Login/Logout

*
*  

"The Arms Control Association’s work is an important resource to legislators and policymakers when contemplating a new policy direction or decision."

– General John Shalikashvili
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Issue Briefs

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

Sections:

Body: 

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

 



Chart

Description: 

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.

Country Resources:

365 Days, Zero Inspections: Ratify New START

Sections:

Body: 

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.

Country Resources:

New START Clears the Path for Missile Defense

Sections:

Body: 

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.

Country Resources:

Editorials Nationwide Blast Delay on New START

Sections:

Body: 

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

Sections:

Body: 

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.

---

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

---

[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

Sections:

Body: 

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.

Author:

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Close the Verification Gap: Ratify New START

Sections:

Body: 

Volume 1, Number 35, November 19, 2010

The United States is approaching the first anniversary of losing its treaty rights to inspect Russia's nuclear forces "up close and personal," which expired along with  the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) last December.  Given that the United States has an opportunity to restore those inspections under the New START treaty, one has to wonder why some U.S. Senators are reluctant to promptly approve ratification of New START. In a stunning upending of President Reagan's admonition to "trust, but verify," critics of the agreement appear not to want to take advantage of the treaty's intrusive inspections to assure compliance.

It is small wonder that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, is "extremely concerned" about the time that has already lapsed without inspections.

U.S. Strategic Forces Commander Gen. Kevin Chilton warned that: "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... the worst of both possible worlds."

At the heart of the urgent pleas from senior military officers and security officials is an appreciation of the need to implement verification provisions in New START , which 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.

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.  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), compiling as much data as two inspections under the original START agreement. 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 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.

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.

Mobile Missile Production Monitoring. Although the George W. Bush administration agreed in 2008 to end mobile missile production monitoring at Russia's Votkinsk plant, the new treaty requires Russia to 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.

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

After hearing testimony in closed session from U.S. Intelligence Community witnesses, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) concluded in its October 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 longer New START remains in limbo, the wider will be the yawning gap in the collection of strategic information. 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.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Agence France-Presse on 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 the new treaty is the only way to close this  knowledge gap about  the only weapons that pose an existential potential threat to the United States. 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 in other fields, including joint efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program and support U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.

The Time to Act Is Now, Not Later

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee performed due diligence in examining the treaty over a six-month period and voted its bipartisan endorsement by a 14-4 margin in September. Eighteen Senate hearings had been held and over 900 questions for the record had been answered. It is now 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.

Senator Richard Lugar, SFRC ranking minority member, issued a clarion call to his colleagues on November 17 to finish the job in the lame duck session: "Every senator has an obligation in the national security interest to take a stand, to do his or her duty."  - GREG THIELMANN

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 35

The United States is approaching the first anniversary of losing its treaty rights to inspect Russia's nuclear forces "up close and personal," which expired along with  the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) last December.  Given that the United States has an opportunity to restore those inspections under the New START treaty, one has to wonder why some U.S. Senators are reluctant to promptly approve ratification of New START. In a stunning upending of President Reagan's admonition to "trust, but verify," critics of the agreement appear not to want to take advantage of the treaty's intrusive inspections to assure compliance.

Country Resources:

Military Leaders Urge Senate to Approve New START

Sections:

Body: 

Volume 1, Number 33, November 17, 2010

Yesterday, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) issued an equivocal statement about the possibility of scheduling time for a floor debate and a vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which U.S. military officials including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen has called "essential to our future security."

Numerous other current and former military officials, including seven former U.S. strategic commanders, are urging prompt Senate approval for ratification of New START.

In the following op-ed, Maj. Gen. William Burns (U.S. Army, Ret.) outlines the reasons why New START is clearly in the U.S. national security interest. Burns, who was the director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, notes:

"Treaties require careful consideration, but senators have had all the information and time necessary to reach a decision on New START. The Senate must approve New START, and quickly. The U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for decades, and it's made our world safer. This is no time to stop."

The full op-ed by General Burns is reproduced below.

