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US-Russia: Man-Portable Air Defense Systems

US-Russia Arrangement on Cooperation in Enhancing Control of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov signed the United States - Russia Arrangement on Cooperation in Enhancing Control of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) in Bratislava, Slovakia today. This Arrangement provides a bilateral framework for cooperation in the control of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that can threaten global aviation if obtained by criminals, terrorists and other non-state actors. One goal of this Arrangement is to facilitate the destruction of MANPADS that are obsolete or otherwise in excess of legitimate defense requirements. This Arrangement also will allow the two countries to share information about MANPADS sales and transfers to third countries.

Key elements of this Arrangement include:

• Mutual assistance in destroying excess and obsolete MANPADS through an exchange of information on the methods and means of destroying them as well as through the provision of technical and financial assistance in carrying out their destruction.

• The exchange of information on controlling MANPADS, including improving measures to enhance physical security and the taking of inventory, and control during the production, safeguarding, transfer, and destruction of MANPADS and individual components thereof.

• Further mutual coordination on preventing the global proliferation of MANPADS.

This Arrangement represents a significant step forward in our strategy to coordinate efforts in countering the global proliferation of MANPADS. It serves as an example of what the United States and Russia can accomplish by working together on such vital issues.

What are MANPADS?
Man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), commonly described as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, are surface-to-air missile systems designed to be man-portable and fired by a single individual; and other surface-to-air missile systems designed to be operated and fired by more than one individual acting as a crew and portable by several individuals (as defined in the Wassenaar Arrangement.)

What threat do MANPADS pose?
The possession of MANPADS in the hands of criminals, terrorists, and other non-state actors poses a serious threat to passenger air travel, the global commercial aviation industry and military aircraft. The United States recognized the emergence of this threat beginning in the 1980s and has been working with other countries and international organizations to mitigate it.

How many MANPADS are available in the world?
We believe that approximately one million may have been produced worldwide, with a much smaller amount (numbering in the thousands) currently in the hands of non-state actors.

What is the U.S. doing against the threat of MANPADS?
Preventing the proliferation of MANPADS and their availability to criminals and terrorists is a top national security priority of the United States.

The U.S. Government provides assistance to other countries to either destroy the stocks of MANPADS that are not needed for their defense, or to better secure their stockpiles. To date we have destroyed or disabled over 10,500 MANPADS in 12 countries.

The U.S. Government also works within multilateral fora to strengthen controls on the import and export of MANPADS needed for legitimate defense. Mechanisms include the U.S. participation in the Wassenaar Arrangement, a nonproliferation regime that promotes transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, and our support for United Nations, NATO, and OSCE initiatives to control arms and munitions. This new Arrangement will complement our ongoing efforts under those initiatives.

The U.S Government has also initiated a program that could lead to the installation of countermeasures on commercial aircraft.

© Scoop Media

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