|Büchel AB, GE||JaboG 33||11||44||20||GEAF-Tornado IDS; 702nd (formerly 852nd) MUNSS|
|Ramstein AB, GE||86th AW||54||216||max.130||86th Operational Group; 37th AS, probably serving as a European PNAF; one additional training vault|
|Spangdahlem AB, GE||52nd TFW||0||0||0||38th MMG, unit superior to all MUNSS units; home of USAF F-16s|
|Nörvenich AB, GE *||JaboG 31||11||44||0||604th MUNSS deactivated in 1996; weapons removed in late 1995|
|Ghedi Torre AB, IT||6th Wing Stormo||11||44||40||ITAF Tornado-IDS; 704th (formerly 831st) MUNSS|
|Aviano AB, IT||31st FW||18||72||50||USAF-F16s|
|Kleine Brogel AB, BE||10th Wing||11||44||20||BEAF F-16 aircraft; 701st (formerly 52nd) MUNSS|
|Volkel AB, NL||311 & 312 Sq||11||44||20||NLAF F-16 aircraft; 703rd (formerly 752nd) MUNSS|
|Lakenheath AB, UK||48th FW||33||132||110||USAF-F15E aircraft|
|Araxos AB, GR*||116th Wing||6||24||0||731st MUNSS deactivated in 2001; A-7 Corsair aircraft|
|Incirlik AB, TR||39th Wing||25||100||90||USAF F-16 aircraft|
|Akinci / Murted AB, TR*||4th Wing||6||24||0||739th MUNSS deactivated in 1996; vaults never became active; TRAF F-16 aircraft|
|Balikeshir AB, TR *||9th Wing||6||24||0||39th MUNSS deactivated in 1996; vaults never became active; TRAF F-16 aircraft|
* Operated under caretaker status.
Since President Clintons authorization Greece withdrew its A-7 aircraft from their nuclear role in NATO during 2001, probably for reasons of their age. Consequently the deployment of nuclear weapons and a MUNSS at Araxos AB was ended in 2001.
On May 22nd, 2005 Der Spiegel" reported that all nuclear weapons had been temporarily removed from Ramstein-Airbase for safety and security reasons. Indeed, Ramstein AB is currently undergoing major construction work, since all USAF functions at Rhein-Main AB are to be relocated to Ramstein and Spangdahlem. The article assumes, that the nuclear weapons at Ramstein were relocated to the U.S. and are scheduled to return once the construction at Ramstein will be finished by the end of 2005. This is likely to be correct, although a final proof is still missing. During spring 2004 Ramstein AB hosted visits by significant numbers of C-17A aircraft from the USAFs Primary Nuclear Airlift Force, which during peacetime is responsible for airlifting nuclear weapons. Moreover, during June 2003, a joint UK-U.S. nuclear weapons accident exercise (Dimming Sun 2003) was held in England. The exercise simulated the crash of a C-17A aircraft en route from Ramstein AB to Kirtland AFB in New Mexico, which hosts one of the two continental U.S. B-61 storage sites. The aircraft was loaded with four (unarmed) B-61 nuclear bombs. The purpose of the exercise was to test emergency response capabilities and procedures.
The assumption, that the Ramstein weapons were moved to the U.S., is probably also correct. No other single European base would have had sufficient storage space in its WS3 vaults to accommodate the weapons from Ramstein, which is Europes largest depot. Even if relocated to all other existing operational nuclear weapons storage sites in Europe the Ramstein weapons would have occupied nearly all the free space still available in their WS3-vaults.
WS3 vaults are underground safety magazines, which have been built into the floor of Protective Aircraft Shelters on all the European airbases listed. Each vault can hold up to four weapons and serves as a "safe heaven" for them, even allowing for remote monitoring of the weapons. All nuclear weapons permanently deployed outside of the U.S. are deployed in WS3 vaults. In Europe no other nuclear weapons storage sites have been kept operational after the end of the Cold War.
Thus, as an interim solution, while the Ramstein weapons are awaiting their return, about 350 nuclear free-fall bombs are likely to be actually deployed in Europe these days. However, in May 2004 U.S. President Georg W. Bush signed the National Security Presidential Decision NSPD 35, which authorizes the details of future nuclear weapons deployments in Europe. Nothing is yet known about the content of this document or any changes it may have initiated. While theoretically changes to the numbers authorized for Europe might have been ordered, NATOs most recent description of the Alliances nuclear posture does not indicate any change.
