OSCE and Military Confidence-Building in Crisis


  • Johan Engvall

Publish date: 2019-03-18

Report number: FOI-R--4750--SE

Pages: 67

Written in: English

Research areas:

  • Säkerhetspolitik


  • conventional arms control
  • confidence- and security-building measures
  • Vienna Document
  • Open Skies Treaty
  • CFE Treaty
  • OSCE
  • Russia
  • Georgia
  • Ukraine
  • armed conflict


What role can conventional arms control (CAC) and confidence- and securitybuilding measures (CSBMs) play in a conflict situation? The Russian-Georgian war in 2008, and the annexation of Crimea and the Russia-inspired war in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region in 2014 confirm that CAC and CSBMs are not able to prevent intentional conflict. A more realistic ambition would be to use various instruments to monitor a conflict or function as early warning mechanisms that raise the bar for and increase the costs of conflict. For the future effectiveness of OSCE early crisis management, it is imperative to strengthen the link between early warning and early action. The experiences from Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 show that there are ambiguities and loopholes in the Vienna Document that prevent transparency. Priorities for improving the effectiveness of the Vienna Document might include the following: - Chapter III - introduce an inspection mechanism for crisis escalation. - Chapter V - end the exemption of snap exercises from notification. - Chapter V - address the issue of large-scale exercises being reported as separate and small-scale in order to avoid inspection. - Chapter V - lower the threshold for the notification of military activities - Chapter VI - lower the threshold for observation visits. - Chapter IX - increase the quotas for inspection visits; enable longer, or sequential, inspections, as well as reserve inspections for emergency use.

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