12 February 2004
U.S. Working with OSCE to Address 21st Century Threats
James Cox, U.S. arms control delegate to OSCE, at Helsinki Commission
The United States recently concluded its term as chairman of the
OSCE's Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC), and a report on its
activities was made to the U.S. Helsinki Commission (Commission
on Security and Cooperation in Europe/CSCE) at a hearing in Washington
Testifying was James H. Cox, the chief U.S. arms control delegate
to the OSCE in Vienna.
Cox first gave an overview of the FSC's work program, which centers
on implementing arms control and confidence- and security-building
measures (CSBM), and then he discussed the U.S. belief that the
FSC needs to broaden its focus to deal with 21st century threats
posed by non-state actors, those arising outside the OSCE region
and exported into it, and those of a non-conventional military
The United States, Cox said, concentrated on three specific areas
during its FSC chairmanship during the autumn of 2003: non-proliferation,
man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS, which pose a threat
to civil aviation), and civil-military emergency preparedness.
"[F]rom the reactions many other delegations have provided
us -- both publicly and privately -- we sense there is renewed
energy and interest within the FSC on these 21st century issues," he
Following is a text of Cox's remarks to the commission:
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
February 11, 2004
BRIEFING: OSCE'S CONTRIBUTION TO EUROPEAN SECURITY
Mr. James H. Cox
Chief Arms Control Delegate
Delegate of the United States to the OSCE in Vienna
Madame Chair, members of the Helsinki Commission, I am pleased
to have the opportunity today to inform you of the activities of
the OSCE's Forum for Security Cooperation, and, in particular,
of the activities and efforts of the recently concluded U.S. Chairmanship
of the FSC.
Allow me to briefly set the stage for this discussion by providing
you an overview of the charter and traditional activities of the
The FSC was established by the OSCE in 1992 to strengthen security
and stability within the OSCE community of states as laid down
in Chapter V of the Helsinki Summit Declaration. A detailed work
program was created for the FSC. That work program was assessed
and updated at the 1996 Lisbon Summit. The tasks identified in
to pursue full implementation of existing arms control and confidence-
and security-building measures agreed upon by the OSCE,
to establish a web of interlocking and mutually reinforcing agreements,
to develop a security dialog function,
to seek ways of strengthening existing arms control agreements
and CSBM regimes, in particular Vienna Document 1994, and
to consider further efforts to develop norm- and standard-setting
measures, such as the Code of Conduct on politico-military aspects
of security, the Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers,
and the Principles Governing Non-Proliferation.
Let me conclude this background portion by quickly enumerating
FSC efforts since 1996 to fulfill these tasks. Full implementation
of arms control and CSBM measures is not a single project; it requires
-- and receives -- constant attention. Delegations are encouraged
to raise implementation issues during any FSC meeting, which take
place weekly. In addition, the FSC holds annually an Implementation
Assessment Meeting in March to review the record of implementation
by OSCE states.
Next, the Vienna Document was revised in 1999 and, in our view,
is functioning well and according to its intended purpose of providing
a useful mechanism to enhance transparency and build confidence
among the participating states.
The FSC is proud of its work on the Code of Conduct on politico-military
aspects of security. The Code describes the proper role of the
armed forces in a democracy, including civilian control, the necessity
for transparency and public access to information related to the
armed forces, and the importance of adherence to international
Each year, building on FSC work on the Code of Conduct, the OSCE
Secretariat conducts a number of seminars, typically in southeast
Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus, to promote adherence to
the principles contained in the Code of Conduct.
Individual OSCE States conduct similar events. As well, the FSC
reviews its documents on non-proliferation and on conventional
arms transfers each year during its annual implementation meeting
that I referred to a moment ago.
In sum, with the existence of the CFE Treaty and the Open Skies
Treaty (neither of which is formally part of the OSCE), as well
as the Vienna Document 1999 and a number of complementary regional
or bi-lateral arrangements which have been agreed among states,
the so-called "web" of measures is fully in place.
