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USA exiting openskies agreement and scrapping OC135Bs

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USA exiting openskies agreement and scrapping OC135Bs

Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:02
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USA exiting openskies agreement and scrapping OC135Bs

https://www.dw.com/en/us-officially-...act/a-55691315

Not wanting to start a trump thread (honestly) but can anyone see any strategic benefit to the USA from either exiting openskies or scrapping the current assets they use for this ELINT.

If its just political to mess up the incoming administration then end of thread.

Apart from stopping others overflying the USA as they develop something so secret squirrel that they feel its a game changer and feel it’s worthwhile losing the ability to do the same elsewhere I can’t see any potential benefit to leaving the treaty?

Interested if others can see something else, not interested in Trump good or bad debate everyone has their own opinions on that.

TIA.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:15
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Thanks for starting this thread. I would also agree that this seems rather odd, really don't understand the drivers for this decision.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 12:01
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https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/ar...ty-with-russia

Trump Is Right to Close U.S. Skies to Russian Spies

.....The deal in question is the Open Skies treaty, signed in 1992, which allows U.S. and Russian spy planes to fly over military installations and weapons facilities. The aim is to give the 35 nations that are now members confidence that their adversaries are keeping their arms-control commitments.

In theory, it’s a good idea. Overhead surveillance is one way to verify more substantive arms control agreements with Russia. It also gives a baseline for military planners, providing a data set that shows what peacetime deployment looks like. The big flaw in the arrangement is that the one party that all the others must worry about — Russia — is a serial violator of international agreements......

A similar story can be told about the Open Skies treaty. When it took effect, in 2002, Russia largely abided by it. But during former President Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S. found its flights were restricted over suspected facilities in Russia — even as the U.S. gathered evidence that Russian surveillance planes were mapping critical infrastructure in the U.S. As Republican Senator Tom Cotton said Thursday: “The Open Skies Treaty started life as a good-faith agreement between major powers and died an asset of Russian intelligence.”

U.S. diplomats have raised these issues with their Russian counterparts to bring them back into compliance with the treaty. But Moscow has not budged. Because the U.S. has spy satellites and other technological means of gathering the same data its surveillance planes collect, it loses very little by withdrawing from the Open Skies treaty......
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 12:45
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/ar...ty-with-russia

Trump Is Right to Close U.S. Skies to Russian Spies

.....The deal in question is the Open Skies treaty, signed in 1992, which allows U.S. and Russian spy planes to fly over military installations and weapons facilities. The aim is to give the 35 nations that are now members confidence that their adversaries are keeping their arms-control commitments.

In theory, it’s a good idea. Overhead surveillance is one way to verify more substantive arms control agreements with Russia. It also gives a baseline for military planners, providing a data set that shows what peacetime deployment looks like. The big flaw in the arrangement is that the one party that all the others must worry about — Russia — is a serial violator of international agreements......

A similar story can be told about the Open Skies treaty. When it took effect, in 2002, Russia largely abided by it. But during former President Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S. found its flights were restricted over suspected facilities in Russia — even as the U.S. gathered evidence that Russian surveillance planes were mapping critical infrastructure in the U.S. As Republican Senator Tom Cotton said Thursday: “The Open Skies Treaty started life as a good-faith agreement between major powers and died an asset of Russian intelligence.”

U.S. diplomats have raised these issues with their Russian counterparts to bring them back into compliance with the treaty. But Moscow has not budged. Because the U.S. has spy satellites and other technological means of gathering the same data its surveillance planes collect, it loses very little by withdrawing from the Open Skies treaty......
Thanks ORAC I had assumed all sides would “game” the treaty but didn’t know about the imbalance in access. The satellite capability/advantage makes sense.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 12:58
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Interresting, although the linked opinion piece is short on specifics.

Anyone with more knowledge of what restrictions the Russian have put on US flights ?
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 13:03
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"Among the reasons for leaving, the Trump administration specifically contended that Russia refused access to observation flights within 10-kilometers along the border of Russian-occupied Georgia and that Russia designated an Open Skies refueling airfield in Ukrainian Crimea, both of which the U.S. saw as efforts to advance their illegal claims of control over those regions.