Background 2: Criticism of NATO Nuclear Sharing
The majority of the NPT signatories regards the concept of nuclear sharing as a violation of the treaty. Since 1998 more than hundred states co-operating in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) repeatedly have called on the NATO states to give up this policy. In a working paper from 1998 they proposed for the first time, that the state parties to the NPT should reaffirm their commitments to implement Article I and II of the treaty to the fullest:
"Nuclear-weapon states parties to the NPT reaffirm their commitment to the fullest implementation of this Article and to 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." During the NPT Review Conference which ended on May 27, 2005 in New York they reiterated this position. "Nuclear-weapon States, in cooperation among themselves and with non-nuclear weapon States, and with States not Parties to the Treaty, must refrain from nuclear sharing for military purposes under any kind of security arrangements", said Syed Hamid Albar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia on behalf of the Non-Aligned States. Ahmed Fathalla, the Head of the Egyptian Delegation added that "( ) assessing compliance with articles I & II compels us during this conference to review the policies and doctrines of some military alliances, such as "nuclear sharing" in order to determine whether they conform with the obligations of states under the NPT or not."
Article I and II of the NPT reads:
Despite the NAM criticism, NATO still believes its nuclear sharing arrangements to be in full compliance with the treaty. In an outspoken statement, U.S. Secretary of State Albright argued in 1997, that neither the technical dimension of nuclear sharing nor nuclear consultations in NATO violate the rules of the NPT in any way.
"This question of NPT Article I and its impact on NATO nuclear forces was debated at length during the negotiation of the NPT. All concerned accepted that the final language of Article I would not preclude the type of nuclear planning, basing, and consultative arrangements that have taken place in NATO since NPT entry-into-force in 1970."
This position, stating that the practice of nuclear sharing is entirely in compliance with the NPT and even more - that this was accepted by all state parties during the negotiations leading to the NPT, raises serious doubts. Most members of the NPT have probably signed the treaty without knowing exactly what NATO meant by nuclear sharing, or at least without knowing, how NATO interpreted the relation between the NPT and the technical dimensions of NATOs concept of nuclear sharing.
During the treaty negotiations Washington dug deep into its Machiavellian toolbox to bring nuclear sharing and NPT into a seeming compliance and possibly even negotiated under false pretenses.
The thesis of NPT and nuclear sharing being in compliance rests on the unilateral interpretation of Article I and II by the U.S., disseminated in a document titled "Questions on the Draft Non-Proliferation Treaty asked by US Allies together with Answers given by the United States". Attached to the ratification documents for the NPT this document was handed over to the U.S. Senate as a letter from then U.S. Secretary of State, Dean Rusk. It explained, why the United States regarded the existing design of nuclear sharing not as a violation of the treaty. It is frequently referred to as the Rusk-Letter.
Starting point of its reasoning is the assumption that everything not explicitly forbidden by the NPT is allowed. It goes on to declare the various elements of nuclear sharing as being permitted: The procedures on consultations and participation in the framework of the Nuclear Planning Group, the deployment of U.S. weapons on the territories of non-nuclear states in Europe and the arming of non-nuclear states with delivery systems for nuclear weapons which belong to the U.S. At its core the line of argument always stays the same: Since only the U.S. President can authorise their use, control over them remains with the U.S. in peacetime and thereby guarantees observance of the NPT. Thus, no phrase of the treaty would explicitly prohibit any element of nuclear sharing.
However, the Rusk-Letter's most delicate problem concerns the following question: How should the use of U.S. nuclear weapons by delivery systems of non-nuclear states, for instance by a German aircraft with a German crew, during wartime be treated? Here, the control over a nuclear weapon is being transferred to citizens of a non-nuclear state. The Rusk-Letter provides a perplexing answer: In times of war the treaty does not apply anymore. The reasoning behind the U.S. conclusion is even more surprising: In case a war has broken out, the treaty could not fulfil its purpose anymore to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to prevent a war being fought with these weapons. Therefore the treaty ceases to be binding.
Indeed: the preamble of the NPT stated according to U.S. wishes that it is the purpose of the NPT "to prevent such (nuclear) war". In the U.S. interpretations this phrase is used to deduce the position that the NPT does not apply for times of war.
