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"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Professor of History, Montgomery College
July 1, 2020
Events

2020 Annual Meeting Speakers

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has represented New York in the Senate since 2009 and previously was a member of the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009. From her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gillibrand has been a vocal advocate for strengthening America’s armed services, national security, and military readiness, and has called for an independent investigation into Russian cyber crimes against U.S. government institutions.

Amb. Bonnie Jenkins
Bonnie Jenkins is the founder and president of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. From 2009 to 2017, she was an ambassador in the U.S. Department of State, where she served as coordinator for threat reduction programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation and represented the United States at four Nuclear Security Summits. Jenkins is a member of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association.

Cecili Thompson Williams
Cecili Thompson Williams is the Director of Beyond the Bomb, leading a team of campaigners and activists to mobilize against the threat of nuclear war and weapons. She has nearly two decades of experience leading mission-driven campaigns with organizations including Amnesty International USA, RESULTS Educational Fund, and the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Vincent Intondi
Dr. Vincent Intondi is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Race, Justice, and Community Engagement at Montgomery College and author of the book African Americans Against the Bomb. His research focuses on the intersection of race and nuclear weapons. Intondi is currently writing a book that examines the anti-nuclear movement during the 1980s, specifically the June 12, 1982 rally for nuclear disarmament in Central Park. He authored the essay "Reflections on Race, Injustice, and the Bomb," which appeared in the July/August issue of Arms Control Today.

Amb. Gustavo Zlauvinen
Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen is the President-designate of the 2020 Review Conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). He has previously served as Delegate of Argentina to a number of disarmament, nuclear energy, and arms control conferences and meetings, including the IAEA Board of Governors and General Conference; the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee; the NPT review process; the Conference on the Adoption of the Nuclear Safety Convention; and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Outer Space.

Heather Williams
Dr. Heather Williams is a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is visiting from King's College London, where she is a Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department and Centre for Science and Security Studies. Her research project focuses on asymmetric arms control, particularly how arms control can incorporate emerging technologies, such as cyber and AI.

Amb. Elayne Whyte Gomez
Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez served as Vice-Foreign Minister and was the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations Office in Geneva from 2014-2020. She was the president of the 2017 United Nations Conference that negotiated the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). From 2015 to the present, she has been Coordinator on Transparency Measures of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and co-chair of the ad hoc Working Group on Treaty Implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty. She is currently working at Strategic Planning Team with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in San Jose.

UN Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu
Izumi Nakamitsu has served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs since 2017. Ms. Nakamitsu previously served as Assistant Administrator of the Crisis Response Unit at the United Nations Development Programme.

Daryl G. Kimball
Daryl G. Kimball has led the Arms Control Association as its Executive Director since 2001. From 1989-2007, he worked on issues relating to the health and environemntal effects of nuclear weapons and led campaigns to end nuclear testing at Physicians for Social Responsibility. From 1997 to 2001, he was the executive director of the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers. He is a former Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow.

Thomas Countryman
Thomas Countryman is the chair of the Arms Control Association board of directors, a position he has held since October 2017. He previously served as the acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, a post he held simultaneously as Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation.

Lilly Adams
Lilly Adams is an independent consultant specializing in nuclear weapons outreach and policy issues. She works with the Union of Concerned Scientists in their Global Security Program and was recently awarded a grant with the Ploughshares Fund Women’s Initiative for a project to build connections with nuclear frontline communities and amplify issues of nuclear justice.

Shannon Bugos
Shannon Bugos is a research assistant for the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association. She co-edits the "U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Watch" e-newsletter and reports for Arms Control Today.

Julia Masterson
Julia Masterson is a research assistant for the director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. She co-edits the "P4+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert" and report for Arms Control Today.

Kelsey Davenport
Kelsey Davenport is the director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, where she focuses on the nuclear and missile programs in Iran, North Korea, India, and Pakistan and on international efforts to prevent proliferation and nuclear terrorism. She is also a former Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow.

Kingston Reif
Kingston Reif is the director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, where his work focuses on nuclear disarmament, deterrence, and arms control, preventing nuclear terrorism, missile defense, and the defense budget. He is also a former Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow.

Zia Mian
Dr. Zia Mian is a physicist and co-director of Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, part of the School of Public and International Affairs, where he has worked since 1997. He also directs the Program’s Project on Peace and Security in South Asia and serves on the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association. In 2019, he was named winner of the American Physical Society’s Leo Szilard Lectureship Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments by physicists in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as the environment, arms control and science policy.

Kathy Crandall Robinson
Kathy Crandall Robinson is the chief operations officer for the Arms Control Association. She previously worked at Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), where, as senior policy director, she developed and led WAND’s policy and advocacy strategy and managed the Washington, DC, office.


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BRIEFING: "Trump’s Effort to Sabotage New START and the Risk of an All-Out Arms Race"

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Friday, October 9, 2020
9:00 – 10:15am Eastern time
via Zoom webinar

In four months, the last treaty limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals is due to expire. If the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) lapses with nothing to replace it, there would be no legally-binding limits on the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972.

However, the treaty permits an extension “for a period of no more than five years” so long as both the U.S. and Russian presidents agree to it.


 

Russia has offered to extend New START by five years without any preconditions, but the Trump administration has conditioned extension on Russian support for changes to the New START verification system and acceptance of a new framework that limits all types of nuclear warheads and that can involve China in the future.

Russia has rejected the U.S. offer, which it calls “absolutely unrealistic.” In response, Trump officials say they will “raise the price” for New START extension after November. Unless President Trump adjusts course, or Joe Biden is elected in November, there is a high risk that New START will disappear.

Our speakers, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and the panelists explained the value of New START, evaluated the Trump administration’s approach, and outlined pathways for extending the treaty, pursuing negotiations on deeper nuclear reductions, and guarding against an unconstrained arms race if New START is allowed to expire.

Speaker

  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), co-sponsor of the "Richard G. Lugar and Ellen O. Tauscher Act to Maintain Limits on Russian Nuclear Forces" Act

Panelists

  • Alexandra Bell, senior policy director, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
  • Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association
  • Kingston Reif, moderator, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, Arms Control Association

A question and answer session followed both the speaker’s remarks and the panel. This event was open to the press and is on the record.

