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Trump administration determined to exit Open Skies Treaty reducing risk of war

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posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:07 AM
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I wonder why?


The Trump administration is determined to withdraw from a 28-year-old treaty to reduce the risk of an accidental war between the west and Russia by allowing reconnaissance flights over the territory of the other.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, which postponed a full meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) on the Open Skies Treaty (OST), Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed to proceed with a US quit, two sources familiar with administration planning.

A statement of intent is expected soon, with an official withdrawal notification issued a few months later, possibly at the end of the fiscal year in September. The United States would cease to be a party to the treaty six months after that, so if a new president was elected in November, the decision could be overturned before taking effect.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reconnaissance flights under the treaty were suspended until April 26.

The United States has complained of what it says are Russian breaches of the treaty, signed in 1992 and in force since 2002: limiting flights over the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad to less than 500 km and creating ‘an exclusion corridor along the border of the Russian occupied regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia imposed the limitation on Kaliningrad after a long zigzagging overflight of Poland in 2014, which closed aviation for one day. Russia authorized an extended flight over Kaliningrad in February.

One of the reasons Esper cited the US withdrawal is to save money by not replacing the two Boeing OC-135Bs the United States uses for its Open Skies reconnaissance flights.

Congress appropriated $ 41.5 million last year for the replacement cost, but the Pentagon’s spending request released in February contained no budget for the new planes. Esper told Congress that he was awaiting a decision from the president.

Three Republican hawks in the Senate, Richard Burr, Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, sent a letter to the administration in March calling for withdrawal for cost and safety reasons.

“The costs of the OST go far beyond unnecessary spending and directly erode our national security by allowing Russian spying on the United States,” the senators wrote.

Supporters of the Open Skies Treaty claim that the United States and its allies benefit more than Russia, with three times as many flights over Russian territory as Russia’s flights over the United States and Allied territory.

In addition, the American withdrawal would not prevent Russian reconnaissance flights over American bases in Europe.

Full Article

What is the Open Skies Treaty?

All to save money, which is peanuts from the Pentagon's point of view. Or is there another motive?




posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:21 AM
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About time, satellites replaced spy planes decades ago. 2nd.


+9 more 
posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:23 AM
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a reply to: kloejen

Because Russia has only been paying lip service to the treaty for years now, while we're meeting our obligations with regards to it. A treaty is only effective when both sides abide by it.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: Jason79

Open Skies isn't about satellites and spy planes. Although, contrary to popular belief, satellites aren't the be all end all when it comes to recon. Satellites are totally predictable, and it's fairly easy to time your activities around them, as has been done for decades.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:26 AM
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originally posted by: Jason79
About time, satellites replaced spy planes decades ago. 2nd.


Problem is, satellites can't fly below clouds.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:28 AM
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a reply to: kloejen

That's what SAR is for. Clouds don't block radar. They can distort it slightly, but newer SAR systems go through clouds like they weren't there, and give near image quality. In fact, some of the photos released in recent years, from aircraft and satellites, were SAR images.
edit on 4/5/2020 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:29 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So by leaving the treaty, in the future the US can blame Russia for "hostile flights", over any NATO country?


ETA: Thanks for the SAR info.

edit on 5/4/2020 by kloejen because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:30 AM
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a reply to: kloejen

What's the point of a treaty only one side honors?



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:34 AM
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a reply to: kloejen

There are no "hostile flights" over any NATO countries. There never have been. The only over flights have been under Open Skies.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:40 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

And open skies requires at least 72 hour notice before the timeframe they wish to use.

a reply to: kloejen

Do you have a source stating the minimum altitude they can operate the cameras, I believe this may be a moot point. (I am searching myself)

Edit to add: minimum altitude for sensors is 10,000 feet, thick low level storm clouds can form as low as 6,500 feet.
edit on 5-4-2020 by Jason79 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: Jason79

Open Skies isn't a spy plane though. The flights are used for treaty verification, and monitoring activities related to various treaties.

The minimum altitude for satellite cameras? Orbit.
edit on 4/5/2020 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 11:03 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

And the foreign governments can't operate the sensors below cloud level on these flights

--------------------------------------------------

Reply to thread:

Seems this is a spy plane debate according to the treaty.



President Bush revived the Open Skies concept in May 1989. At the
time, the United States believed that the Open Skies concept would
reduce the chances of military confrontation and build confidence in
Europe by providing participants with the ability to collect information
about the military forces and activities of others in the treaty. In
addition, even though the United States and Russia can collect this type
of information with sophisticated observation satellites,


Source: fas.org...
edit on 5-4-2020 by Jason79 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 11:13 AM
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a reply to: Jason79

Open Skies flights are operated at fairly low altitudes. You can track them on ADS-B when they're operating. They're flown as low as 14-15,000 feet. That keeps them out of commercial airways, while providing good camera resolution.

Yes, it was designed to verify military activities. It's been used to verify destruction of nuclear assets under START, verify nuclear capable assets, and other information. The sensor requirements are extremely restrictive, and limited compared to a true ISR platform.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 11:15 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Do we not have geostationary satellites looking down at Russia? I would suspect we have several by now.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 11:18 AM
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a reply to: kloejen

I dont think its needed anymore. Its a strange arrangement anyways.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 11:24 AM
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a reply to: CharlesT

For missile warning, but they're IR satellites. Optical systems are much more effective at lower altitudes, as well as giving you more bang for your buck by watching many areas instead of just one.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 12:55 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: kloejen

Because Russia has only been paying lip service to the treaty for years now, while we're meeting our obligations with regards to it. A treaty is only effective when both sides abide by it.


In what way is Russia not meeting their treaty obligations? I'm unfamiliar with Open Skies, aside from having fueled the planes a few times when I was in Alaska.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 01:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

How many flights a year, each side, are flown for the treaty? I thought it was a fairly low number?



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 01:40 PM
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a reply to: face23785

The sensors on their new aircraft are borderline compliant, but Open Skies flights, per the treaty, are only supposed to be subject to few restrictions. Russia has restricted flights over the Georgia area, claiming Tbilisi won't accept Russian flights over its territory. They also restricted flights over Kaliningrad, claiming the treaty allowed maximum ranges to be set for observation. Russia has counter claimed that the US won't allow Russian crews to take crew rest in South Dakota or Georgia, and limits flights near the Aleutians and Hawaii.



posted on Apr, 5 2020 @ 01:41 PM
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a reply to: Salander

Russia, the US, and Belarus have 42 annually. Canada, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Turkey and Ukraine have 12. They rarely fly the maximum number of flights though.
edit on 4/5/2020 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



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