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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Issue Briefs

Old Think on New START Implementation

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Volume 2, Issue 5, May 26, 2011

On December 22, 2010, a bipartisan majority of Senators endorsed modest, verifiable reductions in the deployed strategic nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia. After weeks of debate and careful consideration, thirteen Republicans joined fifty-eight Democrats to approve the resolution of ratification for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

The New START vote was a step forward for U.S. security. Not only did the vote open the way for long-overdue stockpile reductions and renewed inspections and data exchanges that are critical for strategic stability, but the ratification package endorsed the Barack Obama administration's long-term plan for maintaining the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal, called for efforts to reduce the number of tactical nuclear weapons, and  reiterated that it is U.S. policy to seek cooperation with Russia on missile defense.

But now, Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio)  and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), are trying to rewrite the New START  understandings adopted by a 71-26 Senate majority less than six months ago.

Kyl and Turner say they simply want  to lock-in long-term commitments for costly upgrades to the nuclear weapons complex and replacement of the strategic nuclear delivery systems and create "speed bumps" for further nuclear reductions.

In reality, Kyl's and Turner's "New START Implementation" legislation is a poison pill for U.S. nuclear security. If enacted, their provisions could effectively block implementation of New START, halt the retirement of excess nuclear weapons, impede future U.S.-Russian cooperation on missile defense, undercut the authority of the President and senior military leaders to set U.S. nuclear policy requirements and pursue deeper reductions in Russian and U.S. strategic and tactical nuclear arsenals.

Each of the main provisions is counterproductive and counterintuitive. It is not surprising that some of the legislative proposals--now being considered as part of fiscal year 2012 Defense Authorization Act--have drawn a veto threat from the White House.

Holding New START Hostage
Section 1055 of the House Defense Authorization Act would delay the reductions in deployed forces under New START unless the administration's $200 billion, 10-year plan to modernize the nuclear weapons complex and delivery systems is being carried out. Holding New START and U.S. security hostage to full funding for a costly, long-term plan that future Presidents and Congresses may choose to adjust is unnecessary and unwise.

The New START resolution of ratification already addresses the issue of sustaining the existing nuclear  arsenal by stating that: "[T]he United States is committed to providing the resources ... at the levels set forth in the President's 10-year plan provided to the Congress." The resolution requires the President to report on how any future funding shortfall would be addressed and whether it impacts U.S. security.

The Kyl-Turner approach is based on the erroneous premise that if Congress appropriates even a dollar less than the President requests for NNSA weapons activities, the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would somehow be in doubt and the modest reductions in deployed U.S. (and Russian) nuclear forces mandated by New START should be halted.

In reality, the technical strategy for maintaining the effectiveness and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile has been in place for more than a decade. Eighteen years after the last U.S. nuclear test explosion, it is clear that the arsenal can be maintained without nuclear test explosions and without pursuing new warhead designs. Over the past decade, the NNSA's life extension programs have successfully refurbished existing types of nuclear warheads and can continue to do so indefinitely.

Not only do the nuclear weapons laboratory directors have a deeper understanding of the arsenal than ever before, they have more resources than ever before. The Obama administration's $88 billion, 10-year plan to maintain the nuclear arsenal and modernize the nuclear weapons complex represents a 20% increase above funding levels proposed during the George W. Bush administration-era.

While government program managers and contractors will always gripe about funding needs, minor cuts and cost savings in NNSA weapons spending over time won't change the fact that the NNSA weapons activities budget, at $7 billion this year, provides more than enough to get the job done. What is important is that the nuclear weapons labs remain focused on the highest priority tasks and that they pursue conservative warhead life extension strategies that minimize unnecessary and expensive alterations to already well-understood warhead types.

Worse still, the Kyl-Turner legislation would also prohibit funding to retire, dismantle, or eliminate any non-deployed strategic or non-strategic nuclear weapon until two new nuclear warhead component production facilities--the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility and the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF)--are fully operational and can produce 80 units each. These buildings are still in the design phase and are not scheduled to be operational until the mid-2020s. The rationale for facilities with such a substantial production capacity is questionable; more modestly-sized facilities would reduce costs.

The bill would also bar reductions below the New START ceilings of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 700 nuclear-armed delivery systems without Congressional approval. The combined effect of these provisions would be to freeze the size of the current U.S. nuclear force (now at about 5,000 total warheads) and increase weapons maintenance and security costs for the next 10-15 years. It could also induce Russia to build up its force and would complicate the next round of negotiations, which should cover all types of warheads: deployed and non-deployed; strategic and tactical.

Russia will be hard pressed to deploy 1,550 strategic warheads in future years unless it undertakes an expensive ballistic missile modernization effort. Rather than induce Russia to build up, it is in the security and financial interests of both countries to pursue further parallel, reciprocal reductions in their deployed strategic nuclear forces and to cut the size of their non-deployed reserve stockpiles.

Complicating Efforts to Reduce Russia's Tactical Nukes
Section 1230 of the House bill would limit the President's ability to determine military requirements in Europe and its flexibility in pursuing reductions in tactical nuclear weapons as called for in the Senate's resolution of ratification of New START. The proposed legislation asserts the U.S. should pursue negotiations  to reduce Russia's tactical nuclear arsenal but asserts that it should continue to be U.S. policy to base tactical nuclear weapons in Europe to contribute "to the cohesion of NATO" and provide "reassurance to allies who feel exposed to regional threats."

Today, the 200 or so U.S. tactical bombs stored in five NATO members  in Europe have no military role in the defense of the alliance. As Vice-Chairman of the JCS Gen. Cartwright said at an April 8, 2010 briefing in Washington, U.S. tactical nuclear bombs in Europe do not serve a military function not already addressed by other U.S. military assets. Keeping them in Europe complicates the task of accounting for  and eliminating Russian larger stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons.

The restrictions proposed by Sen. Kyl and Rep. Turner, if in place during earlier times, would have prevented important unilateral reductions in U.S. tactical nuclear arsenal in 1991, which led the Soviet Union to take similar steps, dramatically increasing U.S. and European security.  Such restrictions might have prevented the George W. Bush administration from unilaterally accelerating the reductions in the U.S. nuclear force ahead of the 2012 deadline for the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty.

Undermining U.S.-Russian Missile Defense Cooperation
Other sections of the House bill would prohibit the reciprocal exchange of missile defense-related data with Russia, even when the exchange of such data may improve the ability of the United States and NATO missile detection  capabilities. Such restrictions run counter the longstanding policy of Democratic and Republican administrations dating back to Ronald Reagan to cooperate with Russia on missile defense. The New START resolution of ratification states that the Senate "stands ready to cooperate with the Russian Federation on strategic defensive capabilities," as long as such cooperation does not constrain U.S. missile defenses.

The Pentagon has been interested in gaining access to data from Russian radars located northwest of Iran, such as the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan, that could provide useful tracking information to NATO on an Iranian missile launch toward Europe. However, Moscow is highly unlikely to provide this information to the U.S. and NATO unless there is a two-way flow of data.

Move Forward, Not Back
Rather than unravel the bipartisan consensus on nuclear security that was established through the New START ratification process, the Congress needs to move forward and come together around pragmatic solutions that reduce the threats and the costs of nuclear weapons. -- DARYL G. KIMBALL

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Volume 2, Issue 6, May 26, 2011

On December 22, 2010, a bipartisan majority of Senators endorsed modest, verifiable reductions in the deployed strategic nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia. After weeks of debate and careful consideration, thirteen Republicans joined fifty-eight Democrats to approve the resolution of ratification for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

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Missile Defense Cooperation: Seizing the Opportunity

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Volume 2, Issue 5, May 24, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet at the G8 Summit in Deauville, France later this week, where they are expected to talk about cooperation on ballistic missile defense. Cooperation with Russia would strengthen U.S. security by enhancing our capabilities to detect a potential missile launch from Iran.

This issue is central to the future of U.S.-Russian relations and the prospects for another round of nuclear arms reductions after New START, including tactical weapons, and continued cooperation on Iran's nuclear program and preventing nuclear terrorism. The timing is critical; presidential elections are looming in both nations, and the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. Now is the time for an agreement on U.S.-Russian missile defense cooperation, and a bipartisan solution is in the offing.

It is in the national security interests of both countries to transform strategic missile defense from a topic of confrontation to cooperation. Doing so requires reinforcing existing assurances that future U.S. missile interceptor systems to be deployed in Europe will not undermine Russia's security. Although the Cold War has been "over" for 20 years, the two sides have so far been unable to build the trust necessary to move beyond this challenge.

The initial SM-3 interceptors that are now being deployed in Europe as part of the Phased Adaptive Approach are not capable of countering Russia's sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). But Russian officials are concerned that more-advanced versions of the SM-3 planned for deployment by 2020 could conceivably shoot down some of Russia's ICBMs, and that more deployments may follow. Russia's leaders, however, have proposed a solution that the United States should embrace.

Russia's Request: "Written Guarantees"
Last week, as reported in The New York Times, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said "We do not want any missiles aimed at Russia" and repeated Moscow's request for "some kind of written guarantees from NATO that the missiles will not threaten Russia."

This is an important diplomatic opening that deserves a serious response. This approach does not require a legally-binding agreement, nor would it create a new limit on U.S. strategic missile defenses. The Obama administration should pursue--and Congress should support--a written political assurance (between the U.S. and Russian presidents and/or a NATO written statement) that communicates the broader political point: U.S.-NATO missile interceptors do not threaten Russia.

At the same time, Moscow needs to recognize that the planned SM-3 interceptors have limited capability against Russian ICBMs. If, as Moscow may worry, the next U.S. president were to expand the program, even legal agreements can be undone, as we saw when the George W. Bush administration rejected the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002. Political solutions are the art of the possible, and both sides should seek to make as much progress as current conditions allow.

A political statement providing mutual assurances that neither side plans to use missile defense capabilities to "target" the others' strategic forces, combined with an agreement to share missile-launch early-warning information, could form the basis of a missile defense cooperation deal to be finalized when NATO and Russian defense ministers meet in Brussels in early June. There is broad bipartisan support, including from the last two administrations, for such an approach.

Bipartisan Support for Not Targeting Russia
A politically-binding agreement not to target Russian missiles with U.S. missile interceptors would not require Senate approval and has a strong precedent: In 1994, the United States and Russia made a political commitment not to target each other with their offensive nuclear weapons.

Moreover, there has been bipartisan support in the Senate for a limited missile defense mission--that is, one not aimed at Russia--since at least 1999, when the Senate passed the "National Missile Defense Act." That law directs the United States to "deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate)..."

A limited--and unproven--ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) system was ultimately deployed by the Bush administration. The law expresses bipartisan support for missile interceptors against limited attacks by states such as North Korea and Iran, not an all-out, deliberate attack from Russia.

The Bush administration shared this view. For example, President Bush said in April 2008 that his proposed missile interceptor system for Europe was "not designed to deal with Russia's capacity to launch multiple rockets." In February of that year, President Bush said that "It's in our interests to try to figure out a way for the Russians to understand the system is not aimed at them, but aimed at the real threats of the 21st century."

Comparing President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative to the Bush administration's limited approach, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in 2008: "This is not that program. This is not the son of that program. This is not the grandson of that program. This is a very different program that is meant to deal with limited threats. There is no way that a few interceptors in Poland and radars in the Czech Republic can degrade the thousands of nuclear warheads that the Russians have. And there is no intent to do so."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who served in both the Bush and Obama administrations, testified last summer in reference to the idea of mounting a defense against a full Russian attack: "That, in our view, as in theirs, would be enormously destabilizing, not to mention unbelievably expensive."

The New START resolution of ratification, which was approved last Dec. 22 by a bipartisan vote of the Senate, states that U.S. missile defenses are to "defend against missile threats from nations such as North Korea and Iran," and that U.S. systems "do not and will not threaten the strategic balance with the Russian Federation."

The bipartisan Strategic Posture Commission concluded in 2009 that U.S. missile defense plans "should not call into question the viability of Russia's nuclear deterrent," since this could lead Moscow to take actions that "increase the threat to the United States and its allies and friends."

Current deployments reflect the bipartisan policy that U.S. missile defenses are not aimed at Russia. The United States fields 30 ground-based interceptors (GBIs) in Alaska and California that provide a rudimentary capability against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack. Those interceptors would not be able to stop even a partial attack from Russia, which fields more than 1,000 nuclear warheads on hundreds of sophisticated ballistic missiles. Moreover, the U.S. GBI system has failed almost half of its intercept tests since 1999, including the last two attempts, and none of the tests has included realistic threats such as simple countermeasures. The system cannot be considered effective, particularly against a potential Russian attack.

Bipartisan Support for Missile Defense Cooperation

U.S.-Russian efforts to cooperate on missile defense also have bipartisan support, with roots in the Reagan administration's offer to share missile defense technology with the Soviet Union. In 2004, the Bush administration began seeking a Defense Technical Cooperation Agreement (DTCA) with Russia. This agreement would have addressed a broad range of cooperative research and development activities, including missile defense.

The Bush administration's Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Stephen G. Rademaker said in 2004, "We want missile defense cooperation to be an important part of the new relationship the United States and Russia are building for the 21st century." The Obama administration is now continuing the DTCA talks with Russia to provide a basis for potential sharing of early-warning data regarding missile launches by other states, which could improve U.S. capabilities against Iranian missiles.

The New START resolution of ratification states that the Senate "stands ready to cooperate with the Russian Federation on strategic defensive capabilities," as long as such cooperation does not constrain U.S. missile defenses. The Strategic Posture Commission found that the United States should "strengthen international cooperation for missile defense...with Russia."