Description: 

Briefing with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Alexandra Bell, and Daryl G. Kimball on the value of New START, the Trump administration’s approach, and guarding against an unconstrained arms race if New START is allowed to expire.

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WEBINAR: "The Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal and the NPT"

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Thursday, October 1, 2020
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time
via Zoom webinar 

The Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has led Iran to retaliate by exceeding key nuclear limits set by the deal. The U.S. strategy has hobbled but not unraveled the agreement and increased tensions with Iran and the international community. Unless Washington and Teheran return to compliance, however, the deal could collapse entirely creating a serious new nuclear crisis in the region.

In this edition of the “Critical NPT Issues” webinar series sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Arms Control Association, our panelists reviewed the benefits of the JCPOA, the current status of noncompliance, pathways to repair the situation, and the potential effects on the global nonproliferation system and the upcoming 10th Review Conference of Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Panelists:

  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association;
  • Ellie Gerenmyah, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program and Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations; and
  • Emad Kiyaei, Director, Middle East Treaty Organization (METO)

Our next webinar in the Critical NPT Issues series will address steps to fulfill Article VI of the NPT. We encourage you to sign up to receive invitations to future webinars and other updates from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Arms Control Association.

RESOURCES

For more information on the JCPOA, subscribe to the P4+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert from the Arms Control Association, which provides periodic news and analysis on the negotiations and implementation of the nuclear deal. 

If you want to follow discussions on nuclear weapons during the 2020 session of the UNGA First Committee, subscribe to the First Committee Monitor, a publication of WILPF’s disarmament programme Reaching Critical Will, or visit their resource page for more information.

 

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In this edition of our “Critical NPT Issues” webinar series, we will review the benefits of the JCPOA, the current status of noncompliance, pathways to repair the situation, and the potential effects on the upcoming NPT Review Conference.

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WEBINAR: 75 Years After the Trinity Explosion: The Taboo Against Nuclear Testing and the Legacy of Past Nuclear Tests

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Thursday, September 3, 2020
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Eastern

Co-sponsored by the Center for Policy Research at the University at Albany, SUNY, with the support of the Embassy of Kazakhstan to the United States

 

Over the 75-year history of the nuclear age, nuclear weapons have been used only twice in war, with deadly results. But the world’s nuclear armed states have also carried out more than 2,000 nuclear tests, which fueled the arms race and inflicted widespread health and environmental damage.

Since the conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996, nuclear testing has been considered taboo. However, the effects of past nuclear tests linger, and the door to the resumption of nuclear testing remains ajar.

On the occasion of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests (Aug. 29), we invite you to a special virtual briefing on "The Taboo Against Nuclear Testing and the Legacy of Past Nuclear Tests.” 

Panelists discussed current threats to the global test ban, strategies to resolve accusations of cheating, how states can reinforce the test ban at the upcoming review conference on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), how nuclear testing by the Soviet Union and the United States has affected downwind populations, and what can be done to assist people adversely affected by those tests.

Welcome:

  • His Excellency Erzhan Kazykhanov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States

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Moderator:

  • Togzhan Kassenova, senior fellow with the Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft at the Center for Policy Research at the University at Albany, SUNY

Following comments from the speakers, there was be a question and answer session.

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This discussion with Ambassador Erzhan Kazykhanov and an expert panel, we discuss the 75-year history of nuclear tests, current threats to the global test ban, how states can address threats to the global test ban and reinforce it at the upcoming NPT review conference, and what can be done to assist populations adversely affected by nuclear tests.

WEBINAR: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

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Thursday, August 27, 2020
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time
via Zoom Webinar

The pivotal 10th Review Conference for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has been rescheduled and will likely begin in January 2021. By that time, enough states may have ratified the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to trigger its entry into force. Currently, only six more states must ratify to do so.

In this edition of the “Critical NPT Issues” webinar series sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Arms Control Association, our panelists will analyze the legal relationship between the TPNW and the NPT, including how the TPNW contributes to NPT Article VI disarmament objectives and the status of efforts to bring the TPNW into force. A question and answer session will follow the speakers' presentations.

Panelists:

  • George-Wilhelm Gallhofer, Head of Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation / Executive Secretary of the Hague Code of Conduct at the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
  • Anna Ikeda, Program Associate, Disarmament Peace and Security Program, Soka Gakkai International, Office for UN Affairs
  • Moderated by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Future webinars in the Critical NPT Issues series will address steps to fulfill Article VI of the NPT; the NPT and the JCPOA; and the future of New START and multilateral disarmament.

WEBINAR: "The New Nuclear Arms Race and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty"

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time
via Zoom webinar 

As states parties prepare for the delayed 10th Review Conference for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states remain high, costly upgrades to nuclear arsenals are being pursued, and key treaties that have helped reduce the nuclear danger are under threat.

Last month alone, a senior U.S. official threatened to spend Russia and China “into oblivion” to win a nuclear arms race and U.S. officials discussed a demonstration nuclear test explosion to try to coerce Russia and China to accept U.S. terms for a new arms control deal.

The Reaching Critical Will program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Arms Control Association hosted this first in a series of monthly webinars with key experts and diplomats to explore these issues and discuss possible solutions as the disarmament community prepares for the Review Conference when it is rescheduled.

Speakers and Presentations included:

Future webinars in the Critical NPT Issues series will address steps to fulfill Article VI of the NPT; how the TPNW complements the NPT; the NPT and the JCPOA; and the future of New START and multilateral disarmament.

Sign up to receive invitations and more information on dates and times in the coming weeks from Reaching Critical Will and the Arms Control Association. 

Description: 

The first in a series of monthly webinars with key experts and diplomats to explore issues and solutions as the disarmament community prepares for the 10th NPT Review Conference.

Global Cooperation in a Time of Contagion: Member Video Call

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The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping thinking about national security and geopolitics Understanding these changes is crucial to how we—as advocates, analysts, educators, and concerned citizens—respond.

