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"[Arms Control Today is] Absolutely essential reading for the upcoming Congressional budget debate on the 2018 #NPR and its specific recommendations ... well-informed, insightful, balanced, and filled with common sense."

– Frank Klotz
former Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration
March 7, 2018
Issue Briefs

Case for New START Builds; Skeptics Miss the Mark

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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

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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

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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."

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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.

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New START By The Numbers

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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.

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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.

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Nuclear Weapons Budget More Than Enough to Maintain Arsenal and Modernize Complex

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Volume 1, Number 41, December 7, 2010

For months, senators such as Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have been threatening to delay consideration of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) until they are assured that there is a technically sound and adequately-funded plan to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

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 National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) life extension programs have successfully refurbished existing types of nuclear warheads and can continue to do so indefinitely.

With the Barack Obama administration's $85 billion, 10-year plan to maintain the nuclear arsenal and modernize the nuclear weapons complex, it is now also abundantly clear that the weapons laboratories have more than enough funding to do the job.

Lab Directors "Very Pleased" With Funding Plan

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 last week that they are "very pleased" with the recently updated $85 billion budget to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile and modernize the weapons complex.

The lab directors' endorsement should put to rest any lingering doubts about the adequacy of U.S. plans to ensure a safe, secure and reliable nuclear stockpile under New START.

On Dec. 1, 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 within the limit of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads established by New START.

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

A Budget to "Kill For"

Beginning with its fiscal year fiscal year 2011 budget request, the Obama administration has shown its commitment to ensuring that an adequate budget is available to support the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure. In February 2010, the administration requested $7 billion in fiscal year 2011 funding for NNSA, which oversees the U.S. nuclear stockpile and production complex. This request was about 10 percent higher than the previous year's budget. Linton Brooks, former NNSA administrator in the George W. Bush administration, said in April, "I'd have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration."

In May, the administration outlined an $80 billion, 10-year plan for NNSA nuclear weapons activities, which was almost 15% percent above current (fiscal year 2011) spending levels.

As Secretary of Defense Robert 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." The administration's plan calls for spending an additional $100 billion over the same period to upgrade strategic nuclear delivery systems.

On Nov. 17, at Sen. Kyl's request, the Obama administration delivered revised estimates for funding the nuclear weapons complex. The updated 10-year plan now totals $85 billion, increasing from $7 billion in fiscal year 2011 to almost $10 billion annually by fiscal year 2020 (see figure 2 below). The plan includes an additional $4.1 billion in spending for fiscal years 2012-2016, mainly to cover possible cost increases for two new facilities, and a range estimate for fiscal years 2017-2020. The $85 billion total represents a 21 percent rise above the fiscal 2011 spending level.

$85 Billion is More Than Enough

By any common-sense definition, the U.S. nuclear weapons complex will get more than enough resources to maintain the effectiveness of the enduring U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile for years to come. That stockpile has been reduced by over 80% from its peak of 30,000 active warheads in the 1960's to about 5,000 today (see figure 1 below).

Despite this long-term, high-level commitment, some senators might still be concerned that the administration and Congress will not support higher funding levels for the nuclear weapons complex in the future.

The Senate Foreign Relation Committee's Oct.1 bipartisan resolution of advice and consent anticipated this concern, stating "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."

Time to Get Real

Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) Sept. 30 that includes the administration's $7 billion fiscal year2011 budget request for weapons activities at NNSA. Sen. Kerry said that this funding "sends a strong signal about this administration's commitment to keeping our nuclear arsenal at a viable and suitable level" under New START.

However, if the Senate does not approve New START, the administration may not be able to protect the NNSA weapons activities program from budget cutbacks, especially as Congress seeks to reduce the federal deficit. Senators of both parties should recognize that delaying approval of New START would create uncertainty about U.S. nuclear policy and jeopardize the fragile political consensus to increase funding to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile in the years ahead.

As Sen. Lugar put it on Nov. 17, "we are at a point where we're unlikely to have either the treaty or modernization unless we get real." -- TOM Z. COLLINA and DARYL G. KIMBALL

 



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Volume 1, Number 41

For months, senators such as Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have been threatening to delay consideration of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) until they are assured that there is a technically sound and adequately-funded plan to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

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365 Days, Zero Inspections: Ratify New START

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Volume 1, Number 40, December 3, 2010

One year ago this Sunday the United States lost its ability to "look under the hood" of Russia's nuclear forces.  U.S. on-site inspections in Russia ended last Dec. 5 along with the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Fortunately, the United States can restore those inspections by ratifying New START, which currently sits before the Senate.  President Ronald Reagan advised us to "trust, but verify," and it is no wonder that his secretary of state George P. Shultz--along with the secretaries of state from the past five Republican presidents--support New START.