Joint Data "Fusion" Center
A NATO-Russia agreement on missile defense cooperation could also include the sharing of missile launch early-warning information. Defense Secretary Gates said in March, "This collaboration may include exchanging launch information, setting up a joint data fusion center, allowing greater transparency with respect to our missile defense plans and exercises, and conducting a joint analysis to determine areas of future cooperation."

The Pentagon has been interested in gaining access to data from Russian radars located northwest of Iran, such as the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan, that could provide useful tracking information to NATO on an Iranian missile launch toward Europe.

Under the draft U.S. proposal, the joint data fusion center would allow Russian and NATO officers to have simultaneous access to missile launch data from sensors in NATO countries and Russia, giving both sides a full, real-time picture of potential threats. These centers would combine data from fixed and mobile radar sites, as well as from satellites.

Given that early-warning data sharing would improve the United States' and NATO's ability to detect a missile launch from Iran, it is puzzling that a group of Republican Senators wrote to President Obama April 14 asking for his written assurance that he would not provide any "early warning, detection, [or] tracking" information to Russia. Similarly, the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 would prohibit the transfer of such data to Russia. However, Moscow is highly unlikely to provide this information to the U.S. and NATO unless there is a two-way flow of data.

Meeting in the Middle

For missile defense cooperation to succeed, it is in the interest of NATO and the United States to reassure Moscow that future ballistic missile interceptor deployments pose no threat to Russian security. The United States can and should make a political commitment in the strongest possible terms that it will not target its ballistic missile interceptors against Russian missiles. This is consistent with the long-held bipartisan U.S. position--as stated in the Senate's New START resolution and other places--that Moscow has nothing to fear from U.S. missile defenses.  For its part, Russia needs to be open to solutions that do not require the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate.

Striking a deal on missile defense cooperation could be a game-changer with the potential to unlock the door to the next round of negotiations with Russia on nuclear arsenal reductions, including tactical weapons, and further strengthen joint nonproliferation and counter-proliferation efforts. --TOM Z. COLLINA

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Volume 2, Issue 5, May 24, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet at the G8 Summit in Deauville, France later this week, where they are expected to talk about cooperation on ballistic missile defense. Cooperation with Russia would strengthen U.S. security by enhancing our capabilities to detect a potential missile launch from Iran.

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The Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty Protocols and U.S. National Security

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Volume 2, Issue 4, May 20, 2011

Reducing the threats posed by nuclear weapons and proliferation is a global challenge that requires active U.S. leadership. Given that curbing the spread of nuclear weapons is one of the nation's highest security imperatives, it stands to reason that the United States should support efforts by other countries to reinforce their commitments not to pursue nuclear weapons and to prevent proliferation.

This is just what the Obama Administration asked the Senate to do earlier this month when it  submitted the protocols to the nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) in Africa and the South Pacific for ratification. Under those protocols, the United States would pledge not to use nuclear weapons against, or place nuclear weapons in either of those regions. In doing so, the United States would match words with deeds, demonstrating clear backing for such initiatives, and promote the principle that states forgoing nuclear weapons are enhancing their security.  

The African and South Pacific NWFZs (established by the Treaties of Pelindaba and Rarotonga, respectively) are two of the five such zones that have been created. Together with similar zones in Central Asia, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, NWFZs encompass more than 100 countries, covering nearly the entire Southern Hemisphere and beyond.

Members of these zones have made additional commitments not to seek nuclear weapons and created regional mechanisms to prevent proliferation. Although all of these countries have already pledged not to seek nuclear weapons under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the zones serve as an additional demonstration of the commitment all of the members have made, and foster regional cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation.

Benefits Beyond the NPT
In many cases, the zones include nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security obligations that go beyond those of the NPT. For example, the African NWFZ requires that members maintain internationally-recommended standards of physical protection over nuclear facilities and material, a key U.S. national security goal highlighted during the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit. The African zone also creates a regional mechanism, the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), to ensure compliance with the zone's obligations.

Another critical nonproliferation benefit that both the African and South Pacific zones provide is a requirement that members only engage in nuclear transfers with countries that have applied International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards over all of their nuclear activities. Since the two zones contain some of the world's key suppliers of uranium, including Australia, Namibia, and Niger, such a stipulation helps to cut off any country that does not comply with basic IAEA full-scope safeguards requirements from importing nuclear material.

In addition, by supporting the NWFZ protocols and fulfilling an arms control goal of states in the region, the United States has greater standing to seek the cooperation of NWFZ member countries to achieve its key nonproliferation goals, including taking steps to address proliferation by countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria. In particular, countries in Africa remain key pathways for illicit trafficking by Iran and North Korea.

Last year, Nigeria halted a shipment of Iranian arms and ammunition believed to have been bound for Gambia, and the year before, South Africa intercepted tank parts North Korea tried to smuggle to the Republic of Congo. In the South Pacific, Australia has been a major partner in efforts to sanction Iran and North Korea, going beyond the requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions against both countries by applying additional restrictions on the two proliferators. U.S. failure to ratify the NWFZ protocols has not prevented such cooperation from occurring, but doing so would be a cost-free way to bolster the case made by the United States that more countries should cooperate in such nonproliferation efforts in the future.

Negative Nuclear Security Assurances
The principle that assurances against the use of nuclear weapons by NPT nuclear-weapon states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are part of a trade-off for nonproliferation commitments by non-nuclear-weapon states is not new. After all, so long as these countries fulfill their obligations not to seek nuclear weapons, they do not pose a threat that would warrant the use of nuclear weapons against them. Non-nuclear-weapon states have sought so-called "negative security assurances" since the 1960s, and the precedent that NWFZs would include security assurance protocols for the nuclear-weapon states to join began when the first zone was established in Latin America in 1968.

Recognizing this trade-off, the five nuclear-weapon powers also issued broad, politically-binding negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states in 1978. The reaffirmation by the five-original nuclear-weapon states of these assurances in 1995 helped pave the way for the indefinite extension of the NPT later that year. Although the United States has been reluctant to engage in negotiations over making those security assurances legally binding, U.S. officials have said that Washington prefers to make such binding commitments through NWFZ protocols.

Ratifying the security assurances in the African and South Pacific NWFZ protocols would pose no real limitations on U.S. national security prerogatives. Washington signed the protocols for both zones in 1996, making a political commitment to abide by them, and there are no plausible scenarios in which the United States would need to use nuclear weapons against any members of the two zones. Opponents of ratification would be hard pressed to devise a situation in which the United States would have a credible need to use nuclear weapons against any member in good standing with either zone's obligations. U.S. national security interests certainly have not suffered from its ratification of the Latin American NWFZ negative nuclear security assurance protocol in 1971, and in fact, the United States' support for the that zone, created by the Treaty of Tlateloco, has strengthened U.S. nonproliferation diplomacy in the region over the years.

Moreover, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which outlines the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security strategy, states that the United States "will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations." Therefore, not only is there no foreseeable need to use nuclear weapons against any of the countries in the two zones, it is U.S. policy not to use such weapons against any country that has satisfied its nuclear nonproliferation commitments.

U.S. ratification of the African and South Pacific NWFZ protocols would further U.S. and global nonproliferation goals at no cost to other U.S. national security objectives. The Senate should review and support ratification of these NWFZ protocols in short order, and the Barack Obama administration should make good on its own pledge to work with the members of the two other zones in Central and Southeast Asia to sign and seek the ratification of those protocols as well. -PETER CRAIL


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Volume 2, Issue 3, March 2, 2011

Reducing the threats posed by nuclear weapons and proliferation is a global challenge that requires active U.S. leadership. Given that curbing the spread of nuclear weapons is one of the nation's highest security imperatives, it stands to reason that the United States should support efforts by other countries to reinforce their commitments not to pursue nuclear weapons and to prevent proliferation.

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Don’t Skimp on Funding to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism

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Volume 2, Issue 3, March 2, 2011

There is an overwhelming, bipartisan consensus among America’s leaders that nuclear terrorism is one of the most dangerous threats facing the United States and the world today. Unfortunately, the new leadership of the House of Representatives has lumped federal programs designed to prevent this danger in with the rest of its targets for budget cuts, proposing to slash their funding by over 20 percent.  This is a big mistake, and the Senate and the White House should work aggressively to ensure that these cuts are not turned into law.

Leaders of both parties and the military agree on the magnitude of this issue. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said, “Every senior leader, when you’re asked what keeps you awake at night, it’s the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear.” President Barack Obama has called the prospect of nuclear terrorism “the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.” And according to former President George W. Bush, “The biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network.”

In testimony last month, General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, stated that “the time when only a few states had access to the most dangerous technologies is well past… Some terror groups remain interested in acquiring CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] materials and threaten to use them. Poorly secured stocks of CBRN provide potential source material for terror attacks.”

In its final report, the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism warned that al-Qaeda is “actively intent on conducting a nuclear attack against the United States” and that it has been seeking nuclear weapons-usable material ever since the 1990s. “It is therefore imperative,” the commission argued, “that authorities secure nuclear weapons and materials at their source.”

According to the International Panel on Fissile Materials, the global stockpile of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in 2010 was roughly 1,475 tons, or enough to make more than 60,000 nuclear weapons. Likewise, the panel estimates the global stockpile of separated plutonium to be about 485 tons. The quality of security over these materials is uneven, varying widely across countries and regions. The sheer quantity of materials explains why a concerted effort is required to make nuclear security a major international priority.

Nuclear Security and the Budget

The United States has a number of active programs aimed at securing dangerous nuclear materials around the world. In its initial request for fiscal year (FY) 2011, the Obama administration asked for significant increases for these programs. These increases were designed to help achieve the president’s goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide within four years.

However, Congress has yet to approve a final budget for FY 2011. Instead, before adjourning at the end of 2010, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) which is currently funding all government agencies (with a few exceptions) at FY 2010 levels. The current CR will expire on March 4. An additional two-week CR intended to give the two parties more time to reach an agreement has passed the House and looks to be headed for imminent passage in the Senate, but it will not solve the larger issue.

On February 19, the House of Representatives voted 235-189 along party lines to pass a CR through the rest of FY 2011, which ends on September 30. The House’s bill would cut spending by over $60 billion, slashing programs across a wide range of government agencies. Most notably, the nuclear nonproliferation account in the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would lose a full 22.4 percent from Obama’s FY 2011 request, going from $2.687 billion to $2.085 billion.

U.S. Programs Are Doing Vital Work to Secure Nuclear Materials

The U.S. government has already taken a number of important steps to improve nuclear material security around the world. The NNSA’s nuclear nonproliferation programs have been particularly active in this effort, working to remove fissile materials from countries, conduct security upgrades at nuclear facilities, convert reactors to use low enriched uranium (LEU) instead of highly enriched uranium (HEU), and more. In recent years, the NNSA has:

  • Removed a cumulative total of 2,852 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, and shut down or converted 72 research reactors from using HEU fuel to LEU fuel.
    • Secured more than 10 tons of HEU and three tons of plutonium in Kazakhstan in November 2010 – enough material to make 775 nuclear weapons.
      • Completed security upgrades at 73 nuclear warhead sites and 34 nuclear material sites in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

        According to a spokesman, the NNSA has helped to complete the removal of “all HEU material” from a total of 19 countries, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Libya, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.

        Furthermore, the NNSA says it is “working with 16 additional countries to remove the last of their material,” including Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

        This extensive plan of action demonstrates how shortsighted it would be for Congress to fail to meet President Obama’s proposed increase for NNSA nonproliferation spending for the remainder of FY 2011. We are fortunate that a sizable number of countries have pledged to give up their stockpiles of fissile materials. We must not find ourselves in a position where we are unable to follow through in helping to complete the removals simply due to a lack of resources.

        Nonproliferation Spending is Security Spending

        Much of the broader discussion about this year’s budget has focused on the division between security and non-security related spending. Generally speaking, Congress’ approach has been to keep defense and security-related cuts to a minimum, while focusing most of its reductions on domestic “non-discretionary” spending. Whatever one thinks of the wisdom of this method, it is clear that the proposed cuts to the NNSA’s nonproliferation budget are out of step with this approach. Simply put, programs designed to prevent nuclear terrorism by securing nuclear materials around the world directly contribute to America’s national security. The fact that these programs are located within the Department of Energy rather than the Department of Defense does not change that reality.

        If the House’s proposed CR becomes law, and President Obama’s request is not met, the United States will run the risk of having to pay much more to respond to an attack later than we would pay now to prevent the attack in the first place. Such short-term thinking would truly be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

         

        --ROB GOLAN-VILELLA, ACA Scoville Fellow

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        Volume 2, Issue 3

        There is an overwhelming, bipartisan consensus among America’s leaders that nuclear terrorism is one of the most dangerous threats facing the United States and the world today. Unfortunately, the new leadership of the House of Representatives has lumped federal programs designed to prevent this danger in with the rest of its targets for budget cuts, proposing to slash their funding by over 20 percent.  This is a big mistake, and the Senate and the White House should work aggressively to ensure that these cuts are not turned into law.

