U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission: 2013 Joint Annual Report
This report covers the accomplishments of the U.S. – Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission from May 2012 to December 2013.
Table of Contents
Policy Steering Group
Agriculture Working Group
Arms Control and International Security Working Group
Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group
Counternarcotics Working Group
Counterterrorism Working Group
Working Group on the Threats to and in the Use of Information Communications Technologies in the Context of International Security
Defense Relations Working Group
Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group
Emergency Situations Working Group
Energy Working Group
Environment Working Group
Health Working Group
Innovation Working Group
Intelligence Working Group
Military Cooperation Working Group
Military Technical Cooperation Working Group
Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group
Rule of Law Working Group
Science and Technology Working Group
Space Cooperation Working Group
Now in its fourth year, the U.S. – Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission represents the sustained efforts of our governments to strengthen and expand cooperation between the United States and Russia. Over the past year, the Commission’s structure has evolved and grown to reflect our shared interests and common goals. Today, the BPC counts 21 working groups, drawing on the talents of over 60 offices, agencies and departments across the whole breadth our nations’ governments, as well as enjoying contributions from non-governmental organizations and private sector businesses.
Under the Commission, security cooperation between the United States and Russia continues to expand with each passing year. We have focused on deepening law enforcement and defense ties. This year, the Military Technical Cooperation Working Group and a group addressing challenges of information security were created. The U.S. and Russian armed forces conducted numerous joint exercises, consultations, and exchanges. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Russian Ministry of Defense shared best practices in an array of security and defense matters. Given our mutual focus on Afghanistan, Russia and the United States also have made counternarcotics collaboration a top priority. Finally, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, our nations have redoubled our counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts.
The U. S. – Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s work on science and technology has produced a near endless stream of achievements this year. Thanks to the Commission’s many science and technology oriented working groups, we have forged university-to-university and innovation partnerships, and launched extensive nuclear and energy research agreements. Experts traveled between Russia and the United States to share best practices in environmental clean-up, disaster preparedness, and eco-tourism. The Commission’s working groups are helping us to protect against natural and anthropogenic disasters, and to understand and preserve our world for all of humanity.
The economic relationship between Russia and the United States continues to develop and expand thanks to the Commission’s efforts. Since Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), both our nations have harnessed the work of several working groups to capitalize on this opportunity. Trade missions between the United States and Russia, investments in energy sector pilot programs, and efforts to harmonize economic and industrial standards are unlocking the economic potential of the U.S. – Russia relationship. Workshops and business fora are similarly capitalizing on innovation and entrepreneurship in both our countries. Increased trade and investment between the United States and Russia not only improves the lives of Americans and Russians, but contributes to the ongoing global economic recovery.
None of the Commission’s work would be possible without the people-to-people exchanges at its core. Whether in culture, sports, education or media, in small groups or large, and regardless of age, the contact and interaction between the Russian and American peoples through the vigorous and creative actions of the working groups is the true lasting legacy of the U.S. – Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.
The Commission has demonstrated the ability of our two nations to cooperate closely in different areas. Our plan going forward includes a broader challenge to unlock the Commission’s full potential. In the coming year, the Commission’s working groups will take steps to intensify creative efforts and develop projects to further expand the benefits of cooperation in the U.S. – Russia relationship.
Over the past year, the co-chairs of the Policy Steering Working Group worked together both face-to-face and via regular telephone communication. Deputy Secretary of State Burns and Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov coordinated with the BPC’s working groups throughout the year to expand the opportunities for partnership between the United States and Russia. Their engagement supported the Commission and the U.S. – Russia relationship as a whole at a time when the BPC saw changes in leadership on both the U.S. and Russian sides. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry succeeded Secretary Hillary Clinton,. Ambassador-at-Large Vladimir Vinokurov, replaced outgoing Special Envoy to the BPC Ambassador Eduard Malayan.
The BPC welcomed the addition of the Military Technical Cooperation Working Group in December 2012, and launched a Working Group on Threats to and in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in the Context of International Security in November, 2013.
Deputy Secretary Burns convened a meeting of the U.S. co-chairs of each of the BPC working groups in spring 2013. His message to the groups was clear: the BPC is a priority for President Obama and remains a vital component of U.S. – Russian relations. In early 2013, Deputy Minister Ryabkov sent a message to the Russian chairs of the working groups making a similar point.
In the coming year, the Policy Steering Working Group intends to further capitalize on the experience gained and relationships built by the BPC’s working groups. Both sides look forward to a successful 2014. The co-chairs envision ever more dynamic collaboration between the United States and Russia, and joint projects among the BPC working groups.
The Agriculture Working Group is chaired by Russian Minister of Agriculture Nikolay Fyodorov and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Over the past year and a half, high-level officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Russian Ministry of Agriculture have maintained agricultural cooperation under the auspices of the Agriculture Working Group (AWG). For example, USDA officials working in both Russia and Washington, D.C. facilitated the implementation of agricultural biotechnology projects, farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and the research of aquacultural diseases and veterinary controls. In March 2012, officials from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service organized a three-week International Visitors Leadership Program in the United States for Russian participants, which sought to improve their knowledge of agricultural biotechnology’s role in fostering economic growth and food security. The Russian delegation, which included representatives of agricultural non-governmental organizations, as well as government laboratories and agencies, positively reviewed the program, which provided them the opportunity to learn about U.S. approvals, registrations and regulations of agricultural biotechnology.
In May 2012, high-level U.S. and Russian officials discussed bilateral agricultural trade and related policies on the margins of the APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting in Kazan, Russia. During this event Deputy Under Secretary (DUS) for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) Darci Vetter met with then-Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Oleg Aldoshin to discuss the possible implications to the bilateral trade relationship following the December 2011 invitation for Russia to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). DUS Vetter and then-USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Suzanne Heinen also participated in the USDA’s farmer-to-farmer exchange program. They accompanied a group of Iowa farmers, who learned about Russian agricultural practices from members of Russia’s Farmers Union (AKKOR). The trip included visits to dairy and seed potato farms near Kazan, Russia. The Iowa farmers positively reviewed the program.
In October 2012, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service organized a U.S. – Russia conference on aquaculture and fish health to broaden Russian and American scientists’ awareness of aquaculture diseases and surveillance in their respective countries. The scientists concluded that both countries face similar threats and proceeded to identify opportunities for future collaboration on disease surveillance and mitigation strategies with sturgeon, salmon, and trout. The Russian participants came from a variety of locations, including the Far East, Western and Central Western, and Southern regions. The American scientists represented the USDA, the Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Department of the Interior (U.S. Geological Survey).
In December 2012, USDA Under Secretary for FFAS Michael Scuse traveled to Moscow as head of a USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission, which was comprised of officials from 23 U.S. agribusinesses, as well as representatives from Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The objective of the delegation was to explore the potential for expanded U.S. agricultural exports to Russia. Under Secretary Scuse and then-Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Aldoshin renewed discussions on the bilateral trade relationship, specifically regarding Russia’s adherence to WTO sanitary and phytosanitary commitments, food security, agricultural biotechnology, and cooperation in the AWG.
