Cablegate: Q&a On New Dod Cluster Munitions Policy


DE RUEHC #7331 2001240
P 181236Z JUL 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

B. HANLON-BAKER E-MAIL (7/11/2008)
C. STATE 73257

1. In response to queries from the United Kingdom,s Foreign
Commonwealth Office and Australia,s Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (refs A & B) with regard to the new cluster
munitions policy announced by the United States (ref C),
Embassies London and Canberra are requested to utilize the
following guidance, as appropriate. Mission Geneva also may
draw on the guidance with other delegations, as appropriate.

Q1. How does DoD define cluster munitions?

The U.S. Government (USG) utilizes a broad, generic
definition of cluster munitions. A cluster munition is
defined as a munition that is designed to disperse or release
explosive submunitions, and includes those explosive
submunitions. The United States would consider the
German-made SMArt 155 a cluster munition. (The SMArt 155 is
not considered a cluster munition per the definition in the
Dublin Agreement.)

Q2. What is the reason for the 10 year transition period?

The implementation of this policy will be a major undertaking
for the USG. Cluster munitions provide important military
capabilities that cannot be relinquished until suitable
replacements are available. It will take a number of years
to develop and procure replacements for the existing cluster
munitions that do not meet the requirements of the new policy.

Q3. Who will verify the 1% unexploded ordnance (UXO) rate for
future munitions?

Each Service that uses cluster munitions will be responsible
for verifying its forces meet the 1% UXO criteria. This
includes evaluation of the UXO rate after use in &facts on
the ground8 circumstances. They will be required to
establish a mechanism by which to assess whether their
cluster munitions are meeting the rate, and take remedial
action if they are not. Through 2018, Combatant Commanders
are the approval authority for use of any cluster munitions
that exceed the 1% UXO rate.

Q4. Will the new policy be retroactive to weapons already
sold to other countries?

No. The policy on transfers applies to this point forward.
Any cluster munitions transferred before June 19, 2008, would
be subject to the agreements that were made at the time of
the transfer.

Q5. How many submunitions will replacement cluster munitions

The policy does not mandate specific requirements beyond the
standard itself. The number of submunitions will be
determined by the requirement of the Service that is
designing the munition.

Q6. Does the 2018 deadline raise the possibility of a U.S.
&dump8 of existing stock on non-signatories to the &Oslo

All existing legislative and regulatory restrictions for the
transfer of cluster munitions will be applied. The policy
does not supersede these, but requires that nations receiving
cluster munitions not meeting the 1% UXO standard and
transferred on or after June 19, 2008, agree to not employ
them after 2018.

Q7. The new policy seems to give recipients of transfers of
old cluster munitions free reign to use them until 2018.
Does the USG currently have restrictions on use of these
weapons in transfers/sales agreements?

It is part of our export control practice to have end-user
certification and agreements. The nature and content of
these are often classified between the United States and the
recipient government.

Q8. Are there re-export restrictions built into cluster
munitions sales and transfer agreements with non-signatories
to the Dublin Treaty?

U.S. legislation for fiscal year 2008 foreign operation
appropriations restricts the transfer or sale of cluster
munitions to those meeting the 1% UXO standard. This same
legislation also requires transferees to agree that they will
only use the received cluster munitions against clearly
defined military targets and not where civilians are known to
be present. Under U.S. laws and regulations regulating the
defense trade, no re-exports of cluster munitions are
allowable unless explicitly authorized by the Department of

2. Please contact PM/WRA officers Mike Williams
( or Katherine Baker (
for more information or assistance on this issue.

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