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Right after I graduated, I interned with the Arms Control Association. It was terrific.

– George Stephanopolous
Host of ABC's This Week
January 1, 2005
Daryl G. Kimball

After New START, What Next?

Daryl G. Kimball

After just two years in office, the administration of President Barack Obama has put the United States back in the role of global nuclear risk-reduction leader. In April 2009, Obama recommitted the United States to the goal of a “world without nuclear weapons,” beginning with overdue reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles, steps to strengthen the beleaguered nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), reconsideration of the long-delayed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and action toward a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT).

By last summer, Obama and his team had guided the 2010 NPT Review Conference to a successful conclusion, negotiated and signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and hosted a historic nuclear security summit.

The nuclear risk reduction effort got another big boost last month when 13 Republicans joined 58 Democrats and independents to approve ratification of New START, which will verifiably cut deployed arsenals to 1,550 warheads each. The strong vote for the treaty is remarkable in this time of hyper-partisanship in Washington. As Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry (D-Mass.) noted, “[I]n today’s Senate, 70 votes is yesterday’s 95.”

Kerry and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), along with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, pursued a smart, patient plan to consult with Republican senators and take their concerns into account. They turned back treaty-killing amendments from a small group of obstinate treaty critics led by Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) that would have required renegotiation with Russia.

In the end, New START won the Senate’s support because it makes sense and had strong support from the U.S. military and national security establishment. Passage of New START will boost U.S.-Russian cooperation to contain Iran’s nuclear program and secure vulnerable nuclear material, and open the way for further Russian and U.S. nuclear arms reductions.

The next steps will not be easy, but they must be pursued. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, it is in the best interests of Russia and the United States to reduce their huge strategic nuclear stockpiles further, phase out their Cold War-style targeting plans, restrict the role of nuclear weapons solely to deterring nuclear attack by others, account for and reduce tactical nuclear bombs, and, as Obama has promised, engage the other nuclear-armed states in a dialogue on nuclear disarmament.

Further U.S.-Russian reductions should cover all types of nuclear weapons and, ideally, be secured through a follow-on treaty. In the interim, the two governments should consider unilateral reciprocal actions that accelerate the reductions mandated by New START and go further—by cutting their deployed strategic stockpiles to 1,000 or fewer warheads before the 2017 New START implementation deadline.

Not only must the United States and Russia further reduce their arsenals, they must work harder to prevent other states from building up and improving their nuclear arsenals. To succeed, the United States needs to revive efforts for a global ban on fissile material production for weapons and solidify the global moratorium on nuclear test explosions by ratifying the CTBT.

In 2009, Obama pledged to “lead a global effort” to negotiate a verifiable FMCT, but talks at the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament (CD) remain blocked due to opposition from Pakistan, which is locked in an arms race with India.

If talks at the CD do not begin soon, the Obama administration should pursue parallel, open-ended talks involving the eight states with fissile material production facilities that are not legally required to be under international safeguards. Even if talks do begin, they will likely drag on for years. To hasten progress, all states with facilities not subject to safeguards should agree voluntarily to suspend fissile material production.

The New START vote suggests it is possible for the Senate to reconsider and come together around the CTBT, which cannot enter into force without U.S. ratification. The case for the test ban treaty is even stronger than it was when the Senate considered it in 1999. Nearly two decades after the last U.S. nuclear test explosion, it is clear that the United States no longer needs or wants nuclear testing and further testing by other states could help improve their nuclear capabilities.

The Obama administration’s robust, $85 billion, 10-year plan for upgrading the nuclear weapons complex should give skeptical senators greater confidence that nuclear testing is no longer needed to maintain the effectiveness of the U.S. arsenal.

The New START vote shows that controversial treaties can be approved without the support of top Republicans when the White House, backed by the military and the national laboratory directors, pursues a sustained, high-profile campaign. It is time for Obama to launch such a campaign to explain how the CTBT strengthens U.S. security.

The American people expect their leaders to take action to reduce the nuclear weapons threat. Doing nothing or delaying action on pragmatic nuclear risk-reduction steps is not an option.

After just two years in office, the administration of President Barack Obama has put the United States back in the role of global nuclear risk-reduction leader. In April 2009, Obama recommitted the United States to the goal of a “world without nuclear weapons,” beginning with overdue reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles, steps to strengthen the beleaguered nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), reconsideration of the long-delayed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and action toward a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT).

New START Approval a Victory for Commonsense, Pragmatic Approaches to Reducing Nuclear Weapons Dangers

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Statement of Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director,

Arms Control Association, December 22, 2010

Today's Senate vote to approve ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is a victory for common sense arms control solutions to reduce the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

With the 71-26 vote, a bipartisan coalition of senators recognized that U.S. and international security is stronger when the United States takes the lead to reduce the size of world's two largest nuclear arsenals and to limit the ability of other states to improve their nuclear capabilities.

