Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PENN)
PENN Newsletter No. 8 / July 1999


c/o BITS   Rykestr. 13  D-10405 Berlin    Germany    Phone: +49-30-446858-0      Fax: +49-30-4410221


Dear Friends

The START-II ratification is again on hold in Russia, following NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo conflict. NATO’s Strategy Review revealed no significant changes to the Alliance’s nuclear policies. The NPT-PrepCom in New York resulted in increased criticism of NATO’s nuclear policies. The European Union decided to launch a Common European Security and Defense Policy. And in South Asia the war over Kashmir has led to claims that neither side would refrain from the use of nuclear weapons should they believe there are no other options. Is the window of opportunity for future nuclear disarmament developments already closing? Or is the debate just heating up prior to some serious decision-making? We will see.



NATO’s Next Nuclear Moves

NATO’s Washington Summit Communiqué announced that "In the light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons the Alliance will consider options for confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament. The Council in Permanent Session will propose a process to Ministers in December for considering such options. The responsible NATO bodies would accomplish this."

At a first glance the announcement looks like the awaited commitment to conduct a review of the Alliance’s nuclear policy. Such a review had been unofficially promised to the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, when he withdrew his request for a NATO No-First-Use policy in late 1998. Fischer and his defense colleague, Rudolph Scharping, suggested a broad nuclear review process to all members of the North Atlantic Council in writing in early December last year.

Spring discussions held in NATO’s Nuclear Policy Unit revealed, however, that diverging perspectives exist on both the scope and the timing of the agreed review. While Canada, Germany and other less outspoken countries, opt for a thorough review of all aspects of NATO’s nuclear policy, including NATO’s nuclear strategy and posture, others - notably the nuclear powers - favor a more limited approach, wishing to limit the discussion to proposals for nuclear related CSBMs, arms-control, and most importantly, the Alliance’s non-proliferation and counter-proliferation policies.

While some countries, those concerned about the prospects for next years’ NPT Review Conference, would prefer initial results of the review to be presented during the Alliance’s autumn ministerials, others prefer a much slower path deciding only on the framework for the future review process during NATO’s December meetings.

Divergent perspectives in three areas seem to provide the background:

First, NATO nations are likely to have different perspectives on the urgency and necessity of an Alliance contribution to ensuring the success of the NPT Review Conference taking place in April 2000. Some seem to prefer a last minute move, if necessary. Others seem to prefer the Alliance taking constructive and preventive steps aiming at positively influencing national preparations for the NPT-process.

Second, NATO nations (and some national administrations) appear to have no common position on the future of the nuclear arms control process vis-a-vis Russia. Some favor early moves to get the process going again while others are reluctant and believe that Russia’s weak position means that it make the first move.

Finally, NATO’s members have no common position on whether non-strategic nuclear weapons should play a role in offensive counter-proliferation operations.

The latter is clearly reflected by the Washington Summit results. While NATO’s "Weapons of Mass Destruction Initiative" had been prominent on the US agenda in the run up to the Summit, the Summit Document on the WMD-Initiative was the only planned document not published during the Summit. A national US fact sheet and a paragraph in the Communiqué was all that appeared in public.

While US national policy retains the option of deterring and challenging state and non-state actors believed to own weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by threatening to use nuclear weapons, NATO stops short of this option. The Washington Communiqué states: "The principal non-proliferation goal of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means."

Washington, however, has not yet lost its case within the Alliance. The WMD Initiative commits NATO to "ensure a more vigorous, structured debate at NATO leading to strengthened common understanding among Allies on WMD issues and how to respond to them." The initiative aims at integrating the "political and military aspects of Alliance work in responding to proliferation." Preparations to make a policy shift possible for the Alliance at short notice are underway. NATO’s adaptive nuclear targeting and planning process, as well as the planned WMD-Center in the Alliance’s International Military Staff, are technical arrangements by nature, but are nevertheless capable of contributing to pushing NATO towards the US.