        Mine Ban Treaty: Time for a Positive U.S. Decision

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        Volume 2, Issue 2, February 28, 2011

        March 1 marks the 12th anniversary of the 1999 entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty, which seeks to eliminate the use of one of the most destructive and indiscriminate weapons of war. It has been over a year since the Barack Obama administration began a comprehensive review of its landmines policy. During those months, U.S. and international leaders have made a clear case that now is the time for the United States to join with the global consensus and accede to the treaty.
        National and International Support
        The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, typically referred to as the "Ottawa Convention" or "Mine Ban Treaty," seeks to end the use of victim-activated anti-personnel landmines (APLs) worldwide. Opened for signature on December 3, 1997, today 156 countries are states-parties to Mine Ban Treaty, including all NATO members except the United States (Poland has signed and intends to ratify the treaty in 2012). The use of treaty-banned landmines has essentially ceased in all Western hemisphere countries with the exception of Cuba and the United States.
        Last year, the Obama administration received significant support in for a decision to accede to the treaty, should it choose to do so. In May, a bipartisan group of 68 U.S. Senators wrote a joint letter stating:
        "We are confident that through a thorough, deliberative review the Administration can identify any obstacles to joining the Convention and develop a plan to overcome them as soon as possible."
        In November, a group of 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates called upon their fellow Nobel Laureate, Barack Obama, to bring the United States into the treaty regime. They said:
        "We understand that policy deliberations can be complicated, particularly on military matters and arms control. Yet in this instance we believe that there is a clear case to be made for the moral and humanitarian imperative for the US to relinquish antipersonnel mines and join the Mine Ban Treaty - especially since it has closely followed the core obligations of the Mine Ban Treaty for many years now."
        Also in 2010, leaders of 65 U.S. national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and a large number of former senior military leaders wrote separate letters to President Obama encouraged him to join the treaty. In their letter to the President, NGO leaders wrote:
        "The last steps to joining the treaty are now achievable, and vitally important to United States efforts to protect civilians during and after armed conflict, strengthen international norms, and isolate irresponsible regimes."
        U.S. Policy
        The United States is not known to have used antipersonnel landmines since 1991, has not exported them since 1992, and has not produced them since 1997. Despite significant military engagements in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has found other solutions than to use the weapons banned by the Mine Ban Treaty.
        President Bill Clinton sought to put the United States on a path to accede to the treaty by 2006. In 2004, the Bush administration announced that Washington would not join the treaty and set 2010 as the final year in which the United States would permit use of persistent landmines. Now, in 2011, that policy is in effect and the United States no longer plans to use so-called "dumb" landmines, even on the Korean peninsula.
        Current U.S. policy does, however, allow for the use of so-called "smart" landmines, those equipped with self-destruct or self-deactivation mechanisms. Such landmines are barred under the treaty because they remain victim-activated and many have questioned the reliability of their safety features. The desire to retain the ability to use such landmines remains the primary difference between U.S. policy and Mine Ban Treaty requirements.
        In November 2009, Obama administration officials made clear that they were conducting a comprehensive review of U.S. landmines policy and later that year officially attended as observers a Mine Ban Treaty annual states-parties meetings for the first time. Officials again attended the state-parties meeting in 2010.
        The Mine Ban Treaty does not prohibit command-detonated, or so called "man in the loop" mines, which are not victim-activated. Such landmines exist and are in the U.S. stockpile.
        Korea
        Although potential future conflict in Korea has been cited as a reason to retain mines, such logic is outdated. Mines currently in place in South Korea are not under U.S. ownership and pose no barrier to U.S. accession to the treaty. If the United States were to accede to the treaty, it would be barred from emplacing new landmines and cooperating with any South Korean use of treaty-banned weapons, but otherwise would be able to maintain its military relationship with Seoul.
        It is difficult to imagine how U.S. accession to the treaty would negatively impact defense activities in any realistic conflict scenario on the peninsula. U.S. and South Korea capabilities other than landmines are much more critical, especially given that Seoul's short-warning vulnerability would be to missiles or naval-based activities against which landmines serve no purpose.-JEFF ABRAMSON
        Additional Resources on the Mine Ban Treaty:
        "Mine Ban Treaty by the Numbers" Arms Control Association Issue Brief, Volume 1, Number 37, November 23, 2010.
        http://www.armscontrol.org/issuebriefs/MineBanNumbers
        "Momentum Building for U.S. Accession to the Mine Ban Treaty" Arms Control Association Issue Brief
        , Volume 1, Number 6, May 25, 2010.
        http://www.armscontrol.org/issuebriefs/MomentumForUSMineBanTreaty
        Arms Control Association landmine resources page:
        http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/24/date
        March 1 marks the 12th anniversary of the 1999 entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty, which seeks to eliminate the use of one of the most destructive and indiscriminate weapons of war. It has been over a year since the Barack Obama administration began a comprehensive review of its landmines policy. During those months, U.S. and international leaders have made a clear case that now is the time for the United States to join with the global consensus and accede to the treaty.

        National and International Support

        The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, typically referred to as the "Ottawa Convention" or "Mine Ban Treaty," seeks to end the use of victim-activated anti-personnel landmines (APLs) worldwide. Opened for signature on December 3, 1997, today 156 countries are states-parties to Mine Ban Treaty, including all NATO members except the United States (Poland has signed and intends to ratify the treaty in 2012). The use of treaty-banned landmines has essentially ceased in all Western hemisphere countries with the exception of Cuba and the United States.

        Last year, the Obama administration received significant support in for a decision to accede to the treaty, should it choose to do so. In May, a bipartisan group of 68 U.S. Senators wrote a joint letter stating:

        "We are confident that through a thorough, deliberative review the Administration can identify any obstacles to joining the Convention and develop a plan to overcome them as soon as possible."

        In November, a group of 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates called upon their fellow Nobel Laureate, Barack Obama, to bring the United States into the treaty regime. They said:

        "We understand that policy deliberations can be complicated, particularly on military matters and arms control. Yet in this instance we believe that there is a clear case to be made for the moral and humanitarian imperative for the US to relinquish antipersonnel mines and join the Mine Ban Treaty - especially since it has closely followed the core obligations of the Mine Ban Treaty for many years now."

        Also in 2010, leaders of 65 U.S. national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and a large number of former senior military leaders wrote separate letters to President Obama encouraged him to join the treaty. In their letter to the President, NGO leaders wrote:

        "The last steps to joining the treaty are now achievable, and vitally important to United States efforts to protect civilians during and after armed conflict, strengthen international norms, and isolate irresponsible regimes."  

        U.S. Policy

        The United States is not known to have used antipersonnel landmines since 1991, has not exported them since 1992, and has not produced them since 1997. Despite significant military engagements in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has found other solutions than to use the weapons banned by the Mine Ban Treaty.

        President Bill Clinton sought to put the United States on a path to accede to the treaty by 2006. In 2004, the Bush administration announced that Washington would not join the treaty and set 2010 as the final year in which the United States would permit use of persistent landmines. Now, in 2011, that policy is in effect and the United States no longer plans to use so-called "dumb" landmines, even on the Korean peninsula.

        Current U.S. policy does, however, allow for the use of so-called "smart" landmines, those equipped with self-destruct or self-deactivation mechanisms. Such landmines are barred under the treaty because they remain victim-activated and many have questioned the reliability of their safety features. The desire to retain the ability to use such landmines remains the primary difference between U.S. policy and Mine Ban Treaty requirements.

        In November 2009, Obama administration officials made clear that they were conducting a comprehensive review of U.S. landmines policy and later that year officially attended as observers a Mine Ban Treaty annual states-parties meetings for the first time. Officials again attended the state-parties meeting in 2010.

        The Mine Ban Treaty does not prohibit command-detonated, or so called "man in the loop" mines, which are not victim-activated. Such landmines exist and are in the U.S. stockpile.

        Korea

        Although potential future conflict in Korea has been cited as a reason to retain mines, such logic is outdated. Mines currently in place in South Korea are not under U.S. ownership and pose no barrier to U.S. accession to the treaty. If the United States were to accede to the treaty, it would be barred from emplacing new landmines and cooperating with any South Korean use of treaty-banned weapons, but otherwise would be able to maintain its military relationship with Seoul.

        It is difficult to imagine how U.S. accession to the treaty would negatively impact defense activities in any realistic conflict scenario on the peninsula. U.S. and South Korea capabilities other than landmines are much more critical, especially given that Seoul's short-warning vulnerability would be to missiles or naval-based activities against which landmines serve no purpose.-JEFF ABRAMSON

        Additional Resources on the Mine Ban Treaty:

        "Mine Ban Treaty by the Numbers" Arms Control Association Issue Brief, Volume 1, Number 37, November 23, 2010.

        "Momentum Building for U.S. Accession to the Mine Ban Treaty" Arms Control Association Issue Brief, Volume 1, Number 6, May 25, 2010.

        Arms Control Association landmine resources page.

        Description: 

        Volume 2, Issue 2

        March 1 marks the 12th anniversary of the 1999 entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty, which seeks to eliminate the use of one of the most destructive and indiscriminate weapons of war. It has been over a year since the Barack Obama administration began a comprehensive review of its landmines policy. During those months, U.S. and international leaders have made a clear case that now is the time for the United States to join with the global consensus and accede to the treaty.

        Country Resources:

        After the Istanbul Meeting with Iran: Maintaining Persistent Diplomacy

        Sections:

        Body: 

        Volume 2, Issue 1, February 3, 2011

        Last month's multilateral talks in Istanbul on Iran's nuclear program ended inconclusively and without an agreement on further discussions. The lack of progress is unfortunate, but not surprising. As many observers noted before the meeting, while a diplomatic process provides the greatest chance for a peaceful resolution to the problem, there is no silver bullet; diplomacy will take time and will likely be fraught with stumbles and disagreements.

        Fortunately, there is time to keep talking. Washington and its P5+1 partners (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom) can and should continue to pursue diplomacy with patient persistence to ensure that Tehran does not proceed to build the bomb.

        Recent Israeli and U.S. assessments of Iran's nuclear program suggest there is still time before Iran could have a viable nuclear weapons capability.  A new report from the independent International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) released today provides a detailed technical analysis to support these assessments. The IISS researchers conclude that "it would take Iran at least two years to produce a single nuclear device," noting that "the timescale is significant because the likelihood of detection allows time for a negotiated solution."

        Unfortunately, the Istanbul meeting has shown once again Tehran's unwillingness to take reasonable steps to dispel doubts about the purpose of its nuclear program. The proposals from the United States and its diplomatic partners put forward at the Istanbul meeting to build confidence were pragmatic and sharply contrasted with Iran's intransigent demand that certain preconditions be met before it agreed to negotiate.

        U.S. diplomacy with Iran should continue in the same constructive spirit displayed in Istanbul, offering a realistic way forward, while maintaining international resolve if Iran refuses to take positive steps.

        The P5+1's Constructive Approach

        The P5+1 group put forward several confidence-building measures and maintained unity in response to Iran's terms for negotiations. A statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the six countries following the discussions in Istanbul said that the P5+1 group "put forward detailed ideas including an updated version of the [Tehran Research Reactor] TRR fuel exchange agreement and ways to improve transparency...."

        The original TRR proposal, floated by the United States in 2009, entailed Iran exporting 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad and receiving fuel for the TRR, which produces medical isotopes. Domestic political challenges in Tehran reversed an initial Iranian agreement to that proposal. Since that time, Iran has accumulated a stockpile of over 3,000 kilograms of LEU and has begun producing uranium enriched to 20%, the enrichment level required for the TRR fuel but also a significant step closer to the level required for nuclear weapons.

        The updated TRR fuel swap proposal reportedly sought to capture more of Iran's stockpile of LEU, aimed at ensuring that Iran is left with an amount of LEU that is insufficient for a bomb. In doing so, the renewed proposal is also intended to maintain a key confidence-building element for the international community: because Iran has no near-term peaceful use for this material, agreeing to export it would be a way of demonstrating that Tehran also has no near-term military use for the enriched uranium.

        The updated proposal would also reportedly require that Iran halt the production of 20% uranium and export the nearly 30 kilograms that it has produced. Because Iran would receive fuel for the TRR, it would have no reason to continue producing 20%-enriched uranium. Moreover, Iran is likely one-to-two years from being able to fabricate TRR fuel which is safe for use, and by agreeing to such a deal, Iran could receive both fuel for the reactor and potentially arrange to import medical isotopes in the interim.

        Along those lines, the new proposal addresses the deficiencies the United States, Russia and France (the so-called Vienna Group) found in the Tehran Declaration agreed between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil in May of last year. Although the Vienna Group dismissed  the Tehran Declaration at the time--issuing a letter of response the very morning that Ankara and Brasilia were considering sanctions on Iran at the UN Security Council, suggesting  a disinterest in bridging the diplomatic divide-- the substance of its  concerns was entirely appropriate. The Tehran Declaration did not address Iran's production of 20%-enriched uranium, nor did it incorporate Iran's production of LEU since October 2009.

        In order to provide Iran with an incentive to export additional material, the renewed proposal would reportedly entail an agreement to convert LEU not used for the TRR into fuel for Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr, which is set to begin operations early this year. Iran already has a commitment from Russia, which built the Bushehr plant, to fuel the reactor for the next 10 years. Tehran claims that its enrichment effort is geared towards fueling the plant after that timeframe, even though Russia has not, and is not likely to provide Iran with the proprietary information to enable such a plan. By exporting Iran's LEU for fuel production in Russia, that material can be used for the very purpose claimed by Tehran. Such an arrangement can also provide a possible precedent for circumstances under which Iran's enrichment work can truly be dedicated for peaceful uses.

        Iran as the Roadblock

        Given the domestic political difficulty the Iranian negotiators encountered when they first agreed to the fuel swap in October 2009, winning Iran's agreement to an updated proposal during a single meeting may not have been possible. But by all appearances, the Iranian negotiating team arrived in Istanbul on a tight leash from Tehran. Although Iran did meet separately with the Vienna Group, presumably for focused discussions on the TRR proposal, Tehran was not willing to hold bilateral meetings with the Western members of the P5+1. This suggests not only that Iran was engaging in its once-successful strategy of finding and exploiting fissures among the P5+1, but also that the negotiators were not given the leeway to engage in a meaningful exchange with the West.