----------------------------

Get STARTed: Senate must ratify U.S.-Russia arms control treaty

By Maj. Gen. William F. Burns

The Palm Beach Post, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010

Congress has to take care of some crucial business by Dec. 31. One priority is consideration of New START - a United States-Russia treaty that could significantly reduce the threat to global security posed by nuclear weapons. The Senate must put the tough election behind and put U.S. national security first by approving the treaty.

The treaty would require Russia and the U.S. to trim their nuclear arsenals to no more than 1,550 strategic warheads each - 30 percent below current limits. Time is of the essence. The START I pact, which Presidents Reagan and Bush negotiated, expired in December 2009. Since then, U.S. officials have been unable to conduct on-site inspections of Russian long-range nuclear bases. For the previous 15 years, U.S. officials were on the ground every few weeks. Showing up with only a day's notice, they peered into underground silos and submarine bases to verify that Russia was meeting the treaty limits.

Without Senate approval of New START, those inspections will not resume. As the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, testified: "If we don't get the treaty, (a) the Russians are not constrained in their development of force structure, and (b) we have no insight into what they're doing. So, it's the worst of both possible worlds."

Further, other countries may interpret Senate dithering on New START, which was signed in April, as a sign that the U.S. isn't serious about controlling nuclear weapons. Since April, a vast, bipartisan array of experts - including four secretaries of state, four secretaries of defense, three national security advisers, seven Strategic Command chiefs and all three leaders of the nation's nuclear labs - have urged ratification. And New START has what Defense Secretary Robert Gates termed "the unanimous support of America's military leadership."

Treaties require careful consideration, but senators have had all the information and time necessary to reach a decision on New START. The Senate held 21 hearings and briefings, and the White House answered more than 900 questions from senators. In September, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommended ratification with a bipartisan 14-4 vote.

Unfortunately, some senators continue to urge delay. They erroneously believe that New START would constrain U.S. missile defense because the treaty prohibits both countries from converting offensive missile silos into missile defense launchers. Mr. Gates has made it clear that the U.S. military has no interest in making such conversions. Further, it's far less expensive to build a ground-based interceptor silo from scratch than to convert an existing silo.

Concerns about maintaining the existing U.S. nuclear stockpile also have been addressed. The Obama administration has budgeted $80 billion to maintain and update our nuclear weapons and infrastructure over the next decade, a 15 percent increase that the directors of the weapons labs agree is more than sufficient. The administration also has outlined a $100 billion plan to modernize the submarines, missiles and bombers that carry nuclear
bombs.

Still, some skeptics refuse to budge. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Tuesday opposed any vote on the treaty, perhaps to extract even more funding to "modernize" our nuclear arsenal. Such tactics are unhelpful and unnecessary. Mr. Obama's $7 billion request for nuclear weapons maintenance and infrastructure in fiscal year 2011 is 10 percent higher than it was in the final year of the Bush administration. And if there are cost overruns for weapons maintenance, lawmakers can revise the budget.

The Senate must approve New START, and quickly. The U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for decades, and it's made our world safer. This is no time to stop.

Maj. Gen. William F. Burns, retired from the Army, was director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1988 to 1989. He is a distinguished fellow at the Army War College.

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 33

Yesterday, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) issued an equivocal statement about the possibility of scheduling time for a floor debate and a vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which U.S. military officials including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen has called "essential to our future security." In the following op-ed, Maj. Gen. William Burns (U.S. Army, Ret.) outlines the reasons why New START is clearly in the U.S. national security interest.

Country Resources:

New START Commands Broad Public Support

Sections:

Body: 

Volume 1, Number 32, November 17, 2010

With the Senate back in business for its post-election session, one of the main items on the Obama administration's agenda is ratification of 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.

The American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted Nov. 11-14, 73% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while 23% believe it should not. An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted Nov. 3-8 reached a similar conclusion, finding that 67% of Americans support ratification and 29% oppose it.

This high level of public support is also reflected on opinion pages around the country, as many U.S. newspapers have published editorials and op-eds in favor of New START. Below is a sample of the broad editorial support for New START from all regions of the United States.

National

We can't delay this treaty
The Washington Post, November 15
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

"New START will advance critical national security objectives: Reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons while retaining a safe and effective deterrent; providing direct insight into Russia's nuclear arsenal; and creating a more stable, predictable and cooperative relationship between the world's two leading nuclear powers."