Will NATO redefine the role of nuclear weapons in the Alliance’s policy? Will it move on nuclear disarmament? And if so, when will the Alliance do so? These are still the decisive questions that have not yet been answered. They will continue to be the subject of an ongoing process of intra-Alliance negotiations and arm-twisting. They will also continue to be major issues for PENN’s work and involvement. ON


The Alliance under Pressure: NATO Nuclear Policy at the 1999 NPT PrepCom

The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2000 NPT Review Conference held its third meeting in New York from May 10-21, closely following NATO’s 50th Anniversary Summit. NATO’s Summit was closely watched by all those interested, as NATO’s new Strategic Concept was announced. Unfortunately the new strategy was a disappointment to many, as most of the language on nuclear weapons remained unchanged from the 1991 Strategic Concept. The 1999 Strategic Concept, sees no change to NATO’s controversial policy of nuclear sharing, and nuclear weapons continue to be described as providing ‘an essential political and military link between Europe and the North American members of the Alliance.’ The only positive element was the announcement of a new arms control policy review, which will report initial findings to the North Atlantic Council in December.

Thus for the first time NATO nuclear policies became one of the focal points of the NPT PrepCom, resulting in much criticism. Foremost were questions about the legality of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements. NATO is the only military alliance in which nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states participate together in ‘collective defense planning in nuclear roles, in peacetime basing of nuclear forces on [non-nuclear-weapon state] territory and in command, control and consultation arrangements’. (1999 Strategic Concept, author’s emphasis) This is of concern to the NPT, which all NATO members are states parties to, and which outlaws the transfer of use of nuclear weapons from nuclear weapon states to non-nuclear-weapon states.

During the PrepCom many states spoke out against NATO’s nuclear sharing. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) submitted a working paper which again demanded that "Nuclear-weapon states parties to the NPT refrain from, among themselves, with non-nuclear-weapon states, and with states not party to the Treaty, nuclear sharing for military purposes under any kind of security arrangements." The criticism on nuclear sharing arrangements was also prevalent in many positions from NGOs. (For the statements on behalf of the NGOs made at the PrepCom, see

Many countries also expressed their dissatisfaction on the absence of any real change in NATO’s nuclear posture, or reference to a future commitment to such. Statements in the general debate on the first day criticized NATO directly for not changing its nuclear policy, and later in the meeting Algeria referred to "... the very recent adoption of the [NATO] Strategic Concept which reaffirms the essential importance of nuclear weapons in security and the preservation of peace, contradicting by word and deed the hopes cherished by many countries."

The first draft of the Chairman’s Working Paper distributed on Friday, May 14, 1999 contained a paragraph demanding that non-nuclear weapon states should refrain from nuclear sharing. This language immediately drew sharp criticism from several nuclear and non-nuclear NATO members and was deleted in the revised version, distributed on May 20, 1999. But the new chairman’s working paper contained in its preamble the "affirmation that all the articles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons are binding on all States parties and at all times and in all circumstances." Again, NATO states vetoed the paragraph. (For a more detailed discussion of the outcome of the PrepCom see the Acronym Institute’s web site, http:/ Finally, there was no agreement on either version of the Chairman’s Working Paper, and both versions were simply attached to the Final Report of the PrepCom without a formal status.

The 1999 PrepCom demonstrated a new quality of discussions in the NPT Review Process on NATO nuclear policies. In 1998, NATO states had decided to ignore the criticism launched against NATO. In 1999, this was no longer viable: the quantity and the quality of attacks on NATO nuclear policy made it impossible for most NATO states to ignore them. They responded by pointing to NATO’s substantial nuclear disarmament actions in the early 1990s and arguing that nuclear deterrence is a policy that can help to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. These arguments, however, do not satisfy the majority of NPT states. Their future criticism is likely to depend on the outcome of NATO’s nuclear review which will be available later this year. Either way. NATO’s decision on its future nuclear weapons policy will have a great impact on the stability of the NPT. OM

New Emphasis for European Defense

The development of a Common European Security and Defense Policy (CESD) is coming to the forefront of the European Union’s agenda, representing a significant new component of European Security. At the EU’s Summit in Cologne, in June 1999, the EU member states developed the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy into a Common European Security and Defense Policy. The CESD policy differs from its predecessor to the extent that the EU itself will be given the military means to implement crisis management missions as set out in the ‘Petersburg tasks’. The Western European Union (WEU) will be integrated with the EU in part or in whole. In this article we attempt to anticipate some elements of the future of integrated European defense, discussing some of the core issues.

