Open Skies Treaty

The Open Skies Treaty is one of the few remaining arms control mechanisms between Vancouver and Vladivostok. Since 2002, the unique agreement permits 34 states to conduct unarmed observation flights over other member states’ entire territories. The main objective is to be able to observe military changes. The treaty particularly promotes military transparency and confidence building between states. Representatives of the observed state can be on board of the observing aircraft. States can request all images that are collected during overflights of other treaty members. Since fall 2019, the U.S. administration under President Trump considers withdrawing from the treaty. The outcome is still uncertain. European member states support the continuation of the treaty. 

Alexander Graef and Moritz Kütt are currently working on the Open Skies Treaty. Members of the U.S.-German-Russian Deep Cuts Commission analyze the agreement, too.


    IFSH researchers visualize the Open Skies Treaty

    Dr. Alexander Graef Dr. Moritz Kütt

    The Open Skies Treaty is in danger. Signed in March 1992, it has been in force since January 2002 and permits 34 states in Europe and North America, including Germany, to conduct unarmed observation…

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More on the Treaty on Open Skies

  • (Re)searching for Peace: First Anniversary of “Arms of Control and Emerging Technologies” at the IFSH

    The world is in a state of upheaval. States are arming themselves. Newer and even more powerful weapons are being developed, and some are already being put to use. From the termination of the INF…

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  • New Issue Brief of the Deep Cuts Project about the Treaty on Open Skies

    Lina-Marieke Hilgert

    A picture, it is said, is worth 1,000 words. The air image-centric Treaty on Open Skies embodies that concept perfectly. The sharp pictures shared among all the parties to the treaty create more…

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  • New Publication: The Rise and Fall of Cooperative Arms Control in Europe

    Dr. Ulrich Kühn

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, America and Russia have again returned to conflict. But this renewed confrontation did not come out of the blue. Rather, it was preceded by a long…

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  • Open Skies-Treaty on the Brink of Collapse? Interview with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Dr. Alexander Graef, Dr. Moritz Kütt

    The Open Skies Treaty is in danger. IFSH researcher Alexander Graef and Moritz Kütt talked to Thomas Gaulkin from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about their Open Skies visualization project…

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Books and Edited Volumes

Working Papers and Policy Briefs

Commentaries and other Publications