U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE MEDIA NOTE
Office of the Spokesperson
January 19, 2016
Today, Assistant Secretary Frank A. Rose participated in a ceremony marking the reestablishment of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers’ (NRRC) government-to-government secure communications link between the United States and Ukraine. It is a joint recognition—by the United States and Ukraine—that transparency, trust, and the exchange of information are foundational to all democratic societies. This new 24/7 secure link is all the more important at a time when Russia has occupied sovereign Ukrainian territory. And it further signifies the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s success; Ukraine’s aspirations are our aspirations and today’s event further cements an already durable and growing partnership.
This link will support the implementation of certain notification requirements of arms control and confidence building agreements and commitments. Initially, the United States and Ukraine will exchange notifications related to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, however, the NRRC plans to use the link for additional notification requirements for other arms control and confidence-building agreements and commitments. The link can be used to transmit communications other than those expressly provided for under the proposed NRRC agreement—for example, to quickly and securely send messages of vital national importance in times of crisis.
The reestablishment of the NRRC-to-NRRC link has required a good deal of technical legwork. First, information technology specialists from the U.S. NRRC installed new hardware including encryption devices and software for the link in the Ukrainian Verification Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Second, the team tested the equipment and provided training to ten Ukrainian military personnel. And our work is not yet complete. Over the next two years, our team will provide training to the Ukrainian NRRC for any technical staff or other users who may require it.
This is just one element of our larger investment in the security and success of Ukraine. A secure, direct bilateral link with Ukraine is extremely valuable to both parties, especially in today’s fast-moving and saturated information environment.
We are proud of the role the NRRC-to-NRRC relationship plays in the United States’ arms control agenda to support our mutual interests in the global security environment. We look forward to continued cooperation in our efforts to enhance strategic stability through secure information exchange.