First a note about the context. Many, but not all, EU members are members of NATO - a collective defense organization - and these same EU members are also members of the WEU which also is a collective defense institution. Thus all WEU members are also members of the EU, but the reverse is not true. There are neutral states in the EU, which are neither members of the WEU nor of NATO, and who do not wish to change this situation. The WEU has a stronger collective defense commitment than that of NATO, compelling member states to respond to an attack on any of its members, rather than in NATO’s case compelling them to consider suitable action. Throughout recent years, the WEU’s links to NATO have increased. NATO’s concept to create a European pillar within the Alliance, labeled European Security and Defense Identity, sought to make NATO military assets available to the WEU to conduct non-NATO crisis-management operations and thus strengthen Europe’s overall contribution to military security. However, independent WEU operations are somewhat hampered by the fact that since its early days the WEU has been committed to not duplicating NATO military structures. Recent WEU-NATO agreements on the Combined Joint Task Forces Concept ensure, that the WEU can undertake military action only after and if North Atlantic Council consent has been reached.

The fundamental theme of the recent EU changes announced at the June Summit is that a non-military organization - the EU - will be given a military component, if not a military wing. The WEU will be absorbed – in part or in full – by the EU. The EU will make full use of the new authority gained under the Amsterdam EU Treaty entering into force and assume responsibility for military crisis-management as described in the "Petersberg Tasks" and until now resting with the WEU. Some tension is likely to arise, not least because of the neutral countries within the EU. Furthermore, in developing military capabilities, several EU members are anxious not to jeopardize their relationship with NATO, although paradoxically Europeans feel that they can strengthen their ties with NATO and the US by becoming more independent. Added to this, an increasing number of EU members feel that they need greater flexibility for responding to events, particularly in the wake of the Kosovo crisis, which emphasized Europe’s dependence on US capabilities and decision-making. For the time being such tensions are not apparent, as the Amsterdam Treaty only tasks the EU with the ‘Petersburg tasks’, i.e. crisis-management, and not with collective defense, which NATO will continue to provide for those countries who are members. This means that the EU is to become Europe’s preferred institution for the most likely military operations - it will perform military crisis-management, either with or without NATO military assets.

Meanwhile the future of the WEU is somewhat unclear, the uncertainty focusses on how far it will be integrated into the EU. The integration process has been steadily progressing for some time. The EU’s 1992 Maastricht Treaty included the commitment to develop the WEU ‘as the defense component of the European Union and as a means to strengthen the European pillar of the Atlantic alliance.’ This was further strengthened in the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, which sought to develop closer relations between the two organizations ‘with a view to the possibility of the integration of the WEU into the Union.’

The prospect of a complete merger of the WEU and the EU is, however, not a foregone conclusion. Some refer to the WEU being completely eliminated by 2000, while others believe it will still exist in 2005 or beyond. Analysis would suggest that it would be logical for the EU to maintain a separate WEU, only partially incorporating it into the EU. Complete submergence of the WEU could ultimately limit the flexibility of security arrangements. Since the WEU is subject to agreements not to duplicate the capabilities of NATO, complete integration with the EU could also limit EU options to develop its military means in the future.

Consequently it does not seem improbable that a separate WEU will remain, and it is possible that the division of labor between the WEU and the EU will be determined by Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, i.e. the article which defines the collective defense of the organization. With the EU being responsible for non-Article V operations and the WEU being maintained for Article V Commitments and cooperation with NATO on non-Article V missions. If this is indeed the outcome, the question remains as to what will be integrated from the WEU into the EU. It will most likely be the assets of the WEU, including the planning staff and the satellite center.

PENN has long argued that the EU will pick up work on defense integration once the Euro has been introduced. The Cologne Summit has reopened the debate on a common European defense. As a first step EU crisis management tasks have been taken up. During the French EU Presidency in the second half of next year, the decision about the future of the WEU will be taken and the scope of the future debate will be shaped.