The strong vote for New START is remarkable in this time of hyper-partisanship. As Senator John Kerry noted about this Senate: "70 is the new 95." Senators Kerry and Lugar, along with President Obama and Vice-president Biden pursued a smart, patient plan to consult with and take Republican concerns about the treaty into account and, as a result, New START is truly a success for the nation.

New START won the Senate's support because it makes sense: it is effectively verifiable, and it will build international cooperation to help secure vulnerable nuclear material and to turn Iran and North Korea away from nuclear weapons. The treaty has the overwhelming support of the American people, the U.S. military, and Republican and Democratic national security experts alike.

New START is a strong start: the United States and Russia must continue to work to reduce their huge strategic nuclear stockpiles, phase out their Cold War-style targeting plans, tackle the problem of accounting for and reducing tactical nuclear weapons and, as President Obama has said, engage the other nuclear-armed states in a dialogue on nuclear disarmament.

Further reductions should be secured through a follow-on treaty, or, in the interim, through unilateral reciprocal reductions. Whatever the formula, it is clear that there is still more to be done. In the 21st Century, nuclear weapons are a greater liability than an asset. They are useless in deterring or responding to nuclear terrorism. In the coming months, the United States and Russia should discuss reducing their arsenals to 1,000 or fewer nuclear weapons of all types, and restrict their role solely to deterring nuclear attack by others.

Not only must the United States and Russia further reduce their arsenals, but they must work to prevent other states from building up and improving their nuclear arsenals. In particular, the United States needs to work harder to head off arms buildups elsewhere. To do so, the U.S. needs to lead a renewed effort for a global ban on fissile material production for weapons and we need to solidify the global ban on nuclear testing by ratifying the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The New START vote suggests it is possible for the Senate to reconsider and come together around the CTBT. The case for the test ban treaty is even stronger than it was when the Senate last reviewed the treaty a decade ago. It is clear that the United States no longer needs or wants nuclear testing and that further nuclear testing could help others improve their nuclear capabilities.

The robust, $85 billion, 10-year plan for upgrading the nuclear weapons complex should give Senators greater confidence that nuclear testing is no longer needed to maintain the effectiveness of the U.S. arsenal. Senators of both parties should recognize that delaying reconsideration of the Test Ban Treaty will 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.

Senate approval of New START demonstrates that the American people expect their leaders to take action to reduce the nuclear weapons threat. New START has had the active support of a very large, diverse, bipartisan array of national security, arms control, religious, scientific, and environmental organizations.

New START advocates include a range of supporters from the Air Force Association to the Arms Control Association, from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the National Assn. of Evangelicals, from retired generals to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, plus a long list of former Secretaries of State, former Secretaries of Defense, former national security advisers, former presidents, and all major U.S. allies urging approval of the treaty this year. Newspapers in red, blue, and purple states have editorialized overwhelmingly in favor of prompt Senate ratification New START.

The clear message is that doing nothing, or delaying action on pragmatic nuclear risk reduction steps, is not a prudent option.

We welcome the Senate's strong vote of support for New START and look forward to further progress in reducing the nuclear threat and increasing U.S. security in the months and years ahead.

For more background and analysis on further steps to reduce the nuclear threat, see:

"After New START: What Next?" by Stephen Pifer, Brooking Institution in Arms Control Today, December 2010. See: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_12/Pifer

"NATO's Nuclear Decision," by Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Today, September, 2010. See: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_09/Focus

The Case for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, An Arms Control Association Report by Tom Z. Collina and Daryl G. Kimball, February 2010. See: http://projectforthectbt.org/resources/CTBTBriefingBook

"Time for Leadership on the Fissile Cutoff," Arms Control Today, by Daryl G. Kimball, October 2010. See: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_10/Focus

"Presidential Q & A: President-Elect Barack Obama," Arms Control Today, December 2008. See: http://www.armscontrol.org/2008election

 

 

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Today's Senate vote to approve ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is a victory for common sense arms control solutions to reduce the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Case for New START Builds; Skeptics Miss the Mark

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Volume 1, Number 45, December 16, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. New START is effectively verifiable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.  New START allows conventional global strike weapons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. New START covers rail-mobile missiles.

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

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

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

10.  Bilateral Consultative Commission is subject to Senate approval.

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

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

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

11. New START has been thoroughly vetted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For more information on New START, see:

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

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

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

Description: 

Volume 1, Issue 45

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

Country Resources:

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

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Volume 1, Number 41, December 7, 2010

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

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

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

Lab Directors "Very Pleased" With Funding Plan

At the request of Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the directors of the three U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories wrote last week that they are "very pleased" with the recently updated $85 billion budget to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile and modernize the weapons complex.

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

On Dec. 1, Lawrence Livermore director Dr. George Miller, Los Alamos director Dr. Michael Anastasio, and Sandia director Dr. Paul Hommert wrote that the increased funding plan released in November provides "adequate support" to sustain the U.S. nuclear arsenal within the limit of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads established by New START.