In 2013, the Agriculture Working Group continued its farmer-to-farmer exchange program. In September, USDA, AKKOR and the Iowa Farm Bureau hosted 16 Russian youth farmers on an exchange to Washington, D.C. and Iowa focusing on the professional development of rural youth in science education and leadership.
The Arms Control and International Security Working Group (ACIS) is co-chaired by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller. The co-chairs have met regularly to discuss a wide range of topics, including strategic stability, missile defense, and countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation challenges.
In 2012 and 2013, the Working Group co-chairs met several times to discuss a bilateral framework on threat reduction that reinforces longstanding U.S. - Russian partnership on nonproliferation. This new legal framework, signed on June 14, 2013, will allow future joint nuclear security activities to be conducted under the 2003 Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation (MNEPR) and a related bilateral Protocol. As long-time partners with a mutual interest in promoting nuclear security, the United States and the Russian Federation work successfully on a broad range of activities, including cooperative projects in third countries designed to prevent the spread of WMD by securing and eliminating WMD-related materials and technology.
Jointly with the Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group, the ACIS welcomed the inauguration the newly modernized Nuclear Risk Reduction Center (NRRC) at the U.S. Department of State. The NRRC, and its counterpart at the Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow, has been in continuous operation, 24-hours a day, since its inception April 1, 1988.
Looking forward, the Working Group will continue to address issues related to strategic stability, and seek mutually acceptable solutions on missile defense.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev co-chair the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group (BDERWG). They met on the sidelines of the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Leaders’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia on October 6, 2013.
In March 2013, the Working Group adopted a 2013-2014 work plan. This plan greatly expands the Group’s mission, seeking to capitalize on Russia’s accession to the WTO and the establishment of permanent normal trade relations between the United States and Russia. The Work Plan is based on: (1) highlighting new opportunities to expand bilateral trade based on WTO rules; (2) increasing two-way direct investment; (3) facilitating trade and investment in targeted sectors and regions with high growth potential; and (4) intensifying collaboration between our governments and the private sector.
In May, the Working Group organized a Standards and Conformity Assessment Forum in Moscow to exchange best practices, including the use of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade agreement to improve the business environment. The forum brought together over 300 participants from the U.S. and Russian governments, standards-setting bodies, conformity assessment organizations, trade associations and individual companies. The Working Group also held consultations to address vital questions of our commercial and economic cooperation and plans for bilateral engagement at regional levels.
The BDERWG facilitated trade missions by representatives of the Russian mining industry to MINIExpo 2012 in Las Vegas, as well as an automotive and agriculture trade mission to Detroit hosted by the U.S. – Russia Business Council. In November 2012, the Working Group assisted in the organization of the “SelectUSA Investment Forum” in Moscow. SelectUSA is the single point of contact to help international and domestic firms grow and invest in the United States.
The BDERWG organized a discussion between representatives of Russia’s State Corporation for Special Economic Zones (RusSEZ) and U.S. Commerce Department officials, who examined business conditions in Russia’s 27 special economic zones and potential investment opportunities. The BDERWG also began developing the U.S. – Russia Regional Initiative, focused on increasing trade and investment between the United States and Russia’s regions.
In June 2013, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), U.S. representatives of the Working Group held meetings with regional officials from Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Kaluga, Tatarstan and Primorsky Krai to discuss plans for the U.S. – Russia Regional Initiative. Commerce officials have also met with Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Bashkortostan Ilshat Tazhitdinov in Washington, D.C. To stimulate trade in priority sectors, the Working Group collaborated with the Energy Working Group to conduct an energy efficiency trade mission led by U.S. Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. This trade mission resulted in a large number of successes, contributing to nearly $7 million in sales assisted by the U.S. Department of Commerce in St. Petersburg.
Another important element of the Working Group's activities in 2013 was its liaison work with the business community. The BDERWG works closely with organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, the U.S. - Russia Business Council, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, “Delovaya Rossiya,” the Russian Non-Government Organization for Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (OPORA). These organizations assisted in the organization of business missions, round tables, and conferences - including the organization of a U.S. - Russia Business Dialogue Round Table on June 20 as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Working Group representatives participated in the 2013 meeting of the Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) meeting in Vladivostok, Russia on September 20-21.
The Working Group regularly meets with business leaders to tailor activities to meet the needs of the U.S and Russian business communities. For example, in September 2012, the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sub-Working group and the U.S. Small Business Administration arranged for two U.S. bank representatives to discuss small business lending with key stakeholders in Russia’s SME sector, including representatives from the Russian Development Bank Vnesheconombank, SME Bank, the Association of Regional Banks, and the Russian Non-Government Organization for Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (OPORA). In addition, the Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) program, implemented three programs focusing on professionals in the pharmaceutical, IT, and energy sectors.
In coming months, the Working Group’s co-chairs plan to meet to establish a sub-Working Group on Standards and Conformity Assessment. The Group looks forward to conducting a series of business exchanges organized by SABIT and to collaborating with the Environment Working Group to develop a new initiative that pairs sound environmental policy with smart trade policy.
The Counternarcotics Working Group (CNWG) is jointly led by R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and Victor Ivanov, Chairman of the State Anti-Narcotics Committee (GAK) and Director of the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN).
A number of U.S. Government agencies support the efforts of the CNWG. ONDCP is joined by interagency partners from the National Security Staff and the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Specific agency representation includes the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The Russian Federation is represented by FSKN, the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Health, Labor and Social Protection; the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, Federal Customs, Federal Migration, and Federal Security Services; as well as the Supreme Court, the Federal Agency for Development of the State Border, the V.P. Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, and the Office of the Prosecutor General.
The CNWG is a bilateral forum for the mutual learning and exchange of best practices in order to address the public health and public safety dimensions of the drug problem. The working group has met nine times since its formation in 2009. These meetings focus on supply reduction, demand reduction, international drug policy cooperation, combating narcotics-related illicit finance, and improving legal frameworks to support counternarcotics efforts. The biannual CNWG meetings are supplemented by several exchanges between U.S. and Russian counterparts throughout the year.
The delegations made a number of site visits to the medical treatment centers of the St. Petersburg Narcological Hospital as well as FSKN training facilities. The subsequent session held in Boston in December 2012 reaffirmed this spirit of collaboration. The CNWG delegations also attended a briefing on national anti-drug media campaigns and a presentation on building drug-free communities. Following this plenary session, co-chairs Kerlikowske and Ivanov participated in a moderated discussion at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and also visited the William J. Ostiguy Recovery High School. At the most recent plenary in Sochi, Russia in May 2013, the working group met to discuss anti-money laundering efforts, counternarcotics efforts of the Afghan government jointly supported by the US and Russia, counternarcotic programs in Central and South American countries, and continued collaboration between the Ministry of Health of Russia and the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). At the most recent CNWG meeting in Miami in November 2013, issues such as strengthening operational partnerships within the BPC, in addition to other international partners; exchanging best practices in treatment and prevention programs, and increasing the effectiveness of multilateral efforts in countering narcotics-related illicit finance were addressed. Continuing dialogue, information exchanges, and related operations during the last four years have demonstrated that both nations are committed to further broadening bilateral cooperation. In addition, both the United States and Russia see clear prospects for greater bilateral and multilateral interaction.