Shultz, Henry A. Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Lawrence S. Eagleburger and Colin L. Powell wrote in the Dec. 2 Washington Post:

Since the original START expired last December, Russia has not been required to provide notifications about changes in its strategic nuclear arsenal, and the United States has been unable to conduct on-site inspections. Each day, America's understanding of Russia's arsenal has been degraded, and resources have been diverted from national security tasks to try to fill the gaps. Our military planners increasingly lack the best possible insight into Russia's activity with its strategic nuclear arsenal, making it more difficult to carry out their nuclear deterrent mission.

The verification provisions in New START are crucial to the U.S. ability to monitor Russian strategic forces. There is no substitute for on-the-ground information gathered by treaty-authorized inspections. Satellites and other intelligence assets cannot look inside Russian missiles to see how many warheads they carry, but U.S. inspectors under New START verification provisions would do just that.

Closing the Verification Gap

New START allows up to 18 on-site inspections per year, including direct monitoring of Russian nuclear warheads, something no treaty has allowed before.  Although the original START permitted 28 inspections, it had to cover 70 facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as Soviet strategic forces were 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.

Moreover, New START's "Type One" inspections, which occur at bases for deployed missiles and bombers, can achieve two goals at the same time (confirm data on delivery vehicles and on warheads), for which two inspections would have been required under the original START. Together with the eight "Type Two" inspections of non-deployed systems, the 18 New START inspections would yield more critical data than the 28 inspections under START.

The updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections established by New START would, in conjunction with satellites and other "national technical means," allow the United States to verify compliance with the treaty's lower limits on deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

Treaty is Verifiable

After hearing testimony in closed session from U.S. Intelligence Community witnesses, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) 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 reported the same conclusion from the nation's defense leadership:

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.

The yawning gap in the collection of strategic information will get wider the longer New START remains in limbo. Without New START in force, the U.S. Intelligence Community will not be able to predict with high confidence the status of Russia's nuclear forces, and both sides will be tempted to engage in more-costly force modernization and hedging strategies.

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."

Prompt ratification of New START is the only way to close this verification gap. Failure by the Senate to approve New START would not only delay the re-establishment of an effective inspection and monitoring system for U.S. and Russia strategic arsenals, but would also kill prospects for limiting Russian tactical weapons, undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership, and jeopardize U.S.-Russian cooperation in other fields, including containing Iran's nuclear program and support U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.

New START's 20-Year Bipartisan Legacy

The first U.S. on-site inspection of Soviet nuclear-armed missiles took place 22 years ago on July 1, 1988 as part of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.  Previous treaties, such as 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, or SALT, did not allow for on-site monitoring but principally depended on "national technical means" such as satellite reconnaissance.  Satellites, valuable as they are, cannot look under roofs or inside missiles like human inspectors can.  INF's on-the-ground inspections were a major breakthrough in the Cold War, allowing increased transparency, predictability, and stability between the United States and Russia.

New START and its verification system is a direct descendant of the INF Treaty, which was negotiated by the Reagan administration and ratified in 1987 by a Senate vote of 93-5.  After that, START I was signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and passed the Senate 93-6.  START II, which never entered into force, was signed by President Bush in 1993 and passed 87-4.  President George W. Bush signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) in 2002, which passed in the Senate 95-0.

SORT limits, which do not kick in until the end of 2012, do not have a treaty-based verification system.  Aware of START I's pending expiration, in April 2008 President Bush agreed with Russian President Putin to seek a legally-binding post-START agreement, which was ultimately not realized before the Bush administration ended.

It fell to the Obama administration to negotiate a treaty to sustain this 20-year, bipartisan practice of intrusive on-site inspections.  New START provides a more streamlined and cost-effective set of verification procedures based on the original START and add new innovations, including direct monitoring of actual deployed nuclear warheads.

New START would modestly reduce U.S. and Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads, from more than 2,000 today to 1,550 or less each on no more than 700 deployed delivery systems. Approval of New START would open the way to further reductions in other types of nuclear weapons, including tactical nuclear bombs, which are a prime target for terrorists.