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

A Budget to "Kill For"

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

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

As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote in his preface to the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), "These investments, and the NPR's strategy for warhead life extension, represent a credible modernization plan necessary to sustain the nuclear infrastructure and support our nation's deterrent." The administration's plan calls for spending an additional $100 billion over the same period to upgrade strategic nuclear delivery systems.

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

$85 Billion is More Than Enough

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

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

The Senate Foreign Relation Committee's Oct.1 bipartisan resolution of advice and consent anticipated this concern, stating "the United States is committed to proceeding with a robust stockpile stewardship program, and to maintaining and modernizing the nuclear weapons production capabilities and capacities." To achieve these goals, the resolution says that the United States is committed to providing the necessary resources, "at a minimum at the levels set forth in the President's 10-year plan."

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

Time to Get Real

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

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

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

 



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Volume 1, Number 41

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

Country Resources:

New START Now

Daryl G. Kimball

President Barack Obama, backed by the U.S. military, bipartisan national security leaders, and America’s NATO allies, has made a strong case for approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) before the end of this year. New START would reduce Russia’s still enormous nuclear arsenal, re-establish effective bilateral inspection and monitoring, and further enhance U.S.-Russian cooperation on key issues, including containing Iran's nuclear program and further reducing all types of Russian and U.S. nuclear arms.

As Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has argued, “Every senator has an obligation in the national security interest to take a stand, to do his or her duty.”

There is no excuse for inaction. Since it was signed on April 8, the treaty has been thoroughly vetted. The Senate has held more than 20 hearings and briefings; more than 900 questions have been asked and answered. Pushing the treaty’s consideration into 2011 would undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership and jeopardize relations with Russia at a critical juncture.

Yet, many Republican senators say they need more time to decide. They are led by Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), who continues to stall progress on New START in an apparent attempt to secure even more funding for the already well-funded U.S. nuclear weapons production infrastructure.

The administration requested $7 billion for the weapons complex in fiscal year 2011, an amount that is about 10 percent higher than it was in the final year of the Bush administration. Linton Brooks, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) head under President George W. Bush, said in April, “I’d have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration.”

Then, in May the administration outlined its $80 billion, 10-year plan for the NNSA nuclear weapons complex, which is almost 15 percent higher than current spending levels.

On Aug. 4, Kyl told Reuters he would hold up New START unless appropriations bills passed by Congress for fiscal year 2011 and the president’s budget for fiscal year 2012 reflect the administration’s plan for modernizing the nuclear weapons complex. Acknowledging that it would be difficult to get everything done before the November election, Kyl said the Senate might need a postelection session if it wanted to vote on the treaty this year.

The administration has addressed Kyl’s demands and gone beyond them. So far, Congress has approved the administration’s fiscal year 2011 budget request for NNSA weapons activities. Then, on Nov. 17 the Obama administration delivered revised estimates for funding the nuclear weapons complex over the next decade. The plan now totals a whopping $85 billion, including an additional $4.1 billion in spending for fiscal years 2012-2016, mainly to cover possible cost increases for two new facilities. That would represent a 21 percent rise above the proposed fiscal year 2011 funding level for NNSA weapons activities.

Unfortunately, it seems that Kyl cannot take “yes” for an answer. In a Nov. 27 letter to their fellow Republicans, Kyl and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) complained that it will be several years before the United States would be able to completely remanufacture its nuclear stockpile with new and modernized facilities. They make the absurd claim that further reductions in the active U.S. stockpile are imprudent until and unless such a capability is re-established. Before New START can be considered, they say, the administration should accelerate funding for the new facilities in New Mexico and Corker’s home state of Tennessee.

That contradicts the views of U.S. military leaders and the directors of the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. They do not believe that the modest reductions called for under New START must wait until the United States can remanufacture hundreds of new warheads as a “hedge” against a resurgent Russia or the highly unlikely possibility that some warheads in the arsenal require a fix through a more extensive life-extension program.

In reality, the current program for refurbishing existing warheads is working extremely well. Obama’s original $80 billion plan for the weapons complex provided more than enough to maintain the existing stockpile over the next decade. If future Congresses believe that funding increases are warranted, they can consider appropriating more money at the appropriate time.

Further attempts by Kyl to delay Senate consideration of New START in order to “earmark” still more funding for the weapons labs is fiscally irresponsible, politically unsustainable, and damaging to U.S. security.

“Waiting until next year would require a new set of hearings and lots more time,” Lugar told Louisville’s Courier-Journal Nov. 28. Such a course, he said, “borders on the irresponsible in terms of national security.”

As Obama noted in his Nov. 20 weekly radio address, “Some things are bigger than politics. Senator Lugar is right, and if the Senate passes this treaty, it will not be an achievement for Democrats or Republicans—it will be a win for America.”