Arms Control Association members are invited to join a video briefing and discussion with Colin Kahl, former national security advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden, who is now co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Amb. Bonnie Jenkins, executive director of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS) and Arms Control Association board member, will moderate.

All members will receive a separate email invitation to register for the Zoom meeting event. Current members who need assistance registering should contact us at [email protected].

If you are not currently a member and would like to join the video call, we invite you to become a member of the Arms Control Association.

Click Here to Become a Member and Join the Call

Here are recommended readings for the May 6 video call that have been authored by our speaker and moderator:

Questions? Please contact [email protected] or 202-463-8270 x105.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping thinking about national security and geopolitics Understanding these changes is crucial to how we—as advocates, analysts, educators, and engaged citizens—respond.

The Future of New START and U.S. National Security

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Eastern
via Zoom Webinar

With the expiration date for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) less than a year away, the Arms Control Association hosted a discussion with former senior officials on the national security case for the extension of New START, the costs of failing to do so, and why extension is the best next step toward more ambitious arms control talks with Russia and other nuclear-armed states.

Key quotes from the speakers and useful resources are listed below. Some answers to additional questions that participants submitted but that the speakers were unable to address due to time constraints can be found here.

 

Key Quotes

Admiral (ret.) Michael Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007-2011

“Put me down in the column of extension, and the reason for that is the clock is running. Certainly in my experience, getting to the right specifics in a very complex treaty takes a long time. And I would opine at this point we don’t have time to renegotiate—or to negotiate—a new treaty as an option.”

“One of the things that is incredibly important about this treaty is the details of verification, an aspect of which, in addition to national technical means, is spoken to by on-the-ground inspections. I come from a place where there is nothing better than being physically in place in time.”

"Trying to get something done with China between now and February is virtually impossible.”

Rose Gottemoeller, former NATO Deputy Secretary-General, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and the lead negotiator for New START

“Nowhere is military predictability more important than in the nuclear realm. Our presidents can give a potent sign that they take this matter seriously by an early extension of New START. It would be an act of global leadership, reassuring our publics as they grapple with sickness and uncertainty.”

“Rapid fire negotiation of a follow on agreement was always a difficult proposition, especially the effort to engage the Chinese. Without the potential for hands-on diplomacy, I really think it’s become mission impossible. Extending New START would not only give time for all of the issues to be brought to the table and new actors to be engaged, but also would allow us to get through this pandemic.”

“The last point I would like to emphasize is the firm support for New START extension among U.S. allies, and not only our allies in Europe and North America, but also the ones in Asia. The allies are keen to see the last legally binding nuclear arms reduction treaty remain in force in order to ensure the continuation of a predictable nuclear environment in their regions and to give sufficient time for new negotiations to take place.”

Lt. Gen. (ret.) Frank Klotz, former U.S. Undersecretary of Energy for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2014-2018, and commander of Air Force Global Strike Command from 2009-2011

“Although limiting the number and types of Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons would certainly benefit the security interests of the United States, as well as those of its European and Asian allies, it does not logically follow that the existing limits on longer-range systems imposed by New START should be allowed to lapse because an agreement on shorter-range nuclear weapons has not yet been reached. If that were to happen, there would be more rather than fewer categories and numbers of Russian nuclear weapons that would be unconstrained, including systems that could directly threaten the U.S. homeland. From a military perspective, that hardly makes any sense.”

“Rather than being relevant to the immediate debate on the treaty’s extension, the issue of Russia’s novel nuclear delivery systems is more a matter of those Russian capabilities that might need to be addressed in any follow-on nuclear arms control arrangements.”

“Allowing New START to lapse without replacement would be a grave mistake in terms of our national security.”

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Special briefing with Admiral (ret.) Michael Mullen, Rose Gottemoeller, and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Frank Klotz

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2020 Arms Control Association Annual Meeting

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The Board of Directors and staff invite you to join us online for our 2020 Annual Meeting. Our virtual, interactive global gathering of members, friends, colleagues, and policymakers this year will examine the challenges and approaches for steering arms control and disarmament efforts back on course in the coming decade. The online event will take place from 12:30pm to 3:15pm Eastern U.S. time on Tuesday, December 1.

The election of Joe Biden to the presidency creates the potential for significant progress in several key areas. Achieving meaningful and durable changes, however, will not be automatic and will not come easily. The next U.S. administration and other world leaders will need to move quickly to make decisions on a range of key issues.

PROGRAM

Our 2020 Annual Meeting will bring together keynote speakers and expert panelists for virtual plenary sessions and simultaneous, interactive breakout sessions. Bios of all of our speakers and moderators are available here.

12:30 p.m.

Welcome

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director
Thomas Countryman, Chair of the Board

12:40 p.m.

Opening Keynote

"Restoring U.S. Leadership on Nuclear Weapons Risk Reduction"
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY)

1:00 p.m.

Panel

"Diversifying and Strengthening the Disarmament Movement,"
with Amb. Bonnie Jenkins (WCAPS), Cecili Thompson Williams, (Beyond the Bomb) Vincent Intondi (Montgomery College), and Daryl Kimball (ACA), moderated by Lilly Adams (ACA Board).

1:50 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

  • "The Future of the U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Regime," with Rose Gottemoeller moderated by Shannon Bugos
  • "Repairing the Broken U.S. Policy on Iran," with Kelsey Davenport
  • Strengthening the NPT and the 10th Review Conference: a conversation with Amb. Gustavo Zlauvinen," moderated by Daryl Kimball

2:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

  • Reevaluating U.S. Nuclear Weapons Modernization Plan” with Kingston Reif moderated by Aaron Mehta with Defense News
  • "After New START: Engaging Other Nuclear-Armed States in the Disarmament Enterprise" with Tom Countryman, ACA Board Chair, and Prof. Heather Williams with Kings College, moderated by Julia Masterson
  • The Impact of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons” with Amb. Elaine Whyte Gómez, moderated by Zia Mian, Princeton University Program on Science and Global Security and Arms Control Association Board

2:40 p.m.

Remarks

Seven Ways You Can Be Part of the Solution
Kathy Crandall Robinson, Chief Operations Officer

2:50 p.m.

