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 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 has currently 33 members and 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.  After the USA had already withdrawn from the agreement in autumn 2020, Russia announced in January 2021 that it would also leave the treaty. Although European member states and Canada continue to support the treaty, its future is uncertain.

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.

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    The U.S. and the Treaty on Open Skies

    Dr. Alexander Graef

    The United States have announced their intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty. The decision will take effect in November this year. However, already on 06 July a state conference of all…

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More on the Treaty on Open Skies

  • IFSH Report Provides Incoming Federal Government with Recommendations on Arms Control

    Christopher Fichtlscherer, Dr Pia Fuhrhop, Dr Alexander Graef, Dr Mischa Hansel, Dr Alexander Kelle, Dr Ulrich Kühn, Dr Moritz Kütt, Dr Oliver Meier, Dr Neil Renic, Professor Dr Elvira Rosert, Dr Jantje Silomon, Franziska Stärk, Maren Vieluf

    In the coming years, the new German federal government will be faced with three difficult arms control issues. The government must create new approaches, protect existing ones, and further develop…

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  • How to fix, preserve and strengthen the Open Skies Treaty?

    Dr. Oliver Meier

    The Deep Cuts Project cordially invites you to the following Zoom briefing: 
    After the Trump Administration's declared exit: How to fix, preserve and strengthen the Open Skies Treaty


    June 12,…

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  • (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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  • 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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  • 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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