        Iran's unwillingness to seriously negotiate in Istanbul was clearly evident by the substance of its position as well. Tehran put forward two preconditions for negotiations that effectively put the brakes on any possible forward movement: the lifting of UN sanctions, and an acknowledgement of Iran's claimed "right" to enrichment.

        The condition that UN sanctions be lifted in order for negotiations to proceed not only contradicts Iran's claims that the sanctions are meaningless, but it was also entirely unrealistic.

        As Ashton noted in her January 22 statement, the UN resolutions specify the circumstances under which sanctions would be relieved. Moreover, there is an ongoing and active effort to implement and strengthen the international sanctions, and the Security Council just appointed a panel of experts to assess their implementation in November.

        Iran perhaps sought to take advantage of China and Russia's traditional reluctance to impose sanctions in order to open up fissures within the P5+1; an approach that was apparently unsuccessful. Tehran may also have hoped that by presenting maximal demands in the form of two preconditions, it may have had a better chance of protecting its option to enrich uranium.

        Enrichment "Rights" and Responsibilities

        One of Iran's consistent refrains is that it has a right, as a member of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), to enrich uranium. Recognition of this claimed right has been a key diplomatic goal for Iran over the last several years. Indeed, the challenge posed by Iran's nuclear program is just as much a matter of addressing the risks of enrichment as it is about the threat of nuclear weapons.

        What Iran should understand is that an explicit right to enrichment does not exist in the NPT. Article IV of the treaty recognizes a state's "inalienable right" to "use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," on the condition that a state abides by its obligation not to pursue nuclear weapons.

        Such peaceful uses under the NPT have generally been understood to include enrichment, and the treaty does not prohibit the development of such a capability, but the NPT does not expressly state that members have a right to enrich uranium.

        More importantly, by demanding that the international community recognize a right to enrichment, Tehran is seeking to remove the conditionality of the right to peaceful nuclear energy. The work that Iran is believed to have carried out on weaponization constitutes a violation of Iran's NPT commitment not to pursue nuclear weapons, and it is not fully complying with its IAEA safeguards agreement, the mechanism by which a non-nuclear weapon state's adherence to the NPT is evaluated.

        Iran's continued refusal to answer questions about its past nuclear activities and to provide more transparency about its current program effectively forfeits the very right it adamantly seeks to claim. The P5+1 was correct to refuse to recognize an unconditional right to a technology that is not essential to a country's peaceful nuclear program.

        However, insistence that Iran has permanently forfeited any claim to enrichment is  untenable. Iran has made the preservation of an enrichment capability a critical national issue, and it is highly unlikely that Iran can be negotiated, sanctioned, or bombed out of maintaining such a capacity. And while many countries in the developing world appear to be wary of Iran's intentions, they are also cautious about efforts to restrict the development of dual-use nuclear fuel cycle technologies, making the effort to apply international pressure on Iran far more difficult if the aim is the permanent cessation of enrichment. We have already seen key middle powers, Brazil and Turkey (both Nuclear Suppliers Group members), agree in the Tehran Declaration that the NPT's right to peaceful nuclear energy encompasses the "nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment activities."

        Therefore, while it is preferable on nonproliferation grounds that Iran forego an unnecessary, uneconomical, and proliferation sensitive enrichment program, it is not a nonproliferation requirement that it do so. Instead, Iran must be encouraged to constrain its enrichment program and to accept robust transparency measures that would both reveal and deter any misuse.

        Secretary of State Clinton's comment to the BBC that Iran "can enrich uranium at some future date once they have demonstrated that they can do so in a responsible manner in accordance with international obligations," provides the most appropriate formula to address the enrichment question, one which accurately characterizes Iran's real NPT rights and obligations. Tehran should consider that understanding carefully and then work to fulfill those international obligations.

        Achieving Greater Transparency and Better Monitoring

        Perhaps the most critical element of Iran's international obligations is to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors and to provide complete information about the extent of its nuclear activities. One objective of the P5+1 group at Istanbul was to persuade Iran to agree to a series of basic transparency measures beyond the limited access Iran currently provides. This renewed focus on transparency by the six countries is a positive shift away from the narrow focus on the suspension of enrichment.

        Although enrichment suspension remains an important confidence-building goal, and a UN Security Council requirement, it is not as important as increasing IAEA access to all of Iran's nuclear activities. As Iran's attempt to build a secret enrichment plant near Qom has shown, Tehran would rather produce weapons-grade material at an undeclared facility that is not subject to inspections, rather than its well-known and easily targeted Natanz plant. Therefore, focusing on steps in the near term for Iran to provide early design information for new nuclear facilities (as is already required under its safeguards agreement), and subjecting its centrifuge manufacturing process to IAEA inspections, would help to address the risk of clandestine facilities.

        Persistent Diplomacy

        Moving forward, Western countries will need to maintain their willingness to negotiate with Iran, including on the basis of practical confidence-building measures, while sustaining the international unity that has helped to place pressure on Tehran.

        The United States and its allies have indicated that they will be examining ways to further strengthen implementation of the existing sanctions on Iran. Such a step may be necessary in the face of Iran's obstinacy at Istanbul, but care will need to be taken to ensure that additional punitive measures do not create openings between the six countries that Iran can once again exploit. For example, the behavior-focused penalties targeting Iranian entities involved in proliferation is a more constructive option than searching for new, unilateral economic sanctions that could split the international coalition now working together to sanction Iran for its nonproliferation noncompliance. Enhanced export controls and other means of slowing Iran's program should also be pursued.

        Istanbul will not be the last opportunity to achieve progress. The P5+1 group has indicated that it is still willing to discuss its refined set of proposals with Iran. So long as Iran is unable or unwilling to agree to even the most common-sense assurances that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, Tehran will become increasingly isolated. Washington must pursue a patient but persistent diplomatic  approach to test Iran's willingness to change course. - Peter Crail

        Description: 

        Volume 2, Issue 1

        Last month’s multilateral talks in Istanbul on Iran’s nuclear program ended inconclusively and without an agreement on further discussions. The lack of progress is unfortunate, but not surprising. As many observers noted before the meeting, while a diplomatic process provides the greatest chance for a peaceful resolution to the problem, there is no silver bullet; diplomacy will take time and will likely be fraught with stumbles and disagreements.

        Author:

        Country Resources:

        Subject Resources:

        Case for New START Builds; Skeptics Miss the Mark

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        Body: 

        Volume 1, Number 45, December 16, 2010

        This week, the Senate finally began debate on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Hours into the ongoing floor debate, it is clearer than ever that the treaty is essential for U.S. and international security.

        The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright said today, "we need START and we need it badly."

        In the bipartisan tradition of earlier agreements negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, New START would keep Washington and Moscow on track to reduce their arsenals by about 30 percent below current limits.

        Signed April 8, 2010, New START would strengthen U.S. security by limiting Russia to no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 700 delivery vehicles (missiles and bombers) and re-establishing a robust, up-to-date monitoring system to verify compliance. The United States would retain a modern nuclear force more than sufficient in size to deter nuclear attack by Russia or any other potential adversary.

        The original START treaty expired Dec. 5, 2009, and with it went START's arsenal limits and on-site inspections. Prompt ratification of New START is the only way to close this "verification gap." The new treaty would establish an updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections that would provide more information on the status of Russian strategic forces than was available under the original START accord.

        General Kevin Chilton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testified in June, "If we don't get the treaty, [the Russians] are not constrained in their development of force structure and ... we have no insight into what they're doing. So it's the worst of both possible worlds."

        For these and other reasons, a long list of U.S. military leaders, including seven former U.S. strategic commanders and national security leaders from past Republican and Democratic administrations support New START, as do Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

        Over the last eight months, more than 20 Senate hearings and briefings have been held on the pact, and the Obama administration has answered 1,000 questions from senators. On Sept. 16 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) passed the New START resolution of advice and consent by a bipartisan vote of 14 to 4. The resolution address all major and minor issues raised by treaty skeptics over the past few weeks and several hours of debate.

        The top reasons for prompt ratification of New START--and answers to skeptics' questions--are detailed below:

        1. New START would make real cuts in Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal.


        Today, Russia deploys approximately 2,000 strategic nuclear warheads, not counting bomber weapons in storage, according to the Congressional Research Service.  Contrary to assertions by critics that New START would not reduce Russian forces, the treaty would in fact reduce Russia's force of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 or less, meaning that hundreds of Russian nuclear warheads would no longer be deployed on ballistic missiles that could be aimed at the United States. Moreover, New START would lock-in these limits for the next decade or longer.

        At the same time, New START would allow the United States to maintain a devastatingly powerful nuclear arsenal deployed on a "triad" of nuclear delivery systems: intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers.

        Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Nov. 11 that New START would leave the United States with nuclear forces that are "more than enough for us to handle our military responsibilities."  Besides Russia, the United States' only potential nuclear adversary is China, which has fewer than 50 nuclear-armed long-range missiles.

        2. New START would resume inspections of Russian strategic forces.

        It has been a year since the United States lost the ability to conduct intrusive, on-site inspections of Russia's nuclear arsenal mandated by the 1991 START accord. The 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), still in force, contains no verification provisions.  The longer New START remains in limbo, the longer this strategic blackout will continue.

        New START would reestablish on-the-ground information gathering about Russian strategic forces that the United States could not get any other way.  For example, satellites and other intelligence assets cannot look inside Russian missiles to see how many warheads they carry, but New START's on-site inspection provisions would do just that.  The treaty would provide predictability about Russian strategic forces, allowing the United States to make better-informed decisions about investments in nuclear forces and other military capabilities.

        Without New START in force, the U.S. intelligence community would not be able to predict with high confidence the status of Russia's nuclear forces, and both sides would be tempted to engage in more-costly force modernization and hedging strategies.

        3. New START is effectively verifiable.

        New START would establish an updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections that would provide high confidence that Russia is complying with the new, lower limits on deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

        • On-Site Inspections. New START allows up to 18 on-site inspections per year, including direct monitoring of Russian nuclear warheads, something no treaty has allowed before.  Some senators have raised concerns that New START allows fewer annual inspections than did the original START.

          However, for all practical purposes, the number of inspections in New START is the same as START.  New START's "Type One" inspections, which occur at bases for deployed missiles and bombers, can achieve two goals (confirm data on delivery vehicles and warheads) at the same time, and thus ten of these inspections provide the same amount of information as 20 START inspections.  Together with the eight "Type Two" inspections of non-deployed systems, the 18 New START inspections are essentially equivalent to the 28 inspections under START.

          Moreover, the original START's 28 inspections had to cover 70 facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as the Soviet nuclear complex was spread across these four now-independent nations. Today, all former Soviet nuclear weapons and facilities have been centralized in Russia, and New START's 18 inspections need to cover only 35 Russian sites.
        • Telemetry. Telemetry, or missile flight test information, was needed under START I to determine the maximum number of warheads that might be loaded onto Russian ballistic missiles. Since New START requires data exchanges on the actual warhead loading of each deployed missile and allows direct on-site inspections to confirm this, telemetry sharing is no longer required. Even so, New START provides for telemetry sharing on up to five missile tests per year as a confidence-building measure.

          "Telemetry is not nearly as important for this treaty as it has been in the past," said Secretary Gates March 26. "In fact, we don't need telemetry to monitor compliance with this treaty," he said.
        • Votkinsk. Although the George W. Bush administration agreed in 2008 to end mobile missile production monitoring at Russia's Votkinsk plant, under the new treaty Russia must notify the United States 48 hours before a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) leaves Votkinsk and when it arrives at its destination, which will facilitate monitoring by national technical means, such as satellites.

        After hearing testimony in closed session from U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) witnesses, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concluded in its Oct. 1 report that "the New START Treaty is effectively verifiable."  A July 30 letter from Secretary of Defense Gates to the committee reached the same conclusion:

        "The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs, the Commander, U.S. strategic Command, and I assess that Russia will not be able to achieve militarily significant cheating or breakout under New START, due to both the New START verification regime and the inherent survivability and flexibility of the planned U.S. strategic force structure."

        Speaking about New START ratification, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Nov. 16: "I think the earlier, the sooner, the better. You know, my thing is, from an intelligence perspective only, are we better off with it or without it? We're better off with it."

        4. New START bolsters U.S. efforts to constrain Iran's nuclear program.


        The revival of U.S.-Russian strategic dialogue has already improved cooperation in a variety of fields. For example, Russia supported the U.S.-led effort to enact U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, and Russia has cancelled its sale of the S-300 air-defense system to Iran. New START will help strengthen U.S.-Russian joint efforts to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, as well as keep pressure on Iran to suspend its nuclear fuel cycle activities.

        Without New START, Russian support will be harder to obtain. On Nov. 8, for example, Sen. Lugar said it is unlikely that Moscow would sustain cooperative threat reduction efforts indefinitely without New START coming into force. "The prospects for extending Nunn-Lugar work in Russia after [2013] would be especially complicated without New START's transparency features that assure both countries about the nuclear capabilities of the other," Lugar said.

        More broadly, New START helps to demonstrate that the United States and Russia are keeping up their end of the bargain under the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). New START would increase Washington's leverage in seeking stronger non-proliferation measures, such as more effective nuclear inspections, tougher penalties for states that do not comply with nonproliferation obligations, and faster action to secure the most vulnerable nuclear weapons materials. Improving the NPT system is essential to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorists and additional nations.

