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U.S. Department of State

March 16, 1994


Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMS) have been developed by the participating states of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). The confidence-building process which has allowed for the development of these CSBMs is viewed as an important instrument for the enhancement of openness among the countries of Europe and North America, as well as for strengthening stability throughout Europe.

As the confidence-building process has developed, the types of measures currently being considered are qualitatively different from earlier generations of confidence building measures. CSBMs are part of a larger process, and the most recent measures reflect the climate of decreased confrontation.

Chronology of CSBM Development

European experience with confidence-building measures dates from the 1975 Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) which described measures to "strengthen confidence" among CSCE states and thus "to contribute to increasing stability and security." The ultimate goal of these measures was to lessen the risk of surprise military attack in Europe as elements in a framework to alleviate and reduce the incentives for competition which derived from uncertainty and misunderstanding.

These first confidence-building measures were designed to provide information on the military activities of states, in an effort to indicate the presumably peaceful intentions of those activities. They called for:

  • mandatory notification 21 days in advance of large-scale military maneuvers involving over 25,000 troops;

  • voluntary notification of other military maneuvers and major military movements; and

  • voluntary invitation of observers to military maneuvers.

The CSCE participating States recognized that the experience gained by the implementation of these confidence-building measures, together with further efforts, could lead to developing and enlarging measures aimed at strengthening confidence. This idea was expressed in 1983 in the Concluding Document of the Madrid CSCE Follow-up Meeting, which provided a Mandate for new negotiations to develop measures beyond the confidence-building measures contained in the Final Act. The new measures would be related to, but more concrete and more extensive than the initial confidence-building measures, so a new and distinct description was used to identify them: confidence- and security-building measures, or CSBMS.

Under the Madrid Mandate, the CSCE undertook, "in stages, new, effective and concrete actions designed to make progress in strengthening confidence and security." The first stage was devoted to the negotiation and adoption of a set of mutually complementary CSBMs designed to reduce the risk of military confrontation in Europe. The Mandate set parameters for the CSBMs to be of military significance, politically binding, and provided with adequate forms of verification. This negotiation concluded in 1986 with agreement on the Stockholm Document, which established CSBMs to increase the flow of information about, and introduce predictability and openness to, military activities.

The Stockholm Document included new and expanded CSBMs related to openness, transparency and predictability in military affairs, which distinctly improved upon the confidence-building measures of the Helsinki Final Act. These measures were militarily significant, politically binding, verifiable and applicable to the whole of Europe, as defined in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the 1983 Madrid Concluding Document.

The set of mutually complementary CSBMs in the Stockholm Document designed to strengthen confidence and security in Europe called for:

  • mandatory notification 42 days in advance of military activities involving over 13,000 troops;

  • mandatory invitation of observers to military activities involving over 17,000 troops;

  • mandatory provision of an annual calendar of large-scale military activities subject to notification; and

  • verification of provisions through on-site inspection with no right of refusal.

This was the first international agreement in which the Soviet Union accepted inspection, with no right of refusal, by other States on its own territory.

Building on the successful implementation of the provisions of the Stockholm Document, in 1989 the CSCE established new Negotiations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures to elaborate and adopt a new set of mutually complementary confidence- and security-building measures designed to further reduce the risk of military confrontation in Europe.

The results of those Negotiations are contained in the Vienna Document, first agreed in 1990 (VD90), then superseded at the conclusion of the Negotiations in 1992 (VD92). The new CSBMs provide transparency about military organizations to complement the CSBMs from the Stockholm Document which provide transparency about military activities. The new VD92 CSBMs include:

  • an annual exchange of military information on forces, equipment, and budgets;

  • evaluation visits to determine the validity of the information provided in the annual exchange;

  • provisions for expanding contacts among States, e.g., through visits to air bases and demonstrations of new weapon or equipment systems;

  • establishment of a CSCE communications network; and

  • annual implementation assessment meetings to review the implementation of agreed CSBMs.

Other VD92 CSBMs improve Stockholm provisions and include reduced thresholds for mandatory notification of military activities (from those involving over 13,000 troops to those involving over 9,000 troops) and mandatory invitation of observers to military activities involving over 13,000 troops (lowered from 17,000 troops).

