Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (04/17/1997)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Penalties for Unlawful Activities Subject to the

Jurisdiction of the United States

Subtitle A: Criminal and Civil Penalties

Subtitle B: Revocations of Export Privileges

Title II: Foreign Relations and Defense-Related Provisions

Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat Reduction Act of 1997 - Declares that it should be U.S. policy to take all appropriate measures to: (1) prevent and deter the threat or use of chemical and biological weapons against the citizens, armed forces, and territory of the United States and its allies, and to protect against, and manage the consequences of, such use; (2) discourage the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons; (3) prohibit within the United States the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, possession, and transfer to third parties of chemical or biological weapons; and (4) impose unilateral sanctions, and seek international sanctions, against any nation using chemical and biological weapons in violation of international law.

Title I: Penalties for Unlawful Activities Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States - Subtitle A: Criminal and Civil Penalties - Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit: (1) the development, production, acquisition, transfer, receipt, stockpiling, retention, possession, or use, or threatened use, of any chemical or biological weapon. Sets forth exemptions for: (1) a specified type and quantity of such weapons for specified peaceful, protective, unrelated military, law enforcement (including domestic riot control), and individual self-defense purposes; and (2) U.S. agencies, members of the armed forces, certain authorized persons, and, in an emergency situation, any other person who is attempting to destroy or seize the weapon or who is a victim of the use of the weapon.

Specifies that prohibited conduct is within U.S. jurisdiction if it: (1) takes place in the United States; (2) is committed by or against a U.S. national outside the United States; or (3) is committed against Federal property anywhere.

Sets forth: (1) civil and criminal penalties for violations of this Act, including the death penalty where the death of another person results; and (2) provisions regarding criminal forfeitures of property and the destruction or other disposition of seized weapons.

Sets penalties for using riot control agents as an act of terrorism.

Authorizes: (1) the United States to obtain injunctions against proscribed conduct under this subtitle; and (2) the Attorney General to request military assistance in support of Department of Justice activities relating to enforcement of this subtitle in an emergency situation involving a biological or chemical weapon.

Subtitle B: Revocations of Export Privileges - Authorizes the President, upon determining that any person within U.S. jurisdiction has committed a violation of prohibitions under subtitle A, to issue an order for the suspension or revocation of such person's authority to export any goods or technology from the United States.

Title II: Foreign Relations and Defense-Related Provisions - Amends the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBWCWEA) to rewrite provisions regarding determinations with respect to the use of chemical and biological weapons and sanctions for their use. Requires the President, after consulting with the Congress, to impose at least five of the following sanctions for three years upon determining that any foreign government has used a chemical or biological weapon in violation of international law or against its own nationals: (1) termination of foreign assistance (with exceptions); (2) termination of arms sales; (3) termination of foreign military financing; (4) denial of U.S. Government credit or other financial assistance; (5) imposition of export controls; (6) opposition to financial or technical assistance by international financial institutions; (7) prohibition on U.S. bank loans or credit; (8) termination of air service and suspension of aviation rights to or from the United States; and (9) downgrading or suspending diplomatic privileges with such country. Declares that such sanctions are in addition to any multilateral sanction or measure that may be otherwise agreed. Specifies exceptions: (1) where the President certifies that implementing such sanctions would have a substantial negative impact upon the supreme national interests of the United States; and (2) with respect to any activity pursuant to a contract or international agreement entered into before the date of the President's determination if performance of the activity would reduce the potential for the use of a chemical or biological weapon by the sanctioned country.

Requires the President, in addition, to block any transactions in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which the violating foreign country or any national thereof has any interest, for the purpose of compensating the victims of such weapons use and for punitive damages.

Conditions the removal of sanctions against a foreign government on the President's certification, after three years, that such government; (1) has provided reliable assurances that it will not use such a weapon in violation of international law or against its people; (2) will accept onsite inspections to verify that it is not preparing to use such a weapon; and (3) is making restitution to those affected by any use of such weapons in violation of international law or against its own nationals.

Requires the President to notify and report to the Congress within specified periods regarding any use of such a weapon and any actions planned and undertaken by the President in response.

(Sec. 202) Expresses the sense of the Congress that any collapse of the "Australia Group" or any substantial weakening of common Australia Group export controls and nonproliferation measures would seriously undermine international and national efforts to curb the spread of chemical and biological weapons. Declares that it shall be U.S. policy to: (1) continue close cooperation with other countries in the Australia Group in support of its current efforts and in devising additional means to monitor and control the supply of chemicals and biological agents applicable to weapons production; (2) maintain an equivalent or more comprehensive level of control over the export of toxic chemicals and their precursors, dual-use processing equipment, human, animal, and plant pathogens and toxins with potential biological weapons application, and dual-use biological equipment as that afforded by the Australia Group as of this Act's enactment date; (3) block any effort by any Australia Group member to achieve Australia Group consensus on any action that would substantially weaken export controls and nonproliferation measures or otherwise undermine the Group's effectiveness; and (4) work closely with other countries to devise and harmonize the most effective national controls possible on the transfer of equipment, materials, and technology with particular applicability to the production of chemical or biological weapons.

