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The Treaty on Open Skies and Its Practical Applications and Implications for the United States

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Publication Date: January 1998

Publisher(s): Pardee Rand Graduate School

Author(s): Mark Gabriele

Topic: International relations (Treaties)

Type: Report


This dissertation examines the capabilities allowed by the Treaty on Open Skies in the context of the current international security environment, and addresses the question: Given the existence of "spy satellites" and the end of the Cold War, what is the utility of this treaty to the United States? This research includes an analysis of the use of the Treaty-designated capabilities for arms control verification, confidence building, and as a supplement to, or partial replacement for, other imagery assets. The dissertation continues with an analysis of the costs and benefits of the Treaty, in which two case studies of potential uses for the Treaty are developed and explored. In conclusion, the analysis demonstrates that the Treaty on Open Skies may provide an oppoertunity for substantial benefit to the United States at a minimal cost. These benefits include not only the confidence building aspects, but the use of Open Skies flights as assets which can be traded against other reconnaissance capabilities and used as tools of diplomacy.