 

President Barack Obama, backed by the U.S. military, bipartisan national security leaders, and America’s NATO allies, has made a strong case for approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) before the end of this year. New START would reduce Russia’s still enormous nuclear arsenal, re-establish effective bilateral inspection and monitoring, and further enhance U.S.-Russian cooperation on key issues, including containing Iran's nuclear program and further reducing all types of Russian and U.S. nuclear arms.

"The Case for New START" ACA's Guide to the Treaty

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Media contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director (202-463-8270 x107); Tom Z. Collina, Research Director (202-463-8270 x104).

As the United States Senate prepares to vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the non-partisan Arms Control Association has produced a comprehensive, all-in-one guide to the treaty.

Download the full report at www.armscontrol.org/reports. For an HTML text version, click here.

"The Case for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty" (PDF) includes:

  • An authoritative analysis of the national security benefits of the treaty and responses to concerns that have been raised by skeptics on missile defense, verification, tactical nuclear weapons, and modernization of the nuclear weapons complex;
  • A summary of the key provisions of the treaty;
  • A description of New START's impact on U.S. strategic nuclear forces;
  • An overview of past and current U.S.-Russian nuclear arms agreements;
  • A description of the administration's long-range plan and budget for maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal and modernizing the weapons complex; and
  • A selection of key statements from U.S. military leaders and senior national security officials on the need for prompt ratification.
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As the United States Senate prepares to begin debate on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the non-partisan Arms Control Association is releasing a comprehensive, all-in-one guide to the treaty.

Country Resources:

The Case for New START

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Volume 1, Number 30, November 15, 2010

The United States and Russia have dramatically reduced their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War, thanks to bilateral arms control agreements that have won the support of Republicans and Democrats alike. In the bipartisan tradition of earlier agreements negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) would keep Washington and Moscow on track to reduce their arsenals by about 30 percent below current limits.

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

Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate should agree to make time to debate and vote on ratification of New START before Congress adjourns for the year.

Why the urgency? The original START treaty expired Dec. 5, 2009, and with it went START's arsenal limits and on-site inspections. General Kevin Chilton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testified in June, "If we don't get the treaty, [the Russians] are not constrained in their development of force structure and... we have no insight into what they're doing. So it's the worst of both possible worlds."

Prompt ratification of New START is the only way to close this "verification gap." The treaty would establish an updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections that would provide more information on the status of Russian strategic forces than was available under the original START accord.

For these and other reasons, a long list of U.S. military leaders, including seven former U.S. strategic commanders and national security leaders from past Republican and Democratic administrations support New START.

Over the last eight months, more than 20 Senate hearings and briefings have been held on the pact. The administration has answered more than 900 questions from senators.  On Sept. 16 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) passed the New START resolution of advice and consent by a bipartisan vote of 14 to 4.

This resolution answered all of the major questions posed by treaty skeptics, and was able to satisfy all 11 Democratic committee members and Republican Senators Richard Lugar (Ind.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), and Johnny Isakson (Ga.).  This Issue Brief highlights the reasons why New START deserves prompt Senate approval.

1. New START would cap and reduce Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal.

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

At the same time, New START would allow the United States to maintain a devastatingly powerful nuclear arsenal deployed on a "triad" of nuclear delivery systems.  Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Nov. 11 that New START would leave the United States with nuclear forces that are "...more than enough for us to handle our military responsibilities."  Besides Russia, the United States' only potential nuclear adversary is China, which has fewer than 50 nuclear-armed long-range missiles.

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

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

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

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

3. New START is effectively verifiable.

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

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

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

Moreover, the original START's 28 inspections had to cover 70 facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as the Soviet nuclear complex was spread across these four now-independent nations.  Today, all former Soviet nuclear weapons and facilities have been centralized in Russia, and New START's 18 inspections need to cover only 35 Russian sites.

Telemetry. Telemetry, or missile flight test information, was needed under START I to determine the maximum number of warheads that might be loaded onto Russian ballistic missiles.  Since New START requires data exchanges on the actualwarhead loading of each deployed missile and allows direct on-site inspections to confirm this, telemetry sharing is no longer required.  Even so, New START provides for telemetry sharing on up to five missile tests per year as a confidence-building measure.

"Telemetry is not nearly as important for this treaty as it has been in the past," said Secretary Gates March 26. "In fact, we don't need telemetry to monitor compliance with this treaty," he said.

Votkinsk. Although the George W. Bush administration agreed in 2008 to end mobile missile production monitoring at Russia's Votkinsk plant, under the new treaty Russia must notify the United States 48 hours before a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) leaves Votkinsk and when it arrives at its destination, which will facilitate monitoring by national technical means, such as satellites.

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

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

"If Russia were to attempt to gain political advantage by cheating or breakout, the U.S. will be able to respond rapidly by increasing the alert levels of SSBNs [strategic submarines] and bombers, and by uploading warheads on SSBNs, bombers, and ICBMs. Therefore, the survivable and flexible U.S. strategic posture planned for New START will help deter any future Russian leaders from cheating or breakout from the treaty, should they ever have such an inclination."