Military doctrine seminars were held as part of the Negotiations on CSBMs in January 1990 and October 1991. Both seminars included the participation of chiefs of defense staffs of the majority of the CSCE participating states and were devoted to discussion of force planning and structure. The first seminar, held when the structures of the Cold War were still firmly in place, was a pioneering attempt to promote dialogue among the military establishments of the participating states. The second provided unprecedented opportunities for expanding that dialogue as the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe were developing new military doctrines following the end of the Cold War. Both seminars provided the opportunity to understand the intentions that lie behind military force structures and activities, to explore changes taking place in states' military doctrines, and to build confidence through face-to-face discussion of common problems.

In 1992, the CSCE Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) was established to give a new impetus to arms control, disarmament and confidence- and security-building, security cooperation and conflict prevention in order to better contribute to the strengthening of security and stability in Europe. Negotiations and dialogue within the Forum focus on developing new measures as well as improving and expanding existing measures.

The FSC also has responsibilities with regard to implementation of existing CSBMS, which include holding the annual implementation assessment meetings concerning existing CSBMS, providing the forum for discussion and clarification, as necessary, of information exchanged under agreed CSBMs, and preparing seminars on military doctrine and other topics.

In November 1993, the FSC adopted the following new measures:

  • Stabilizing Measures for Localized Crisis Situations, a catalog of militarily significant stabilizing measures which may be used by the CSCE in conflict prevention, crisis management and peaceful settlement of disputes;

  • Program of Military Contacts and Cooperation, which builds upon related measures contained in paragraph 34 (Military Contacts) of VD92;

  • Defense Planning, which builds upon a related measure contained in paragraph 16 (Information on Military Budgets) of VD92; and

  • Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers, which reaffirms commitments made by the participating States in accordance with United Nations and other CSCE documents and provides guidelines for effective national export controls applicable to conventional weapons.

They have not yet been compiled into a single document (for example, like VD92), but, as noted above, two of these measures specifically build upon and add to existing VD92 provisions. The FSC will address other issues before the 1994 CSCE Budapest Review Conference. Once this stage of work in the FSC is complete, some new compilation of CSBMs is likely to be produced.

Review of Implementation of CSBMs

Many states actively participated in implementing the Stockholm CSBMs which were in effect from January 1, 1987 to January 1, 1991. (VD90, which added to and built upon the Stockholm Document, replaced it as the effective CSBMs document on January 1, 1991.)

The overall implementation of the Stockholm Document was positive, demonstrating marked improvement and increased cooperation on the part of several states in implementing CSBMs not only in the letter, but in the "spirit" of the Helsinki and Stockholm Documents. The CSBMs conducted added to increased confidence between the states involved and among the CSCE as a whole.

Specifically, greater openness and flexibility on the part of hosts during observation programs and inspections developed during this period, e.g., willingness to answer observer and inspector questions, modify observation program and inspection schedules, and provide access to troops and equipment. In addition, voluntary implementation of CSBMs was conducted by several states in various ways, e.g., providing notifications of activities below notifiable levels, or hosting observation programs for activities below required thresholds.

Most interpretation problems (e.g., questions about forecasting responsibilities, notification content, and observation modalities) were resolved through practice, consultations, or solved through the adoption of improved provisions in VD90 or VD92. Technical difficulties which arose (e.g., non-standard formatting, tardy submissions and minor omissions, and use of various channels for transmission of messages) greatly decreased and/or were corrected through practice and familiarity with requirements.

Summarizing implementation of the Stockholm Document CSBMS:

  • Notifications. A total of 120 military activities were notified: Western states notified 48, Eastern states notified 63, and NNA states notified 9. Some of these notifications were provided on a voluntary basis, since the forces involved did not meet the thresholds for mandatory notifications.

  • Observations. There were a total of 53 observation programs of military activities to which CSCE states were invited: Western states hosted 27, Eastern states hosted 21, and NNA states hosted 5.

  • Inspections. A total of 44 [on-site] inspections were conducted up until 30 June 1991: Western states conducted 23 (including 8 by the US), Eastern states conducted 21 (including 15 by the Soviet Union), and none of the NNA states conducted or received any.

In general terms, compliance with VD90 and VD92 has been good. Amid the continuing trend by European militaries to reduce the size and frequency of large-scale military activities, those activities which are conducted are subject to an impressive degree of transparency and openness. In addition, the unprecedented sharing of information about military structures and activities called for in VD92 has played a major role in ensuring stability in Europe as states transition from Cold War structures.