The Time to Act Is Now

New START was submitted in May, and since then the Senate has held 18 hearings and four briefings, and the administration has answered almost 1,000 questions from senators. If the treaty is delayed into the new Congress, the Foreign Relations Committee would have to hold a new vote and new senators could ask that new hearings be held. Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) said Nov. 17 there would be "endless hearings, markup, back to trying to get some time on the floor.... It will be some time before the treaty is ever heard from again."

The United States has already gone a full year without on-site inspections in Russia.  We must not wait another year to resume them.

As the five former GOP secretaries of state wrote, it is "in the national interest to ratify New START."  It is time for senators on both sides of the aisle to come together to strengthen U.S. and global security by completing the process of "advice and consent" with a floor vote. --TOM Z. COLLINA and GREG THIELMANN

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 40

One year ago this Sunday the United States lost its ability to "look under the hood" of Russia's nuclear forces. U.S. on-site inspections in Russia ended last Dec. 5 along with the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Fortunately, the United States can restore those inspections by ratifying New START, which currently sits before the Senate.

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New START Clears the Path for Missile Defense

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Volume 1, Number 39, December 1, 2010

It is ironic that critics of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) use missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START clears the path for missile defense, as shown by the recent U.S.-NATO agreement to deploy new missile defenses in Europe.

Moreover, contrary to recent media reports, there is no U.S.-Russian "secret deal" to limit U.S. missile defenses--only a public effort to cooperate. Washington overtures to cooperate with Moscow on missile defense are nothing new; they began under President Reagan and continued under George W. Bush.

New START is missile defense-friendly

The only missile defense "constraint" of any kind in New START is the prohibition on converting long-range missile launchers for use by missile defense interceptors. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, testified to Congress that there are no plans to convert launchers, and that if any new missile defense launchers were needed, it would be quicker and cheaper to build new ones. None of the critics have explained how this provision limits U.S. missile defense options in the real world. Moreover, O'Reilly explained that the treaty "...actually reduces constraints on the development of the missile defense program [compared to the 1991 START agreement]," by allowing the launch of missile defense targets from airborne and waterborne platforms.

Some treaty critics also complain that New START's preambular language recognizes the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms. Yet including this simple truism in the preamble did not lead to any numerical or qualitative limits on missile defenses in the treaty. Moreover, the preamble also notes that "current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties" - a Russian acknowledgement that the 30 U.S. strategic ballistic missile interceptors currently deployed do not threaten Moscow's strategic nuclear retaliatory capability.

Also objectionable to critics is a (non-binding) Russian unilateral statement that New START "may be effective and viable only in conditions where there is no qualitative or quantitative build-up" in U.S. missile defense system capabilities and that such a build-up could prompt Russia to withdraw from the treaty. The United States issued its own unilateral statement in response, explaining that U.S. missile defenses "are not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia," and that the United States intends "to continue improving and deploying its missile defense systems in order to defend itself against limited attack."

NATO endorses U.S. missile defense plan

The United States has made clear that New START would not prevent U.S. missile defense deployments. To prove the point, at the Nov. 19-20 Summit in Lisbon, NATO agreed to endorse the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) to missile defense and the initial phase will become operational next year. The PAA provides a clear roadmap for U.S. development and deployment of future missile defense systems in Europe--during New START's duration--that is more responsive to present and near-term missile threats from Iran.

In Lisbon, NATO and Russia agreed to resume theater missile defense exercises and discuss ways to cooperate on missile defense in the future. According to the State Department, U.S.-Russia and NATO-Russia cooperation on missile defense is "intended to help improve our defensive capabilities, strengthen transparency, and reduce Russia's concerns about the United States' missile defense efforts by providing it with further insight into the nature of and motivations for U.S. and NATO ballistic missile defense plans and programs."

Talks on Cooperation, Not Limitation

Recent media reports implying that the United States was engaged with Russia in "secret talks" to limit missile defense are overblown and misleading. The administration made no secret of the fact that it was talking with Russia on missile defense cooperation and has been clear it is not discussing limitations.

At a June 17 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Gates stated: "Separately from the treaty, we are discussing missile defense cooperation with Russia, which we believe is in the interests of both nations." Moreover, the talks were not about limiting missile defense plans, but cooperating on them. "Such talks have nothing to do with imposing any limitations on our programs or deployment plans," said Gates.

U.S.-Russian efforts to cooperate on missile defense have roots in the Reagan administration, which offered to share missile defense technology with the Soviet Union. More recently, in 2004, under the George W. Bush administration, the United States 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 last DTCA discussions with Russia were held in 2008.