Nevertheless, SFRC member Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who voted against the treaty, said Sept. 16 that the IC had revealed "very serious information" that in his view should have held up committee approval of New START.  Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) replied that the new information "in no way alters [the IC's] judgment, already submitted to this committee, with respect to the [New] START treaty...  It has no impact, in their judgment."

4. New START bolsters U.S. nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed, the Obama administration is going full-bore on its plans to increase SM-3 intermediate-range interceptor deployments in Europe. While some may bemoan the decision to revise the Bush-era plan to deploy silo-based strategic interceptors in Europe, the new plan better addresses the existing Iranian short- and medium-range missile threat.

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

The Obama administration has pledged, pursuant to section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, to spend $80 billion over the next ten years to maintain the nuclear stockpile and modernize the weapons complex. The plan calls for spending another $100 billion over the same period to upgrade strategic nuclear delivery systems.

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

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

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

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

Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) Sept. 30 that includes the administration's $7 billion FY2011 budget request for weapons activities at NNSA.  Sen. Kerry said Sept. 30 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.  The CR runs out on Dec. 3. If the Senate does not vote on New START before year's end, the administration may not be able to protect the program from cuts.

Senators of both parties should recognize that delaying approval of New START-and reconsideration of the Test Ban Treaty next year-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.

7. New START allows conventional global strike weapons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. New START is supported by the U.S. military and bipartisan national security leaders.

New START has the support of the U.S. military establishment and former senior national security officials, both Republicans and Democrats, including:

James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of Central Intelligence, Nixon and Ford administrations; Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor, Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations; Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor, George W. Bush administration; James Baker, former Secretary of State, George H.W. Bush administration; Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Nixon and Ford administrations; George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State, Reagan administration; Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State, George W. Bush administration; former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, Carter administration; former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, Reagan administration; and former Republican Senators Howard Baker (Tenn.), John C. Danforth (Mo.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Nancy Kassebaum-Baker (Kansas), Warren Rudman (N.H.), Alan Simpson (Wyo.), and William Cohen (Maine),among others.

Seven former U.S. military commanders of Strategic Command announced their support for New START.  In a July 14 letter to senators, the five Air Force Generals and two Navy Admirals wrote that they "strongly endorse [New START's] early ratification and entry into force" because "the treaty will enhance American national security."

10. New START allows command and control upgrades.

On Oct. 23, a communications failure occurred at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyo., involving 50 nuclear-armed Minuteman III ICBMs.  Even though this incident, which lasted one hour, could have prevented officers at the base from launching the missiles, back-up airborne command and control systems could still have launched on orders from the commander-in-chief.  An administration official, speaking about the president's ability to control nuclear forces, said: "At no time did the president's ability decrease."

Meanwhile, even without the 50 ICBMs in question, the United States at the time still had over 800 strategic missiles and bombers deployed with 1,900 nuclear warheads in its active force.  Moreover, even if this incident had happened after New START had been fully implemented, the United States would still have had over 600 missiles and bombers with 1,500 nuclear warheads ready to go.

Nuclear command and control systems can and will be improved and New START would not in any way prevent such improvements.  In fact, the U.S. military is planning to invest $180 billion in its nuclear weapons and delivery systems over the next decade, while New START would be in force.  As a result, Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, head of the United States' new Global Strike Command, said Nov. 9 that the Warren incident "has absolutely no link at all to the START Treaty."

Stalling New START undermines U.S. security

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

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

Additional Resources:

New START at a Glance: http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/NewSTART

New START text and official documents: http://www.state.gov/t/avc/newstart/c39903.htm

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Volume 1, Number 30

The United States and Russia have dramatically reduced their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War, thanks to bilateral arms control agreements that have won the support of Republicans and Democrats alike. In the bipartisan tradition of earlier agreements negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) would keep Washington and Moscow on track to reduce their arsenals by about 30 percent below current limits.

Country Resources:

English/Spanish New START Op-ed in Dos Mundos

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This op-ed originally appeared in Dos Mundos, a bilingual newspaper in Kansas City, on October 13.

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Spanish Version

On Nukes, Start Anew with New START

By Avis Bohlen and Daryl G. Kimball

Last week, a Senate panel approved a treaty that could define our country's nuclear security for the next decade. They were right to do so -- and the full Senate must affirm their judgment when they consider the agreement this fall.

The measure under consideration - the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) - was signed by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev in April. But it won't go into effect until the Senate grants its consent.

Under the terms of New START, the United States and Russia would scale back their nuclear weapons arsenals. The treaty would also strengthen America's position in the global fight against nuclear proliferation.

New START mandates that Washington and Moscow cut their deployed strategic nuclear arsenals by 30 percent below current limits, from about 2,200 warheads each to no more than 1,550. It also requires both countries to reduce their stock of nuclear-armed long-range missiles and bombers to 700 each. To make sure both countries comply, New START reestablishes a verification system that includes data exchanges and 18 multipurpose, on-site inspections annually.

