History of the NRRC

The National Security Decision Directive Number 301 (NSDD-301)

On February 22, 1988, National Security Decision Directive number 301 (NSDD-301) officially established the U.S. NRRC within the DOS. NSDD-301 lays the groundwork for the activities of the NRRC, including Presidential approval of future notifications regimes, the use of pre-formatted notifications and the type of communications equipment to be used. An Assistant Secretary of State is appointed within the NSDD-301 Presidential guidance to serve as the Director of the U.S. NRRC. The first operational notifications were exchanged in April 1988 and consisted of ballistic missile launch information. The proper location for the new NRRC was debated for months, but it was finally decided that the NRRC's role in government-to-government communication was the duty of the State Department.

Date: 1987 Description: Original Title Page, English Version, NRRC Agreement, 1987:  Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics on the Establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers. - State Dept Image


Date: 09/15/1987 Description: Then U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz (seated, right) and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign the first NRRC Agreement, September 15, 1987. © White House ImageSenators Sam Nunn and John Warner, concerned about the rise in international tensions, nuclear armaments, and delivery systems, organized the bipartisan Congressional Working Group on Nuclear Risk Reduction. In 1982, they proposed the establishment of “crisis control centers” in Washington and Moscow to reduce the risk of a nuclear conflict. These proposed centers would exchange information on ballistic missile launches, nuclear accidents, or incidents at sea. They would provide a channel for exchanging critical information under normal circumstances and offer a reliable channel of communication in times of crisis.

At the Geneva Summit in November 1985, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan agreed to establish a joint experts’ study group to examine the feasibility of such a link.

Date: 1997 Description: Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott Visits the NRRC, 1997 - State Dept Image

These meetings proved successful, and on September 15, 1987, after lengthy discussions, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze signed the agreement at a White House Rose Garden ceremony, presided over by President Reagan, establishing Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in Washington and Moscow.

Secretary Shultz, Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze, National Security Advisor Powell, Deputy Secretary of Defense Taft, Senator Nunn, Senator Warner, Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin, and U.S. Ambassador to the USSR Jack F. Matlock opened the U.S. NRRC on March 22, 1988, and exchanged the first message with the Soviet NRRC. The NRRC began formal operations on April 1, and the first treaty notification was transmitted to the Soviet NRRC five days later. The first notification from the Soviet Union was received on June 2, 1988.


Beginning in November 1991, the NRRC’s role was broadened significantly. Having been created as a bilateral institution to exchange notifications on nuclear weapons with a single partner, the Soviet Union, the NRRC became the node for the communications network of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE – changed to the OSCE in 1995). This Vienna-based multinational organization is the world’s largest regional security organization.

The OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security addresses a wide range of concerns including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, counter-terrorism, and economic and environmental activities. The NRRC’s expertise, technical capabilities and proven reliability in handling time-sensitive notifications for exchange of data made it an ideal partner for the newly created multilateral network of the OSCE.


In November 2011, the U.S. and Kazakhstan Centers modernized their bilateral GGCL with the installation of an internet-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) to increase reliability and flexibility for future transmissions.

Communications officers from the Department of State’s Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM), supervised by a Foreign Service Branch Chief, operate the NRRC’s bilateral satellite and VPN secure links. This long and fruitful collaboration between the two bureaus, AVC and IRM, has underpinned the NRRC’s operational effectiveness since 1987.

NRRC Milestones

2013    Protocol Regarding Activity Threatening Information and Communication Networks, Systems, or Infrastructure



Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony



Signing of the New START Treaty and provisional implementation

Implementation of notifications under the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) and the Additional Protocol (AP) between the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)



Twentieth Anniversary of the NRRC



NSPD 13: U.S. Policy and Organization for the Implementation of the Treaty on Open Skies (OS)



Secure Link Agreement: Agreement Between the United States of America and Ukraine on the Establishment of a Secure Communications Link Between the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center of the United States of America and the Military Cooperation and Verification Center of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (GGCL)



Secure Link Agreement: Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the Establishment of a Secure Communications Link Between the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center of the United States of America and the Arms Control and Inspection Activity Support Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan (GGCL)



NRRC Protocol: Protocol Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Amending the Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of September 15, 1987, on the Establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers (GGCL)



PDD 70: National Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)



Memorandum of Understanding Between the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the Department of State (CWC)



PDD 55: U.S. Policy on Direct Communications Links Between Washington and Moscow and Between Washington and the Successor States to the USSR (GGCLs)



Memorandum on the Use of NRRC for the Understanding on Measures for the Preparation and Implementation of the Second Phase of the Wyoming Memorandum of Understanding dated September 23, 1989 (Wyoming MOU)



NSD 73: Organizing to Manage Observations Under the Open Skies Treaty



Memorandum on Charter of the National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Policy Coordinating Committee (GGCLs)



Memorandum on Arms Control Treaty Implementation (START, CFE, CSBM, OS, CW, TTBT, PNET)



Memorandum on the Use of the NRRCs for the US-Soviet Agreement on Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities (DMA)



NSD 10: Creation of New Policy Coordinating Committees (PCCs)



NSDD 301: Establishment and Operation of the U.S. NRRC (Accidents Measures, INCSEA, INF, Goodwill)



Memorandum on Ballistic Missile Launch Notifications Using the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers (BML)



NRRC Agreement: Agreement Between the U.S. and the USSR Establishing NRRCs



Memorandum on Location of U.S. Nuclear Risk Reduction Center



NSDD 186: Direct Communications Link (DCL)/”Hotline” Between Washington and Moscow Policy



Senate Resolution 329: Establishment of a high speed communications link between the U.S. and the USSR in addition to the “Hotline”