Closing Keynote

Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General, UN Office of Disarmament Affairs

3:10 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Thomas Countryman, Chair of the Board

Registration is free of charge, but we invite you to join the Arms Control Association as a member to support efforts on these critical issues.

REGISTER HERE

Questions? Contact Tony Fleming, director of communications ([email protected]) or Rachel Paik ([email protected]).

The Case for Extending New START

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020
2:00 - 4:00pm
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045

On February 5, 2021, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) will expire unless the U.S. and Russian presidents choose to extend it by up to five years.

New START, which has been in force since February 5, 2011, verifiably limits U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals to 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed missiles and heavy bombers, and 800 deployed and nondeployed missile launchers and bombers. Since February 2018, the United States and Russia have met and maintained their obligations under the treaty. Although Russia has indicated its support for a clean, unconditional extension, the Trump administration has yet to officially decide on the future of the treaty. Administration officials have said President Trump is seeking a “new era of arms control” that includes more types of Russian weapons as well as China. 

If New START expires without an extension or replacement, there will be no legally binding constraints on the world's two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in half a century. The treaty’s rigorous monitoring and verification regime, which includes on-site inspections and the exchange of thousands of notifications, would also disappear.

Speakers outlined the case for extending New START and address frequently asked questions about the treaty and the future of arms control.

Key quotes from the speakers are listed here, with a full transcript below.

  • “Without New START extension, the two countries could be locked into a nuclear arms race that would exceed in expense and risk the arms race we saw at the height of the Cold War. Both sides would be able to quickly upload hundreds of additional warheads into existing missiles, which might preserve the important principle of numerical parity, but at the expense of stability.” —Thomas Countryman, chairman of the board of the Arms Control Association and former acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security
     
  • “[New START] is a treaty that does what it does very well: It limits strategic nuclear arms in a verifiable way so as to provide clarity and certainty in the respected strategic arms of each party, thereby preventing an uncontrolled strategic arms race fueled by uncertainty and instability. It allows each side to see the other side as it is, not 20 feet tall and not 2 feet tall.” —Madelyn Creedon, former principal deputy administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy
     
  • “It's significant that the Russians are in compliance with New START, and we ought to hang onto it…It's inherently valuable to have restrictions on the Russian stockpile, whether or not we are able to put restrictions on Chinese forces…I wouldn't want to pay the price of losing the restrictions on Russian forces in order to get restrictions on a Chinese force that's much smaller and less significant in the composition of its war fighting.” —Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies, American Enterprise Institute
     
  • “Global security would be greatly enhanced by extending the New START agreement for another five years. Extension would preserve the last effective and verifiable agreement to limit strategic arms competition with Russia and make it easier to maintain deterrence and strategic stability. It would ensure a high degree of predictability, thanks to the intrusive verification and transparency regime in New START, by reducing uncertainty about Russia's future force size structure extension and would diminish the worst case assumptions that could drive up the cost of U.S. force modernization and create a lot of high anxiety in many of our allies. ” —Amb. Alexander Vershbow, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, and NATO deputy secretary general

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THOMAS COUNTRYMAN: Good afternoon. If everybody would have a seat, we'll get started. Thank you very much for coming out on this brisk afternoon. I'm Tom Countryman. I'm the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association.

And the Association wants to welcome you today to our briefing on the case for extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Before we hear from our guest panelists who have extensive national security experience about their perspectives of the stakes in extension, I'm going to give you a little background -- and many of you already familiar with it -- about New START and outline the Arms Control Association's perspective.

New START limits the world's two largest and most deadly nuclear arsenals, the U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals, to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems, which includes as you know, missiles, bombers, and submarines.

Since it entered into force in 2011, the treaty has been working and both sides are in compliance. But just 12 months from now, on February 5th, 2021, New START is set to expire. Fortunately, New START is popular in both Washington and Moscow, and it contains a clause fairly unique among treaties in that it can be extended for an additional five years with only the signatures of President Trump and President Putin. That is without going back to either the Senate or the Duma.

From ACA's perspective, extending New START should be the easiest foreign policy decision that President Trump can make. And conversely, failure to extend the treaty would be one of the most dangerous decisions the president could make.

Without New START extension, the two countries could be locked into a nuclear arms race that would exceed in expense and risk the arms race we saw at the height of the Cold War.

Both sides would be able to quickly upload hundreds of additional warheads into existing missiles, which might preserve the important principle of numerical parity but at the expense of stability.

Military and intelligence officials have said they greatly value the monitoring and verification provisions of New START, which provide predictability and transparency and help promote a stable nuclear deterrence posture vis-a-vis Russia, and which cannot be easily or cheaply substituted by national technical means.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, testified about New START to the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently. He said, "It contributes substantially to U.S. national security by providing limits, robust verification, and predictability about Russia's strategic forces."

He said, "We have high confidence that Russia is in compliance, and without the treaty and its verification provisions we would be flying blind. It's strongly in the U.S. national interest," Mullen concluded, "to extend New START for five years so that the United States and Russia can continue to realize the mutual benefits and stability that it provides."

Now, as we'll hear in more detail from our panel, all U.S. allies -- in NATO and in East Asia -- support the treaty's extension. Members of Congress of both parties support extending it, as do 80 percent of the American public based on recent polls.

There is no other step that the President can make in foreign policy and certainly not with regard to Russia that would draw such strong bipartisan support as the extension of New START.

Unfortunately, this administration has failed to open discussions with Moscow on the extension. The president says he wants more. A bigger deal that covers not just U.S. and Russian strategic weapons but also tactical nuclear weapons, and more ambitiously he wants to bring China into a new trilateral treaty.

These are praiseworthy goals and I support them, but they are long-term goals that do not take account of the fact that concluding such an ambitious and expansive new agreement within the next year and before New START expires is virtually impossible.

As our panel will discuss, there is a better solution that is staring the administration right in the face: simply extending New START, lock in the current limits on the U.S. and Russian arsenals and build from that to more ambitious restraints, not only on Russia and the United States, but potentially on China as well.

So, that's just where the Arms Control Association stands -- the basics about it. We have a great panel to talk to you. We have a smaller panel than we anticipated. As you know, in Washington, circumstances don't always allow the schedule to go through.