New START's predecessor, START I, expired eight months ago. Since then, there haven't been any American nuclear inspections in Russia. Existing intelligence operations provide a rough picture of Russia's nuclear forces. But they can't provide crucial information - like the number of warheads inside a given missile -- that on-site inspections can. The treaty would leave the United States with a nuclear arsenal that is more than large enough to deter an attack from Russia -- or any other nuclear-armed state.

New START will also bolster ties between the United States and Russia. A cooperative relationship between the two countries is critical to keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists and to exerting pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

New START has received overwhelming support from America's national security leadership, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, six former secretaries of state, and seven former U.S. Strategic commanders. Unfortunately, a few senators, including Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), are withholding support for New START unless the administration guarantees more funding for the U.S. nuclear weapons production infrastructure.

That makes little sense. Over the next decade, the Obama administration plans to spend $80 billion to modernize the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) weapons-production complex and refurbish our existing nuclear stockpile.

The White House is also calling for another $100 billion over that time to modernize and maintain strategic delivery systems. If there are additional nuclear weapons program costs or savings down the road, future lawmakers can change the budget.

Other critics complain that New START doesn't require Russia to reduce its stockpile of "tactical," or short-range, nuclear warheads. But no formal arms treaty with Russia has ever tackled tactical nukes.

It would be foolish to risk the progress we've made on long-range nuclear weapons by insisting that the policy for short-range weapons be settled now. And without New START, Russia will never agree to cut its tactical nuclear arsenal.

Further, as Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has noted, the vast majority of Russia's tactical nukes are deployed to defend its border with China or are in storage. So they have little impact on the military balance between Russia and the NATO alliance. Since the Reagan administration, every U.S.-Russia arms control treaty has been promptly approved by the Senate with broad bipartisan support.

There's no reason why this accord should be any different. The Senate must approve New START with all due speed.

Avis Bohlen served as U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria and was assistant secretary of state for arms control from 1999-2002. Daryl G. Kimball is executive director of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association.

 

Nuevo tratado estratégico de reduccion de armas nucleares (On nukes, start anew with New START)

Un panel del Senado aprobó recientemente un tratado que podría definir la seguridad nuclear de EE.UU. para la próxima década.

El panel estuvo en lo correcto al hacer eso – y todo el Senado debe confirmar el fallo del panel cuando considere el acuerdo este otoño.

La medida bajo consideración – el Nuevo Tratado Estrategico de Reducción de Armas Nucleares (new START, por sus siglas en ingles) – fue firmado por el presidente Obama y su homólogo ruso Medvedev en abril. Pero no entrara en vigor hasta que el Senado otorgue su consentimiento.

Bajo los términus de New START, Estados Unidos y Rusia podrían reducir sus arsenals de armas nucleares. El tratado también podria fortalecer la posición estadounidense en la lucha mundial contra a proliferacion nuclear.

New START manada que Washington y Moscú reduzcan su desplegado estratégico de arsenales nucleares en un 30% por debajo de sus límites actuales, de aproximadamente 2,200 ojivas* cada uno a no más de 1,550. También requiere a ambos paises reducir su reserva de misiles nucleares de largo alcance y bombarderos a 700 cada uno.

Para asegurarse que ambas naciones cumplan, New START reestableció un sistema de verificación que incluye intercambios de informacion y 18 inspecciones del sitio con propositos multiples anualmente.

El predecessor de New START, START I, venció hace 8 meses. Desde entonces, no ha habido ninguna inspección nuclear estadounidense en Rusia. Las operaciones de inteligencia existents proven un panorama aproximado de las fuerzas nucleares rusas. Pero éstas no pueden suministrar información crucial – como el número de ojivas dentro de un misil determinado – que las inspecciones en el lugar pueden.

El tratado dejaria a EE.UU. con un arsenal nuclear lo suficientemente grande para impedir un ataque ruso – o de cualquier otro estado armado nuclearmente.

New START también reforzaría los lazos entre Estados Unidos y Rusia. Una relación colaborativa EE.UU.-Rusia es crítica para mantener los materials nucleares fuera de las manos de terroristas y para ejercer presión en Iran para suspender su programa de enriquecimiento de uranio.

New START ha recibo un apoyo abrumador del liderazgo de seguridad nacional estadounidense, incluyendo al secretario de Defensa Robert Gates, al presidente de la Junta de Jefes del Estado Mayor Mike Mullen, seis ex secretaries de Estado y siete ex comandantes estratégicos estadounidenses.

Desafortunadeamente, unos cuantos senadores – que incluyen al minoriatrio Jon Kyl – están reteniendo su apoyo a New START a menos que la administración garantice más tinanciamiento a la infraestructura de producción de armas nucleares de EE.UU.