        5. New START protects U.S. missile defense options.

        Claims that the treaty's nonbinding preambular language on the "interrelationship" between strategic offenses and defenses will limit U.S. missile defense options do not add up. As Secretary of Defense Gates bluntly said May 18, "the treaty will not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defenses possible."

        Any proposed amendment to the treaty-whether to the nonbinding preamble or the binding portions-are unnecessary and would effectively require the renegotiation of the treaty, effectively killing the prospects for verifiably limiting Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

        Some treaty critics erroneously suggest that Article V, which prohibits both sides from converting launchers for ICBMs and SLBMs into launchers for missile defense interceptors, and vice versa, limits U.S. missile defense plans in the future.

        However, the United States has no plans for any such conversions.  "It's a limit in theory, but not in reality," wrote then-U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones on April 20. "We have no plans to convert any additional ICBM silos. In fact, it would be less expensive to build a new silo rather than convert an old one. In other words, if we were to ever need more missile defense silos in California, we would simply dig new holes, which is not proscribed by the treaty."

        Russia is concerned that future U.S. strategic missile interceptor deployments could undermine its nuclear retaliatory capability, and has made a unilateral statement that it could potentially withdraw from New START if the United States deploys such systems in large numbers.

        The SFRC resolution of advice and consent clearly states that it is the committee's understanding that "the New START Treaty does not impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses" other than the treaty's ban on converting ICBM and SLBM launchers for use by interceptors--which the Pentagon has said it has no intention of doing in any case--and that any further limitations would require Senate approval.

        The resolution clarifies that "the April 7, 2010, unilateral statement by the Russian Federation on missile defense does not impose a legal obligation on the United States." It also reaffirms language in the 1999 Missile Defense Act that it is the policy of the United States to deploy an effective national missile defense system "as soon as technologically possible" and that nothing in the treaty limits future planned enhancements to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system or the European Phased Adaptive Approach.

        Indeed, the Obama administration is going full-bore on its plans to increase SM-3 intermediate-range interceptor deployments in Europe. Some may bemoan the decision to revise the Bush-era plan to deploy unproven strategic interceptors in Poland, but the new plan more effectively and more smartly addresses the existing Iranian short- and medium-range missile threat, and opens the way for cooperation, not confrontation with Russia on missile defense.

        The Obama administration's request for missile defense funding in FY2011 is almost $10 billion, covering missile interceptor deployments in the United States and Europe.

        6. New START allows for the maintenance of modern, effective nuclear forces.


        The Obama administration has pledged, pursuant to section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, to spend $85 billion over the next ten years to maintain the nuclear stockpile and modernize the weapons complex. The plan calls for spending another $100 billion over the same period to upgrade strategic nuclear delivery systems.

        The administration's $7 billion request for the weapons complex for FY 2011 was 10 percent higher than the previous year.  Linton Brooks, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the Bush administration, said in April, "I'd have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration." As Secretary of Defense Gates wrote in his preface to the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), "These investments, and the NPR's strategy for warhead life extension, represent a credible modernization plan necessary to sustain the nuclear infrastructure and support our nation's deterrent."

        Despite this, some senators are concerned that the administration might not deliver on its commitments.

        In response, the SFRC's resolution of advice and consent states that "the United States is committed to proceeding with a robust stockpile stewardship program, and to maintaining and modernizing the nuclear weapons production capabilities and capacities."  To achieve these goals, the resolution says that the United States is committed to providing the necessary resources, "at a minimum at the levels set forth in the President's 10-year plan."

        The resolution also states that "if at any time more resources are required than estimated in the President's 10-year plan," the President shall submit a report detailing: 1) how he proposes to remedy the shortfall; 2) the proposed level of funding required; 3) the impact of the shortfall on the safety, reliability, and performance of U.S. nuclear forces; and 4) "whether and why, in the changed circumstances brought about by the resource shortfall, it remains in the national interest of the United States to remain a Party to the New START Treaty."

        Moreover, at the request of Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the directors of the three U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories wrote Dec. 1 that they are "very pleased" with the recently updated $85 billion budget to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile and modernize the weapons complex.  Lawrence Livermore director Dr. George Miller, Los Alamos director Dr. Michael Anastasio, and Sandia director Dr. Paul Hommert wrote that the increased funding plan released in November provides "adequate support" to sustain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

        Further efforts to hold up New START in an attempt to secure still more funding for the already well-funded nuclear weapons complex are unnecessary, fiscally unsound, and politically unsustainable.

        7.  New START allows conventional global strike weapons.

        Conventional warheads that the United States may in the future decide to deploy on strategic ballistic missiles would be subject to New START limits. However, there are no firm plans to deploy Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) weapons, and any future deployments are likely to be small in number. As a result, there is room within the treaty's limits for future CPGS deployments.

        In an answer for the SFRC record, Secretary of Defense Gates stated: "As envisaged by our military planners, the number of such conventionally armed delivery vehicles and the warheads they carry would be very small when measured against the overall levels of strategic delivery systems and strategic warheads. Should we decide to deploy them, counting this small number of conventional strategic systems and their warheads toward the treaty limits will not prevent the United States from maintaining a robust nuclear deterrent."

        The Senate Foreign Relations Committee concluded that it saw "no reason to doubt statements by the cognizant civilian and uniformed military officials that, at least over the ten-year duration of the treaty, the treaty's limits provide sufficient room to accommodate both the strategic nuclear forces and the limited number of CPGS weapons the United States is likely to deploy."

        Moreover, the SFRC resolution clarifies that New START does not limit potential CPGS concepts that would not meet the definitions of ICBMs and SLBMs under the treaty, such as "boost-glide" systems that do not have a ballistic trajectory.

        8. New START sets the stage for limits on tactical weapons.

        Some complain that New START does not reduce Russia's tactical nuclear warhead levels, which have never been covered by a treaty. By design, New START addresses strategic nuclear weapons. It does not make sense to risk verifiable reduction in Russia's long-range nuclear weapons by insisting that the policy for short-range weapons be settled now. New START lays the diplomatic foundation necessary for a future accord on tactical nuclear weapons reductions.

        On this question, the SFRC resolution calls on the President "to pursue, following consultation with allies, an agreement with the Russian Federation that would address the disparity between the tactical nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and of the United States and would secure and reduce tactical nuclear weapons in a verifiable manner."

        President Obama has said that he intends to work with Moscow to pursue further nuclear reductions in all types of nuclear warheads--including tactical weapons--after New START is ratified. Moreover, Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Secretary Gates, in a joint answer for the SFRC record, said that:

        "Because of their limited range and very different roles from those played by strategic nuclear forces, the vast majority of Russian tactical nuclear weapons could not directly influence the strategic nuclear balance between the United States and Russia... Because the United States will retain a robust strategic force structure under New START, Russia's tactical nuclear weapons will have little or no impact on strategic stability."

        To the extent we should be concerned about Russia's tactical nuclear weapons - and we should be because they are a target for nuclear terrorism - we should want to ratify New START so we can move on to further talks with Russia on all types of nuclear weapons (strategic and nonstrategic, deployed and non-deployed) as the Obama administration has proposed. By delaying or killing New START, we will never convince the Russians to reduce their old tactical nuclear weapons.

        9. New START covers rail-mobile missiles.

        Some critics have argued that if Moscow were to build rail-mobile ICBMs, such as the now-retired SS-24, those missiles might not count under treaty limits because they are not specifically mentioned in the text.

        As to why rail-mobile ICBMs are not defined in New START, Secretary of Defense Gates answered for the record that ''Rail-mobile ICBMs are not specifically mentioned in the New START Treaty because neither Party currently deploys ICBMs in that mode.''

        Moreover, the Oct. 1 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report points out that the term ''ICBM launcher'' is defined in paragraph 28 of Part One of the Protocol as ''a device intended or used to contain, prepare for launch, and launch an ICBM.''  This would include any future rail-mobile systems.  On this basis, the Committee found that "a new rail-mobile system would clearly be captured under the Article II limits despite the exclusion of rail-mobile launchers from the definition of mobile launchers of ICBMs," and that "The committee does not believe that there is any disagreement between the United States and the Russian Federation on any of these points."

        10.  Bilateral Consultative Commission is subject to Senate approval.

        Treaty critics erroneously claim that the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) under New START could make substantive changes to the treaty, for example on missile defense, without Senate consent.

        First, having a bilateral forum to discuss treaty issues is typical of all arms control treaties, including the original START.  Moreover, no substantive changes could be made to the treaty without Senate approval.  The SFRC resolution requires prompt presidential consultation with the Foreign Relations Committee regarding the BCC to ensure that substantive changes to the treaty are only made with the Senate's approval.

        The Oct. 1 SFRC report states that the Senate will have "the opportunity to participate fully in decisions about any use of the BCC's procedures to make changes to the treaty's protocol or annexes, and to ensure that the Senate's role in the treaty making process will be respected."

        11. New START has been thoroughly vetted.

        Having failed to make their arguments stick, treaty opponents are now complaining that they don't want New START to be "jammed" through the Senate and that "more time" is needed to consider the treaty. Such arguments are ring hollow.

        New START has been thoroughly vetted and the Senate has had more than enough time to review and debate the treaty. It can and should act this year - not next year.

        The Senate has held more than 20 hearings and briefings on the treaty since May. More than 1,000 questions for the record have been asked and answered. New START has been ready for a floor vote since the SFRC voted for it Sept. 16.

        By comparison, the Senate held 18 hearings and spent five days debating the original START agreement in 1992, a more complicated treaty negotiated during the Cold War. It passed 93-6. The Senate spent two days debating the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty in 2003, which passed 95-0. Two to three days of floor debate should be sufficient for New START.

        12. Stalling New START undermines U.S. security.

        For all of these reasons, New START deserves the Senate's prompt support. In particular, given START's expiration in December 2009, there is currently no bilateral system for monitoring Russia's nuclear forces. Failure by the Senate to approve New START would not only delay the re-establishment of an effective U.S.-Russian inspection and monitoring system, but it would undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership and jeopardize U.S.-Russian cooperation, including joint efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program.

        It is time for senators on both sides of the aisle to come together to strengthen U.S. and global security by voting in favor of New START ratification. - TOM Z. COLLINA and DARYL G. KIMBALL

        ***

        For more information on New START, see:

        ACA's comprehensive, all-in-one guide to the treaty, The Case for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
        http://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/caseforNewSTART

        America to Senate: Ratify New START Now
        http://www.armscontrol.org/issuebriefs/AmericaToSenate

        New START By the Numbers
        http://www.armscontrol.org/issuebriefs/NewSTARTbytheNumbers

        Description: 

        Volume 1, Issue 45

        This week, the Senate finally began debate on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Hours into the ongoing floor debate, it is clearer than ever that the treaty is essential for U.S. and international security.

        Country Resources:

        U.S. Military Leaders and Bipartisan National Security Officials Overwhelmingly Support New START

        Sections:

        Body: 

        Volume 1, Number 44, December 16, 2010

        On Dec. 16, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright said "all the Joint Chiefs are very much behind this treaty...we need START and we need it badly."  The Joint Chiefs' support for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is broadly shared by senior U.S. military leaders and former national security officials from both sides of the aisle, including President George H.W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, sectrateary of state to President George W. Bush.

        Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed New START in April. Since then, there has been an extensive public debate on the merits of the treaty. Senate committees have held 18 public hearings and four briefings on New START, and the administration has answered 1,000 questions regarding the treaty.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the treaty on Sept. 16, with a bipartisan vote of 14-4, and the full Senate voted 66-32 on Dec. 15 to begin debate on the treaty, with nine Republican senators in support.

        Throughout this eight-month process, one fact has become unmistakably clear: military opinion overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. The current U.S. military leadership strongly favors the treaty. Seven former commanders of the U.S. Strategic Command support it as well. Indeed, a Secretary of Defense or State from every administration since Richard Nixon's is on record in support of New START.

        Below is a sample of the most notable statements of support for New START:

        Current U.S. Military Leaders

        Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense; Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2010:

        • "The New START Treaty has the unanimous support of America's military leadership--to include the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of the service chiefs, and the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, the organization responsible for our strategic nuclear deterrent. For nearly 40 years, treaties to limit or reduce nuclear weapons have been approved by the U.S. Senate by strong bipartisan majorities. This treaty deserves a similar reception and result--on account of the dangerous weapons it reduces, the critical defense capabilities it preserves, the strategic stability it maintains, and, above all, the security it provides to the American people."

        Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Senate Armed Services Committee, June 17, 2010:

        • "I am pleased to add my voice in support of ratification of the New START treaty and to do so as soon as possible. We are in our seventh month without a treaty with Russia. This treaty has the full support of your uniformed military . . . the conclusion and implementation of the New START Treaty is the right thing for us to do - and we took the time to do it right."

        General Kevin Chilton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 16, 2010:

        • "If we don't get the treaty, [the Russians] are not constrained in their development of force structure and... we have no insight into what they're doing. So it's the worst of both possible worlds."

        Lt. General Patrick O'Reilly, Missile Defense Agency Director; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 16, 2010:

        • "Throughout the treaty negotiations, I frequently consulted the New START team on all potential impacts to missile defense. The New START Treaty does not constrain our plans to execute the U.S. Missile Defense program."

        General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, September 2, 2010:

        • "I believe the treaty limitation of 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles imposed by New START provides a sound framework for maintaining stability and allows us to maintain a strong and credible deterrent that ensures our national security while moving to lower levels of strategic nuclear forces."