"New START will also set the stage for future arms reductions, including negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons. It will help solidify the 'reset' of U.S. relations with Russia, which has allowed us to cooperate in pursuit of our strategic interests."

Ratify the New Start Treaty
The New York Times, September 14
Editorial

"Failure to ratify this treaty would be hugely costly for American credibility and security. It would mean that the United States will have far less information about Russia's nuclear plans. (The two sides stopped sharing data and halted all ground inspections in December when the Start I treaty expired.) And it would mean no further reduction for the foreseeable future in the 20,000 nuclear weapons still in the two countries' arsenals."

Ratify New START Now
The Washington Times, September 22
Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Senator Jake Garn

"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has just approved the new U.S.-Russian nuclear arms treaty (New START) and sent it to the Senate floor. We are writing to urge that the Senate move promptly to ratify it. The arguments that have been advanced in favor of the treaty are strong and compelling."

Senate must ratify new START agreement on nuclear arms
Christian Science Monitor, November 15
Editorial

"Failure to ratify would set back the 'reset' in US-Russian relations. It would jeopardize other weapons issues with Russia that need attention (short-range nuclear arms and conventional weapons). It would give Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin one more reason to vilify the West.

But the bottom line, and most important consideration, is that without it, the US can't inspect Russia's nukes. That's reason enough to ratify."

Consensus is clear: Ratify New START now
USA Today, September 11
General Dirk Jameson

"Every day that we delay is another day we aren't getting the security and intelligence benefits we urgently need. The Senate has done its due diligence; it should offer its advice and give its consent. Listen to America's leading military commanders: It is time to ratify this treaty."

It's time for the Senate to vote on New START
The Washington Post, September 10
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator Gary Hart, and former Senator Chuck Hagel

"Given the national security stakes and the overwhelming support from the military and national security community, we hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will send the treaty to the floor with robust bipartisan backing and that senators will promptly ratify it with the kind of resounding margin such measures have historically enjoyed."

Learning from Experience on Arms Control
The Wall Street Journal, September 7
Former Secretary of State George Shultz

"The New Start treaty, like others before it, was built on previous experience. And, like earlier treaties, it provides a building block for the future. As lower levels of warheads are negotiated, the importance of accurate verification increases and the precedent and experience derived from New Start will ensure that a literal counting process will be available. The New Start treaty also sets a precedent for the future in its provision for on-site observation of nondeployed nuclear systems-important since limits on nondeployed warheads will be a likely next step."

The START debate
The Washington Post, July 26
Editorial

"[R]atification of the accord will ensure that inspections of Russian weapons continue; the regime established by the previous START treaty lapsed last year. It will also provide the United States some credibility as it seeks to persuade Russia and other key nations around the world to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Iran and other states.

[G]iven where the discussion stands, ratification of START is something that could, and should, get done this year."

Arizona

Regarding nuclear arms control, Jon Kyl is letting gamesmanship trump statesmanship
Tucson Weekly, September 23
Tom Danehy

"The treaty will also institute a new inspection and monitoring program that replaces the one that lapsed last year, when the initial START Treaty of 1991 expired. After a nine-month (and counting) lapse, the new treaty would again put in place a system that allows for exchanging information and putting inspectors on the ground. It's a program that the United States and Russia need, and one that both sides justifiably pat themselves on the back for being mature enough to want."

Senate must OK U.S.-Russia pact on nuclear arms
The Arizona Republic, September 6
General John Adams

"Rejection or delay of this treaty carries serious consequences. By the time the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes in mid-September on whether to send it to the floor for ratification, it will have been more than 280 days since U.S. on-site monitoring of Russia's nuclear weapons and facilities was suspended.

On the substance, Sen. Kyl's call for even more funding [for the nuclear weapons complex] runs counter to the thinking of our military leadership and those in charge of our nuclear weapons. The U.S. secretary of Defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, STRATCOM commander and NNSA director have all said the administration's proposed $80 billion plan for modernization of the nuclear-weapons infrastructure over the next decade - a significant, 10 percent increase over current levels - is more than adequate. Substance notwithstanding, the treaty should not be held hostage over this unrelated matter."