The U.S. also said Russia illegally placed restrictions on flight distance over Kaliningrad, the westernmost federal enclave of Russia, sandwiched between Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea, despite a significant Russian military build-up there.

The U.S. said Russia wrongly denied a joint U.S.-Canada observation flight over a big Russian military exercise back in 2019."


https://www.cnsnews.com/article/inte...eaty-years-now

Findings of Russian non-compliance were recorded in the very first State Department report on OST compliance, issued three years after the treaty’s entry into force in 2002, and have appeared in various forms over the years since, U.S. Assistant Secretary Chris Ford said via teleconference after the announcement.

“A series of reports from 2004 through 2008, information reports from 2014 through 2019, all these have detailed various illegal Russian restrictions on … overflights,” he said.

Concerns about Russian non-compliance over the years prompted congressional hearings, resolutions, letters from lawmakers to the administration, and the insertion of amendments into defense spending bills.

When questioned by lawmakers about Russian violations, Obama administration officials typically defended the treaty’s value, and said that when issues arose the U.S. worked with the Russians to resolve them.

The last compliance report under Obama, in April 2016, said, “Russia continues not to meet its treaty obligations to allow effective observation of its entire territory, raising serious compliance concerns,” adding that U.S. efforts to discuss the problems “have not resolved any of the compliance concerns.”

Compliance reports under Trump have continued to outline repeated attempts to resolve compliance concerns with Russia, to no avail....
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 17:29
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US put restrictions to inspect Alaska and Hawaii. This is much more serious and unequal than closing Kaliningrad region, as the latter is quite small in territory. Nevertheless, Russia was OK to continue.
Then came business as usual: when the USA want to break any treaty, they start with blaming the other side in all possible sins.

Now it looks like it makes little sense for Russia to continue this "business" with European NATO member states. Proposed "non-disclosure for 3rd parties" sounds laughable. Uncle Sam can always take what he wants from his subordinates

IMHO, I do not see any tragedy in burying this agreement by the US. With current satellite capabilities planes look a little bit retro.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 17:53
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The US is Out of the Open Skies Treaty. What’s Next? - Air Force Magazine
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 22:36
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Realistically, open skies only made sense while the Soviet Union was the adversary. Russia is not a peer, while China is emerging as a more than peer.
The US is trying to adjust its treaties to conform to the new realities, but is hampered by a general reluctance to recognize that the cold war opponent is no longer relevant.
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Old 25th Nov 2020, 01:51
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the cold war opponent is no longer relevant.
Neither is Donald.
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Old 26th Nov 2020, 00:45
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
Neither is Donald.
Donald seems to have been the only guy who could see when a deal had gone bust, whether open skies or intermediate range missiles or Iraq or Syria or Afghanistan.
The veterans who look to come after him will hopefully learn from him.
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Old 26th Nov 2020, 09:01
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Donald seems to have been the only guy who could see when a deal had gone bust, whether open skies or intermediate range missiles or Iraq or Syria or Afghanistan.
The veterans who look to come after him will hopefully learn from him.
Afghan and Syria I get, but Iraq? Unless Saudi and their proxies are willing to take their place (and hold it, which is debatable given their recent performance in Syria and Yemen), Iraq will eventually fall under the sway of Iran. I think its pretty clear that this move is cynically intended to complicate things for Biden.

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Old 26th Nov 2020, 09:37
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dead_pan,

That’ already happened in Iraq, and a few thousand troops squatting there isn’t going to change the facts on the ground. The major players are Iran to the south east, Saudi to the south and Turkey and the Kurds to the north.

The remaining colaition troops are just a fig leaf to cover for allied failure in the region and a hostage to fortune.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americ...–present)
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 13:05
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Mildenhall

Over the last decade, it’s a pleasure to see the OC-135B appear at the ‚Hall. One weekend in 2014, I turned up at Johns Field to see it arrive on Saturday then depart the Sunday so here are my photos of this iconic airframe.











Speaking of which wonder if Biden will retract his predecessors decision.

cheers
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