Global Security Implications of Joint Missile Surveillance


The Committee on International Security Studies completed a study on the potentially pathbreaking, yet currently non-operational, joint U.S.-Russian center for the exchange of missile data. Under the direction of CISS Co-chair John Steinbruner (University of Maryland), academic experts from the United States, Canada, and Russia; industry scientists; and government officials evaluated the potential effectiveness and limitations– technical, administrative and political– of the proposed Joint Data Exchange Center (JDEC). An agreement to establish JDEC was signed at the June 4, 2000, summit between Presidents Clinton and Putin. The two leaders committed their nations to share data supplied by United States and Russian satellites on missile launches. The agreement specified the information to be exchanged, the location of the center, and a number of legal and administrative arrangements. With clear implications for U.S.-Russian relations, the Center also showed potential to have an effect on relations between the United States and China.

The inauguration of George W. Bush as President of the United States effectively suspended the project. The study group continued, however, to explore why such a system is needed and how it could be improved. In 2001, the Academy published the group’s report, The Significance of Joint Missile Surveillance, written by John Steinbruner. The report outlines the results of the study and, in particular, notes how JDEC could help each side move away from continued reliance on rapid-reaction nuclear deterrent forces and reduce international concerns about the potential impact of a national missile defense system.