The provisions for exchange of military information have been a key element in this process. Initial differences of interpretation over what specific information should be included have been resolved as participating states have moved steadily toward a common understanding on this issue. The admission to the CSCE of the states which had formerly been part of the Soviet Union did create some problems, since many of those states were unable to provide full and correct information at the time required (December 1992). The implementation record has improved, but some states are still refining procedures to ensure their continued ability to provide the required information. Although isolated questions remain regarding the information provided by some states, achievement of general consensus on the scope of the information exchange has substantially enhanced openness and transparency among states.

Another key element of VD92 is the procedure established for evaluating military units and formations, even though the number of visits permitted annually to any one state is small (one-sixtieth of the number of units declared). When the US conducted the first evaluation visit in July 1991 in the Soviet Union, a common understanding was reached at the outset regarding procedures to be used during the evaluation, which set precedents for other CSBM evaluations.

The inspection regime, carried forward from the Stockholm Document, had traditionally been used by states to confirm the conduct or absence of notifiable military activities. Reduced levels of notifiable military activity in recent years, as well as the opportunity for access provided by the evaluation regime, had led to a decline in the number of inspections conducted. 1993 saw more frequent and routine use of the inspection provisions, with some participating states looking beyond the stated purpose of inspections (assessing compliance with agreed CSBMs when such compliance is in doubt).

Summarizing implementation of the Vienna Document CSBMs through 1993:

  • Notifications. Four activities were notified in 1991, all by NATO states; six others which had been forecast (mostly by Eastern states) were either cancelled or reduced below notifiable level. Five activities were notified in 1992, all by NATO states. Two activities were notified in 1993, one by NATO states and one by Sweden; five others which had been forecast (all by NATO states) were cancelled or reduced below notifiable levels.

  • Observations. Two programs were hosted in 1991, four in 1992, and two in 1993. All but one were hosted by NATO states, with the exception (in 1993) hosted by Sweden.

  • Inspections. During 1991, four inspections were conducted (two by NATO states and two by the USSR). Four were conducted in 1992 (two by NATO states, two by Russia). A significant increase was noted during 1993, when 11 inspections were conducted (ten by NATO states and one by Russia).

  • Evaluations. This compliance-verification activity has amassed an impressive implementation record since the provisions came into force on July 1, 1991, to include significant participation by NNA states. 24 evaluation visits were conducted during 1991, 46 during 1992, and 54 during 1993. A total of 22 (of the 52 CSCE) states have conducted evaluations of the information provided by a total of 33 states. (Seven states reporting military forces have not yet been subject to evaluation visits: Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia and Yugoslavia.)

Air base visits. Two visits to air bases were hosted in 1991, seven in 1992, and eight in 1993 (including one by the US). To this point, 17 of the 34 states reporting air combat units have hosted air base visits.

New equipment demonstrations. These demonstrations of new major weapon or equipment systems may be conducted in conjunction with other CSBM activities. One demonstration was held in 1992 and three in 1993 (including one by the US).

Communications. The CSCE Communications Network (CommNet) has been operational since 1991. At present, 33 states are active on the CommNet, with seven more expected to join in the near term (i.e., either awaiting installation of hardware, or with hardware in place but awaiting actual hook-up). ACDA has led US efforts to set up CommNet- stations in seven states which were formerly part of the Soviet Union.


Existing CSBMs

This list of CSBMs currently in effect indicates when each was agreed: the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, the 1986 Stockholm Document, or the 1990 or 1992 Vienna Document. CSBMs adopted by the CSCE Forum for Security Cooperation in 1993 have been included, even though they have not yet been incorporated into a final document.

Notification of military maneuvers or certain military activities.


    Mandatory 21 days in advance for military maneuvers over 25,000 troops;

    voluntary for other maneuvers;

    voluntary for major military movements.


    Mandatory 42 days in advance for military activities* over 13,000 troops or 300 tanks (3,000 troops for amphibious or airborne activities).


    Mandatory 42 days in advance for military activities* over 9,000 troops or 250 tanks (3,000 troops for amphibious or airborne activities).



    Voluntary bilateral invitation of observers to military maneuvers.


    Mandatory invitation of two observers per CSCE state to military activities* over 17,000 troops (5,000 troops for amphibious or airborne activities).


    Mandatory invitation of two observers per CSCE state to military activities* over 13,000 troops or 300 tanks (3,500 troops for amphibious or airborne activities).