Looking ahead, the Counternarcotics Working Group will continue to pursue an enhanced cooperation in addressing drug production, trafficking, and money laundering and implementation of comprehensive approaches that reduce the demand for drugs and promote recovery programs in both countries.
The United States and Russia have a shared interest in countering terrorist violence, and continue to strengthen cooperation on this issue. The terrorist attacks in Boston in April, and in Makhachkala in May, are evidence that the global terrorist threat is not weakening and calls for continuation of joint U.S. – Russian efforts to counter it. The Counterterrorism Working Group (CTWG) has been the main vehicle for our bilateral counterterrorism (CT) cooperation. The United States looks forward to the appointment of a new U.S. Department of State Coordinator for Counterterrorism, who will serve as co-chair of the CTWG alongside Russian Special Representative of the President for International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Alexander Zmeyevskiy. The CTWG also looks forward to scheduling the next formal meeting of the Working Group.
The group anticipates continuing dialogue and making progress on transportation security issues and law enforcement matters, as well as in other areas. The CTWG will continue to contribute to the cooperation of our countries in multilateral fora such as the United Nations, the Group of Eight, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).
Issuance of a joint statement on counterterrorism at the meetings of Presidents Obama and Putin at Lough Erne in June 2013 signaled the desire of both sides to expand our cooperation. Additionally, recent high-level meetings and visits (U.S. National Security Advisor Donilon, Russian Security Council Patrushev, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Mueller, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, and Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Kolokoltsev) have sought to further develop the good cooperation demonstrated in the investigation of the Boston Marathon attack. -level consultations on Sochi Olympics preparations have been ongoing, and we hope to deepen that cooperation in the lead up to the Games in February 2014.
In June 2013, President Obama and President Putin agreed to establish a new working group within the Commission as a part of confidence-building measures (CBMs) between the United States and the Russian Federation, with the goal of reducing tensions caused by threats to and in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The United States and the Russian Federation held the inaugural meeting on November 21 and 22 in Washington, D.C. U.S. Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel and Russian Deputy Secretary of the Security Council Nikolay Klimashin chaired the meeting, and State Department Coordinator for Cyber Issues Christopher Painter and Russian Special Coordinator for Political Affairs in the Use of Information Communication Technologies Andrey Krutskikh were the co-coordinators.
This first meeting of the Working Group on the Threats to and in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in the Context of International Security addressed a broad range of issues of mutual interest. A key component of the discussion concerned the implementation of the bilateral CBMs announced by Presidents Obama and Putin in June 2013. These bilateral CBMs are intended to promote transparency and reduce the possibility that an incident related to the use of ICTs could unintentionally cause instability or escalation. One CBM, for example, uses the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in Washington and Moscow to facilitate reliable, real-time bilateral communication about malicious activity concerning threats to and in the use of ICTs. The delegations reviewed implementation of the bilateral CBMs, and discussed the promotion of regional CBMs in venues such as the OSCE and the ASEAN Regional Forum. In addition to the discussion on CBMs implementation, the delegations also addressed policy issues such as norms of state behavior, cooperation to combat crime in the use of ICTs, and cooperation on defense issues resulting from the use of ICTs.
On the U.S. side, the working group is represented by the National Security Staff, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Defense. On the Russian side, the working group is comprised of representatives from the Russian Federation’s Security Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Communications, the Federal Security Service, the Federal Protection Service and the Federal Service for Technical and Export Control. The United States and Russia agreed to hold regular meetings of the Working Group on Threats to and in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in the Context of International Security.
The Defense Relations Working Group (DRWG) was established by the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the Russian Defense Minister in September 2010 to implement decisions taken by the Presidents of the United States and Russia to develop relations between both countries’ defense agencies to a new level. The DRWG’s open and timely discussions of emerging problems have assisted cooperation on a variety of issues.
The Working Group, chaired by U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel and Minister of Defense Shoygu, last met in Washington in August 2013 to assess the DRWG's accomplishments and to discuss the future of defense relations. Their meeting was held on the margins of the U.S. - Russia 2+2 meeting, which is led by the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense and the Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense. Meetings were useful and constructive dialogues and both sides agreed on a number of aspects of defense and military cooperation. The chairs also noted differences regarding missile defense, conventional strategic offensive arms, space, and some regional issues.
The DRWG's specialized sub-working groups are chaired by senior leaders from each side, with expert meetings conducted on a regular basis, as determined by the mutual interest of both sides. Since December 2010, all of the DRWG sub-working groups have met at least once, with a total of 25 separate meetings to date. Since the last annual report to the Presidents, five sub-working groups held sessions covering a broad array of defense matters, including:
The Training/Education/Human Resources Sub-Working Group conducted two meetings (in St. Petersburg in June 2012 and in Colorado Springs in October 2012). These meetings discussed planned cadet exchanges between U.S. and Russian service academies and shared information on foreign language training and military education reform.
The Social Welfare Sub-Working Group met in St. Petersburg in June 2012. The meeting pooled experience on providing benefits to service members and their families, retirees, and veterans. Discussions were also held on centralized payroll systems and databases and centralized pension support.
The Defense Technology Cooperation Sub-Working Group met in Washington in August 2012. The group discussed possible areas of interaction in defense and military technical cooperation, specifically focusing on identifying mutual areas of interest for cooperation and determining the best path forward to conclude the Defense Technology Cooperation Agreement being negotiated between the United States and Russia within the DRWG. The Global and Regional Security Sub-Working Group met in Geneva in February 2013. The U.S. delegation briefed the Russian participants on the Department of Defense’s Strategic Guidance, the Asian-Pacific rebalance, and priorities for developing and sustaining joint forces in the 21st century. The Russian delegation outlined priorities in the development of the Russian Armed Forces and Defense Ministry views on threats and challenges to global and regional security.
U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Miller and Russian Deputy Minister of Defense for International Military Cooperation Anatoly Antonov had consultations on cooperation in the missile defense area in April 2013 and December 2013 as part of the Sub-Working Group on Enhanced Missile Defense. These talks focused on the current situation in the implementation of U.S. missile defense plans. Both sides agreed to continue the dialogue with an expanded agenda to include various joint military cooperation projects.
Receiving senior-level support, the sub-working groups have made significant progress towards increased mutual understanding between our defense establishments and facilitated positive dialogue at multiple levels. Such cooperation also allows for a frank discussion of the challenges that arise between the United States and Russia, and strengthens defense and military cooperation. Both sides are discussing additional meetings for the remainder of 2013 and beyond.
The Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group (ECSM) is one of the most productive working groups, with more than 100 completed cultural programs, meetings, and exchanges since its inauguration in 2009.