Eso tiene poco sentido. A lo largo de la siguiente decada la administración de Obama planea gastar $80,000 millones para modernizer el complejo de producci´pn de armas de la Admnistración Nacional de Seguridad Nuclear y restaturar nuestra reserva nuclear existente. La Casa Blanca tambien está pidiendo otros $100,000 durane ese tiempo para modernizer y mantener los sistemas estratégicos de entrega.

Si hay costos adicionales o ahorros del programa de armas nucleares durante el transcurso. Entones legisladores futuros podran cambiar el presupoesto.

Otros criticos se quejan de que New START no requiere a Rusia reducir su reserva de ojivas nucleares “tácticas” o de largo aleance.

Pero ningtín tratado formal de armas con Rusia nunca ha afrontado armas nucleares tácticas. Sería tonto arriesgar el avance que hemos logrado en armas nucleares de largo aleance. Al insistir que la politica para armas de corto alcance sea resuelta ahora, y sin New START. Rusia nunca acordara recortar su arsenal nuclear táctico.

Ademas, como el Sen. Richard Lugar ha señalado la mayoria de las armas nucleares rusas son utilizadas para defender sus fronteras con China o estan almacenadas. Así que tienen poco impacto en el balance nilitar entre Rusia y la alianze de la OTAN.

Desde la administracion Reagan cada tratado de control de armas estadounidense-ruso ha sido aprobado sin demora por el Senado con apoyo bipartidista amplio. No hay razón por la que este acucrdo deba sér diferente. El Senado debe aprobar New START con la debida celeridad.

Avis Bohlen fungia como Embajador estadoumidense en Bulgaria y fue Subsecretario de Estado para el control de armas de 1999 a 2002. Daryl G. Kimball es Director Ejecutivo de la Asociación no partidista de Control de Armas. Ambos son expertos destacados en armas nucleares.

* ojiva – cabeza o parte delantera de un proyectil.

Description: 

Originally appeared in Dos Mundos, a bilingual newspaper in Kansas City, on October 13.

Country Resources:

Move Ahead With New START

Daryl G. Kimball

The Senate will return this month for a postelection session that can and should be used to approve the modest but essential New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Failure to do so would further delay the re-establishment of an effective U.S.-Russian inspection and monitoring system, undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership, and jeopardize U.S.-Russian cooperation, including joint efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear program.

Just as earlier agreements negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did, New START would keep Washington and Moscow on track to reduce their arsenals by about 30 percent below current limits—to no more than 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads on no more than 700 delivery vehicles. The United States would retain a large and modern nuclear force more than sufficient to deter nuclear attack by Russia or any other potential adversary.

Prompt ratification of New START is the only way to close the “verification gap” that has emerged since the original START expired on Dec. 5, 2009. New START would establish an updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections that would provide more information on the status of Russian strategic forces than was available under START.

Without New START, each side would be tempted to engage in more-costly force modernization and hedging strategies. "If we don't get the treaty, [the Russians] are not constrained in their development of force structure and...we have no insight into what they're doing. So it's the worst of both possible worlds," Gen. Kevin Chilton, the commander of STRATCOM, said June 16.

New START skeptics have tried and failed to make their arguments stick. Claims that the treaty’s nonbinding language on the "interrelationship" between strategic offenses and defenses will limit U.S. missile defense options do not add up. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates bluntly said May 18, "[T]he treaty will not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defenses possible."

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

For these and other reasons, the overwhelming majority of former military leaders, including seven former U.S. strategic commanders, and national security leaders from past Republican and Democratic administrations judge New START to be in the U.S. national security interest.

Nevertheless, many Republican senators have withheld their support at the behest of Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), who has threatened to block New START unless there is still more money flowing to the already well-funded U.S. nuclear weapons production infrastructure.

Earlier this year, the administration outlined an $80 billion, 10-year plan to modernize the weapons complex and continue to refurbish existing warhead types (a 15 percent increase over current levels). Its plan calls for spending another $100 billion over the same period to upgrade strategic nuclear delivery systems.

Obama’s $7 billion request for the weapons complex in fiscal year 2011 was 10 percent higher than it was in the final year of the George W. Bush administration. Linton Brooks, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration in the Bush administration, said in April, "I'd have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration."

So far, the Obama administration has ensured its fiscal year 2011 budget request has not been cut by congressional appropriators. Congress must act before Dec. 3 to approve an extension of the federal budget. The New START resolution of advice and consent approved 14-4 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorses the 10-year plan to maintain the arsenal and delivery systems. However, if the Senate does not vote on New START before year’s end, the administration may not be able to protect the program from cuts.

But Kyl is apparently holding out for even more. He has suggested the fiscal year 2012 budget request should be higher to cover as yet undocumented cost overruns for two major construction projects: a uranium facility in Tennessee and a plutonium laboratory in New Mexico. He would like new multiyear cost estimates and guarantees they will be funded.