Now, allow me to turn to the subject of "Security Dialogue" because
it figures prominently in the context of the U.S. Chairmanship
of the FSC from September through December, 2003.
In the first months of 2003, as the U.S. prepared for its upcoming
chairmanship, the OSCE was already at work drafting a new Strategy
to address threats to security and stability in the XXI century.
Let me note that OSCE's Strategy to Address Threats to Security
and Stability in the Twenty-First Century was approved at the Maastricht
Ministerial last December. The FSC made a significant contribution
to the work on the Strategy during the course of 2003 by addressing
In considering the pol-mil dimension for development of this Strategy,
we became convinced that the FSC needed to broaden its focus to
incorporate new threats and challenges into its already established
arms control and CSBM "acquis". The reasons why are simple.
Traditional arms control and CSBM measures address inter-state
relations and the lawfully constituted armed forces of those states.
However, the new threats to security and stability we face in the
OSCE region tend to be of an entirely different character: threats
posed by non-state actors, threats emerging outside the OSCE region
and exported into it, and threats which are generally not of a
conventional military nature, but rather threats of terrorism,
proliferation, or organized crime. One could say that we have entered
a period in the OSCE when we have no threats on our borders and
no borders on our threats.
Building on the work of the OSCE to frame its new Strategy document,
the U.S. Mission felt that we could enhance the security dialog
task of the FSC to broaden the Forum's focus during our chairmanship.
The advantage of the security dialog function is that it allows
the FSC to thoroughly explore and discuss a topic with no predetermined
expectation of follow-up action, such as agreement on new measures.
The FSC can frame the dialog, as appropriate, for any particular
topic. We in the U.S. Mission, in accordance with inter-agency-approved
guidance, chose three areas to develop which would address U.S.
security concerns and help OSCE participating states as well: non-proliferation,
the man-portable air defense systems -- or MANPADS -- threat, and
Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness.
First, non-proliferation. The U.S. scheduled three sets of speakers
to outline the risks, challenges and on-going efforts to combat
the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Institute
for Strategic Studies, the OSCE Actions against Terrorism Unit
and the Conflict Prevention Center of the OSCE Secretariat made
very useful presentations. We have also worked with the current
Chair, Andorra, to schedule a fourth session on non-proliferation
for next month at the specific request of the FSC in order to gather
even more information regarding the non-proliferation activities
of other international organizations. The issue for the FSC will
be to determine how it can contribute to non-proliferation activities
already undertaken by others. One possibility is for the FSC to
review its non-proliferation guidelines approved in 1994.
The second subject is MANPADS. Shortly before the U.S. took over
the Chairmanship of the FSC, the Forum took action in response
to the G-8 decision from its meeting at Evian, France, regarding
effective and comprehensive controls for MANPADS. The FSC called
upon participating states to use existing mechanisms under the
OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons -- or SALW -- to
destroy excess MANPADS and to ensure their security to avoid illicit
transfer. During the US Chairmanship, we arranged for additional
presentations by the OSCE Action Against Terrorism Unit and the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to enhance the
level of understanding of the seriousness of the MANPADS threat
to civil aviation. Having highlighted this issue during the U.S.
Chairmanship, the OSCE Secretariat hosted a workshop last month
to further explore the issue of airport security throughout the
Third is the issue of Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness.
The U.S. arranged for the FSC to host a day-long seminar in December
to explore this topic which seems more and more important in today's
world. Under Secretary Brown of the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security provided the keynote presentation. A rich array of speakers
from the UN, NATO, the EU and a number of countries elaborated
on their programs and suggested ways in which the OSCE might play
a non-duplicative role. As a follow on, the FSC will review pertinent
UN documents concerning military involvement in the case of disasters,
with a view toward determining how the OSCE might reinforce the
activities of others.
All of these subjects will require additional effort. Nonetheless,
from the reactions many other delegations have provided us -- both
publicly and privately -- we sense there is renewed energy and
interest within the FSC on these XXI century issues.