The Education Sub-Working Group completed this year the fourth Fulbright Community College Administrators Seminar, which enabled high-level representatives from both countries to exchange views on the structure and management of technical and vocational schools. During the seminar, education administrators also signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding on technical innovation and training.
As part of its efforts to enhance opportunities for U.S. and Russian students and faculty, the Moscow Fulbright Office partnered with Moscow State University and the Higher School of Economics in hosting summer schools on sustainable development and humanities.
The Culture Sub-Working Group has sponsored an unprecedented amount of cultural programming and promoted common historic and cultural heritage by joint celebration of Fort Ross 200th anniversary. An excellent example of the melding of great American and Russian culture was the tour of the American National Youth Symphony Orchestra which brought together 120 American teenagers from 42 states to perform Russian classics under the direction of Russian Maestro Valery Gergiev. In another example, the unparalleled Bolshoy and Mariinsky Ballets entertained audiences from California to Washington D.C. during their U.S. tours in May and October 2012. Additionally, an American ballerina, Keenan Kampa, was invited to tour with the Mariinsky group – the first such invitation ever.
Other highlights included tours of Russia by American rhythm and blues singer Maya Azucena, the Santa Fe Ballet and the Quebe Sisters Band.
Music has only been one of many forms of artistic expression through which American-Russian cultural appreciation has flourished. Young writers have been able to connect through exchanges and workshops, such as those led by Christopher Merrill, Director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. The popular “Show US!” American Documentary Film Festival showcased American films in Moscow, the Urals and Tatarstan.
The Sports Sub-Working Group completed a number of unique programs this year. Highlights include a visit by the first Muslim woman to represent the US in an international competition, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. In October, 2012, Russia hosted 20 high school-aged American ice hockey players for a week of hockey diplomacy. Future programming includes an exchange for high school athletes to tie into the 2014 Paralympics.
The Mass Media Sub-Working Group has also actively continued its work this year, meeting in Washington, DC in October, 2012, and in St. Petersburg in August, 2013. The meetings focused on such themes as: the Business of Media; the Evolving Practice and Profession of Journalism; and New Media Technologies. To put words into action, the Mass Media sub-Working Group organized the Young Professional Journalist Exchange, which took place in November/December, 2013. Twenty four young American and Russian journalists participated in the four-week exchange that placed them in news organizations in Moscow and around the U.S., respectively.
The Emergency Situations Working Group is co-chaired by U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator W. Craig Fugate and Minister Vladimir A. Puchkov of the Russian Ministry for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination for Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM). The Working Group promotes enhanced cooperation in the field of emergency management. In partnership with a wide range of U.S. and Russian agencies, EMERCOM and FEMA conduct joint exercises, exchanges, and conferences with the goal of sharing best practices in emergency management.
The Working Group’s third annual meeting was held in Vladivostok, Russia in October 2012 on the margins of APEC’s Senior Disaster Management Officials. In June 2013, Administrator Fugate and Minister Puchkov led the fourth annual Working Group meeting in Washington, D.C. They also held a panel discussion on lessons learned from recent international disaster responses, including Hurricane Sandy, and the Chelyabinsk meteor impact. Among the presentations was a summary of the July 2012 symposium on scientific monitoring and forecasting geo-hazards that was co-sponsored by the Science and Technology and Emergency Situations Working Groups and held in Moscow. Plans were also discussed for a geo-hazards workshop that will be held in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska where geologists and emergency managers will gather in the Spring of 2014 to discuss the formalization of mechanisms of exchange and notification regarding shared geo-hazards in the North Pacific.
EMERCOM summarized their successful visit in April 2013 to Boston to explore opportunities for exchange and partnership in graduate and undergraduate educational programs in Emergency Management and plans for follow-on discussions between Harvard University and EMERCOM’s St. Petersburg Fire University. A proposal was also made to broaden the discussion of educational partnership to include cooperation with U.S. research and scientific institutions focusing on areas such as the development of geo-spatial information systems for the monitoring and prevention of emergency situations. A proposal was also considered to collaborate in the sphere of protection from space-born hazards.
The Director of EMERCOM’s Mine Rescue Service proposed collaboration and exchange with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. EMERCOM and FEMA also discussed establishing exchanges to study approaches to building volunteer service organizations such as the newly formed FEMA Corps.
As a step toward greater operational cooperation in disaster response Minister Puchkov and Administrator Fugate agreed the exchange of daily disaster watch reports. The Working Group achieved another milestone in December 2013 as FEMA and EMERCOM took the lead in organizing an international workshop on air medical evacuation under the umbrella of the NATO-Russia Council.
Also in June 2013, New Yorkers were treated to the annual “Battles on Ice,” a “friendlies” hockey game organized by the Russian American Foundation (RAF) as part of the 11th Annual Russian Heritage Month. As in prior years, the games served to commemorate the victims of terrorist acts in New York and Moscow. This year the counterterrorism theme was highlighted on June 25 as special guests representing Boston's firefighters played the EMERCOM of Russia team in a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 30, 2012, Minister Puchkov wrote to FEMA’s Administrator Fugate and the Department of State’s Crisis Operations Center offering to provide any necessary assistance to survivors of the storm. After consulting with state and local emergency managers and voluntary organizations active in response efforts in New York and New Jersey, FEMA informed EMERCOM that warm blankets were in critical short supply. The blanket shortage was made more acute by the widespread power outages and frigid temperatures. EMERCOM wasted no time loading and dispatching two Ilyushin-76 cargo planes with more than 20,000 winter blankets weighing more than 50 tons. The planes arrived at New York’s JFK airport in the early morning hours where they were quickly cleared for U.S. customs entry, unloaded by a team of volunteers from AmeriCorps, and distributed to grateful survivors by the American Red Cross.
Also, this past year a delegation from EMERCOM visited several U.S. companies and institutions in Silicon Valley to gain expertise in information technologies available for the purpose of monitoring and preventing emergency situations.
In 2014, EMERCOM and FEMA are planning to produce a documentary film on voluntary firefighting in the United States that will be used as part of a campaign to educate potential volunteers, citizens, and law makers about the alternative approaches to organizing volunteerism in Russia. FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration and the U.S. Forest Service would support EMERCOM’s film crew by coordinating participating U.S. local firefighting units and serving as advisors on the use of volunteers in fighting structural and wild fires in the United States.
The Energy Working Group, co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, promotes greater U.S. – Russia energy cooperation in pursuit of enhanced energy efficiency and security, assured electric grid reliability through the use of smart grids, the creation of opportunities for joint development of clean energy technologies, strengthened energy data exchange and the support of energy policy development in order to encourage investment, trade and implementation of best practices. The working group brings together the efforts of the U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of State (DOS), and U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC); the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Russian Ministry of Energy, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Energy Agency.