It is clear that the European developments will have a decisive impact on prospects for future reductions and the final elimination of nuclear weapons. The door to discussing a European Defense has been opened. While a European Collective Defense and Independent European Nuclear Deterrent are still unlikely to appear on the official agenda in the near future, since Cologne it is obvious, that a significant part of the existing distance to entering such a debate has been bridged.. The period before collective defense and a decision on the nuclear status of the EU enteri the stage officially should be used to develop arguments and organize political hurdles against a European deterrent. MB, ON & HW


Pushing EU-Russia Cooperation

The European Union recently took action to enhance and deepen its relations with Russia. The European Council Summit meeting in Cologne on June 3 adopted a "Common Strategy of the European Union on Russia".

The document outlines aims to develop "the strategic partnership between the Union and Russia". The EU recognizes that "the future of Russia is an essential element in the future of the continent and constitutes a strategic interest for the European Union".

Under the heading of cooperation to strengthen stability and security in Europe and beyond and common challenges on the European continent, the document describes several specific initiatives relevant to nuclear policy. It says work will begin by the end of 1999 although some would like to see an earlier start.

The "Common Strategy" is the first ever adopted by the European Union. "Common Strategies" are the newest and most important instrument of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) under the Treaty of Amsterdam, which entered into force in May 1999. In areas covered by Common Strategies the CFSP becomes much more flexible, since decisions for Common Positions and Joint Actions can be taken by qualified majority rather than by unanimous consent. Accordingly, an EU Joint Action on WMD materials, as well as EU programs dealing with Russia’s nuclear waste problems in the North, has become easier to develop and thus more likely to make progress in the near future.



Does Russia Plan to Upgrade its Tactical Nuclear Weapons ?

On April 29 the Kremlin Security Council held a meeting devoted to nuclear weapons. The subject of the secret meeting has been the cause of much rumor and speculation. Here we attempt to make an educated guess as to what the meeting actually agreed. Our analysis is based on some limited and fairly ambiguous remarks made by the Secretary of the Security Council Vladimir Putin after the meeting, and subsequent newspaper reports.

According to the Russian PIR Center Arms Control Letter of June 1999, the meeting might have addressed Russia’s program of subcritical nuclear tests. Last fall Russia carried out five subcritical underground nuclear tests, which US government intelligence analysts supposed could form the basis for an attempt by Moscow to design a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons (TNW). The PIR concludes that Russia will continue its program of subcritical nuclear explosions, which might indeed be used to develop a new generation of nuclear munitions rather than for simply researching the safety and reliability of the existing stockpile.

Based on a statement by Putin right after the meeting which said that one of the approved documents related "not only to the forces of strategic nuclear deterrence but to tactical weapons, too", there has been a lot of speculation about the development and use of a new generation of TNW by Russia.

Unlike strategic nuclear weapons, the reduction in TNW postures has not been subject to a multilateral disarmament treaty since the end of the Cold War. The withdrawal of large numbers of TNW by the USA and Russia is the result of parallel unilateral steps taken under Presidents Bush and Gorbachev. There was, however, only a verbal agreement for made by Presidents Bush and Gorbachev in 1991 in backed up by unilateral announcements and again in 1992, after the dismantlement of the Soviet Union, by President Yeltsin. Moscow claims that all the promised reductions will take place. The West doubts this.

Several articles conclude from Putin’s statements that Russia will abandon the above-mentioned initiatives. The PIR analysis believes that this is not going to happen. "If there is no reservation about the status of these commitments and if there is no statement about refusal to fulfill them, international and unilateral obligations have .. the same legal force. (..) (If) Russia abandoned the 1991 commitments, Vladimir Putin’s words could be treated as cheating the international community. It is doubtful that the Russian political elite is ready for such a fraud in the area of nuclear weapons." In any case, the unilateral agreements do not prohibit the development of a new generation of TNWs in principle. The PIR report concludes that it is most likely that there will be some initial development of a new generation of nuclear munitions with low-yield and super-low yield delivered by strategic carriers.