Turning to an area where the FSC has clearly excelled in recent
years, the FSC continues to facilitate implementation of the OSCE
SALW Document, which was agreed in November 2000.
Section V of the SALW Document deals with small arms measures
as part of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management
and post-conflict rehabilitation. It provides a basis for the OSCE,
through the Permanent Council and the FSC, to respond to requests
for assistance on a range of small arms issues, such as security
and management of stockpiles, disposal of small arms, and border
controls to reduce illicit trafficking in small arms. The Expert
Advice on implementation of Section V of the SALW Document, prepared
by the FSC at the end of 2002, was endorsed by a Permanent Council
decision in March 2003, clearing the way for action. In July, Belarus
was the first participating State to request OSCE assistance in
destroying and controlling excess SALW. Following the steps outlined
in the Expert Advice, the FSC, in close coordination with the Chairman-in-Office,
is assembling a team of small arms experts to conduct an assessment
visit to Minsk to determine the viability of an OSCE small arms
Beyond small arms projects, the FSC accomplished much more with
regard to the SALW Document in 2003. Thanks to voluntary contributions
by a number of participating States and coordinating work by the
Conflict Prevention Center, eight "best practice guides" have
been prepared to elaborate on specific aspects of the SALW Document.
For ease of use, the FSC decided to publish these guides as one
single reference document. The OSCE Handbook of Best Practices
on SALW has now been completed in all six OSCE languages. We presented
a copy of our Best Practice Guides to a senior UN representative
during the OSCE Ministerial in Maastricht, since the UN has recognized
the OSCE's leading efforts to help stem the flow of illicit small
arms and light weapons. Wider distribution of the Handbook has
begun, and we are hopeful that it will soon find its way into the
hands of the people who can put its practices to use.
Starting in 2002, the FSC began to address another small arms-related
project, that of the security risk arising from stockpiles of conventional
ammunition, explosive material and detonating devices in surplus
and/or awaiting destruction in the OSCE area. As you know, there
are huge quantities of excess munitions which remain after the
end of the Cold War.
These stockpiles exist mainly in the countries of the former Soviet
Union. The FSC devoted a major portion of its agenda in 2003 to
addressing this concern. During the U.S. Chairmanship, we led the
FSC to completion of its work on the Document on Stockpiles of
Conventional Ammunition. The Stockpiles Document, as it is more
commonly known, establishes a mechanism that allows participating
States to request international assistance to either destroy or
better manage and secure these stockpiles. Adoption of the Stockpiles
Document emphasized the FSC's interest in finding concrete and
practical solutions to ongoing security issues in the OSCE region.
At the OSCE Ministerial in December, Foreign Ministers also endorsed
the Stockpiles Document.
Finally, the FSC also assisted the Permanent Council last year
in conducting a comprehensive review of peacekeeping in the OSCE.
While we did not agree to expand OSCE's role into armed peacekeeping,
as one delegation was proposing, we, in the process, reaffirmed
the 1992 Helsinki Summit language on OSCE's proper role in the
realm of unarmed peacekeeping operations.
In conclusion, I want to ensure that I have not left too rosy
a picture of the FSC and its potential. The Forum, like all other
bodies in the OSCE, is a consensus body. That naturally limits
what any one country can accomplish, especially when we consider
the range of views held in an organization of 55 members. The OSCE
-- and, by extension, the FSC -- is fundamentally about politically
binding norms and standards. We have no enforcement capability.
But, the FSC remains a useful forum for the U.S. In addition to
the norms, standards and measures the FSC has established, we offer
a venue for our 55 members to discuss -- in open forum or in smaller
groups -- issues of national interest. That fact, in and of itself,
is a useful confidence- and security-building measure. Finally,
as a result of the U.S. Chairmanship in the autumn of 2003, I can
assure you the FSC has broadened its view to include some key U.S.
Thank you very much for your attention. I welcome your questions.