During the negotiations the legal advisor to the State Department, Leonard Meeker, already counselled against utilising such tricky interpretations and procedural fine print:
"Should we decide to leave the wartime exception implicit we would want to make perfectly clear at Geneva what we were doing, lest we later be accused of having negotiated a treaty under false pretenses."
But exactly this happened. Meekers warning was blown in the wind and the number of people aware of which interpretation the NATO states were actually intending to apply was kept to a minimum in a similar cunning fashion.
The letter with U.S. answers to the questions of European allies was not as would have been usual practice deposited as a national reservation which would have been accessible for all parties to the treaty. Instead, it was added only on July 9th 1968, eight days after more than fifty states had already signed the treaty, to the documents sent to the U.S. Senate for discussions on the national ratification of the NPT. According to the interpretations of the U.S. Administration, this procedure ensured, that the rest of the world was made aware of its content.
That such a situation, in which the vast majority of parties would sign the treaty in ignorance of the U.S. interpretations, was no accident but actually desired, is revealed in a letter of the then Undersecretary of Defence, Nicholas Katzenbach, written on April 10th, 1968:
"We do not believe it would be in our interest or that of our allies to have a public discussion of the US interpretations prior to the time when the NPT is submitted to the Senate for advice and consent."
From this followed logically, that almost no party to the NPT outside of NATO really knew in detail under which most relevant interpretations NATO states signed the NPT. True, most of the NATO states deposited some kind of reservations along with their signature, which did refer indirectly to the interpretation offered by the Rusk-Letter, but none repeated the content or substance of the Rusk-letter.
Only at the third NPT Review Conference, due to a Swedish initiative, a wording countering the NATO interpretation was adopted in the final document. Since then , the treaty is valid "under all circumstances" including times of war.
Until today, five of the non-nuclear NATO states possess delivery systems which are available for nuclear missions in case of war. Their crew is taught and trained in peace time to prepare and carry out nuclear missions. Nuclear weapons would be provided by the U.S. and therefore are stored on the airfields of the European allies. During times of peace they remain exclusively under the control and supervision of the U.S. Air Force. They could be handed over to the armed forces of the non-nuclear allies in times of war. In such a case, assuming that the U.S. President had authorised the use of nuclear weapons and proper release codes for the weapons had been transferred to Europe, U.S. MUNSS personnel would assist their hosts at the European nations airfield(s) to move nuclear weapons out of their vaults, load them onto the European nations dual capable aircraft and prior to the aircraft taxiing to the runway enter the release codes for the weapons Permissive Action Link. Once the aircraft would start moving down the taxiway, the U.S. nuclear weapon would be under the control of the European host nations aircrew. Control over the weapon would be transferred to soldiers of a non-nuclear nation. NATO claims in its own defense that this does not constitute a transfer of control, since the mission, which the aircraft is going to conduct, would be a NATO mission. However, the Alliances argument clearly contradicts NATOs other argument, that the treaty does no longer apply during wartimes. If the latter was true, NATO would never had a need to argue the former. Moreover, it can not be guaranteed, that all aircrews will always fly their missions as ordered.
is freelance journalist and director of theBerlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security (BITS).
This Policy Note was made possible by the generous support of Greenpeace e.V., Hamburg.