        Lt. General Frank G. Klotz, Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command; Defense Writers Group breakfast, November 9, 2010:

        • "My sense is that the START Treaty ought to be ratified and ought to be ratified as soon as possible."
        • "I think [the recent missile incident at Warren Air Force Base] has absolutely no link at all to the START Treaty."

        Former U.S. Military Leaders

        General Larry Welch, General John Chain, General Lee Butler, Admiral Henry Chiles, General Eugene Habiger, Admiral James Ellis, and General Bennie Davis, former commanders of Strategic Air Command and U.S. Strategic Command; letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, July 14, 2010:

        • "We will understand Russian strategic forces much better with the treaty than would be the case without it. For example, the treaty permits on-site inspections that will allow us to observe and confirm the number of warheads on individual Russian missiles; we cannot do that with just national technical means of verification."
        • "The New START Treaty will contribute to a more stable U.S.-Russian relationship. We strongly endorse its early ratification and entry into force."

        James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of Central Intelligence, Nixon and Ford administrations; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 29, 2010:

        • "I think that it is obligatory for the United States to ratify [New START]...[F]or the United States at this juncture to fail to ratify the treaty in the due course of the Senate's deliberation would have a detrimental effect on our ability to influence others with regard to particularly the nonproliferation issue."

        William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense, Clinton administration; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 29, 2010:

        • "[T]he New START Treaty is a positive step in U.S.-Russia arms negotiations. This treaty establishes a ceiling on strategic arms while allowing the United States to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. This treaty does not limit America's ability to structure its offensive arsenal to meet current or future threats, nor does it prevent the future modernization of the American nuclear arsenal. Additionally, the treaty puts no meaningful limits our Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense program, and in fact it reduces restrictions that existed under the previous START treaty. I recommend ratification."

        Former U.S. Senior Government Officials

        Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State, George W. Bush administration; Howard Baker, former Senator (R-TN); Harold Brown, former Secretary of Defense, Carter administration; Frank Carlucci, former Secretary of Defense, Reagan administration; John C. Danforth, former Senator (R-MO); Kenneth M. Duberstein, former White House Chief of Staff, Reagan administration; Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, former Senator (R-KS); Thomas Kean, former Governor and 9/11 Commission Chair (R-NJ); Warren Rudman, former Senator (R-NH); and Alan Simpson, former Senator (R-WY); joint statement, June 24, 2010:

        • "Now is the time for a thorough and balanced national discussion about nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. But we must remember that a world without a binding U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons agreement is a much more dangerous world. We, the undersigned Republicans and Democrats, support the new START treaty..."

        Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, Clinton administration; Samuel Berger, former National Security Advisor, Clinton administration; Ambassador Richard Burt, U.S. chief negotiator of START I; Chuck Hagel, former Senator(R-NE); Admiral William Owens, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and George Shultz, former Secretary of State, Reagan administration; joint statement, September 28, 2010:

        • "Currently, we have no verification regime to account for Russia's strategic nuclear weapons. Two hundred and ninety seven (297) days have elapsed since American teams have been allowed to inspect Russian nuclear forces, and we are concerned that further inaction will bring unacceptable lapses in U.S. intelligence about Russia's strategic arsenal.  Without New START, we believe that the United States is less secure.

          As part of the vast consensus of national security professionals who have endorsed New START, we respectfully call on the Senate to ratify the New START Treaty in 2010."

        James Baker, former Secretary of State, George H.W. Bush administration; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 19, 2010:

        • "[New START] appears to take our country in a direction that can enhance our national security while at the same time reducing the number of nuclear warheads on the planet."

        Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Nixon and Ford administrations; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 25, 2010:

        • "The current agreement is a modest step forward stabilizing American and Russian arsenals at a slightly reduced level. It provides a measure of transparency; it reintroduces many verification measures that lapsed with the expiration of the last START agreement; it encourages what the Obama administration has described as the reset of political relations with Russia; it may provide potential benefits in dealing with the issue of proliferation."

        Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor, Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 10, 2010:

        • "[T]he principal result of non-ratification would be to throw the whole nuclear negotiating situation into a state of chaos, and the reason this treaty is important is over the decades we have built up all these counting rules, all these verification procedures and so on, so that each side feels, 'Yes, we can take these steps.' If you wipe those out, you're back to zero again..."

        Linton F. Brooks, former START I negotiator and former Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Bush administration; Arms Control Association briefing, April 7, 2010:

        • "[Y]ou'll hear concerns by some that the treaty may or may not be a good idea but you can't possibly accept it because the U.S. nuclear weapons program is in disarray. And I think the administration's answer to that is the fiscal 2011 budget with a very substantial increase for my former home, the National Nuclear Security Administration. And I will say flatly, I ran that place for five years and I'd have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration and I just - nobody in government ever said 'my program has too much money' and I doubt that my successor is busy saying that. But he is very happy with his program and I think it does put us on a very firm, firm basis."
        Description: 

        Volume 1, Number 44

        On Dec. 16, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright said "all the Joint Chiefs are very much behind this treaty...we need START and we need it badly."  The Joint Chiefs' support for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is broadly shared by senior U.S. military leaders and former national security officials from both sides of the aisle, including President George H.W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, sectrateary of state to President George W. Bush.

        Country Resources:

        America to Senate: Ratify New START Now

        Sections:

        Body: 

        Volume 1, Number 43, December 15, 2010

        The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) would cap and reduce the Russian nuclear arsenal, reestablish on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, strengthen international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and open the door to progress on reducing Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

        According to a CBS News poll conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 2, the American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. The poll found that 82% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while only 12% believe it should not.

        This extremely high degree of public support has also been reflected in newspapers across the United States. From every region of the country, editorial boards have called on the Senate to swiftly provide its advice and consent for the treaty’s ratification.

        Below is a sample of the many recent editorials in support of New START. A complete list of editorials and op-eds can also be found here.

        California

        Kyl's START treaty stunt is a new low for the GOP
        The San Jose Mercury News, November 17, 2010

        "If you doubted that Republicans could be so craven as to put their own political interests above national security, the proof was delivered Tuesday: Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced he will block New START, which calls for the resumption of nuclear controls that until now have had bipartisan support."

        One senator delaying New START pact
        The Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2010

        "The Obama administration already set aside $80 billion over 10 years - much more than the previous administration. And to placate Kyl, the Obama administration committed to adding another $4 billion.  Still, Kyl has hunkered down. This is harmful to U.S. interests and credibility internationally."

        Colorado

        Playing politics on nuclear policy
        The Denver Post, November 19, 2010

        "The sudden and maddeningly non-specific objections to approving a long-negotiated continuation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, seem more about dealing President Obama a loss than anything substantive. That's a shame, because this agreement, which has its roots in President Reagan's administration, responsibly reduces the number of nuclear arms held by the U.S. and Russia and gives U.S. inspectors access to Russian nuclear silos."

        Florida

        Vote Yes on New START pact
        The Miami Herald, December 9, 2010

        “More to the point, no serious criticism has been raised about the contents of the treaty throughout this prolonged process. On the contrary, the treaty is deemed vital to national security and to moving closer to the goal of reducing the threat of nuclear war between the two countries with the largest strategic inventories.”

        “The president should insist on an up-or-down vote before the Senate adjourns, and Republicans must stop playing games with national security.”

        Ratify START treaty
        The Orlando Sentinel, November 22, 2010

        "There's no practical reason to put off action on the treaty and start over with a new Congress. The Senate has held 18 hearings on the pact. In September, it was endorsed 14-4 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with three Republicans joining the panel's Democrats on the prevailing side."

        GOP senators going rogue
        The Palm Beach Post, November 23, 2010

        "Yet Sen. Kyl and too many fellow Republicans, including Florida's George LeMieux, seem unlikely to budge. So despite months of briefings and hearings, the Senate is likely to shuffle New START onto next year's agenda, where partisan politics again could stall ratification. Delay means that, in addition to whatever the administration must do to keep North Korea under control, our defense, intelligence and diplomatic leaders will have to spend additional effort attempting to monitor Russia, Iran and would-be nuclear terrorists. Nuclear dangers are severe enough without forcing the president to perform an unnecessarily dangerous juggling act."

        Illinois

        Cutting Back Nukes
        The Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2010

        New START "has broad support among current and former U.S. military leaders, including seven out of eight former commanders of American nuclear forces. Gen. Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, has endorsed the deal, as has Bush's former national security adviser, Stephen Hadley."

        Iowa

        Ratify treaty with Russia sooner rather than later
        Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 2, 2010

        “After nearly a year without a nuclear treaty in place between the U.S. and Russia, New START should have gone to a floor vote before senators went home to campaign for the Nov. 2 election. And while the lame duck Congress still has to complete many important items before adjourning, we think ratifying this one-year-overdue treaty is one of the most important tasks facing the Senate.”

        Ratify the new START treaty now
        The Des Moines Register, November 16, 2010

        "The treaty is a national security issue, not something that should become the victim of partisan politics. It would somewhat reduce strategic nuclear weapons for the two powers with most of the global stockpile. It would, for example, limit d eployed warheads for each side to 1,550, down from about 2,000 currently. Mutual inspections of each other's facilities will help create transparency and stability."

        Kentucky

        Politics over security
        The Courier-Journal, November 21, 2010

        "The determination of the national Republican Party to oppose anything that could be construed as a victory for President Obama has moved from being irresponsible to downright dangerous."

        "Sen. Kyl's objections make little sense. He argues that there is not time in a lame-duck session for adequate debate of complex issues, while ignoring that there have been 21 Senate hearings and months of private consultations. He has expressed concern about modernizing the nation's nuclear force, but the President has pledged to spend $84 billion over 10 years on nuclear modernization."

        Maine

        Security trumps politics
        The Times Record, November 17, 2010

        "The silence of our two U.S. senators on this treaty is perplexing, given that both Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins have supported earlier arms control agreements negotiated by Republican presidents. We encourage them to speak up for national security and urge their Republican leaders to stop the politicking and ratify this treaty."

        Maryland

        Stalled on START
        The Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2010

        "It used to be said that partisanship should stop at the water's edge. But those days seem long gone in today's toxic political climate, in which a senior figure like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell openly boasts that his party's top priority for the next two years is to ensure that Mr. Obama is a one-term president. Never mind that New START's provisions for on-site inspection and verification were one of Ronald Reagan's most enduring foreign policy accomplishments and that Mr. Obama is seeking to improve on and extend that legacy."

        Massachusetts

        Stop delays; pass ‘New START’
        The Boston Globe, December 4, 2010

        “On its merits, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed last spring by Russia and the United States ought to have been ratified by the Senate months ago. Its modest but sound strategic warhead reductions and robust verification system would make Americans safer, while bolstering the case for nuclear non-proliferation around the world.”

        Minnesota

        Ratify New START yet this year
        The Bemidji Pioneer, November 24, 2010

        "Now is the time to vote to ratify the treaty. To delay until January means starting over again from scratch. The new START replaces the original START which was negotiated and signed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. It maintains Reagan's foremost tenet to "Trust, but verify."

        Missouri

        Peace not politics (or) Psst...the Cold War is over
        The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 19, 2010

        "But nothing comes easy these days, particularly in a lame-duck session of Congress. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., says he fears there isn't time to give [New START] the consideration it deserves. This is the same Jon Kyl who, in July, said he thought the treaty was 'relatively benign.'"

        "Failure to ratify [New START] would leave the United States in a far weaker diplomatic position. Friends and enemies alike would see a nation less concerned about peace than politics. They would not be wrong."

        Nebraska

        Senate should get STARTed
        The Omaha World-Herald, September 4, 2010

        "Safeguarding our national security interests stands as one of the federal government's central obligations. The U.S. Senate can fulfill that duty by approving a new strategic arms treaty with Russia."

        New Hampshire

        Political posturing hurting U.S. security
        The Nashua Telegraph, November 21, 2010

        "After stringing along the president and congressional Democrats for several months, demanding and getting more money for modernizing the nation's nuclear weapons facilities, Kyl copped out Tuesday issuing a sanctimoniously vague press release citing undefined 'complex and unresolved' issues as reasons for his determination there is not enough time to act during the lame-duck congressional session.

        The time to act would have been weeks ago, still well after the more than 20 Senate hearings and countless congressional briefings regarding the treaty clarified its provisions and permutations."

        New Jersey

        Dangerous Delay
        The Times of Trenton, November 21, 2010

        "Sen. Kyl, who is front and center in the bloc of GOP opposition to ratification of the treaty, has asked "Why the rush?"  We'd like to counter with "Why the delay?"

        North Carolina

        U.S. Senate should ratify New START treaty
        The Rocky Mount Telegram, November 27, 2010

        "Kyle's main stated objection to the treaty's ratification is his claim that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal - a position at odds with the president's pledge of more than $80 billion over the next 10 years for just that purpose.

        This is not the time to begin holding U.S. security interests hostage for political advantage. Ratify the treaty."

        In our interest
        The News and Observer, November 28, 2010

        "And the new treaty emphatically would not, despite the claims of Senate critics such as Republicans Jon Kyl of Arizona and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, impinge on our right to modernize nuclear weapons or create a defensive missile shield. President Barack Obama has pledged to spend tens of billions of dollars on the former project, and as for missile defense, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Republican appointed by Obama), flatly states that the new treaty imposes "no limits on us."

        START ratification a matter of U.S. security, not petty politics
        The Asheville Citizen-Times, November 27, 2010

        "Kyl had said he was concerned about modernization of U.S. nuclear forces. Administration officials thought they had a deal when they offered an additional $4.1 billion for modernization. Nevertheless, Kyl insisted last week that he opposes a Senate vote this year, taking the White House by surprise.