Requires the President, annually, to determine and certify to the Congress whether: (1) the Australia Group continues to maintain an equivalent or more comprehensive level of control over exports and remains a viable mechanism for curtailing the spread of such weapons; and (2) the Group's effectiveness has been undermined by changes in membership, lack of compliance with common export controls, or any weakening of common controls and measures in effect as of this Act's enactment date. Sets forth provisions regarding presidential consultation with the Congress on Australia Group export controls and nonproliferation measures.

(Sec. 203) Prohibits the obligation or expenditure of certain U.S. assistance to Russia unless the President certifies, annually, that: (1) Russia is making reasonable progress toward the implementation of a bilateral agreement signed on June 1, 1990, regarding destruction and nonproduction of chemical weapons and on measures to facilitate the multilateral convention on banning chemical weapons; (2) the United States and Russia have made substantial progress toward satisfactory resolution of outstanding compliance issues under such agreement and under a memorandum of understanding signed in Wyoming on September 23, 1989, regarding a bilateral verification experiment and data exchange related to a prohibition on chemical weapons; (3) Russia has fully and accurately declared all information regarding its unitary and binary chemical weapons, chemical weapons production facilities, and other facilities associated with the development of chemical weapons; and (4) Russia is in compliance with its obligations under a biological weapons convention completed at Washington, London, and Moscow on April 10, 1972. Provides an alternative certification procedure.

(Sec. 204) Requires the President to report annually to the Speaker and specified congressional committees on: (1) proliferation by foreign countries; (2) foreign persons assisting in proliferation; (3) third country assistance in proliferation and intelligence information on such assistance; (4) intelligence information on subnational groups, including terrorists or paramilitary organizations, developing, producing, stockpiling, or using any chemical or biological weapon; and (5) funding priorities for detection and monitoring capabilities.

(Sec. 205) Declares that it shall be U.S. policy to work to obtain multilateral agreement: (1) to effective, international enforcement mechanisms to existing international agreements that prohibit the use of chemical and biological weapons, to which the United States is a state party; and (2) regarding the collective imposition of sanctions and other measures described in the CBWCWEA, as amended by this Act. Directs the Secretary of State: (1) as a priority matter, to take steps necessary to achieve such objectives; and (2) to work to convene an international negotiating forum to conclude an international agreement on enforcement of the 1925 Geneva Protocol regarding the prohibition of the use in war of poisonous gas and bacteriological warfare.

(Sec. 206) Restricts the use of funds for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons until the Convention on the Prohibition of Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction enters into force for the United States.

(Sec. 207) Expresses the sense of the Congress that the U.S. armed forces should place increased emphasis on potential threats to deployed U.S. forces and should make countering the use of chemical and biological weapons an organizing principle for U.S. defense strategy and policy.

Directs the Secretary to take actions to ensure that the U.S. armed forces are capable of carrying out required military missions in U.S. regional contingency plans despite the threat or use of chemical or biological weapons. Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of State to: (1) give a high priority to discussions with key regional allies and likely regional coalition partners to determine what steps are necessary to ensure that allied and coalition forces and other critical civilians are adequately equipped and prepared to operate in chemically and biologically contaminated environments; and (2) report to the Speaker and to specified congressional committees on the results of such discussions.

Directs the Secretary to take actions to ensure that the United States Army Chemical School remains under the oversight of a general officer of the United States Army. Expresses the sense of the Congress that the transfer, consolidation, and reorganization of the School should not disrupt or diminish the training and readiness of the armed forces to fight in a chemical-biological warfare environment and that the Army should continue to operate the Chemical Defense Training Facility at Fort McClellan until such time as the replacement facility at Fort Leonard Wood is functional.

Directs the President to report to the Speaker and specified congressional committees on previous, current, and planned chemical and biological weapons defense activities of the U.S. armed forces.

(Sec. 208) Expresses the sense of the Congress that in order to achieve an effective deterrence against attacks of the United States and U.S. armed forces by chemical weapons, the President should reevaluate the extension of negative security assurances by the United States to non-nuclear weapon states (i.e., assurances that the U.S. will forswear the use of certain weapons unless attacked by that non- nuclear weapon state in alliance with a nuclear-weapon state) in the context of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Requires the President to report to the Speaker and specified congressional committees on: (1) the findings of a detailed review of U.S. policy on negative security assurances as a deterrence strategy; and (2) a determination by the President of appropriate responses to the use of chemical or biological weapons against the U.S. armed forces, U.S. citizens, allies, and third parties.

(Sec. 209) Prohibits the President from issuing any order or directive that diminishes, abridges, or alters the right of the United States to use riot control agents in any circumstance not involving international armed conflict, or in a defensive military mode to save lives in such a conflict.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that international law permits the United States to use herbicides, under regulations applicable to their domestic use, for control of vegetation within U.S. bases and installations or around their immediate defensive perimeters.

Directs the President to take all necessary measures, and prescribe such rules and regulations as necessary, to ensure that the policy contained in this section is observed by the U.S. armed forces.