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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 412-99
September 13, 1999

UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA SIGN JOINT STATEMENT TO ESTABLISHING CENTER FOR YEAR 2000 STRATEGIC STABILITY

The United States and the Russian Federation have signed a joint statement indicating their intent to establish the Center for Year 2000 Strategic Stability (CY2KSS) during the Year 2000 (Y2K) transition period. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Russian Federation Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev formally signed the statement in Moscow today.

In the CY2KSS, U.S. and Russian military personnel will sit side-by-side during the Y2K transition period, from late December 1999 to mid-January 2000, and continuously monitor U.S.-provided information on missile and space launches. These people will be in voice contact with command centers in the U.S. and Russia via a highly reliable, Y2K-tested communications link.

In addition to missile and space launches, the center will serve as a means to communicate about other defense-related events that could be potentially de-stabilizing, such as an aircraft going off course due to a Y2K failure of a navigation or communication system.

The CY2KSS compliments the extensive steps taken by both the U.S. and Russia to ensure the Y2K reliability of their warning systems, nuclear weapons, and command and control capabilities. Both countries agree that the likelihood of Y2K failure in these systems is extremely remote and that sufficient safeguards are in place to handle these situations. However, given the potentially severe consequences, the establishment of the center is a worthwhile investment.

Discussions on the CY2KSS began in February 1999. Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Colo., was chosen as the center's site because of its accessibility to U.S. information and the desire to use the facility after the Y2K transition to train U.S. personnel for duty in a permanent Joint Warning Center to be established in Moscow. The total cost of the establishment and operation of the CY2KSS is approximately $8 million. The center is currently on schedule to be completed on Dec. 1, 1999.

The CY2KSS is one component of a comprehensive Defense Department-related Y2K cooperation program that began to take shape in February 1999. In addition to establishing the CY2KSS, the U.S. and Russia have four other efforts:

Exchanging Y2K experiences to assist each other in managing the Y2K problem and to understand each other's management plans and progress.

Ensuring the direct communication links between our national leaders remain reliable.

Maintaining the security of the Russian nuclear weapons stockpile.

Exchanging Y2K experiences related to nuclear forces to maintain reliable nuclear command and control.

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