        What is his problem? Given the extent to which the treaty has already been debated, two or three days of floor time would be sufficient to iron out any issues."

        Ohio

        Pass New START treaty, now
        The Plain Dealer, December 12, 2010

        “The Senate should speedily ratify a new strategic arms treaty with Russia. There is no excuse for further delays, especially since on-site inspections of Russia's nuclear stockpiles ended a year ago when the old Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expired. Reducing Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals is too important to remain hostage to partisan politics.”

        START rethinking
        The Toledo Blade, November 22, 2010

        "Good relations with Russia can have positive results for the United States in a number of areas, including negotiations to eliminate Iran's nuclear arms potential and efforts to achieve a Middle East peace.

        By risking these potential gains in order to frustrate Mr. Obama, Republicans are acting in bad faith with not just Democrats, but the American people. They should carefully rethink their position on opposing New START."

        Arms reduction is a matter of national security; it should rise above partisanship
        The Vindicator, November 26, 2010

        "In any case, Kyl and Corker are mixing apples and oranges. The Senate has the constitutional responsibility to ratify or reject treaties on their merits. The Senate has a separate role in the appropriation of money for federal projects, including arms development. By tying one to the other, Kyl and Corker are abdicating their responsibility to consider treaties and trivializing their ability to affect the budget."

        Oklahoma

        'No' to security?
        The Tulsa World, November 26, 2010

        "Where have [Senators] Kyl and McConnell been during the 21 Senate hearings on the treaty? Have they not paid any attention to previous treaties that have made the world and our nation a safer place?

        This treaty, the first with Russia in 10 years, calls for both sides to reduce their deployed warheads to 1,550 from 2,200. That's a relatively small cut and would not diminish our nuclear deterrent. The most significant portion of the treaty is that it would restore verification, inspection and other exchanges of information about the two countries' arsenals.

        As President Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."

        Oregon

        Don't stop START
        The Oregonian, November 20, 2010

        "There's no reason to block a treaty of which 67 to 73 percent of all Americans approve, according to two recent polls. There's no reason at all, except to vex an administration that happens to be controlled by Democrats. Here's hoping the Senate heeds the counsel of wise men like Lugar, and ignores the tactics of people like Kyl."

        GOP should back treaty
        The Register-Guard, November 24, 2010

        "It is hard to believe that Republicans may try to block this treaty. Long before Obama, their party had established a tradition of strong support for the military. Today The New York Times reports that the START treaty is backed by 'Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the country's top military leaders, six former secretaries of state (from both parties), five former secretaries of defense (from both parties) and seven former nuclear weapons commanders.'"

        Pennsylvania

        Politics over safety
        The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 23, 2010

        "Despite all their postelection talk about bipartisanship, Republican leaders are sending strong signals that their main goal is to cripple this presidency and improve the chances of a GOP successor in 2012. They don't care that without START inspections, the Russians can do what they please with long-range missiles."

        Rhode Island

        Kyl vs. the country
        The Providence Journal, December 9, 2010

        “New START has broad support from the military as well as a host of prominent Republicans, among them former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice, George Shultz, James Baker and Henry Kissinger. Senator Kyl should quit exploiting it for political points.”

        Tennessee

        Sacrificing national security
        The Chattanooga Times Free Press, November 21, 2010

        "There was no acceptable reason for Arizona Sen. John Kyl, the Senate's chief Republican negotiator on the proposed treaty, to announce last Wednesday that he would oppose and help block a vote on the pending treaty. Indeed, his statement that time in the lame-duck session is too short to resolve what he claimed were remaining 'complex issues' concerning the treaty seems a blatant contrivance - an artifice to mask an obvious effort to damage President Obama politically by undercutting his ability to improve security and foreign relations in key areas abroad.

        Kyl's galling move is surprising given the great value of renewing a treaty with Russia. His obstructionism puts partisan politics ahead of national security and the nation's most vital international interests. That's a lump we would think Republicans couldn't swallow given their frequent grandstanding on the importance of national security and limiting partisanship at the border."

        Senators should vote on New START
        The Knoxville News Sentinel, November 21, 2010

        "Unfortunately, Tennessee's senators, Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, appear willing to go along with Kyl.

        Instead, they should follow the lead of U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar on Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar confirmed his support for a vote before the lame-duck session ends during a news conference Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass."

        Texas

        New START now
        The Houston Chronicle, November 27, 2010

        "Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has said there is insufficient time to take up START in the coming lame-duck session. At this point, his position seems likely to prevail. A vote on the treaty appears likely to be delayed until after the new year.

        Given the record on START discussion, Kyl's assertion begs the question: Insufficient time for what?"

        "And so it is. We join many others in calling on Sen. Kyl to withdraw his objections and allow a Senate vote on the new START treaty without delay."

        Utah

        New START
        The Salt Lake Tribune, November 24, 2010

        "The treaty has received numerous Senate hearings during the past six months and the White House has committed to providing the funding to modernize the arsenal, as Sen. Kyl has asked. We believe it is in the nation's security interest for the White House and Senate Republicans to strike a deal and pave the way to ratification."

        "There's no good reason to delay a ratification vote."

        Washington

        Senate GOP stalling on new arms treaty
        The Seattle Times, November 22, 2010

        "REPUBLICAN Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona is putting the politics of No ahead of national security.

        Kyl is refusing to budge on a new arms-control treaty with Russia to the complete dismay of a bipartisan roll call of former secretaries of state and defense, national-security advisers and top Pentagon brass, past and present."

        West Virginia

        Bizarre flap over nuclear treaty
        The Charleston Gazette, November 18, 2010

        "And it has turned even stranger: The Senate Republican whip, Jon Kyl of Arizona, declared GOP opposition to the new START missile-control treaty with Russia -- apparently for no reason except to make President Obama look bad in the eyes of the world."

        "What a galling situation. Kyl cares more about playing politics than about protecting America."

        Wisconsin

        Senate should pass nuke weapons treaty
        The Sheboygan Press, November 26, 2010

        "It's ironic that [Senator] Kyl is holding the treaty hostage while he demands that the U.S. spend more money upgrading its cache of nuclear weapons. Not only does this fly in the face of the spirit of the treaty, it also makes hollow the GOP call for less government spending."

        National

        Stop playing politics and ratify the New START arms treaty
        USA Today, November 30, 2010

        “A few other Republicans are trotting out issues addressed months ago. They question the treaty's verification scheme. Never mind that there has been no formal verification system since the last treaty expired a year ago. They worry that the treaty might pre-empt U.S. decisions on missile defense. Never mind that differences with Russia on missile defense appear to be narrowing, or that either side can drop out of the treaty. And they fret over whether the Russians will have to cut less than the U.S. Never mind that both sides want fewer weapons for reasons of cost and safety, and that this treaty could lead to another on shorter-range weapons, of which Russia has more.”

        The Party of National Security?
        The New York Times, November 18, 2010

        "The world's nuclear wannabes, starting with Iran, should send a thank you note to Senator Jon Kyl. After months of negotiations with the White House, he has decided to try to block the lame-duck Senate from ratifying the New Start arms control treaty.

        The treaty is so central to this country's national security, and the objections from Mr. Kyl - and apparently the whole Republican leadership - are so absurd that the only explanation is their limitless desire to deny President Obama any legislative success."

        The New START pact should be passed, not politicized
        The Washington Post, November 20, 2010

        "[A] delay would put the administration's 'reset' of relations with Russia at risk - along with Moscow's cooperation on vital matters like Iran's nuclear program and maintaining secure military supply routes to Afghanistan. It might lessen the willingness of nonaligned nations to cooperate with sanctions against Iran and other would-be proliferators. And it could cause both friends and foes of the United States to question Mr. Obama's leadership. At a time when the country is engaged in two wars and the president has two years left in his term, that's not an outcome that Republicans should wish for."

        Nuclear treaty meltdown
        The Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2010

        "'I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security,' said Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an event last week. Kyl apparently wasn't listening. His obstructionism shows that the November election hasn't changed the GOP's strategy, at least in the Senate. Republicans remain determined to thwart Obama's agenda and sabotage his legacy even when doing so is deeply contrary to the national interest."

        The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) would cap and reduce the Russian nuclear arsenal, reestablish on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, strengthen international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and open the door to progress on reducing Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

        According to a CBS News poll conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 2, the American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. The poll found that 82% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while only 12% believe it should not.

        This extremely high degree of public support has also been reflected in newspapers across the United States. From every region of the country, editorial boards have called on the Senate to swiftly provide its advice and consent for the treaty’s ratification.

        Below is a sample of the many recent editorials in support of New START. A complete list of editorials and op-eds can also be found here.

        California

        Kyl's START treaty stunt is a new low for the GOP
        The San Jose Mercury News, November 17, 2010

        "If you doubted that Republicans could be so craven as to put their own political interests above national security, the proof was delivered Tuesday: Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced he will block New START, which calls for the resumption of nuclear controls that until now have had bipartisan support."

        One senator delaying New START pact
        The Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2010

        "The Obama administration already set aside $80 billion over 10 years - much more than the previous administration. And to placate Kyl, the Obama administration committed to adding another $4 billion.  Still, Kyl has hunkered down. This is harmful to U.S. interests and credibility internationally."

        Colorado

        Playing politics on nuclear policy
        The Denver Post, November 19, 2010

        "The sudden and maddeningly non-specific objections to approving a long-negotiated continuation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, seem more about dealing President Obama a loss than anything substantive. That's a shame, because this agreement, which has its roots in President Reagan's administration, responsibly reduces the number of nuclear arms held by the U.S. and Russia and gives U.S. inspectors access to Russian nuclear silos."

        Florida

        Vote Yes on New START pact

        The Miami Herald, December 9, 2010

         

        “More to the point, no serious criticism has been raised about the contents of the treaty throughout this prolonged process. On the contrary, the treaty is deemed vital to national security and to moving closer to the goal of reducing the threat of nuclear war between the two countries with the largest strategic inventories.”

        “The president should insist on an up-or-down vote before the Senate adjourns, and Republicans must stop playing games with national security.”

        Ratify START treaty
        The Orlando Sentinel, November 22, 2010

        "There's no practical reason to put off action on the treaty and start over with a new Congress. The Senate has held 18 hearings on the pact. In September, it was endorsed 14-4 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with three Republicans joining the panel's Democrats on the prevailing side."

        GOP senators going rogue
        The Palm Beach Post, November 23, 2010

        "Yet Sen. Kyl and too many fellow Republicans, including Florida's George LeMieux, seem unlikely to budge. So despite months of briefings and hearings, the Senate is likely to shuffle New START onto next year's agenda, where partisan politics again could stall ratification. Delay means that, in addition to whatever the administration must do to keep North Korea under control, our defense, intelligence and diplomatic leaders will have to spend additional effort attempting to monitor Russia, Iran and would-be nuclear terrorists. Nuclear dangers are severe enough without forcing the president to perform an unnecessarily dangerous juggling act."

        Illinois

        Cutting Back Nukes
        The Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2010

        New START "has broad support among current and former U.S. military leaders, including seven out of eight former commanders of American nuclear forces. Gen. Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, has endorsed the deal, as has Bush's former national security adviser, Stephen Hadley."

        Iowa

        Ratify treaty with Russia sooner rather than later

        Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 2

        “After nearly a year without a nuclear treaty in place between the U.S. and Russia, New START should have gone to a floor vote before senators went home to campaign for the Nov. 2 election. And while the lame duck Congress still has to complete many important items before adjourning, we think ratifying this one-year-overdue treaty is one of the most important tasks facing the Senate.”

        Ratify the new START treaty now
        The Des Moines Register, November 16, 2010

        "The treaty is a national security issue, not something that should become the victim of partisan politics. It would somewhat reduce strategic nuclear weapons for the two powers with most of the global stockpile. It would, for example, limit d eployed warheads for each side to 1,550, down from about 2,000 currently. Mutual inspections of each other's facilities will help create transparency and stability."

        Kentucky

        Politics over security
        The Courier-Journal, November 21, 2010

        "The determination of the national Republican Party to oppose anything that could be construed as a victory for President Obama has moved from being irresponsible to downright dangerous."

        "Sen. Kyl's objections make little sense. He argues that there is not time in a lame-duck session for adequate debate of complex issues, while ignoring that there have been 21 Senate hearings and months of private consultations. He has expressed concern about modernizing the nation's nuclear force, but the President has pledged to spend $84 billion over 10 years on nuclear modernization."

        Maine

        Security trumps politics
        The Times Record, November 17, 2010

        "The silence of our two U.S. senators on this treaty is perplexing, given that both Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins have supported earlier arms control agreements negotiated by Republican presidents. We encourage them to speak up for national security and urge their Republican leaders to stop the politicking and ratify this treaty."

        Maryland

        Stalled on START
        The Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2010

        "It used to be said that partisanship should stop at the water's edge. But those days seem long gone in today's toxic political climate, in which a senior figure like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell openly boasts that his party's top priority for the next two years is to ensure that Mr. Obama is a one-term president. Never mind that New START's provisions for on-site inspection and verification were one of Ronald Reagan's most enduring foreign policy accomplishments and that Mr. Obama is seeking to improve on and extend that legacy."

        Massachusetts

        Stop delays; pass ‘New START’

        The Boston Globe, December 4, 2010

        “On its merits, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed last spring by Russia and the United States ought to have been ratified by the Senate months ago. Its modest but sound strategic warhead reductions and robust verification system would make Americans safer, while bolstering the case for nuclear non-proliferation around the world.”

