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Diplomacy in Action

Overview of Vienna Document 2011


Vienna Document 2011 (VD11) is composed of politically binding confidence and security-building measures (CSBMs) designed to increase openness and transparency concerning military activities conducted inside the OSCE's zone of application (ZOA), which includes the territory, surrounding sea areas, and air space of all European (Russia from the western border to the Ural Mountains) and Central Asian participating States. A variety of information exchanges, on-site inspections, evaluation visits, observation visits, and other military-to-military contacts take place according to VD11 provisions. In the case of the United States (and Canada), only military forces and activities inside the ZOA are impacted.

VD11 builds on previous agreements: the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, the Document of the Stockholm Conference of 1986, the 1992 Helsinki Document, and the Vienna Documents of 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1999. It is part of an interlocking web of mutually enforcing agreements, including the Treaties on Conventional Arms Control in Europe (CFE) and Open Skies, which form the current European conventional arms control framework.

The following is a list of all VD11 chapters and their core provisions (all but Chapter II apply only to military forces in the ZOA):

I. Annual Exchange of Military Information (AEMI): exchanging information on command organization, location, personnel strength, and major conventional weapon and equipment systems of active “combat” (vice “support”) forces.

II. Defense planning: exchanging information on defense policy, force planning, budgets, procurements, and calendars.

III. Risk Reduction: mechanism for consultation and cooperation, through notifications and meetings, regarding unusual military activities.

IV. Contacts: inviting all OSCE states to visits to air bases and demonstrations of new major weapon systems or equipment, and facilitating contacts (e.g., joint trainings, academic exchanges, etc.) between members of the armed forces.

V. Prior Notification of Certain Military Activities (CMA): at least 42 days advance notice for CMA exceeding one of the following thresholds: 9,000 troops, 250 tanks, 500 ACVs, or 250 pieces of artillery.

VI. Observation of Certain Military Activities: inviting all OSCE states to observe CMA exceeding one of the following thresholds: 13,000 troops, 300 tanks, 500 ACVs, or 250 pieces of artillery.

VII. Annual calendars: exchanging information on certain military activities subject to prior notification planned for the subsequent calendar year.

VIII. Constraining provisions: limits certain large-scale military activities, including limiting numbers of activities and levels.

IX. Compliance and Verification: provisions for on-site inspections and evaluation visits (to confirm the accuracy of information exchanged).


Inspections:

  • States with territory in the ZOA are subject to 3 inspections each year. (Can voluntarily accept more.)
  • Inspection of a designated “specified area” (notified before arrival); forces of other OSCE states in the specified area also subject to inspection; no right of refusal.
  • Team of 4 inspectors, may include inspectors from other participating States.
  • Maximum time for inspection is 48 hours; can begin as soon as 36 hours after request for inspection.
  • Access to sensitive areas, military/defense facilities can be denied.


Evaluations:

  • States with military forces are subject to at least 1, but not more than 15 evaluation visits each year, based on size of military command organization reported under Chapter I (e.g., Russia now subject to 2 visits, was higher in the past; Luxembourg remains at 1). (Can voluntarily accept more.)
  • Visit to a single formation or unit, notified in advance; can be refused if formation/unit is “unavailable.”
  • Team of 3 members, may include guests from other participating States.
  • Conducted in a single working day (no more than 12 hours); requested 5 days in advance.
  • No requirement to provide access to sensitive facilities and equipment.


X. Regional measures: encourages participating States to conclude additional bilateral/regional agreements to complement VD99 measures.

XI. Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting (AIAM): annual review of present and future implementation of agreed CSBMs.


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