The Energy Working Group’s efforts for 2013 included initiatives related to electric grid efficiency and reliability, energy performance contracting, industrial efficiency, scientific exchange and research and development (R&D), and university partnerships. As part of the city-to-city partnership between San Diego and Belgorod, leaders in each city continue to work closely together on smart grid projects.one particular effort, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) found that the Helios Street Lighting System - technology developed and manufactured in Belgorod, Russia - was a solution to electricity waste from malfunctioning street lights. The Helios system allows SDG&E to fully monitor, control and collect data centrally and create job orders on a per accident basis, ultimately leading to substantial savings, both energy-wise and financially. Another example, Russian electricity company Russia Grids, in partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is working on a pilot project in the Kaluga region involving phasor measurement units (PMUs). This energy management integration project would utilize PMUs (also known as syncrophasor-based applications) to determine and apply real time controls that would prevent system failures, stabilize the electricity grid, and provide for more reliability.
Additionally, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is working with Russian Grids to develop a project aimed at enhancing critical grid protection through the use of advanced modeling simulation and analysis tools. These mechanisms monitor critical infrastructure and assess interdependencies, vulnerabilities and complexities. Therefore, this would provide Russian Grids, along with other energy and utility companies, the ability to conduct the advanced modeling and simulation necessary to understand and predict system failures from large scale natural disasters. Building upon the September 2011 memorandum between the City of St. Petersburg and U.S. company Honeywell, an energy efficiency pilot project was initiated by Honeywell with St. Petersburg. The project entails a retrofit and the introduction of an independent heating unit into a municipal building. The project would be financed using an energy savings performance contract - a first for any municipal project in St. Petersburg.
In January 2013, a meeting of the Energy Security sub-Working Group took place in Washington. The status of the global energy market, development and regulation of unconventional gas sectors, and projects of strategic supply routes of energy resources were discussed at the meeting.
In May 2013, Energy Efficiency sub-Working Group co-chairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Hogan and Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Anton Inyutsin met to discuss new initiatives for the coming year. One such initiative was a proposal to develop a project that would not only implement an ISO 50001 Energy Management System at an industrial site, but also certify these facilities and share this data under the GSEP initiative (Global Superior Energy Performance).Through the Energy Working Group, the United States continues to work closely with Russia to enhance the understanding and mitigation of black carbon emissions in the Russian Arctic. In October 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy, with the help of national laboratories, completed the identification of black carbon-emitting “hot spots,” and presented these results in Moscow with the Russian Academy of Sciences. Efforts continued through 2013 to coordinate a data collection project in Murmansk, in hopes of developing a demonstration project there that would highlight methodologies for reducing emissions.
Under the Energy Working Group, several research and development (R&D) initiatives in clean energy technology continue between the U.S. scientific community and Russian experts. These efforts include initiatives related to nanotechnology, fuel cells, reactor materials, biofuels, and hydrogen storage. Under a university-to-university partnership, project leaders and legal experts from Moscow State University and Tulsa School of Law continue to exchange views on energy policy, and to work on creating a forum where these experts can discuss ways of meeting the energy challenges faced by both the United States and Russia. Both countries are now finalizing articles to be published soon.
The co-chairs issued a joint statement after their December 6th plenary meeting noting that they agreed to strengthening the strategic energy partnership between our two countries. They identified next steps in the key areas of our energy dialogue - enhancing energy efficiency, reducing of black carbon emissions, and promoting natural gas. agreed to create a new Sub-working group on conventional fuels, and also extended the Group’s mandate to include innovative technologies.
Looking ahead, the Energy Working Group will continue to implement pilot projects, facilitate the exchange of best practices via workshops and peer-to-peer discourse, promote business links through trade exchanges and public-private partnerships, and engage scientific circles and energy companies in a bilateral dialogue regarding global energy markets and investment opportunities for both countries.
The U.S. Department of State and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) lead the Commission's Environment Working Group (EWG). The United States and Russia enjoy robust cooperation on a broad range of environmental issues such as the management and remediation of waste contamination, reduction of health impacts from black carbon emissions, genetic mapping of commercially and environmentally important plants, combating wildfires and invasive species, and wildlife and habitat conservation. An impressive array of participants from government, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and local communities support EWG initiatives through technical and scientific exchanges, bilateral conferences, joint research programs and pilot projects. On November 15, 2013 in Moscow, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment Daniel Reifsnyder and Russian Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Rinat Gizatulin signed the Group’s new 2013 – 2014 work plan.
In the past year, cooperation between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) reached new heights, opening opportunities to engage new partners -- the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development -- in exploring commercial opportunities to address environmental problems. The sides conducted reciprocal visits to share expertise on industrial waste clean-up -- an issue of continuing interest to both countries. Russians visited land restoration and revitalization projects in Georgia, New Jersey and New York where they toured waste recycling facilities and Superfund sites, observed community participation in decision-making and saw U.S. best practices and cutting-edge technologies in action. In March 2013, the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia hosted a joint workshop with the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (USEPA) on land clean-up and remediation. At the workshop the Russian side informed U.S. experts about the work conducted by the Russian Federation on the creation of legal mechanisms of legacy waste management and the implementation of hands-on projects of land clean-up and remediation. In August 2013, at the invitation of the Russian regions of Nizhniy Novgorod and the Republic of Buryatia, EPA and MNRE experts conducted technical consultations on regional remediation projects and began preparations for a model-demonstration initiative to deploy innovative green hazardous waste destruction technologies. In December 2013, both sides showcased this cooperation at the All-Russian Environmental Congress in Moscow.
The EPA and Murmansk State Technical University also collaborate on the measurement and reduction of black carbon emissions from diesel sources. In April 2013, they organized a seminar and site-visit in Murmansk on diesel black carbon inventory and measurement methodologies that will enable accurate measurement and assessment of pollution reduction policies and technologies. In addition to addressing adapting international practices to Murmansk’s specific needs, they took advantage of the opportunity to jointly collect real-time emissions measurements.
MNRE, the Russian Federal Forestry Agency (RFFA), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) address shared challenges related to natural resource management, protected area management and wildlife conservation. Recent collaborative efforts have focused on national park manager exchanges, wildfire management and illegal logging. Russian and American partners continue to work on environmental crime and recently USFS hosted an exchange program in the U.S. Pacific Northwest addressing timber theft in the region. USFS is also working with academic institutions in Russia to improve the use of DNA as a tool to verify legality in timber supply chains—a cutting edge application of this science and part of a larger global effort to develop new, innovative approaches to solve environmental problems. Meanwhile, work with law enforcement colleagues continues as new illegal logging workshops are planned in the Russian Far East for 2014.
Protected area management, in particular, is a topic of great interest to partners. The Environment Working Group proudly welcomed the establishment of "Beringia," a new federal park in Chukotka, which firmly demonstrates our joint commitment to deepen cooperation in the Bering Strait region. In June, a session was held to discuss issues of environmental protection and management of reserves within the framework of the existing U.S. - Russian Environmental Agreement from June 1994. Our countries were pleased to mark this milestone in Anadyr at the 2013 Beringia Days Conference. The Environment Working Group will continue to foster new exchanges like those hosted on ecotourism and park interpretation. The Environment Working Group also will continue to address shared challenges like the management of polar bears, which inhabit both countries, and invasive species, like the Emerald Ash Borer, which pose a common threat. These cooperative activities will become increasingly important as the Working Group meets new challenges in natural resource management.