If this surmise is correct, the April 29 conclusion is the latest in a series of moves which indicate that Russia is set on a path of consolidating its nuclear arsenal, and by now, particularly its TNW. There are many reasons why Russia should seek to rationalise its nuclear arsenals. Several suggestions were made in an article on 6 May in the Russian newspaper Segodnya, Pavel Felgengauer argues that the creation of a new generation of TNW would form part of a program that has long been advocated by Minatom. This program is aimed at creating the right military capabilities for Russia to wage a limited nuclear war, that is, giving Russia the means to be able to hit any part of the world with low-yield and high-precision nuclear weapons. Those warheads would be a thousand times less powerful than a Hiroshima-type-A-bomb. The article claims that there are plans to manufacture up to 10,000 new-generation TNWs, and suggests that Minatom’s goal is to change the role of nuclear weapons. The logic is quite simple: it is argued that nuclear war has become impossible by implication, reducing the deterrent role of nuclear weapons. Felgengauer believes that the West didn’t pay any attention to Moscow’s protest against NATO’s campaign against Yugoslavia because it was understood that "Russia won’t commit ‘nuclear harakiri’ for the sake of Serbia ..." Accordingly, it is thought that a new generation of TNW is needed, which would reinforce deterrence through their reputation as being more usable. So, the article concludes that NATO’s air strikes against Yugoslavia "have, at long last, helped Russia’s Minatom to obtain official permission for implementing it’s plans."

Russia is increasingly seeing nuclear weapons as a means of balancing its relative inferiority in conventional weaponry, thus developing a strategy mirroring the ‘flexible response’ of NATO during the Cold War, which sought to maintain different levels of nuclear response in order to create maximum doubt about the answer to any would-be aggression. In an April 1999 paper entitled ‘NATO expansion and the nuclear reductions process’, Anatoli Diakov and others discuss the role of TNW in Russia further. The paper argues that Russia considers its TNW as having a function as an ‘equalizer’ to NATO’s superiority in conventional weapons. This is illustrated by the situation in the navy; following the 1991 Gorbachev initiative, the navy’s short-range nuclear weapons are now kept in storage facilities. But there is no adequate replacement for them, which leaves the Russian navy vulnerable should it have to counter conventionally armed US carrier battle groups. Furthermore, a number of US TNW can fulfill strategic tasks against Russia, in particular, NATO nuclear bombs based in Europe. In addition, there is concern that NATO enlargement leaves open the possibility that the US nuclear arsenal be moved even closer to the Russian borders; although NATO has announced that it will not deploy nuclear weapons on the territories of new member states, it hasn’t subscribed to a legally binding commitment.

There are also political factors stimulating Russia’s desire to promote its nuclear capabilities. Notable here is the delay in progress with START II ratification, which has now been held up twice by military action, first by the US/UK air strikes against Iraq, and second by the NATO action against Kosovo. Added to this, it is certainly of note that the April 29 council meeting took place just four days after NATO’s 50th Anniversary Summit, where NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept which did not make any significant changes to its previous nuclear policy adopted prior to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and formation of the Russian Federation.

But even though the motivations might be high, it is questionable whether Russia can afford to update its nuclear arsenal, in keeping with a new ‘flexible response’ strategy. Very little is known about Russia’s TNW in the West; indeed it is not even clear to what extent Russians themselves have exact knowledge about the status and numbers of their TNW. The Center of Nonproliferation Studies in Monterrey, California, estimates that 7,740 tactical warheads still exist. But what is clear is that Russia’s nuclear arsenals, including its TNW, are deteriorating fast. In the context of Russia’s debate about the need to maintain credible nuclear forces it is highly questionable whether she really could afford the development and production of a new generation of TNW, let alone pay for the infrastructure for deploying such weapons in a manner similar to NATO’s Cold War ‘flexible response’ strategy.

However, whether or not Russia is able to develop and deploy a new generation of TNW, it is clear that these developments mark a worrying deterioration of US-Russia relations, one consequence of which is a serious new threat to nuclear arms reduction measures and other global arms control efforts many of which were already faltering. Sergei Rogov, director of the USA/Canada Institute in Moscow, can even imagine a total collapse in the bilateral arms control process) in the next two years unless the relations are repaired. RM


PENN Activities at the NATO Summit

NATO’s 50th Anniversary Summit, held during 23-25 April in Washington DC, was a key focus for a number of PENN activities. On April 22, an international conference entitled ‘Securing Peace in Europe’ was held in Washington, DC. The conference, which was co-organized by BITS, BASIC, LAWS and the German Heinrich Böll Foundation, took a critical look at the issues that NATO leaders were to discuss - or in some cases to avoid discussing - in the 50th anniversary summit that followed. The aim was to brief journalists, policy makers, academics and representatives from non-governmental organizations on the issues that were likely to prove controversial at the Summit. The conference attracted a lot of interest.