 Kofi A. Annan, Break the Nuclear Deadlock, IHT, 30.5.2005 Defense Science Board: Future Strategic Strike Forces, Washington, February 2004, p.5-13f.  As a very rough figure: Operating a wing of fighter bombers costs 500 million per year.  On January 29th, 2001, the "Order of the Day", issued by the Air Force Chief of Staff outlined plans to adopt the "Air Force Structure 5" and stated, that the 31. and 33. Fighter-Bomber Wings "will be equipped with the multi-role capable EF 2000 between 2007-2010 and 2012-2015".The multi-role Eurofighter is not designed as a nuclear-capable aircraft. Parliamentary Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defence, Walter Kolbow, reassured the Bundestag in July 2004: "It is not planned and no steps are undertaken to make the Eurofighter weapon system capable for a mission with nuclear weapons." See: Deutscher Bundestag: Drucksache 15/3609, p.27. In addition, it can be regarded as highly unlikely that the producing states of the Eurofighter or the involved industry would be willing to provide the U.S. Administration with a deep insight into the used technology - which would be necessary in order to receive nuclear certification.  "Fischer begrüßt Forderungen nach Beseitigung von US-Atomwaffen", AFP, 2.5.2005  "Struck kündigt Vorstoß in der NATO zu US-Atomwaffen an", dpa, 6.5.2005  Most interestingly USAFEs 39th Wing at Incirlik AB in Turkey states: "Terrorist groups exist in Turkey. Incirlik AB has been identified as a potential target area from intelligence/OSI reports. ( ) Incirlik has several potential target areas, these are: (1)Command Post (2)Hot Cargo Pads (3) Convoys (Aircraft Parking Loops /Areas." And: "Convoy movements are when (nuclear) weapons are most vulnerable." See: 39th Wing Nuclear Surety Manager: Commanders Guide to Nuclear Surety and Explosives Safety, Incirlik, without publication date (received by the author in May 2005, issued probably in 2004 or 2005), pp 10-11  Interfax, 2.6.2005  This figure is based on the assumption, that weapons for use with Memmingen Airbase, which had caretaker status in 2000, were not withdrawn to the U.S., when this base was closed in 2003. If they were withdrawn, this number must read 110. However the 130 figure is used throughout this entire paper.  NATO: NATOs Nuclear Forces in the New Security Environment, Brussels, 18.2.2005  For the following also see: Hans M. Kristensen: U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe, Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005, Washington DC and Otfried Nassauer: NATOs Nuclear Posture Review, BITS, April 2002, Berlin an the sources given in both publications.  Ralf Beste and Alexander Szandar: "Atomarer Anachronismus", in: Der Spiegel, issue 21/2005, p.48-49.  Al Stotts: Accident Response Group Exercise Dimming Sun June 2003, NNSA Service Center, 12.1.2005, 13 p.; Hansard: Written Answers for 30 June 2003, Column 43W, London.  Joint Chiefs of Staff: JP-3-12 (Joint Nuclear Operations) Comment Matrix, Washington, 21.12.2004, p.133  NATO: NATOs nuclear forces in the new security environment, Brussels, 18.2.2005, chart 2 (accessible under http://www.nato.int/issues/nuclear/sec-environment.htm)  Working Paper Presented by the Members of the Movement of the Non-Aligned Countries, Parties to the Treaty, 1998 Preparatory Committee for the 2000 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 28. April 1998. Please notice, that the formula "among themselves" strongly indicates, that the NAM states also regard UK-US nuclear weapons related cooperation as a form of nuclear sharing.  Translation of the Treaty to be found at www.auswaertiges-amt.de  Written answers by Secretary of Defense Cohen in response to questions of Senator Harkin, posed at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee October 21st, 1997  A more extensive and detailed presentation of these thoughts can be found in: Martin Butcher, Otfried Nassauer et.al.: A Question of Command and Control NATO, Nuclear Sharing and the NPT, PENN Research Report 2000.1, Berlin, London, Washington, March 2000. The wording of the Rusk-Letter is reprinted on page 41.  Leonard Meeker, "Proposed Revised Articles of US Non-Proliferation Treaty, Memorandum", US Department of State, Office of the Legal Advisor, Lyndon B. Johnson Library, 6. July 1966, original classification: Confidential.  Evans Gerakas, David S. Patterson, and Carolyn B. Yee (eds.) "Arms Control and Disarmament", Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968. Volume X. United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1997, S.574.  Final Declaration of the Third Review Conference of the NPT, reprinted in: Goldblat, Jozef, Twenty Years of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Implementation and Prospects, Oslo, 1990, p.138ff.  Confronted with the argument, that the pilot theoretically could conduct a mission different from the one assigned to him and thus a transfer of control could happen even within a NATO-planned mission, NATO usually argues that this was practically impossible. However, a recent guide for USAF commanders at Incirlik AB in Turkey mentions that possibility while describing nuclear weapons accident and incident reporting. According to the guide a "Nucflash" message about the accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons by U.S. or allied forces has to be sent to higher headquarters inter alia, when an "unauthorized deviation from an approved flight plan by a nuclear armed aircraft" occurs. See: 39th Wing Nuclear Surety Manager: Commanders Guide to Nuclear Surety and Explosives Safety, Incirlik, without publication date (received by the author in May 2005, issued probably in 2004 or 2005), p.9
|Neuigkeiten||Daten&Archive||Bits bei der Arbeit||Kalender|