*The term "military activities" is broader than the term "military maneuvers" used in the Helsinki Final Act. It includes land forces engaged in exercise activity; forces engaged in an amphibious landing or a parachute assault by airborne forces; and the concentration of land forces within the zone of application for CSBMS.

Annual calendars.


    Mandatory annual forecast to all CSCE states by November 15 of following year's notifiable military activities**;

Constraining provisions.


    No notifiable military activities** above 40,000 troops unless identified in annual calendar;

    no notifiable military activities** above 75,000 troops unless identified two years in advance.


    No more than one notifiable military activity** above 40,000 troops or 900 tanks every two years;

    no more than six notifiable military activities** every year, each above 13,000 troops or 300 tanks but less than 40,000 troops or 900 tanks; of those, no more than three above 25,000 troops or 400 tanks;

    no more than three notifiable military activities** (over 13,000 troops or 300 tanks) simultaneously;

    no notifiable military activities** over 40,000 troops or 900 tanks unless identified two years in advance (in annual calendar).

Verification and compliance.


    Mandatory acceptance of on-site inspection of a specified area by 4-man team from any CSCE state when compliance is in doubt; maximum duration of 48 hours;

    no right of refusal; can declare sensitive points;

    inspection begins within 36 hours of notice;

    states required to accept maximum of three per year on their territory.

**Notifiable military activities are those subject to notification as indicated above.


    Mandatory acceptance of evaluation visits by 3-man or team from any CSCE state to active formations and units to evaluate information (on military forces); maximum duration of 12 hours;

    formations or units may be declared "unavailable" for evaluation (provision may be invoked up to 5 times per year for aggregate of 30 days);

    requests must provide 5 days notice;

    states required to accept maximum of a number equal to 1/60 the number of units reported (in information on military forces).


    Provisions for multinational inspection teams.

    Provisions for evaluation of non-active formation or units which have been temporarily activated.

Annual exchange of military information.


    Mandatory information on military forces (including command organization and specific detail of each formation and unit to brigade or equivalent level), plans for deployment of major weapon and equipment systems for the coming year, and military budget for the forthcoming fiscal year;

    provided to all CSCE states by December 15 each year; budget information provided annually two months after approval by national authorities.


    Mandatory information on technical data relating to major weapon and equipment systems;

    provided to all CSCE states when new types or versions of systems are identified in plans for deployment, or at latest, when deployed.


    Mandatory information on defense planning (including defense policy and doctrine, force planning, previous expenditures, budget for forthcoming fiscal year and budget projections through next five fiscal years);

    provided to all CSCE states annually, two months after approval by national authorities.



    Mandatory hosting of visit to peacetime air base once every five years if air combat units reported (in information on military forces); minimum duration of 24 hours;

    generally two visitors from each CSCE state invited to observe activity of air base.

    Voluntary development of military contacts encouraged; list of suggested areas for such contacts (including exchanges and visits between senior representatives, contacts between military institutions, exchanges between commanders and officers at various levels and sporting and cultural events between members of armed forces).


    Expanded list of proposed military contacts (including exchanges and visits between members at all levels, contacts between institutions including military units, exchanges of visits of naval vessels and air force units, and issuing joint academic publications on security and defense issues);

    list of proposed military cooperation (including joint military exercises and training, visits to military facilities and military formations, observation visits, seminars on cooperation in the military field and exchange of information on agreements on military contacts and cooperation).

Risk reduction.


    Mandatory mechanism for consultation and cooperation about unusual and unscheduled activities of military forces;

    any CSCE state may request an explanation of activities about which it expresses concern; request and reply to be transmitted to all CSCE states;

    after considering the reply, the requesting state may request a meeting with the responding state or with all CSCE states for further discussion of those activities of concern.

    Mandatory designation of point of contact to report and clarify hazardous incidents of a military nature to all CSCE states in order to prevent misunderstandings.


    Voluntary hosting of visits to areas which may be subject of concerns about military activities by other states;

    host state defines program and invited parties; encouraged to include representatives of states with concerns.



    Mandatory direct communications network between CSCE states; messages are considered official communications of sending states;

    network may be used for other purposes (in this vein, most CFE states parties send required CFE notifications via the CSCE CommNet);

    each state to be capable of transmitting and receiving 24-hours-per-day.

Annual implementation assessment meeting.


    Mandatory annual meeting to discuss present and future implementation of CSBMs.