So, we're missing General Weinstein and Congressman Fortenberry. But I think you'll hear some of the points they would have made. I especially regret not having Congressman Fortenberry here. He has been a genuine leader in the House of Representatives in raising awareness of all nuclear issues both arms control and nonproliferation. And I was really looking forward to having him here today.

But we -- it means we have enough time, not only for our speakers to go in-depth but to take all of your questions. So, with that let me hand it over to the executive director of ACA, Daryl Kimball.

DARYL KIMBALL: Well, thank you very much, Tom. And thanks to all of you for being here this afternoon. There are -- I hear from my staff a few competing news items up there. So it's very good to see so many of you here this afternoon.

But we believe that this is one of the most important foreign policy issues of 2020. And we hope that your work after this meeting, your presence will help elevate this issue and help inform the discussion in the weeks to come.

And to -- for our discussions today, we've got three very experienced thoughtful folks to dive into some of the issues that Tom had just touched upon. So we're going to hear it from each of them for about 10 minutes or so, and then we're going to take your questions, again, through discussion about some of the issues that they've raised and some of the others that they may not have raised.

And first we're going to hear from Ambassador Sandy Vershbow who, as his bio says, has extensive experience in the U.S. diplomatic corps, working in government since 1977. He has served at NATO as our ambassador and has a depth of experience and knowledge about the views of our allies on these issues. He's going to be talking about that as well the implications of the New START and our arms control breakdown with Russia on U.S.-Russian relations.

Then we're going to hear from Kori Schake who just 10 days ago came to Washington, D.C. for our lovely climate here from California to take over as the lead Defense Policy Director -- Foreign and Defense Policy Director at the American Enterprise Institute. She's going to share her perspectives on New START and the U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control situation from her perspective and experience as a veteran of the Defense Department and the National Security Council.

And then last but not least we're going to here from Madelyn Creedon who is currently a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings Institution, but perhaps more importantly before that she served as the deputy administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration and was also the assistant secretary at the Defense Department for Global Strategic Affairs.

So she has extensive knowledge and experience about New START itself, about how it affects the U.S. planning for maintaining and structuring our nuclear forces in the years ahead. And Madelyn is going to discuss in more granularity some of the issues and concerns that have come up about extension of the treaty, what weapons systems it does and does not cover, the triangle, and perhaps some other things.

So with that, let me turn it over to Ambassador Vershbow to start us off. Thanks for being here.

AMB. ALEXANDER VERSHBOW: Thanks very much, Daryl. Thanks to all of you for coming. It's nice to see some former U.S. government colleagues out there because I appreciate the convergence. But first of all, let me start by echoing what we've already heard.

I think -- our allies think -- that global security will be greatly enhanced by extending the New START agreement for another five years. Extension would preserve the last effective and verifiable agreement to limit strategic arms competition with Russia and make it easier to maintain deterrence and strategic stability. As was said, it would ensure a high degree of predictability, thanks to the intrusive verification and transparency regime in New START, by reducing uncertainty about Russia's future force size structure extension and would diminish the worst case assumptions that could drive up the cost of U.S. force modernization and create a lot of high anxiety in many of our allies.

In fact, I think extending New START would actually help to strengthen the domestic and the allied political consensus in favor of both strategic force modernization and NATO's nuclear strategy and force posture.

We all remember the debate on the ratification of New START 10 years ago: the ratification was a precondition for Democrats for modernization and modernization was a precondition for some Republicans for New START. I think that remains the political reality today. Like many members of Congress, our NATO allies are also wedded to dual-track approaches to nuclear weapons and force modernization more generally, in which deterrence and dialogue with Russia go hand in hand. The force improvements -- the conventional force improvements that NATO has made since the Russian aggression against Ukraine -- those decisions were based on the consensus in favor of continuing dialogue with Russia as we develop our conventional forces. So a dialogue between NATO and Russia may not be very productive, but it's politically important nevertheless.

And I think the need for a dual-track approach is even more evident when it comes to the decision our allies might be asked to take in coming years to modernize and increase the readiness of NATO's nuclear deterrence capabilities, the allies have reaffirmed on numerous occasions that as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance, but it's no secret that there is significant opposition in several basing countries to continue reliance on nuclear deterrence in maintaining NATO's longstanding nuclear sharing arrangements.

As you may have noticed, the Belgian parliament came close to ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons just two weeks ago. There is still considerable support for the Nuclear Ban Treaty in the Netherlands and other allied countries, Germany repeatedly postponed a decision on whether to incorporate a nuclear capability in the replacement for its Tornado dual-capable aircraft, and there are growing strains within the German coalition on this issue. So U.S. unwillingness to extend New START could strengthen anti-nuclear sentiments in these and other countries, jeopardizing the NATO consensus.

The same way as I think applies with respect to decisions that will be needed on measures the U.S. will be proposing to counter Russia's violation of the INF treaty -- decisions that I think will need to be based on consultations and agreement by potential basing countries. Allies would be more reluctant to endorse U.S. recommendations particularly, if they involve additional nuclear capabilities that are targeted on Russia, and will also be sensitive about reorganizing NATO missile defense away from Iran and Port Russia if these steps are being taken in the context of an unraveling New START regime and a new arms race.

Now, in saying this, I'm not suggesting New START is perfect or is of timeless value -- the strategic environment has changed in the past decade and the Trump administration has raised valid criticisms about the treaty's shortcomings that will need to be addressed in the future. The first is that New START doesn't cover all of Russia’s nuclear capabilities that threaten the U.S. and the allies, including not only strategic nuclear weapons, new intermediate-range systems as well as these exotic systems, which, I think Madelyn will tell us more about.

And the second concern is the treaty doesn't constrain any of China's growing nuclear capabilities, both strategic and intermediate-range that already threaten the U.S. forces and the U.S. mainland along with our Pacific allies. So the allies don't dispute any of these concerns, but I think they would agree that these are not as urgent as tending to the extension of New START. An extension would give us additional time to negotiate long term solutions to both sets of concerns the administration has raised, while preventing the Russians from launching a rapid build up of warheads and delivery systems in excess of the New START treaty.