The Health Working Group (HWG) aims to improve the health of American and Russian citizens by fostering bilateral collaboration in four areas: healthy lifestyles and non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, scientific and research collaboration, and global health. The working group is co-chaired by U.S. Secreatary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova.
The Working Group held its third plenary meeting in May 2013 in Geneva, where co-chairs Secretary Sebelius and Minister Skvortsova reviewed progress since the 2011 Working Group meeting and discussed directions for future work. During this plenary meeting, members of the Working Group agreed to add arctic health as a new area of collaboration. The arctic health work will focus on the impact of climate change on human health, including behavioral and mental health issues, and on surveillance and treatment of tuberculosis. The co-chairs also agreed to work on combatting anti-microbial resistance, a major public-health threat to the global community.
In addition, the HWG approved proposals for increased cooperation on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and commended the WHO’s increased attention to this important issue. A fourth plenary session to continue revisions and future planning is set for 2014.
In addition to annual meetings, the U.S. and Russian Working Group members have met on other occasions to advance significant Working Group initiatives. Since 2012, the Working Group has worked to promote healthy lifestyles for citizens of both countries. Perhaps most importantly, the Working Group welcomed the comprehensive Tobacco-Control Law passed in Russia in March 2013, which includes, among other things, a ban on smoking in public places and restrictions on advertising and sponsorship. In addition, the Working Group agreed on a Protocol of Intent outlining joint efforts in tackling communicable and non-communicable diseases, which was signed between the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor, or RPN).
The second meeting of the U.S – Russia Science Forum, which focused on pediatric and rare diseases, was held in May 2013 at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Seventeen young Russian pediatric clinical researchers traveled to the United States to present their research at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, the largest scientific meeting of pediatric researchers in the United States, and to meet with NIH and university researchers.
In March 2013, the U.S. – Russia Taskforce Group on Health organized by the Carnegie Endowment, along with many private sector contributors, provided recommendations to the Working Group in the form of a report on U.S. – Russia health engagement. The report was shared extensively with policy-makers both in the United States and in Russia.
The Working Group also conducted a special workshop between the NIH and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) in Moscow in July 2013, as part of the second meeting of the U.S. Russia Bilateral Collaborative Research Partnerships on the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS and Co-morbidities. This meeting provided an opportunity to review the overall progress of the NIH-RFBR program and to discuss the future scientific directions for this initiative.
Looking forward, in the latter half of 2013, further expansion of the biomedical and behavioral research collaborations of the U.S. – Russia Scientific Forum is expected. Bilateral exchanges, including research partnerships through the CDC and NIH intramural visitors programs and delegations supported by international visitors programs, will continue.
In the longer-term, the Russian Ministry of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are planning to continue the health conversation through several multilateral fora, like the 2014 Russia presidency of the G-8.
The United States and Russia both bring enormous strengths to the table in the area of innovation. The Innovation Working Group (IWG) is unique because its membership is comprised of both Russian and American innovators and entrepreneurs. This public-private composition reflects the essential collaboration among companies, academia, non-governmental organizations, and governments required to develop and sustain innovative economies. Since its inception in 2011, the IWG has been chaired on the U.S. side by then-Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert Hormats and on the Russian side Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich and, until recently, by then-Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov.
At the working group’s inaugural session in California in March 2012, participants examined policies that encourage successful innovation systems around the world, as well as concrete cooperative projects to promote innovation coordination between the United States and Russia. Attendees discussed plans to link innovation centers and regional innovation clusters, assessed the legal framework for innovation, and considered ways of leveraging resources and connections in the private and academic sectors to support the commercialization of innovative technologies in both countries. The two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Russia’s new innovation hub called Skolkovo regarding cooperation on development of contacts and projects in the interests of modernization. The working group also visited the NASA Ames Research Center and some of its partner institutions like Singularity University, and other private sector laboratories. These types of off-site visits facilitate connections between U.S. and Russian companies, venture funds, universities and are a feature of every working group meeting.
The working group held its second meeting in Moscow at Skolkovo in October 2012 to coincide with the Open Innovations Forum. Participants agreed on the importance of creating an appropriate ecosystem for innovation that includes mentoring, frequent communication, and financing. They also discussed proposals for future collaboration between U.S. and Russian universities and start-up firms. Then-Under Secretary Hormats and then-Deputy Prime Minister Surkov presided, while coordinators U.S. Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Lorraine Hariton and Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Oleg Fomichev signed a joint work plan detailing three key items: steps to advance a joint assessment and a set of recommendations for improving the legal framework for innovation, cooperation between innovation centers and regional innovation clusters in the United States and Russia, and best practices in the commercialization of new technologies. The Ministry of Economic Development organized a trip for participants to Dubna - one of the science cities of Russia to visit the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and the Dubna Special Economic Zone.
In April 2013, the working group convened its third meeting in Washington and identified further areas of cooperation in the development of the commercialization chain, strategies for entering the U.S. and Russian markets, and the role of business incubators and accelerators. The major accomplishment was the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding between (1) Cisco and the Skolkovo Foundation; (2) Cisco and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech); (3) the Wisconsin Technology Innovation Initiative and “Northern” Biopharmaceutical Cluster Development Center of the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology; and (4) the State of Maryland and Pushchino Biotechnology Cluster. Another important outcome was that an expert group of U.S. and Russian lawyers, supported by the American Bar Association, the Skolkovo Foundation, the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia and other organizations; submitted recommendations on improving the legal framework for innovation in the United States and Russia. The meeting featured Jasper Welch, President and CEO of the National Business Incubator Association, as well as several other presenters representing incubators throughout Russia. Officials of the U.S National Institutes of Health also discussed with the Russian participants the U.S. Government’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, technology transfer, patent protection, and research and development. A session on regional cooperation highlighted efforts between the State of Maryland and the Nizhniy Novgorod Region as well as with the Pushchino Biotechnology Cluster, which was underscored with a full-day program for working group participants hosted by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the University of Maryland.
The Innovation Working Group met again in Moscow on October 29, 2013 at API, a Moscow-based startup accelerator, for its fourth plenary meeting. At this meeting, the Group announced plans for a formal survey of Russian entrepreneurs to assess obstacles to innovation. University of California-Berkeley Law School will partner with the Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia to conduct the survey during the first half of 2014. At the meeting, participants from government, private industry, and non-governmental organizations discussed the role of engineering centers in spurring innovation, the legal environment for innovative companies, U.S.-Russia regional cooperation on technology commercialization, and Russia’s strategy to grow its Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector. U.S. firms Boeing, Microsoft, Honeywell, and Intel, as well as MIT, played key roles in the conference, sharing success stories and offering creative ideas to foster more innovative business collaboration between the U.S. and Russia.
The Commission’s Working Group on Intelligence Cooperation was created in March 2010.Then, now and going forward, our two countries’ premier intelligence agencies will continue to cooperate on a bilateral basis in areas of mutual concern and security.