Bush administration Assistant Secretary of State 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 decided to pursue a more limited agreement that would only address missile defense cooperation, know as a Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation Agreement (BMDCA). According to the State Department, the proposed BMDCA would "establish a framework to allow for bilateral BMD cooperation, including: transparency and confidence building measures; BMD exercises; data sharing; research and development; and technology sharing." The U.S.-proposed BMDCA specifically states that "This agreement shall not constrain or limit the Parties' respective BMD plans and capabilities numerically, qualitatively, operationally, geographically, or in any other way."

The Bottom Line

New START is a missile defense-friendly treaty. It does not constrain U.S. missile defense plans in any way. Nor is the United States engaged in secret side deals with Russia to limit missile defenses.

Failure to approve New START this year will jeopardize the current opportunity for the United States and Russia to work together effectively on missile defense. - TOM Z. COLLINA AND GREG THIELMANN

 

 

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 39

It is ironic that critics of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) use missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START clears the path for missile defense, as shown by the recent U.S.-NATO agreement to deploy new missile defenses in Europe.

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Editorials Nationwide Blast Delay on New START

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Volume 1, Number 38, November 29, 2010

As the Senate returns from the holiday break to resume its post-election session, a tidal wave of newspaper editorials from across the nation is urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to promptly approve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The treaty 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.

On Sept. 16, with bipartisan support, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-4 to send the treaty to the full Senate for approval. Over the course of the past eight months, the treaty has been thoroughly vetted. More than 20 senate hearings and briefings have been held, and over 900 questions have been asked and answered. Yet some Republican senators say they still can't make up their minds.

As Senator Kerry wrote in a Nov. 26 op-ed, "If differences remain, we have sufficient time to have a floor debate and consider amendments. But it is time to have fewer nuclear weapons aimed at the United States, time to have the right to inspect Russian facilities, and time to keep Moscow as an ally in the fight against Iranian proliferation. Now is the time to ratify this treaty."

Unfortunately, despite the administration's updated plan calling for $85 billion in spending to upgrade the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl is apparently seeking to extract pledges of accelerated funding for the weapons complex and has gone back on his earlier suggestion that New START should be considered during the lame-duck session. Kyl's latest "pay-to-play" gambit is fiscally irresponsible, politically unsustainable, and damaging to U.S. security.

U.S. newspapers in Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa, Oregon and other states have responded with strongly worded editorials urging Senator Kyl and his colleagues to heed the advice of the U.S. military and bipartisan national security leaders who recommend prompt approval of New START.

Norman Ornstein at the American Enterprise Institute wrote last week: "Our military leaders are not prone to wishful thinking or peace-at-any-price thinking. The stakes for America's national interest, including Iran and Afghanistan, are immense here. Please, guys, suck it up and find a way to make this work."

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted Nov. 11-14, the American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. The poll found that 73% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while 23% believe it should not.

Below is a sample of the many recent editorials urging the Senate to approve New START as soon as possible.

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

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 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."

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

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 McConnel 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."

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

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."

- ROB GOLAN-VILELLA

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 38

As the Senate returns from the holiday break to resume its post-election session, a tidal wave of newspaper editorials from across the nation is urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to promptly approve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The treaty 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.

Country Resources:

Mine Ban Treaty by the Numbers

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Volume 1, Number 37, November 23, 2010

Last year the Obama administration announced that it was conducting a comprehensive review of its landmine policy, including whether the United States should join the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Mine Ban Treaty. States-parties will meet next week, Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, in Geneva to review the treaty.

As it did last year for the first time, the United States is planning to send an official delegation to a Mine Ban Treaty state-parties meeting. Also like last year, Washington has yet to determine whether to sign onto the accord, which bans the use of victim-activated antipersonnel landmines.

Facts and numbers provide this administration with plenty of reasons to conclude it is time to join with the international norm and sign onto the Mine Ban Treaty.

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68
Number of U.S. Senators who signed a letter to President Obama in May saying, “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." [1]

156
States-parties to the Mine Ban Treaty.

26
NATO members that have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.

2
NATO members that have not ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.
(Poland has signed and indicated its attention to ratify in 2012. The United States has not signed.) [2]

33
Countries in the Americas that have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.

2
Countries in the Americas that have not ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.
(Cuba and the United States.)