California

Senate should vote to ease nuclear tensions
San Francisco Chronicle, September 22
Editorial

"The U.S. Senate has become a policy graveyard ruled by political gridlock, not long-term vision. But it can repair its image by approving the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia."

Florida

Get STARTed: Senate must ratify U.S.-Russia arms control treaty
Palm Beach Post, November 17
Major General William F. Burns

"Still, some skeptics refuse to budge. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Tuesday opposed any vote on the treaty, perhaps to extract even more funding to 'modernize' our nuclear arsenal. Such tactics are unhelpful and unnecessary. Mr. Obama's $7 billion request for nuclear weapons maintenance and infrastructure in fiscal year 2011 is 10 percent higher than it was in the final year of the Bush administration. And if there are cost overruns for weapons maintenance, lawmakers can revise the budget.

The Senate must approve New START, and quickly. The U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for decades, and it's made our world safer. This is no time to stop."

Arms reduction pact with Russians deserves support
The Florida Times-Union, September 13
Nancy Soderberg, former ambassador to the United Nations

"Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., who has yet to declare his position on the treaty, ought to join Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in supporting the [New START] treaty when it comes up for a vote later this year. It's a smart vote in our national security interest.

New START makes an important 30 percent reduction in the number of nuclear warheads deployed by both the United States and Russia - which, combined, make up 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. That will leave each side's arsenal at 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed delivery vehicles, such as nuclear submarines, bombers and missiles. We will be able to keep a close watch on the Russians to make sure they don't cheat."

Georgia

A faith perspective on arms treaty
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 14
Joseph E. Lowery and Jonathan Merritt

"For those called to seek the kingdom of God before all other things, the quest for peace is never optional. While this treaty will not end the nuclear danger, let alone end war, it is a step in the right direction - and a measure deserving the support of all who wear Christ's gentle yoke."

Treaty protects against nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 7
Major General Paul D. Eaton

"For more than 40 years, the U.S. has pursued strategic stability through an arms control process that has been vigorously supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. The New START Treaty both continues these established principles and tailors them to meet the security needs of the 21st century."

Iowa

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

"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 deployed 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."

Maine

New START ratification important for our security
Bangor Daily News, November 10
Chris Rector, Maine state senator

"New START establishes a state-of-the-art verification process that allows us to track Russia's nuclear activities and verify the reductions they've committed to. Improving U.S. intelligence on Russia's nuclear capability and securing and reducing its nuclear stockpile significantly enhances American national security. Anyone who supports greater stability, transparency and predictability of the world's other major nuclear power should support of this treaty."

Massachusetts

A GOP legacy at risk
The Boston Globe, September 14
John B. Rhinelander, former Nixon administration treaty negotiator

"Republicans have a proud history of taking the lead on nuclear arms control treaties with Russia - treaties that have made America safer.

A ratified new START Treaty would once again provide on-the-ground information about Russian strategic forces, allowing US officials to make better-informed decisions about investments in our nuclear forces and other military capabilities. Relying on worst-case or best-guess decision-making invariably leads to wasteful military spending."

Nebraska

Let's reduce nuclear threat
Omaha World-Herald, September 6
Greg Thielmann, former U.S. foreign service officer and former senior staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, ACA senior fellow

"[New START] Treaty ratification will set in motion the verifiable reduction of hundreds of strategic nuclear weapons, without weakening the deterrent capability of U.S. forces. It also will re-establish the on-site monitoring of Russian and U.S. missile and bomber bases. This monitoring is necessary for confidence that both sides are reducing their stockpiles as agreed."

Senate should get STARTed
Omaha World-Herald, September 4
Editorial

"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

Let national security, not politics, guide decision on START
Nashua Telegraph, August 29
Generals John Castellaw, Dirk Jameson, and John Adams

"As those whose career has been dedicated to our nation's defense - including responsibility for all U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles, overseeing Marine Aviation and the Marine Corps budget creation and execution, and as the U.S. deputy military representative to NATO - we take very seriously the idea that national security should be above political partisanship.