Among the major topics covered were NATO’s discussions about non-mandated out of area operations, NATO-Russia relations, NATO’s strategy against the FRY and the future role of nuclear weapons in the alliance.

Speakers were invited from a range of countries and included Greek Defense Minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos; Ambassadors Jonathan Dean, James Goodby and Thomas Graham Jr., German journalist Andreas Zumach, Kosovo Albanian writer Dardan Gashi, Dmitri Trenin, the Deputy Director of Carnegie’s Moscow Center, Guido Lenzi, the Director of the WEU-Institute and Jo Husband from the National Academy of Sciences.

During the NATO Summit itself, BASIC, BITS and partners from the network, fielded a formidable international brigade to monitor the proceedings and provide the media with analysis. In light of the paucity of critical viewpoints at the summit, a wide range of international media was eager to hear the voices of our analysts. In terms of media work, BITS, BASIC and the other network members were the only group on-site, providing an in-depth, critical analysis of the summit. BASIC’s web site was consistently updated with the latest from the summit, sometimes providing news quicker than NATO’s official homepage. The summit coverage can still be found under PH&PC


Preparations in The Netherlands for the NATO Summit

In recent months the work of PENN Netherlands (PENN-NL) focused on preparations for the NATO Summit in April. In March the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees of the Dutch parliament held a meeting to debate the upcoming NATO summit, European security policy and Dutch involvement in NATO nuclear policy. PENN-NL was able to insert PENN’s arguments against NATO nuclear policy into the debate, in particular the way it contradicts and undermines the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Interestingly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was unable to give satisfactory replies to these comments and other criticisms. And immediately before our summit conference in Washington, the Minister sent a letter to parliament which described elements of the nuclear paragraphs of NATO’s draft Strategic Concept document, which was in fact agreed on at the summit later in the week.

PENN-NL subsequently strengthened its parliamentary work by organizing a closed seminar at the Institute Clingendael in April, which was attended by representatives from NAC and NATO countries. The seminar comprised discussion of NATO’s nuclear policy and the NPT, and was also attended by a PENN expert and Dutch members of parliament and the non-governmental organization community. KK


PENN at the Hague Appeal for Peace

In May thousands of NGO representatives met in the Hague for a series of events organized under the banner of the Hague Appeal for Peace (HAP). PENN contributed to this, organizing two public events.

The first took place in Utrecht on 10 May 1999 before the start of official HAP activities. Together with the National Working Group India and several church and peace groups PENN-NL held a panel session in Utrecht on the India/Pakistan nuclear arms race. Two experts from the sub-continent, Praful Bidwai and Karamat Ali, gave detailed presentations on the dangers surrounding the regional nuclear arms race. PENN-Netherlands provided political commentary on the relationship between the South Asian nuclear race and NATO nuclear policy.

At the HAP itself, which took place during 11-15 May, PENN organized a seminar on NATO nuclear policy and the NPT. Through its focus on the relationship between NATO and the NPT, the workshop made a unique contribution to the Conference. PENN’s workshop had three speakers: Roland Krueger, the head of NATO’s Nuclear Policy Unit, explained NATO nuclear policy. He was followed by Professor Sohn of the Lawyers Alliance for Security (USA) and Otfried Nassauer (BITS) who provided a criticism of NATO’s current nuclear policies. The discussion between the panelists and the public centered around two questions: The debate about the future role of NATO’s nuclear weapons for European Security and the possibility of further reductions in NATO’s nuclear posture. In addition some people in the audience, who packed the conference room, questioned the participation of Mr Krueger. They saw no reason to give officials, having a duty to defend NATO’s line of thought, an audience at a peace conference organized by the peace movement. PENN opts for a different approach – constructive engagement. However, both approaches are believed to be important in the struggle for nuclear disarmament.

PENN/Netherlands will produce and distribute reports of the public events we (co)organized and also make sure that Dutch activists, opinion makers and politicians are properly informed of the latest developments. KK


Project Italy

Since December 1998, BITS and BASIC have been working to try to extend the influence of the PENN network to Italy. There were two main goals: first to publicize PENN in Italy, facilitating the public and political debates on nuclear weapons there, and second to try to analyze PENN’s research interests from an Italian point of view.