19
Number of years since the United States is known to have used antipersonnel landmines banned by the treaty. [3]

18
Number of years since the United States has exported banned antipersonnel landmines.

13
Number of years since the United States has produced banned antipersonnel landmines.

0
Number of antipersonnel landmines embedded in South Korean soil that are the responsibility of the United States. [4]

0
Number of U.S. antipersonnel landmines used in recent conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan.

363
Days since State Department Spokesperson Ian Kelly corrected his statement (of the day before) and confirmed that an ongoing comprehensive review of U.S. landmine policy was still underway. [5] — JEFF ABRAMSON

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[1] “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

[2] “Poland: Mine Ban Policy,” Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, updated June 19, 2010.
http://www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/58

[3] “United States: Mine Ban Policy,” Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, updated Oct 18, 2010.
http://www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/312

[4] Antipersonnel mines in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) are the responsibility of South Korea, not the United States. See endnote 3 and Human Rights Watch for additional explanation:
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/08/us-two-thirds-senate-back-landmine-ban

[5] See endnote 3 and “In a First, U.S. Attends Landmine Meeting,” Arms Control Today, January/February 2010.
http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_01-02/Landmines

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 37

Last year the Obama administration announced that it was conducting a comprehensive review of its landmine policy, including whether the United States should join the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Mine Ban Treaty. States-parties will meet next week, Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, in Geneva to review the treaty.

North Korea's Uranium Enrichment Challenge

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Volume 1, Number 36, November 22, 2010

The revelation regarding North Korea’s Yongbyon uranium-enrichment plant provides new insight into long-held suspicions about the country’s enrichment efforts, but also raises new questions. More importantly, it demonstrates that the proliferation challenge from North Korea will continue to grow if it is not addressed, and pursuing renewed negotiations with Pyongyang is the only viable option to tackle the problem.

What We Know

Dr. Siegfried Hecker has revealed that North Korea has a 2,000-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant at its Yongbyon nuclear complex. North Korea claims that the facility will produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) for a light-water reactor (LWR) North Korea has also revealed that it is constructing at the same complex, but the plant can be converted to produce highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for weapons. North Korea likely has a smaller-scale facility elsewhere which it operated before progressing to this point. That facility may have already been used to produce small amounts of HEU, as U.S. technicians detected HEU particles on North Korean aluminum tubing and the operating records of key nuclear facilities in 2008. Whether or not North Korea has other facilities of the scale viewed by Hecker which are dedicated to a military program is unknown.  Finding out will be a difficult prospect without a verifiable denuclearization process.

A recent Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) assessment suggested that North Korea intensified its procurement efforts for a gas-centrifuge uranium enrichment program over the past several years, and acquired enough materials for a pilot-scale plant. This procurement would have built on early and sustained assistance from Pakistan during the 1990s and early 2000s. The apparent sophistication of the Yongbyon enrichment plant does raise questions as to whether Pyongyang received enough centrifuges and centrifuge components from Pakistan at that time to build a 2,000-machine facility, or if North Korea continued to receive assistance form other sources, such as Iran, after the AQ Khan network was shut down. Iran also received materials, equipment, and technology for the P-1 and P-2 centrifuges from Pakistan and has carried out extensive work on enrichment. Whereas Iran has primarily focused on the P-1 model, however, North Korea’s Yongbyon plant is apparently based on the P-2 variety.

What This Means for North Korea’s Weapons Capabilities

In the long term, if North Korea's capability is not addressed, this new plant will likely advance its nuclear capabilities. Once the facility becomes fully operational, and it is not certain that it is despite North Korean claims to that effect, it would be capable of producing enough material for 1-2 bombs each year. This is roughly the same rate at which it produced plutonium for its weapons. However, Pyongyang would still need to turn that material into a weapon, and then develop a means to deliver it. Plutonium-based weapons, which North Korea has relied on to date, are easier to miniaturize to fit on a missile, and North Korea may not have developed such a capability up to this point. Such miniaturization for HEU weapons will likely prove even more challenging and could require additional nuclear test explosions.

In the meantime, this development does not move North Korean military capabilities forward. In fact, North Korea seems to have abandoned the prospect of restarting its plutonium-producing reactor in the near term. The fastest way to begin producing nuclear material again would have been to restart its existing reactor by rebuilding the cooling tower and refueling it. Instead, Pyongyang is building a light water reactor where the cooling tower would have been and built an enrichment plant in the fuel fabrication facility for the plutonium-producing reactor. This does not rule out a reconstitution of the existing reactor operations, but Pyongyang has made the enrichment effort a priority, apparently at the expense of the plutonium program.

