The Treaty on Open Skies was one of the earliest proposals to bring stability and security to the era of the nuclear arms race. Unfortunately, certain provisions in the current House version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, if passed, would severely disadvantage the U.S. Defense Department and skew the Treaty considerably in favor of Russia.
An agreement to permit aerial reconnaissance flights by the United States and Soviet Union over each other’s territory was first proposed during one of the darkest periods of East-West conflict. In 1955, neither side knew much about each other’s nuclear weapons — only that each was developing forces capable of destroying the other. Both sides therefore planned for worst-case scenarios, immeasurably increasing the risk of nuclear war. So at the first East-West summit conference, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed aerial reconnaissance flights by the U.S.and USSR over each other’s territory. The Soviets firmly rejected the notion, calling it a likely pretext for espionage.