The Military Cooperation Working Group (MCWG) was established in 2009 to identify mutually beneficial areas of military cooperation, coordinate work on joint projects for stronger strategic stability and international security, develop military contacts, discuss security issues and control the implementation of current cooperation projects and joint activities. The MCWG is co-chaired by General of the Army Valeriy Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, and General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The third MCWG meeting was held in Washington, DC, in July 2012. The participants shared opinions on the status and prospects of military cooperation as well as on the situation in the world crisis areas. The meeting noted that cooperation between the Russian Defense Ministry and the U.S. Defense Department in combating terrorism is making good progress thanks to contacts under the auspices of the sub-working counterterrorism group and to a number of joint military exercises. A U.S.—Russian antiterrorist exercise involving U.S. Special Forces Group and a Russian airborne unit took place at Fort Carson, Colorado, in May 2012. This exercise has made it clearer how each country’s military department solves its tasks in combating terrorism. A similar exercise in Russia is currently being planned.
In addition, some more practical events have been conducted as part of the MCWG activities.
Russian, U.S. and Norwegian navies conducted the joint naval Exercise NORTHERN EAGLE in the Norwegian Sea in August 2012. The exercise was aimed at interoperability at sea to improve functional compatibility in combating terrorists and peacekeeping operations.
VIGILANT EAGLE 2012 computer command and staff exercise was held in August to enhance interoperability by sharing information, techniques, and procedures to address potential acts of terrorism involving commercial aircraft. The task was to detect, identify and intercept the intruding plane.
Russian and U.S. ground forces participated in ATLAS VISION in July 2013. The exercise focused on performing joint peacekeeping operations.
Military experts on improvised explosive devices (IED) met in Moscow in November 2012. Experts reviewed the trends in IED development and counter-IED methods, and exchanged their experience in IED detecting and disposal. During a reciprocal meeting held in June 2013, Russian delegation visited the Headquarters of the Joint IED Defeat Organization in Washington D.C. and the Joint Center of Excellence in Fort Irwin, California.
Over 2012 more than 40 events were conducted under the program of military cooperation between the Russian and U.S. armed forces, including exercises, training, staff consultations, naval port visits and other events.
The Russian General Staff hosted the Russian-U.S. Joint Staff Talks in Moscow and St. Petersburg in November 2012. The talks included a discussion of the current political-military situation, sharing of experience in reforming Russian and U.S. armed forces and deliberations on the current bilateral military cooperation.
In 2013, the Working Group has conducted over 30 percent of the scheduled events. In 2014, the main emphasis in the military cooperation arena will be on efforts intended to increase interaction in resolving a variety of military and humanitarian issues.
The Military-Technical Cooperation Working Group (MTCWG) held its inaugural meeting in December 2012 alongside a U.S.–Russia Defense Cooperation Acquisition Forum. The two events served as a venue for a bilateral exchange of information on U.S. and Russian legislation regulating military technical cooperation, export control systems, established practices for military procurement and supplies, and on the conclusion of contracts for the supply of defense products. The United States delegation from the U.S. Departments of State, Defense and Commerce was led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Evelyn Farkas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Trade Beth McCormick, and Director of International Cooperation OSD (AT&L) Keith Webster; Russian co-chair Anatoly Punchuk, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) was joined by representatives of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks, and Rosoboronexport (Russian Defense Export). The representatives heard comprehensive briefings presented by the Russian and U.S. delegations on military technical cooperation. These presentations fostered a strong foundation for both sides to work together and understand the environments in which each operates on military technical matters.
The formation of the MTCWG aids the United States and Russia in addressing all the facets of defense technology and military-technical aspects of our relationship. The inaugural meeting set a positive tone for future cooperation in the military-technical sphere. The Working Group aims to create favorable conditions for the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United States in the military-technical realm of defense technology. It forms the framework which makes cooperation possible between our respective organizations that are authorized to produce and conduct foreign trade of defense items. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia have been discussing a legal framework for future cooperation and the Working Group proved to be an efficient mechanism to initiate these discussions.
The MTCWG promotes broader cooperation between Russia and the United States in the field of military technical cooperation. In addition, the Working Group will look for expanded areas to engage in military-technical matters, the adoption of a working plan, and the convening of their next plenary meeting.
The Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group (NENSWG) consists of five sub-working groups focusing on: (1) highly enriched uranium (HEU) minimization; (2) nuclear security; (3) plutonium disposition; (4) international safeguards and export controls; and (5) nuclear energy. The NENSWG is co-chaired by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and Director General of the Rosatom State Corporation Sergey Kiriyenko. There have been six working group meetings since 2009; the most recent was in St. Petersburg, Russia in June 2013.
The highlight of the past year was the signing on June 14, 2013 of two successor arrangements to the Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement that operate under the 2003 Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Program in the Russian Federation (MNEPR): the Protocol between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation to the Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation of May 21, 2003 (MNEPR Protocol); and the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation regarding cooperation under the Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation of May 21, 2003 and the MNEPR Protocol. Those two arrangements provide a framework for many of the NENSWG nuclear security activities.
Another major accomplishment of the year was the signing in September 16, 2013 of the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America on Cooperation In Nuclear- and Energy-Related Scientific Research and Development. This Agreement further elaborates the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America for cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and supports increased collaboration between U.S. and Russian nuclear research laboratories and institutes in the areas of nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation and establishes a sub-group for cooperation in the area of civil nuclear energy.
All HEU was removed from the Czech Republic, Vietnam and Hungary. NENSWG anticipates total removal of HEU from Uzbekistan, and significant removal from Poland.
In June the co-chairs of the NENSWG signed the joint statement which summed up results of the implementation of the Agreements on HEU minimization, plutonium disposition, physical nuclear security and other activities. The two sides also signed a number of agreements, including a Memorandum of Understanding with France to establish the multipurpose fast research reactor (MBIR) international user facility to be commissioned by the end of the this decade and an MOU with the Russian Institute of Atomic Reactors to collaborate on irradiations of advanced structural materials in Russia’s BOR-60 reactor.
The end of the year also brought a major milestone: the final delivery of low enriched uranium under the 1993 U.S. – Russia Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement, which provides for converting 500 metric tons of HEU from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons into low enriched uranium for use as fuel in U.S. commercial nuclear reactors.
In support of the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), the United States and Russia are continuing bilateral consultations on technical issues regarding the draft agreement for IAEA verification of plutonium disposition at U.S. and Russian facilities with a view to resuming trilateral discussions with the IAEA.
The Rule of Law Working Group (ROLWG) focuses on justice sector issues of mutual concern. The ROLWG is co-chaired by Eric H. Holder, Attorney General of the United States, and Alexander Konovalov, Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation.
The ROLWG focuses on the following areas: service of process in civil cases under the Hague Convention of 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention); probation and alternatives to incarceration; and identification and recovery of criminal proceeds abroad. The ROLWG last met in May 2012 but activities under the Working Group continue. April 2013, Russian Justice Ministry officials met with U.S. Department of State counterparts on the margins of meetings at the Hague to discuss service of process in civil cases under the Hague Service Convention.
