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Complete Definition of the Emergency

Working Group on Missile Proliferation and Defence

Terms of Reference

The risk of proliferation missile delivery systems poses one of the most significant threats to international security today. An effective response to this emergency demands the greatest possible international cooperation. However, despite some recent positive moves, there is a genuine risk of declining East-West cooperation that could endanger efforts to combat missile proliferation.

The 1997 Founding Act between NATO and Russia identified areas for cooperation to enhance security and mutual confidence. In particular, the Act calls for cooperation on "preventing the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and their delivery means, combatting nuclear trafficking and strengthening cooperation in specific arms control areas, including political and defence aspects of proliferation". The Act further notes the possibility of NATO-Russian cooperation on theatre missile defence (TMD). The development of a European TMD system could form a precedent for adaptation in other regions of the world. A cooperative solution to the threat of proliferation reinforces the need for, and points towards, a new global security paradigm for the 21st century based on mutually assured protection (MAP) rather than mutually assured destruction (MAD).

Accordingly, the Working Group on Missile Proliferation and Defence has been established to monitor the following issues:

  • the extent and rate of missile proliferation
  • current anti-missile programmes
  • implications for the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
  • current agreements on missile nonproliferation

The working group will further provide an informal channel for experts to exchange views and make recommendations regarding international cooperation on TMD.

Initial Tasks

From December 1997 to April 1998, the working group will analyse, inter alia:

  • developments and attitudes on TMD cooperation in Russia
  • developments and attitudes on TMD cooperation in the US government
  • developments and attitudes in NATO
  • Western TMD programmes
  • missile proliferation developments
  • components of a cooperative NATO-Russia TMD system


One working group seminar will be held in Erice, Italy in April 1998 at which members will present monitoring reports and will exchange data with industry representatives active on TMD. The working group will also explore interim recommendations at the seminar.

Annual Report

The working group will present a report at Erice in August 1998 summarizing its achievements and making recommendations for future work.

Revised 26 January 1998