The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was signed in November 1990 by members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the now-defunct Warsaw Pact. There are 29 signatories. Its objective was to reduce the levels of conventional troops stationed in Europe, establishing equal ceilings for all nations between the Ural Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean regarding the armaments needed for launching a surprise attack or carrying out a large-scale military offensive.
Under the agreement, neither side in the former cold war alliance can possess more than:
- 20,000 artillery pieces
- 30,000 armored combat vehicles
- 20,000 tanks
- 6,800 combat aircraft
- 2,000 attack helicopters
- 17,000 artillery pieces
- 27,300 armored combat vehicles
- 16,500 tanks
Equipment in excess of the agreed amounts must be destroyed. Most of the destroyed equipment will be older and the United States will transfer some of its new equipment to its allies to meet requirements. The destruction must be completed by the end of the third year after the treaty agreement, with one-quarter being completed after one year and 60% after two years.
The CFE treaty has complex and groundbreaking verification provisions that call for on-site inspections, information exchanges, on-site destruction monitoring, and challenge inspections. The treaty does not have an end date and gives all participants the right to monitor the destruction process.
The CFE-1A talks are mandated in the CFE treaty and require participants to reach agreement on further measures aimed at increasing stability and security on the continent. The CFE-1A talks ended on Jul 6, 1992 and include a political commitment by signatories to limit (and in some cases reduce) the size of their conventional armed forces. All the participants set their own ceilings, which were not subject to negotiation. The CFE-1A treaty has provisions for full information exchanges on manpower, with verification linked to the inspection program of the CFE equipment evaluation program.
CFE-1A, which took effect on July 17, 1992, incorporates three stabilizing measures:
- A required 42-day notification period if any signatory plans to increase its personnel in any ground force unit by more than 1,000 and in any air force unit by more than 500
- A provision requiring 42-days notification if a nation plans to call up 35,000 or more reservists (excluding call ups for such emergencies as natural disasters)
A provision that any personnel relocated to forces not under limitation remain subject to limitation for 12-24 months.
"Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe." November 19, 1990. U.S. Department of State. http://www.state.gov/t/ac/trt/4781.htm.