While we can do some building up ourselves, I think given the asymmetry in the U.S. and Russian modernization cycles, Russia might be better positioned to break out of the treaty by uploading warheads or activating non-deployed systems to the United States. So as Rose Gottemoeller argued in her New York Times piece last year, we shouldn't give Russia the opportunity to outrun us.

Now, some of these new guidance systems are covered by the treaty, the Russians have said that, and the more exotic ones aren't going to be ready to be deployed in the next five years. So there's plenty of time to devise new ways to address these, figure out how to limit some of these new technologies and ensure sufficient verification. As that time develops, we need to develop an approach to dealing with non-strategic nuclear weapons, which in the past has been considered in the "too hard" category, and perhaps we can even come up with a successor to the INF treaty, although that might be too hopeful to complete.

Now on China, including China in future arms control agreements is certainly a worthwhile goal, but as I said, I don't think this is as urgent as extension to the New START treaty. China right now has a minimum strategic nuclear deterrent of about 300 warheads, which is roughly 5 percent of the numbers possessed by the United States and Russia with close to 700 INF range missiles. These forces don’t at the present time affect strategic stability or undermine the benefits of the bilateral New START treaty.

The question shouldn't be if China (inaudible). I think we should actually enlist the Russians in trying to engage with Beijing in some kind of strategic stability dialog to educate the Chinese about nuclear deterrence and show them that it's in their own interest to work with the other nuclear powers to strengthen stability and predictability.

We certainly shouldn't make New START extension hostage to Chinese agreements to join in trilateral negotiations. That may take years to accomplish and I think that if we were to forego five more years in New START just because of China, this could be seen by allies as a smoke screen for abandoning arms control altogether and certainly opening us to risk (inaudible) jeopardize force modernization.

Before I finish, let me just say a couple of words about the importance of New START in managing the increasingly nasty political relationship between the West and Putin's Russia that we've been dealing with especially since the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. I would say today's competition with Russia is in many ways riskier and less stable than the U.S.-Soviet relationship was in the last decades of the Cold War when we were able to kind of lower tensions through détente and actually agree on some rules of the road and the agreements like the Helsinki Final Act (inaudible) just to further reference to limit strategic and conventional arms and stabilize the potential military competition. We pushed it even further in the days of Gorbachev and Yeltsin but also in the early Putin administration and under Medvedev in agreeing on a more elaborate set of agreements and rules of the road to limit the competition.

As late as 2013 we were talking about potentially game-changing cooperation with Russia on missile defense against rogue states. But I think, to put it bluntly, today Russia has joined the ranks of rogue states, no longer special rules of the game I just mentioned, it's working to undermine the rules-based order, it's trying to block its neighbors' path toward NATO and the EU, working to destabilize Western societies, to discredit our democratic institutions. So this is a far more difficult environment than the period when we negotiated New START, and I think there's a real risk that a military incident could spiral out of control, that concern can no longer be dismissed. Maintaining stability through extension of New START could help reduce the chances that such an accidental conflict could go nuclear.

So this (inaudible) New START may be somewhat a more important politically than it was 10 years ago when it was (inaudible) in terms of keeping the competition with Russia within bounds. There's a lot of other areas where we need to compete with Russia. We should focus our resources and mobilize the allies on those fronts, such as strengthening conventional deterrence, strengthening resilience against cyber and hybrid threats, figuring out what is the right counter to the INF Treaty with our mission of supporting Ukraine and Georgia and the other neighboring states of Russia as to defend their sovereignty and opposing Putin’s ambitious agenda, and of course we should try to develop a coherent strategy to counter Putin’s growing influence in the Middle East and around the world. What we allowed (inaudible) managing relations with Russia, we focus our resources and political strength on these areas of competition rather than triggering an accelerated, costly arms competition with Russia (inaudible) collapse of New Start.

So looking at 2020, extend without preconditions. Russia has complied with New START. Its upheld its side of the verification and transparency regime. It is in a better place to break out of the treaty than we are, and so it would be wise to pocket Putin's offer and keep our allies with us and use the additional time to address the long-term challenges. Thanks.

KIMBALL: Thanks, Sandy. This is a very good and in-depth introduction. Kori, thanks for being with us, good to see you.

KORI SCHAKE: It's my pleasure. I mostly agree with everything Sandy just said, and so [inaudible] by reviewing and outlining for the (inaudible). But it seems to me that the value, for me, of this START treaty is first to limit the (inaudible) strategic warheads and that really matters and exactly for the reasons Sandy said because our -- well, New START was negotiated at a time when we were hopeful about the relationship with Russia. We're not hopeful about our relationship with Russia anymore for lots of good reasons.

And I favor sustaining the INF treaty, but I couldn't come up with a good answer of how to bring the Russians back into compliance. So it's significant that the Russians are in compliance with New START, and we ought to hang onto it (inaudible) keeping restraints on Russian strategic nuclear forces. Actually, I don't think the argument's any harder than that for New START, but two other reasons I favor the treaty, the second is that the counting rules in New START prejudice slow delivery systems, right? The return to the Reagan administration's bomber counting rules where the bomber counts as a single unit, not the weapons on the bomber.

And I think one of the real challenges that we have at hypersonic and a lot of the new innovations in conventional and nuclear delivery systems and suspicion are that they are going to speed up the pace of warfare such that it collapses decision time and that increases the likelihood of sloppy, dangerous, damaging mistakes.

And so, I think that counting rules are actually advantageous because they prejudice slow delivery platforms. And the third reason that I favor the treaty is that the onsite verification provisions that we don't have in any other medium to understand what's going on in Russia's strategic forces. I think that was hugely valuable.

For me, those three reasons are compelling about why to remain in the treaty. I take Sandy's point and Tom's point, I think it's a very valuable one that there is also reputational benefit to staying in the treaty, especially before we start to have a NATO conversation about modernizing NATO's nuclear forces. It’s well-nigh impossible to have a policy discussion among the NATO allies if we have just withdrawn from the START treaty. We are going to end up with a really bad outcome in NATO if that (inaudible) that kind of study.