Enough is enough. If there are additional nuclear weapons program costs—or savings—down the road, the next Congress can adjust the budget. Senators of both parties should recognize that delaying approval of New START—and reconsideration of the Test Ban Treaty next year—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.

U.S. national security is clearly stronger with New START than without it. It is time for the Senate to act.

The Senate will return this month for a postelection session that can and should be used to approve the modest but essential New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Failure to do so would further delay the re-establishment of an effective U.S.-Russian inspection and monitoring system, undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership, and jeopardize U.S.-Russian cooperation, including joint efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear program.

Time for Leadership on the Fissile Cutoff

Daryl G. Kimball

Ending the production of fissile material—plutonium or highly enriched uranium (HEU)—for nuclear weapons is a long-sought and still vital nonproliferation objective. Last year, President Barack Obama pledged to “lead a global effort” to negotiate a verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), but talks at the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament (CD) remain blocked, as they have been for nearly a dozen years.

The impasse led the UN secretary-general to convene a high-level meeting September 24. Many of the 70-plus states represented, including the United States, singled out Pakistan for abusing the consensus decision-making rule in order to prevent the CD from implementing its work plan.

Calling out Pakistan is an overdue but insufficient step. Stronger, more creative leadership from Washington and other capitals is needed to achieve progress. Indeed, many delegations at the high-level meeting warned that if negotiations on an FMCT do not begin next year, “other options” should be considered. Given Pakistan’s hard-line position on an FMCT and the ability of any one state to block consensus, there is no reason to wait that long.

Although India and Pakistan have more than enough nuclear firepower to deter a nuclear attack, Pakistani leaders consider the proposed FMCT a “clear and present” danger because it would prevent Pakistan from matching India’s fissile stockpile and production potential. Pakistan insists that other nations agree to discuss limits on existing fissile material stocks before talks can begin.

The United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France have all declared a halt to fissile material production for weapons, in part because each possesses sizable reserves of fissile material. China, which is estimated to have 20 metric tons of HEU and 4 metric tons of separated plutonium, is believed to have halted production for weapons purposes. Israel retains a fissile production capability outside of safeguards, but is not believed to be producing more material. North Korea has a small plutonium-production capacity, which it is legally obligated to put under safeguards and shut down.

Rivals India and Pakistan, however, remain in a fissile production “race.” India produces plutonium for weapons at two dedicated reactors and is estimated to have about 700 kilograms of separated plutonium, which is enough for about 140 bombs. It produces new plutonium at a rate of about 30 kilograms per year.

Pakistan has about 2 metric tons of HEU for its nuclear weapons and about 100 kilograms of weapons plutonium, which is enough for about 100 bombs. Pakistan has one plutonium-production reactor, is building two additional military production reactors, and is increasing its reliance on plutonium weapons. Each reactor can produce about 10 kilograms of plutonium per year.

India and Pakistan have roughly equal quantities of separated fissile material, but Pakistan worries that India may extract plutonium from spent fuel generated by its unsafeguarded power reactors, which could provide enough material for several hundred more bombs. Civil nuclear cooperation deals between India and nuclear supplier states also may free up its domestic uranium supplies for additional plutonium production.

Pakistan’s concerns about an FMCT likely will not be alleviated as long as India’s production potential remains greater. France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States should use what leverage they have to encourage India to exercise greater global nonproliferation leadership and restraint. When he visits India in November, Obama should invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare that India will not increase its rate of fissile production and will put additional nonmilitary reactors under safeguards. The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could help monitor whether India sticks to such a pledge.

If the CD cannot begin work by the end of its first session next year, the United States should pursue parallel, open-ended talks involving the eight states with fissile production facilities that are not legally required to be under IAEA safeguards, as well as representatives from other key states. The initial focus should be to increase transparency and confidence regarding fissile production and fissile stocks and begin technical work on a targeted system for verifying a production halt.

Even if talks on a verifiable, global FMCT begin in Geneva, they may last many years. To hasten progress, the five original nuclear-weapon states should seek an agreement by all states with facilities not subject to safeguards to voluntarily suspend fissile production and place stocks in excess of military requirements under IAEA inspection.

Such a step would maintain pressure on Pakistan and is consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 1172, which calls upon India and Pakistan to “stop their nuclear weapons development programmes [and] cease any further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.” For Israel, which does not need more fissile material and has an aging reactor at Dimona, the moratorium would make a virtue out of necessity.

None of these options is easy or simple, but too much time has already been wasted at the CD. States that are truly serious about reducing the nuclear threat now must provide the leadership needed to build an effective fissile material control regime.

Ending the production of fissile material—plutonium or highly enriched uranium (HEU)—for nuclear weapons is a long-sought and still vital nonproliferation objective. Last year, President Barack Obama pledged to “lead a global effort” to negotiate a verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), but talks at the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament (CD) remain blocked, as they have been for nearly a dozen years.

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