In May 2013, Bruce Ohr, Counselor for Transnational Organized Crime and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice, attended the Ministry of Justice’s third annual International Legal Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia and spoke on a panel entitled “Criminal Matters and Allegations of Crime in International Arbitration.”
Following agreement last year by co-chairs Holder and Konovalov to expand ROLWG cooperation to include the exchange of best practices in the area of legal education, the Russian Ministry of Justice is currently exploring trial advocacy and moot court programs, among other topics, with the deans of a number of Russian law schools with a view to future collaboration in these areas.
The fourth meeting of the Science and Technology Working Group (STWG) was held on April 4, 2013, in Moscow. Dr. John P. Holdren Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, led the U.S. delegation and Minister of Education and Science Dimitry Livanov led the Russian delegation. The discussions noted the significant progress since the 2012 meeting and set forth the next steps for the existing Climate Science Sub-Working Group and Nanotechnology Sub-Working Group. The STWG discussed its future evolution including the newly-created Natural Hazard Science Sub-Working Group and Enhancing Cooperation Sub-Working Group.
The Climate Science Sub-Working Group seeks to advance state-of-the-art climate science and foster a better understanding of climate impacts through enhanced observations, collaborative research, and scientific exchanges. The desired outcomes of the two-year work plan are: establishing a successful record of accomplishment; identifying a joint database of projects that are of interest to both countries; and improving coordination between national funding agencies, when possible.
Under the Nanotechnology Sub-Working Group, the United States and Russia agreed on the importance of cooperation on international standards, and on policies that support the responsible manufacture and use of nanotechnology-enabled products. The group reviewed progress on a number of ongoing projects and mechanisms for implementing future joint projects. At site visits to the National University of Science and Technology (MISIS) near Moscow and the Technical Institute of Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (TISNCM) located near Moscow in Troisk, the U.S. delegation spoke with Russian scientists regarding potential areas of cooperation. TISNCM scientists are working effectively with their counterparts at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California and the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago. A thin slice of nearly perfect synthetic diamond crystal, manufactured at TISNCM, was a key element in upgrading SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS).
Under the Natural Hazards Sub-Working Group, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - in coordination with the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) - conducted a number of natural hazards science activities with Russian counterparts over the last year. Their counterparts included the Russian Ministry of Education and Science (MES), the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the Geophysical Service of RAS, Russian Fund of Basic Researches (RFBR), Roscosmos, Roshydromet, and EMERCOM. Of primary importance was the signing of the U.S. – Russia Agreement on Cooperation in Seismology and Geodynamics. This Sub-Working Group met for the first time during the meeting of the Science and Technology Working Group in April 2013. The Natural Hazards Sub-Working Group will focus on cooperation in geologic hazards, hydrogeological hazards, permafrost hazards, and forest fires. The group also identified a list of proposed joint research projects and workshops to implement.
In order to expand U.S. - Russian research cooperation in science and technology, the Science and Technology Working Group established an Enhancing Cooperation Sub-Working Group to focus on identifying and monitoring measures to address obstacles to research cooperation. The group also seeks potential areas of future cooperation based upon a bottom-up approach to scientific cooperation. At this group’s initial meeting, they identified four current obstacles: visas; marine access; taxation; and customs. The Enhancing Cooperation Sub-Working Group will monitor the issues, and facilitate problem solving as required. As a means of addressing the customs and taxation issues, the Group proposed discussing these issues in the context of the renewal of the U.S.-Russia Science & Technology Agreement, which expires in December 2015. The Russian side also agreed to review Russia’s taxation and customs duty legislation with the aim of providing guidance to United States governmental agencies to obtain tax and duty free entry for scientific instruments used in research. Another opportunity to promote greater research cooperation is to facilitate the coordination of U.S. and Russian financing agencies in support of joint research projects, when possible. The group’s first opportunity in advancing cooperation and supporting collaborative financing may occur under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the U.S. National Institutes of Health in the field of biomedical science, which we anticipate will return to the negotiation table in 2014.
Through the Space Cooperation Working Group, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) continued to build upon decades of successful cooperation in civil space activities. NASA and Roscosmos continue to accelerate advances in innovation through shared use of the International Space Station (ISS), data-sharing in Earth and space science, and collaboration to study space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. and Roscosmos Head Oleg Ostapenko co-chair the working group.
The Space Cooperation Working Group has emphasized the importance of cooperation in the ISS program through at least 2020, since the ISS is a foundation and bridge to future human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit. NASA and Roscosmos, with their ISS Partners in Canada, Europe and Japan, are focused on fully utilizing the ISS for research, exploration technology demonstrations, maturing critical systems for exploration, human health and performance risk management, and operations simulations and techniques. The ISS partners have begun considering opportunities to further advance human space exploration, so benefits from the ISS program will continue to grow through future exploration missions. Recognizing the potential for international cooperation in space exploration and the rationale for developing a coordinated strategy for space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, the Working Group noted the discussions within the multilateral International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) and the August 2013 release of an updated Global Exploration Roadmap (GER) which begins with the ISS and expands human presence throughout the solar system, leading ultimately to human missions to explore the surface of Mars.
NASA and Russia have a long history of extensive and diverse science cooperation, starting with space biology and medicine, geodesy and geodynamics in the 1960s, and continuing through to the present via the Space Cooperation Working Group. The Russian Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument aboard the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission searches for subsurface water ice on Mars. DAN is receiving data and the teams are enthusiastic about the potential for scientific returns. Successful cooperation on the Russian Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) aboard the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Russian High Energy Neutron Detector (HEND) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey mission continues. NASA will provide x-ray mirrors for the Russian Spectrum Roentgen Gamma (SRG) satellite, which will facilitate joint astrophysics research in areas such as black holes, galaxies, and neutron stars. The Russian Academy of Science’s Space Research Institute (IKI) will provide NASA access to elements of the data returned from the mission. The Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IMBP) and NASA have had ongoing cooperative efforts for over 30 years in conducting research in space biology and biomedical research. In April–May 2013, NASA participated in the Russian Bion-M1 mission, an automated spacecraft carrying biological research experiments into low Earth orbit (LEO) and back. Biospecimens from the flight experiments are being studied collaboratively with IMBP to reveal fundamental mechanisms of adaption to spaceflight.
Going forward, NASA and Roscosmos will build upon the Working Group’s successful cooperation and discuss potential areas for expanding cooperation, such as ISS utilization; life, Earth, and space sciences; communication and navigation; and human and robotic space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
About the BPC:
The BPC was founded in 2009 by President Obama and President Medvedev. Since then, both Presidents Obama and Putin have reaffirmed their commitment to the U.S.—Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. The BPC is dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people. Through the Commission’s working groups and sub-committees, we will strive to deepen our cooperation in concrete ways and to take further steps to demonstrate joint leadership in addressing new challenges. The foundation for the work of the Commission is based on the core principles of friendship, cooperation, openness, and predictability, and we are resolved to address disagreements openly and honestly in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgement of each other’s perspective.