Support to Dimilitarization and Defense Conversion


An Umbrella Agreement for Cooperative Threat Reduction Assisstance between the United States and Belarus was signed in 1992; it allows for the application of assistance funds provided by the U.S. Congress. Since then, seven CTR implementing agreements and one Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation have been signed between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of Defense of Belarus. Under the provisions of the CTR Program, the U.S. Department of Defense has notified Congress of over $123 million in CTR and Project Peace assistance to Belarus.

On June 6, 1996 an amendment to a Nunn-Lugar/Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) assistance agreement was signed. This CTR agreement now provided a total of up to $28.9 million in material, training, and services to the Republic of Belarus to facilitate the expeditious, safe, and environmentally sound elimination of means of delivery of weapons of mass destruction. Projects jointly developed under this agreement involve eliminating eliminating SS-25 (‘Topol’) launch pads (a requirement of the START Treaty), along with toxic fuel meant for strategic nuclear missiles, and removing the nuclear missile infrastructure from Strategic Rocket Forces bases so they may be used for civilian purposes.

A complex of 171 housing units for military personnel and their families in Grodno has recently been finished in Grodno. This $7.5 mln project also funded by the U.S. Department of Defense is part of the CTR agreement between the two states on emergency response and the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The housing complex offers comfortable modern apartments to military personnel of the former strategic forces who wished to remain in Belarus after demobilization.

On July 10, 1996, U.S. Ambassador Yalowitz co-hosted the dedication of a modified AN-26 aircraft which was equipped with remote sensors and state-of-the-art photographic equipment. The aircraft is designed to fly over contaminated areas to photograph them and collect data with its remote sensors. The film and other data collected onboard the plane will be sent to the two laboratories, the photo lab and the remote sensing and geographic information system (RS/GIS) laboratory. The system will allow the Government of Belarus to cost-effectively identify and map out the lands requiring environmental restoration.

On that same date, the U.S. Ambassador co-hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the photographic processing laboratory. This laboratory also has state-of-the-art equipment which is designed to work with the aircraft’s cameras.

The remote sensing and geographic information system (RS/GIS) laboratory was dedicated on March 27, 1996. The six computer stations, satellite imagery and scaled digital maps and other equipment will allow technicians to analyze the spectral data gathered by the AN-26 aircraft as it flies over contaminated areas. Based on the analysis from this lab and the photography lab, soil and air samples can then be taken from precise locations for chemical analysis at the Ecomir Chemistry lab (which is yet another element of the Environmental Restoration Program) to determine the precise nature of the contaminants. Efficient remediation plans can then be made to restore those sites for other uses.

On June 11, 1997 U.S. Ambassador Yalowitz dedicated high-technology equipment which will be used at the Postavy missile base to treat contaminated soil.

U.S. assistance under the four-element Environmental Restoration Program totals $25 mln.

The million-dollar high-tech mobile laboratory’s mission is principally to collect and to measure samples for radioactive contamination. Radiation measurements can be made on a variety of samples such as soil, water, urine, air filters, surface swipes, as well as on wounds and internally deposited radionuclides. The laboratory was dedicated on June 15, 1995. The project was contracted to the U.S. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California. In addition, LLNL trained a group of scientists of the Center of Hydrometerology of the Republic of Belarus during a week-long course hosted in California in January 1995.

In July 1997 officers of the U.S. Navy Law College conducted a seminar for officers of the Law Department of the Belarusian Ministry of Defense and lawyers of the Minsk garrison under an international military education program. The course consisted of lectures on subjects of specific importance for the Belarusian army such as “Legal Basis for Contractual Service”, “The Role of Military Lawyers” and “Ensuring Rights and Privileges of Conscript Servicemen”.

Located in picturesque Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany, the George C. Marshall Center European Center for Security Studies is a partnership between the United States European Command (USEUCOM) and the German Government. Each year, approximately 25 Belarusian citizens participate in a broad range of programs at the Marshall Center, all dedicated to promoting openness, security, and democracy.