This means that, until North Korea can effectively run its centrifuges to produce HEU for weapons, its stockpile of weapons material is still limited at around 10 weapons, and likely fewer. On that basis, there remains an opportunity to cap the military program. Unfortunately, it also means North Korea is likely to argue that its “peaceful” enrichment program is off limits in any negotiation, pursuing a similar argument as that of Iran.

It is also important to remember that, while North Korea will not likely hesitate to use the enrichment plant to make HEU, just as Pyongyang genuinely wants the ability to launch satellites and long-range ballistic missiles, they do seem to want to have both a military nuclear capability and a capability that can be used for nuclear power. The possession of a light-water reactor program has been an issue of political symbolism for North Korea. That does not mean that North Korea should be able to violate its obligations for symbolic reasons, but that motivation should be considered when determining the nature of the threat that Pyongyang’s uranium enrichment efforts pose and ways to rollback its nuclear program.

What Needs to Be Done

There is only one way to seriously address this development and North Korea’s nuclear program as a whole, and that is through engagement. There are no viable military options and, even with the most stringent sanctions to date in force, North Korea was still able to construct this new plant. Moreover, this development should give pause to those who wish to pursue “strategic patience,” because Pyongyang is only using that patience to move its nuclear program forward.

The latest situation requires a renewed diplomatic push, led by Washington, in concert with its allies and China, aimed at freezing and then verifiably dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program without further delay. The construction of this new plant likely means that such a process will be drawn out even longer, with many steps being taken to roll back North Korea’s nuclear activities, but that means it is all the more important to start sooner rather than later, before Pyongyang expands its capabilities even further.

At the same time, the development of this plant is a violation of North Korea's denuclearization obligations and North Korea could not have acquired the materials and technology without violating international sanctions. The international community, and in particular the members of the UN Security Council and the Six-Party Talks participants, cannot turn a blind eye to such transgressions. In fact, North Korean tricks to skirt the sanctions were described in detail in the recent UN North Korea sanctions committee panel report.

China, as North Korea’s key economic and political partner, has an important role to play in demonstrating that Pyongyang cannot violate its obligations with impunity. Beijing may have sought to delay or prevent the publication of the UN panel report, but it cannot run from its findings and implications. Particularly since North Korea is believed to acquire many of the materials that it needs for its enrichment program through front companies based in China, it is in Beijing’s own interest to ensure that its territory is not being used to circumvent the very sanctions that it voted to put in place. Beijing should be able to address North Korean proliferation without undercutting its concerns about the stability of the regime, and the impact instability would have for China.

There is also an important lesson to be learned from the history of U.S. efforts to address the North’s suspected uranium-enrichment program. In 2002, the United States accused North Korea of pursuing a uranium-enrichment program, leading it to halt the implementation of the 1994 Agreed Framework, resulting in North Korea’s unfreezing of its plutonium program and its development of a nuclear weapons capability. But in the years since, the size and sophistication of that program came in doubt, and there was little evidence that North Korea had developed a functioning facility geared towards producing HEU for weapons.

It appears that it is only now, eight years after the Bush Administration scuttled the Agreed Framework, that North Korea has a pilot facility that could be used eventually to produce HEU. In other words, by acting on exaggerated threat perceptions, a working diplomatic process was abandoned in favor of a strategy of isolation and sanctions, which did nothing to stop North Korea from producing enough material for up to a dozen nuclear weapons and carrying out nuclear tests.

A diplomatic process is not easy, and the United States and its allies should not pay any asking price North Korea brings to the table over its nuclear activities. But we should not be afraid to go to the table to glean from the North Koreans directly what their positions and motivations are, and convey to them directly where our red lines are and what they stand to benefit from a change in direction. – PETER CRAIL

For more information see these additional ACA Resources on North Korea

ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball responds to the revelation over the uranium-enrichment facility in the ArmsControlNow blog post, “North Korea’s Uranium Enrichment Gambit Signals Trouble Ahead and the Need for Active U.S. Engagement with Pyongyang.”

The following articles: “Can Washington and Seoul Try Dealing With Pyongyang for a Change?” by Leon Sigal, and  “Work at North Korea Reactor Site Unclear” by Peter Crail, can be found in the current issue of Arms Control Today.

Also see ACA’s detailed Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy.

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 36

The revelation regarding North Korea’s Yongbyon uranium-enrichment plant provides new insight into long-held suspicions about the country’s enrichment efforts, but also raises new questions. More importantly, it demonstrates that the proliferation challenge from North Korea will continue to grow if it is not addressed, and pursuing renewed negotiations with Pyongyang is the only viable option to tackle the problem.

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Subject Resources:

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