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Terms of Reference - ISAB Study on U.S.-Russia Relations

September 17, 2013





September 17, 2013



SUBJECT: Terms of Reference – ISAB Study on U.S.-Russia Relations

The International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) is requested to undertake a high-level review of current and future U.S.-Russia relations, especially with a view toward identifying opportunities to improve strategic stability and U.S. national security.

The United States continues to seek out areas of common interest with Russia, in order to identify specific areas for cooperation that will advance U.S. interests. The U.S.-Russia agenda encompasses the strategically important issues of arms control, nonproliferation, international security, increased trade and investment, responding to global threats and challenges, countering terrorism and militant extremism, and enhanced ties between our societies and people. However, progress in advancing U.S.-Russia cooperation has been affected by a variety of factors. A high-level project concerning U.S.-Russia relations that takes a fresh look at the strategic relationship, and engages Russian counterparts, would help the United States identify challenges as well as potential solutions to bridge our differences and assist with formulating new approaches for moving the relationship forward.

It would be of great assistance if the ISAB could examine and assess as an introductory matter:

  • the relative importance of the U.S.-Russia strategic relationship for the United States;
  • common U.S.-Russia security interests and areas where interests differ;
  • how current Russian domestic politics affect U.S. interests in national security areas;
  • the current and future importance of continued cooperation on reducing and controlling weapons of mass destruction, including so called “threat reduction” or “Nunn-Lugar” activities as well as activities that involve third countries and multilateral regimes;
  • the significance in the relationship of other strategic stability matters such as missile defense, conventional long-range precision strike systems, space-based military systems, European security architecture, and other such issues; and
  • The potential for joint research, including advanced scientific research, to develop mutually beneficial U.S.-Russian cooperation in the strategic stability and security arena, such as advanced verification technologies to support arms reduction negotiations and associated transparency measures.

Materials produced in this introductory examination and assessment of the issues could then be used, following review by the Department and interagency, for “Track 1.5”-type discussions with Russian advisory committee counterparts under the auspices of the U.S.-Russian Presidential Commission’s Committee on International Security and Arms Control. The goal of such discussions will be to develop and enrich the environment for bilateral Track 1 (government-to-government) talks in the strategic stability and security arena, including potentially formal negotiations of further arms reduction and control measures.

During its conduct of the study, the ISAB, as it deems necessary, may expand on the tasks listed above. I request that you complete the study in 270 days. Completed work should be submitted to the ISAB Executive Directorate no later than June 2014.

The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security will sponsor the study. The Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance will support the study. Michael Warder will serve as the Executive Secretary for the study and Chris Herrick will represent the ISAB Executive Directorate.

The study will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 92-463, the “Federal Advisory Committee Act.” If the ISAB establishes a working group to assist in its study, the working group must present its report of findings to the full ISAB for consideration in a formal meeting, prior to presenting the report or findings to the Department.

Rose E. Gottemoeller

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