After establishing some initial contacts, BASIC/BITS sent several NGOs some PENN publications. This approach met a real demand; PENN made contact with several groups of scientists concerned with nuclear disarmament, in particular starting to collaborate and exchange information with a non-governmental organization comprising nuclear physicists called "Scientists for Disarmament". However, getting into contact with politicians and other researchers proves more difficult, mostly because disarmament issues are not high on the political agenda at the time, being dwarfed by the Kosovo war and domestic developments.

The project will continue to make use of established contacts for doing research into Italian policy as well as creating awareness for PENN’s topics, such as nuclear sharing within NATO. A change in Italy’s public position towards the future role of NATO nuclear weapons could have substantial impact on NATO’s ongoing debate.




Since 1 March 1999, BITS has been compiling and administering a new electronic network - the NATO Early Warning System (NEWS). This list-server was originally set up to circulate information and analyses to a selected group of experts, decision-makers and journalists in the run-up to the NATO Summit in April 1999, particularly on NATO’s Strategy Review. The aim was to stimulate and enhance debate about the Review, and to make the process more transparent.

To rationalize the important themes, BITS defined ten categories. All the contents of NEWS mailings are organized according to these topics, to ease the reading and final structuring of the material. The topics range from risk perception, out-of-area operations, nuclear weapons, transatlantic relations, and NATO-Russia-relations, through to arms control perspectives etc. Typically a NEWS mailing is sent out every week, containing up to 12 emails, each one covering a separate topic. The first email in each mailing lists the contents of the entire mailing. BITS coordinates NEWS while being supported by colleagues in the PENN and NETS Networks.

So far we have sent out 26 NEWS-Reports, and since 24 March NEWS has been dominated by the war in Kosovo and its implications. Originally it was intended that the service would stop after the NATO Summit in the middle of May, but it has proven so popular that BITS has decided to continue it, at least for another few months. A decision about the future of NEWS is now scheduled for the end of the summer pause.

If you are interested in finding out more about NEWS, have comments about the service, or would like to subscribe to the service, please email your request to GP

No Firm Commitment to NATO-Headquarters

NATO’s bureaucracy had great plans to make itself an expensive birthday present during the April 1999 Washington Summit celebrating NATO’s 50th anniversary: ‘To meet the requirements of the Alliance in the 21st century, we have decided to build a new NATO Headquarters in Brussels’, said the leaked draft for the Summit’s final Declaration. However, NATO leaders eliminated the costly promise from the version finally adopted. ON


But: Firm Commitment to PENN

The W. Alton Jones Foundation has shown a firm commitment to support PENN for the past three years. During the Foundation’s May 1999 board meeting, it was decided to support and strengthen PENN for another year – PENN will get increased funds - 33% more than last year. This is highly welcomed in light of the increase in workload since 1998. ON


20-23 July

first Plenary Meeting of new EP

26 July - 8 September

Geneva, CD in session

3-4 September

Informal Ministerial Foreign Ministers of the EU, Finland



13 Sept - 8 October

Geneva, Ad Hoc Group of States Parties to the BWC in session

1 October

Europe, citizens’ inspections of nuclear weapons installations

1 October

US – Deadline for Pentagon report to Congress assessing the reliability, safety and security of the US nuclear stockpile


PENN conference, Amsterdam in the context of the NAA

11-15 Nov

North Atlantic Assembly, Amsterdam

11-12 Nov

EU Foreign Ministers "Nordic Dimension"-Meeting, Helsinki, discussing environmental problems in the High North

4 Dec.

European Security Meeting as part of the EU Citizens Summit, Helsinki

BITS would like to thank the W. Alton Jones Foundation for its generous support for the PENN program for the fourth year.

ViSdP / Responsibility at BITS: Otfried Nassauer (ON) and authors indicated: Martin Butcher (MB, BASIC); Francesco Casolo (FC); Peter Cross (PC); Paul Hockenos (PH); Karel Koster (KK) – PENN-Netherlande; Oliver Meier (OM) - BITS Geneva; Roman Michaels (RM); Gerhard Piper (GP); Henrietta Wilson (HW).

ISSN 1434-4262