect the U.S. from potential nuclear proliferators.

June 1999: President Clinton and President Yeltsin meet in Cologne for discussions on the ABM and START III.

23 July 1999: President Clinton Signs the Missile Defense Act of 1999 which puts the U.S. on course to deploy a missile defense system.


19 January 2000: American comments on the Russian-American consulation that took place on January 19-21 in Geneva on the Start-3 Treaty and the ABM Treaty - "We are ready to work with Russia to achieve confidence in the capabilities of a limited NMD system to counter extremist rogue states and to develop revisions to the ABM treaty."

Russian comments - "We can reach agreement. Our own strategy with regard to nonproliferation of missile technologies includes three elements: first, we are trying to prevent the danger from arising, although if it does, we want to be ready to deter it or, if this is impossible, to be ready to protect ourselves against it. We think that each of these elements complements the others."

6 September 2000, President Clinton decides to leave the decision on deployment of a missile defense system to the next American President (George Bush).

3 March 2000: Presentation by the Honorable John D. Holum Senior Adviser for Arms Control and International Security on National Missile Defense and the ABM Treaty. Any amendments to the ABM Treaty will require the cooperationa and support of the Russian Federation.

6 September 2000: President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States of America and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation met today in New York and agreed on a Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative as a constructive basis for strengthening trust between the two sides and for further development of agreed measures to enhance strategic stability and to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles and missile technologies worldwide.


July 2001: Presidents Bush and Putin meet in Genoa to discuss ABM and strategic force reductions.

August 2001: Russian First Deputy Chief of Staff of the General Staff Yuri Baluevski comes to the United States to discuss amendments to the ABM. Reports indicated that the Russians would accept agreements that woudl allow certain types of missile tests, but not the right to approve the tests. Indications are that the U.S. position would be one where the amendments to the ABM would likely only keep the ABM Treaty in existency by name only.

1 May 2001: President Bush gives a speech at National Defense University arguing that "...we must move beyond the constraints of the 30-year-old ABM Treaty..."

13-15 November 2001: President Bush and President Putin meet in Crawford, Tx and Washington, D.C. Both announce unilateral reductions in their strategic arms, but no deal on amending the ABM Treaty to allow U.S. testing or deployment is reached.

13 December 2001: President Bush submitts formal intent to leave the ABM Treaty to the Russian Federation. The U.S. will have the option to withdraw from the treaty in six months on 13 June 2002. President Putin gives a critical, but muted response to President Bush's announcement calling the U.S. decision "a mistake."


13 June 2002: The unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the ABM Treaty comes into effect.

14 June 2002: In response to the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the Russian Federation announces it is no longer going to abide by the terms of START II.

Please refer to the news section for more information on how U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty has affected bilateral arms control with the Russian Federation.

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