And it may not be -- it may not advantage us much in the conversation about nuclear modernization to stay in the treaty, but leaving it will surely do some damage. And the administration I think is right in both of its complaints about the treaty. First, that it only captures strategic forces when the United States and its NATO allies have reduced our non-strategic nuclear forces by over 90 percent since the end of the Cold War and Russia has expanded theirs.

But that's not cheating on the treaty. That's smart work of the rule set, and so they are right that it would be wonderful to get the Russians engaged in meaningful non-strategic nuclear force restrictions. I personally favor the proposal that Ambassador Eric Edelman and Frank Miller made in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago, which is to have an oath to negotiate a treaty in the future that has an overall limit of nuclear weapons so that you can trade off between strategic and non-strategic, you get a limit on all of them and the parties to the treaty can determine what the balance of forces that they want. That strikes to me as a reasonable point.

But the administration is right that the Russians have expanded their non-strategic nuclear forces, that has increased the threat to America's NATO allies in Europe and it has created the potential for a widening the Atlantic in a crisis. So they're not wrong to be worried about that, it would be wonderful to capture that in the future. And the second thing they're not wrong about is that Chinese nuclear forces become increasingly important as the US and Russia stockpiles get drawn down.

But we're about a factor of four away from where that balance (inaudible) and we shouldn't lose perspective that it's inherently valuable to have restrictions on the Russian stockpile, whether or not we are able to put restrictions on Chinese forces. And so I agree with Sandy that I too would like to see restrictions on the Chinese forces. I wouldn't want to pay the price of losing the restrictions on Russian forces in order to get restrictions on a Chinese force that's much smaller and less significant in the composition of its war fighting.

Moreover, I agree with Sandy that time matters and I didn't know, Tom, until you said it but it was a simple signature from both the US and Russia heads of state that extended it for five years and I, again, I like the notion, I'm basically the poor man's Frank Miller. I like the notion that Frank and Eric pointed out that making the extension contingent on having an agreement that captures both non-strategic and strategic, but that part, that's five years for that conversation. And so extending the treaty while creating the expectation that within five years, we will want an overall nuclear limit seems to me a great direction to go.

And I'm not sure I agree with Sandy that Russia is better positioned to break out from the treaty, and the two data points I would offer to substantiate that are first, this is the only arms control treaty the Russians weren't cheating on, and there's a reason they're not cheating on it, because it's in their interest for it to remain in force, and it may even be asymmetrically in their interest for it to remain in force. The second thing is that Russia has nearly completed its cycle of nuclear modernization and the United States is just commencing ours, as Sandy said, it was part of the bargain to get Republican votes for ratification of the New START treaty, and it’s only just coming into being. Meanwhile, the Russians have increased and modernized their force and, as Sandy said, effected a lot of exotic new delivery systems.

Again, that's smart playing the rules in the way that the United States did their aircraft carrier development in the 1930s when we were signatories to the Washington Naval Accords. But that tells you how important it is to keep the rules in play so that you can, as my AEI colleague John Maurer argued, that arms control agreements should be worked to limit the things we're most scared of and to drive the competition into areas of either less importance or your greater asymmetric advantage, and we have lots of opportunities to do that and we should, but not as a substitute to keeping these valuable restrictions in place.

The last thing I'd like to mention is the effect on the national defense spending. I don't share with you, or at least I don’t share to the extent that Tom laid out, that if New START isn't extended, it would be an unlimited arms race between the U.S. and the Russians. I think the strategic balance is more stable than that, but we have a lot of big fish to fry, and even though 700 billion dollars and the eye popping size of the American defense budget, it nonetheless isn't exorbitant for the number of things we're trying to do with that budget. And limiting what we spend on our nuclear forces in order to enable, for example, our own development of exotic delivery systems is a judicious use of the taxpayer's money. And I think I will close with that.

KIMBALL: Great, thank you, and I'm not disagreeing with that last point, but I think, as I heard Tom say, the door would be opened to an unconstrained arms race -- that is the risk, it's not a certainty, but without the limits established by New START, the temptation will be there by both sides to upload, to increase...

SCHAKE: (inaudible) the temptation and tempering it.

KIMBALL: Okay, it may not be as enticing (inaudible). Madelyn, on to you.

MADELYN CREEDON: Okay. Thanks Daryl. And thanks to Kori and Sandy for laying out really most of the arguments on the treaty, but I want to reflect just for a moment on what we haven't talked about today, and that's about a strategic arms reduction treaty. So the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, which was signed in April of 2010 and entered into force on February 5th of 2011 and expires in February 5 of 2021. It's a treaty with which both Russia and the U.S. are complying and that point has been made, but that is an extraordinarily important point, and both met the central limits of the treaty on a friendly basis in February of 2018.

So New START replaced the previous 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which of course expired in December 2009. Like its predecessor treaties, START 1, START 2, the strategic arms limitation treaties, the SALT treaties, some of these of course entered into force and some didn't, but New START limits strategic nuclear arms of the U.S. and Russia. There's a decade in our history of strategic nuclear arms agreement between Russia and U.S. These treaties play with New START and played historically a large role in reducing the nuclear arsenals of the two countries from their peaks.

The U.S. peaked at 31,255 weapons in 1965, and Russia peaked in 1985 at about 38,000 weapons. Strategic nuclear arms of course include ICBMs, SLBMs and their launchers, ballistic missile submarines, long-range bombers and the nuclear warheads that all these systems carry. So did I mention that the New START treaty is a bilateral between the U.S. and Russia, strategic nuclear arms control treaty, designed to limit strategic nuclear arms. It is not a treaty that limits ballistic missiles, ballistic missile defense systems. It's not a treaty that limits non-strategic nuclear systems. It doesn't limit short to intermediate range ballistic missiles. It doesn't limit micro (inaudible). It doesn't cover anything except strategic nuclear arms, and it wasn't designed to.