Unfortunately, there has been an increasing push to make a treaty designed to provide stabilization to our strategic nuclear forces, vital intelligence and verification, as well as a modest reduction in those nuclear weapons, into a political issue. Senators should resist that push, stick to the facts and ratify the [New START] treaty."

New Jersey

Senate should speed approval of New START arms treaty with Russia
The Star-Ledger, September 12
Avis Bohlen, former Asst. Sec. of State for Arms Control, and Daryl Kimball, ACA executive director

"The revival of U.S.-Russian strategic dialogue has already improved cooperation in a variety of fields. New START will help strengthen our joint efforts to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, as well as keep pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, which it could use to build the bomb. Without New START, Russian support will be far harder to obtain."

North Carolina

Senate should approve new arms treaty
Asheville Citizen-Times, October 14
Lee McMinn

"Despite the claims to the contrary, New START will not limit modernization of existing stockpiles, nor will it limit development of anti-missile technology, or weaken our ability to defend against a large-scale nuclear attack. In fact, this treaty will strengthen our security by reducing the amount of military-grade nuclear material that might fall into the hands of rogue states and stateless terrorist groups bent on harming us."

Ohio

Senate must make arms treaty lame-duck priority
The Blade, November 9
Phineas Anderson, Richard P. Anderson, and Stephen Stranahan

"Senator Voinovich and his fellow Republicans should unanimously join Democrats in passing New START this year, as senators of both parties joined in 2002 to approve the Moscow treaty. On national security, bipartisanship rather than politics should rule the day."

Pennsylvania

Nuclear-arms treaty will test Obama, GOP
The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 8
Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund

"In July, referring to New START, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress, 'This treaty has the full support of your uniformed military.' Cabinet officials from every administration since Richard Nixon's also gave their support to the treaty during 20 Senate hearings and briefings. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave it a bipartisan 14-4 vote of approval. With this level of consensus, Senate passage of New START would seem like a no-brainer."

Tennessee

New START treaty good for the country and ET
Knoxville News Sentinel , September 24
Editorial

"The treaty makes sense for the country's foreign policy and national defense goals. Both countries would be able to inspect and verify each other's arsenals for compliance, and the pact should bolster America's standing as it tries to curb the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea."

Utah

New START widely supported, should be ratified
Salt Lake Tribune, November 13
Mark Shurtleff, Utah attorney general, and Ryan Wilcox, Utah state representative

"The signing of New START has cemented U.S. leadership on nonproliferation issues, strengthening efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials and building support for sanctions aimed at ending Iran's nuclear program.

Since the treaty was signed, Russia has now joined the United States in a Security Council vote on sanctions and canceled weapons sales to Iran."

Wyoming

Senate should support New START treaty
Casper Star-Tribune, September 15
Former Senator Alan Simpson

"New START will continue to provide on-the-ground information about Russian strategic force deployments that is unavailable from any other source. There is just no other way to gain such insight into Russia's arsenal. Moreover, such transparency improves predictability and stability not only between our two nations, but it also helps prevent this dangerous material from falling into the hands of those who wish us harm."

-ROB GOLAN-VILELLA

 

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 32

With the Senate back in business for its post-election session, one of the main items on the Obama administration's agenda is ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. This high level of public support is also reflected on opinion pages around the country, as many U.S. newspapers have published editorials and op-eds in favor of New START. Below is a sample of the broad editorial support for New START from all regions of the United States.

Country Resources:

New START: A Missile-Defense-Friendly Treaty

Sections:

Body: 

Volume 1, Number 31, November 16, 2010

One of the biggest ironies in the debate over ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is that critics use the agreement's treatment of missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START is conspicuous for its lack of significant constraints on strategic ballistic missile defenses. The Barack Obama administration's negotiation of a missile-defense-friendly-treaty is particularly remarkable considering that missile defense constraints appear to have been an important objective of the Russian negotiators.

