U.S.-Russia Crisis Stability: Results from a Track II Dialogue

Between fall of 2017 and spring of 2018, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a strategic dialogue for U.S. and Russian experts focusing on crisis stability. Two workshops were held: the first in Vienna, Austria in October 2017, and the second in Washington, DC in March 2018. Both brought together Russian and U.S. experts to discuss how the evolution of technology, operational approaches, and policy affect crisis stability and what steps could be taken to enhance it given the evolving environment. Participants also prepared discussion papers on key topics that helped shape and guide discussion.

These papers and the final conference report are available here on this webpage. They highlight participants' concerns that dangers are increasing and decision-makers may be overly optimistic about their capacity to manage, and perhaps effectively court, risk. Experts agreed that Russia and the United States do not consistently understand one another's signals and positions, even as each believes that their own messaging is clear. Moreover, there is little senior-level appetite for traditional approaches to arms control and verification, limiting the promise of one mechanism of limiting dangers that has been effective in the past. This said, when mutual interests and desire for crisis management exist, it is very possible to establish effective and consistent procedures, and even to institutionalize them. Finally, the experts agreed that continuing discussions among both specialists and officials are critical to improving the two countries' capacity to understand one another.

This project was made possible by support from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC).

Final Report

U.S.-Russia Strategic Dialogue on Crisis Stability (2017-2018) by Olga Oliker


"Crisis Stability in the Twenty-First Century" by Anya Loukianova Fink

"Preventing Dangerous Military Incidents in Peacetime" by Rachael Gosnell

"Preventing Dangerous Military Incidents in Wartime" by Anton Lavrov

"The Future of U.S.-Russia Arms Control, Transparency, and Confidence Building" by Anastasia Malygina

"Stability and Nuclear Risks in U.S.-Russian Relations" by Pavel Podvig