        Minnesota

        Ratify New START yet this year
        The Bemidji Pioneer, November 24, 2010

        "Now is the time to vote to ratify the treaty. To delay until January means starting over again from scratch. The new START replaces the original START which was negotiated and signed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. It maintains Reagan's foremost tenet to "Trust, but verify."

        Missouri

        Peace not politics (or) Psst...the Cold War is over
        The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 19, 2010

        "But nothing comes easy these days, particularly in a lame-duck session of Congress. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., says he fears there isn't time to give [New START] the consideration it deserves. This is the same Jon Kyl who, in July, said he thought the treaty was 'relatively benign.'"

        "Failure to ratify [New START] would leave the United States in a far weaker diplomatic position. Friends and enemies alike would see a nation less concerned about peace than politics. They would not be wrong."

        Nebraska

        Senate should get STARTed
        The Omaha World-Herald, September 4, 2010

        "Safeguarding our national security interests stands as one of the federal government's central obligations. The U.S. Senate can fulfill that duty by approving a new strategic arms treaty with Russia."

        New Hampshire

        Political posturing hurting U.S. security
        The Nashua Telegraph, November 21, 2010

        "After stringing along the president and congressional Democrats for several months, demanding and getting more money for modernizing the nation's nuclear weapons facilities, Kyl copped out Tuesday issuing a sanctimoniously vague press release citing undefined 'complex and unresolved' issues as reasons for his determination there is not enough time to act during the lame-duck congressional session.

        The time to act would have been weeks ago, still well after the more than 20 Senate hearings and countless congressional briefings regarding the treaty clarified its provisions and permutations."

        New Jersey

        Dangerous Delay
        The Times of Trenton, November 21, 2010

        "Sen. Kyl, who is front and center in the bloc of GOP opposition to ratification of the treaty, has asked "Why the rush?"  We'd like to counter with "Why the delay?"

        North Carolina

        U.S. Senate should ratify New START treaty
        The Rocky Mount Telegram, November 27, 2010

        "Kyle's main stated objection to the treaty's ratification is his claim that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal - a position at odds with the president's pledge of more than $80 billion over the next 10 years for just that purpose.

        This is not the time to begin holding U.S. security interests hostage for political advantage. Ratify the treaty."

        In our interest
        The News and Observer, November 28, 2010

        "And the new treaty emphatically would not, despite the claims of Senate critics such as Republicans Jon Kyl of Arizona and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, impinge on our right to modernize nuclear weapons or create a defensive missile shield. President Barack Obama has pledged to spend tens of billions of dollars on the former project, and as for missile defense, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Republican appointed by Obama), flatly states that the new treaty imposes "no limits on us."

        START ratification a matter of U.S. security, not petty politics
        The Asheville Citizen-Times, November 27, 2010

        "Kyl had said he was concerned about modernization of U.S. nuclear forces. Administration officials thought they had a deal when they offered an additional $4.1 billion for modernization. Nevertheless, Kyl insisted last week that he opposes a Senate vote this year, taking the White House by surprise.

        What is his problem? Given the extent to which the treaty has already been debated, two or three days of floor time would be sufficient to iron out any issues."

        Ohio

        Pass New START treaty, now

        The Plain Dealer, December 12, 2010

        “The Senate should speedily ratify a new strategic arms treaty with Russia. There is no excuse for further delays, especially since on-site inspections of Russia's nuclear stockpiles ended a year ago when the old Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expired. Reducing Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals is too important to remain hostage to partisan politics.”

        START rethinking
        The Toledo Blade, November 22, 2010

        "Good relations with Russia can have positive results for the United States in a number of areas, including negotiations to eliminate Iran's nuclear arms potential and efforts to achieve a Middle East peace.

        By risking these potential gains in order to frustrate Mr. Obama, Republicans are acting in bad faith with not just Democrats, but the American people. They should carefully rethink their position on opposing New START."

        Arms reduction is a matter of national security; it should rise above partisanship
        The Vindicator, November 26, 2010

        "In any case, Kyl and Corker are mixing apples and oranges. The Senate has the constitutional responsibility to ratify or reject treaties on their merits. The Senate has a separate role in the appropriation of money for federal projects, including arms development. By tying one to the other, Kyl and Corker are abdicating their responsibility to consider treaties and trivializing their ability to affect the budget."

        Oklahoma

        'No' to security?
        The Tulsa World, November 26, 2010

        "Where have [Senators] Kyl and McConnell been during the 21 Senate hearings on the treaty? Have they not paid any attention to previous treaties that have made the world and our nation a safer place?

        This treaty, the first with Russia in 10 years, calls for both sides to reduce their deployed warheads to 1,550 from 2,200. That's a relatively small cut and would not diminish our nuclear deterrent. The most significant portion of the treaty is that it would restore verification, inspection and other exchanges of information about the two countries' arsenals.

        As President Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."

        Oregon

        Don't stop START
        The Oregonian, November 20, 2010

        "There's no reason to block a treaty of which 67 to 73 percent of all Americans approve, according to two recent polls. There's no reason at all, except to vex an administration that happens to be controlled by Democrats. Here's hoping the Senate heeds the counsel of wise men like Lugar, and ignores the tactics of people like Kyl."

        GOP should back treaty
        The Register-Guard, November 24, 2010

        "It is hard to believe that Republicans may try to block this treaty. Long before Obama, their party had established a tradition of strong support for the military. Today The New York Times reports that the START treaty is backed by 'Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the country's top military leaders, six former secretaries of state (from both parties), five former secretaries of defense (from both parties) and seven former nuclear weapons commanders.'"

        Pennsylvania

        Politics over safety
        The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 23, 2010

        "Despite all their postelection talk about bipartisanship, Republican leaders are sending strong signals that their main goal is to cripple this presidency and improve the chances of a GOP successor in 2012. They don't care that without START inspections, the Russians can do what they please with long-range missiles."

        Rhode Island

        Kyl vs. the country

        The Providence Journal

        “New START has broad support from the military as well as a host of prominent Republicans, among them former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice, George Shultz, James Baker and Henry Kissinger. Senator Kyl should quit exploiting it for political points.”

        Tennessee

        Sacrificing national security
        The Chattanooga Times Free Press, November 21, 2010

        "There was no acceptable reason for Arizona Sen. John Kyl, the Senate's chief Republican negotiator on the proposed treaty, to announce last Wednesday that he would oppose and help block a vote on the pending treaty. Indeed, his statement that time in the lame-duck session is too short to resolve what he claimed were remaining 'complex issues' concerning the treaty seems a blatant contrivance - an artifice to mask an obvious effort to damage President Obama politically by undercutting his ability to improve security and foreign relations in key areas abroad.

        Kyl's galling move is surprising given the great value of renewing a treaty with Russia. His obstructionism puts partisan politics ahead of national security and the nation's most vital international interests. That's a lump we would think Republicans couldn't swallow given their frequent grandstanding on the importance of national security and limiting partisanship at the border."

        Senators should vote on New START
        The Knoxville News Sentinel, November 21, 2010

        "Unfortunately, Tennessee's senators, Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, appear willing to go along with Kyl.

        Instead, they should follow the lead of U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar on Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar confirmed his support for a vote before the lame-duck session ends during a news conference Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass."

        Texas

        New START now
        The Houston Chronicle, November 27, 2010

        "Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has said there is insufficient time to take up START in the coming lame-duck session. At this point, his position seems likely to prevail. A vote on the treaty appears likely to be delayed until after the new year.

        Given the record on START discussion, Kyl's assertion begs the question: Insufficient time for what?"

        "And so it is. We join many others in calling on Sen. Kyl to withdraw his objections and allow a Senate vote on the new START treaty without delay."

        Utah

        New START
        The Salt Lake Tribune, November 24, 2010

        "The treaty has received numerous Senate hearings during the past six months and the White House has committed to providing the funding to modernize the arsenal, as Sen. Kyl has asked. We believe it is in the nation's security interest for the White House and Senate Republicans to strike a deal and pave the way to ratification."

        "There's no good reason to delay a ratification vote."

        Washington

        Senate GOP stalling on new arms treaty
        The Seattle Times, November 22, 2010

        "REPUBLICAN Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona is putting the politics of No ahead of national security.

        Kyl is refusing to budge on a new arms-control treaty with Russia to the complete dismay of a bipartisan roll call of former secretaries of state and defense, national-security advisers and top Pentagon brass, past and present."

        West Virginia

        Bizarre flap over nuclear treaty
        The Charleston Gazette, November 18, 2010

        "And it has turned even stranger: The Senate Republican whip, Jon Kyl of Arizona, declared GOP opposition to the new START missile-control treaty with Russia -- apparently for no reason except to make President Obama look bad in the eyes of the world."

        "What a galling situation. Kyl cares more about playing politics than about protecting America."

        Wisconsin

        Senate should pass nuke weapons treaty
        The Sheboygan Press, November 26, 2010

        "It's ironic that [Senator] Kyl is holding the treaty hostage while he demands that the U.S. spend more money upgrading its cache of nuclear weapons. Not only does this fly in the face of the spirit of the treaty, it also makes hollow the GOP call for less government spending."

        National

        Stop playing politics and ratify the New START arms treaty

        USA Today, November 30, 2010

        “A few other Republicans are trotting out issues addressed months ago. They question the treaty's verification scheme. Never mind that there has been no formal verification system since the last treaty expired a year ago. They worry that the treaty might pre-empt U.S. decisions on missile defense. Never mind that differences with Russia on missile defense appear to be narrowing, or that either side can drop out of the treaty. And they fret over whether the Russians will have to cut less than the U.S. Never mind that both sides want fewer weapons for reasons of cost and safety, and that this treaty could lead to another on shorter-range weapons, of which Russia has more.”

        The Party of National Security?
        The New York Times, November 18, 2010

        "The world's nuclear wannabes, starting with Iran, should send a thank you note to Senator Jon Kyl. After months of negotiations with the White House, he has decided to try to block the lame-duck Senate from ratifying the New Start arms control treaty.

        The treaty is so central to this country's national security, and the objections from Mr. Kyl - and apparently the whole Republican leadership - are so absurd that the only explanation is their limitless desire to deny President Obama any legislative success."

        The New START pact should be passed, not politicized
        The Washington Post, November 20, 2010

        "[A] delay would put the administration's 'reset' of relations with Russia at risk - along with Moscow's cooperation on vital matters like Iran's nuclear program and maintaining secure military supply routes to Afghanistan. It might lessen the willingness of nonaligned nations to cooperate with sanctions against Iran and other would-be proliferators. And it could cause both friends and foes of the United States to question Mr. Obama's leadership. At a time when the country is engaged in two wars and the president has two years left in his term, that's not an outcome that Republicans should wish for."

        Nuclear treaty meltdown
        The Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2010

        "'I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security,' said Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an event last week. Kyl apparently wasn't listening. His obstructionism shows that the November election hasn't changed the GOP's strategy, at least in the Senate. Republicans remain determined to thwart Obama's agenda and sabotage his legacy even when doing so is deeply contrary to the national interest."

        Description: 

        Volume 1, Number 43

        From every region of the country, editorial boards have called on the Senate to swiftly provide its advice and consent for the treaty’s ratification. This Issue Brief provides a sample of the many recent editorials in support of New START.

        Country Resources:

        New START By The Numbers

        Sections:

        Body: 

        Volume 1, Number 42, December 15, 2010

        The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) has been thoroughly vetted. The Senate can and should vote to approve this treaty, which has the overwhelming support of the U.S. military and Republican and Democratic national security leaders.

        Postponing or rejecting New START would further delay the re-establishment of an effective U.S.-Russian inspection and monitoring system, undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership, and jeopardize U.S.-Russian cooperation, including joint efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program.

        The facts and numbers surrounding New START speak volumes.

        - - -

        2     Former Presidents who support New START[i]

        0        Former Presidents who oppose New START

        16     Former Secretaries of Defense, State and National Security Advisors, support[ii]

               Former Secretaries of Defense, State and National Security Advisors, oppose[iii]

        7        Former U.S. Strategic Commanders, support[iv]

        0        Former U.S. Strategic Commanders, oppose

               Days of Senate 1992 floor debate on START I (passed 93-6)

        2        Days of Senate 1996 floor debate on START II (passed 87-4)

        2        Days of Senate 2003 floor debate on Moscow Treaty (passed 95-0)

        85     Billion dollars: Obama Administration budget for National Nuclear Security

                    Administration weapons complex upgrades, over ten years

        10     Billion dollars: Administration budget for Ballistic Missile Defense, one year

        650  Verified reduction in Russian deployed nuclear warheads with New START[v]

        0        Verified reduction in Russian deployed nuclear warheads without New START

        18     Annual on-site inspections in Russia with New START

        0        Annual on-site inspections without New START

        390   Days without on-site inspections, as of Dec.31, 2010



        [i] George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton

        [ii] Secretaries of Defense:  James R. Schlesinger, William J. Perry, Harold Brown, Frank Carlucci, William Cohen.  Secretaries of State: Condoleezza Rice, Colin L. Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, Henry Kissinger.  National Security Advisors:  Samuel Berger, Brent Scowcroft, Stephen Hadley.

        [iii] Former National Security Advisor William P. Clark

        [iv] General Larry Welch, General John Chain, General Lee Butler, Admiral Henry Chiles, General Eugene Habiger, Admiral James Ellis, General Bennie Davis.

        [v] New START lowers treaty limits on accountable strategic nuclear weapons from 2,200 to 1,550.

        Description: 

        Volume 1, Number 42

        New START has been thoroughly vetted. The Senate can and should vote on this treaty, which has the overwhelming support of the U.S. military and national security leaders. The facts and numbers surrounding New START speak volumes.

        Country Resources:

        Pages

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