Missile Defense Myths About New START

That this barking dog did not bite has not stopped some advocates of strategic missile defenses from complaining loudly about "unilateral constraints on missile defenses." Yet the only missile defense constraint of any kind is the treaty's Article V prohibition on converting intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers for use as launchers of missile defense interceptors. With regard to this provision, Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, has testified to Congress that retaining the silo conversion option was not sought by the United States because there were no plans to exercise it; if any new missile defense launchers were needed, they could be more quickly and less expensively acquired through the construction of new silos. None of the critics have explained how this provision limits U.S. missile defense options in the real world.  Moreover, Gen. O'Reilly told a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year that: "The New START treaty actually reduces constraints on the development of the missile defense program [present in the 1991 START agreement]." START I prohibited the launch of missile defense target vehicles from airborne and waterborne platforms.

Some missile defense acolytes have also complained about New START's non-binding, preambular language recognizing the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms and that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced. Yet including this simple truism in the preamble did not lead to any numerical or qualitative limits on missile defenses in the treaty itself. Moreover, the preamble continues with the assertion that "current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties" - a striking acknowledgement by Russia that the 30 strategic ballistic missile interceptors currently deployed by the United States do not threaten Russia's strategic nuclear retaliatory capability.

A final complaint of critics stems from the unilateral "Statement of the Russian Federation Concerning Missile Defense." Following a practice used by both parties to past strategic arms treaties, Russia provided a formal warning 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 a build-up in U.S. missile defense capabilities that "would give rise to a threat to [Russia's strategic nuclear force potential]" is one of the "extraordinary events" mentioned in Article XIV of the treaty, which could prompt Russia to exercise its right of withdrawal.

In response to Russia's statement, the United States issued its own unilateral statement 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...." This language will undoubtedly provoke criticism in the Duma's consideration of the treaty, but is not expected to prevent ratification.

Put simply, New START would mandate verifiable reductions of Russian and U.S. strategic offensive nuclear forces without placing limits on strategic defensive forces. Moreover, the United States has made clear in its unilateral statement that the treaty would not prevent it from improving and deploying missile defense systems. The subsequent adoption of President Obama's Phased Adaptive Approach has provided a clear and logical conceptual roadmap for U.S. development and deployment of future missile defense systems in Europe during the treaty's duration. Obama's cancellation of plans for deploying unproven, strategic missile interceptors in Poland constituted a shift in emphasis to regional, non-strategic systems, more responsive to present and near-term missile threats from Iran. Russian civilian and military leaders have indicated that they do not feel threatened by U.S. theater missile defense systems based in Europe.

Missile Defense Politics vs. U.S. National Security

That the critics' line of argument is so contrary to the facts cries out for explanation. Most of these critics probably know full well that New START protects rather than jeopardizes U.S. missile defense options during the next decade. They realize that the treaty has broad support among present and former senior military and security officials. They should also understand that 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.

However, since missile defense programs are so popular in Congress, rallying to their defense is a convenient subterfuge. Spurious charges and snipe hunts for imaginary secret understandings between U.S. and Russian negotiators to curb missile defenses are useful excuses for delaying the Senate vote. Ideological opponents of arms control hope that likely Senate approval may be derailed by stalling a Senate vote until the 112th Congress convenes or by provoking a negative Russian reaction. Some missile defense enthusiasts worry that future compromises with Russia might limit U.S. programs. They find that withholding support for treaty approval now increases leverage with Congress to secure future budgets and to insert qualifying language in the Senate's resolution of approval, which builds firewalls against negotiating future limits on missile defenses.

There is a legitimate debate to be had over the chances of reconciling post-New START reductions in nuclear weapons with a build-up in U.S. strategic defenses at some point in the future. But the critics' distortion of New START as hostile to missile defense only raises suspicions that they fear an honest debate on the merits of this treaty and a frank discussion about the real opportunity costs of pursuing unconstrained strategic missile defenses in the future. - GREG THIELMANN

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 31

One of the biggest ironies in the debate over ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is that critics use the agreement's treatment of missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START is conspicuous for its lack of significant constraints on strategic ballistic missile defenses. The Barack Obama administration's negotiation of a missile-defense-friendly-treaty is particularly remarkable considering that missile defense constraints appear to have been an important objective of the Russian negotiators.

Country Resources:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Issue Briefs