It is what it is: it's an effective bilateral, verifiable strategic nuclear arms control treaty that is essential to our ability to provide an effective deterrent. Now the last words outlined, they actually belong to General John Hyten when he was commander of the U.S. Strategic Command. The treaty is a bilateral, verifiable agreement that gives us some predictability on what our potential adversaries look like. And those aren’t my words either, those are General Paul Selva’s when he was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The New START treaty contains verification and transparency measures such as data exchanges, periodic data updates, notifications, unique identifiers on strategic systems, some access to its monitoring and on-site inspections. That will give us important insights into Russian strategic nuclear forces and how they operate their forces.

We will understand Russian strategic forces much better with the treaty than would be the case without it. Now, so you might get the theme here, but it's not my words either, right? But the combined thoughts and views of seven former commanders of the U.S. Strategic Command expressed in a letter of support for the New START Treaty in July of 2010.

So when New START was signed, the idea was that the treaty would carry on the long heritage of mutually working to reduce strategic nuclear arms. The Obama administration certainly realized that non-strategic arms are also important and that their importance is in fact growing, but this treaty was a treaty covering and limiting strategic arms, and the next treaty would deal with non-strategic arms or even the whole nuclear stockpile and their delivery systems.

So Russia wasn't interested in pursuing a follow-on treaty as we all know during the Obama administration. In fact, they made it very clear that they were not interested in talking about a follow-on treaty until the central limits were met. Of course, those central limits were met as I mentioned in February of 2018 after the Obama administration had come to a close. And by then there was very little interest on either side working on a new treaty. Clearly the geo-politics had changed substantially.

And as both Kori and Sandy mentioned, the situation is probably even worse now than it was when the central of limits came into force.

Such a comprehensive treaty, a treaty that's covers non-strategics for all nuclear warheads and their delivery systems would be a much more difficult treaty to negotiate then, and it will be more difficult going forward. Among other things, such a treaty would have to cover a wide range of dual-use systems. It would be very challenging to verify, and it would ironically force Russia to admit that it had cheated on the INF Treaty in advance of the U.S. strategic withdrawal because you couldn't have a comprehensive treaty without bringing those systems in as well.

So the critics have complained as we all know that New START does not limit these Russian short-range nuclear systems and other non-strategic systems. And it's true, it doesn't, and the treaty wasn't designed to do that. So as we noted, the Russians have far too many short-range nuclear weapons for their own good, as well as instability along their borders, but this needs to be addressed in a separate negotiation. No single treaty provides a silver bullet to mitigate all the threats we face. And New START is no exception. Those words were actually penned by Brent Scowcroft, the former National Security Advisor to George H.W. Bush and Jake Garn, the former Republican senator from Utah in September of 2010 in an op-ed in the Washington Times.

So New START is not and was not intended to be a silver bullet. So it doesn't cover China, it doesn't cover other countries, and it doesn't cover nonstrategic nuclear weapons. These omissions do not make it a fatally flawed treaty, it is a treaty that does what it does very well: It limits strategic nuclear arms in a verifiable way so as to provide clarity and certainty in the respected strategic arms of each party, thereby preventing an uncontrolled strategic arms race fueled by uncertainty and instability. It allows each side to see the other side as it is, not 20 feet tall and not 2 feet tall.

Without the transparency provided by this treaty, there's no predictability, no transparency, no certainty, no stability, and distrust and suspicion will only grow over time as a result. So my advice to this administration or the next one, work on the treaty with China, find the incentive to get China to the table, they clearly are not interested now, but figure out what that is, work on a bilateral treaty with Russia that covers non-strategic arms for full stockpile size, work on a multi-lateral treaty that covers short to intermediate range missiles, work on a treaty that covers dual use systems, work on any treaty that provides benefit to the U.S. and ensures stability, predictability, transparency, and reduces threats of war be they direct, inadvertent, or accidental.

Work on agreements short of treaties, work on transparency agreements, work on ways to basically have baby steps in some instances where you might eventually get a treaty that would provide some sort of transparency and understanding and stability. This could include China. This could include India and Pakistan and the DPRK. The point is, continue to work on these things, but don't throw out a perfectly good treaty that is working well in the process. Extend the New START Treaty and use its flexibility to cover those new types of Russian strategic arms, Sarmat and Avangard.

KIMBALL: Thank you, everyone. And I would just note that New START doesn't cover migratory birds, but there is the Migratory Bird Act, so, start it off with migratory birds, there is a law at least on that.

We have some time for questions and discussion to explore these issues even further, and I just wanted to kick us off as you all contemplate your questions with a question for each of you, if you would like to address it.

And Madelyn, you started touching upon this at the very end, but the Trump administration has made a big issue of the importance of engaging China. It was about nine months ago that the president brought this up. In some form or other, there was reporting about this, and yet the Administration has not yet put forward any specifics of how it would like to engage China. Rumor has it that they may lay out some ideas soon.

I don't know if that's true, or exactly when, but my question to each of you is: what are some realistic options for engaging China at this stage, given, as you all have said, that China has never been part of a formal negotiation on nuclear arms control, given that China has a relatively smaller yet still deadly nuclear arsenal relative to the U.S. and Russia, given that they said, no, thank you, we don't want to be a part of a negotiation, so what kinds of steps -- and Madelyn, you were kicking off some ideas that I wanted to, as each of you to try to offer your suggestions, is it a numerical proposal? Is it common numerical limits? Is it about information sharing, about transparency?

What might it be and what could we offer that we'd be willing to offer in exchange to induce China to do this? Because as I think each of you mentioned, China does not have a strong incentive to do so.

Your thoughts, Kori, Sandy, or Madelyn?

SCHAKE: So I would start by having a public conversation about great powers who limit their nuclear forces in relation to one another and China clearly likes the vision of itself as the hegemon of the 21st century. And so, it’s a not inconsequential way of engaging with the Chinese, and I think that might be useful.

I also think you can have a conversation about confidence-building measures and transparency in the South China Sea that you -- so in broader conversation with the Chinese about military transparency, potential flashpoints and confidence building, that it could be rolled in.

Third, I also very much like the Edelman and Miller idea and a UN Security Council permanent five declaration of their forces that starts a process of socialization on those issues.

VERSHBOW: Thanks a lot. I would agree that the place to start is through some kind of dialogue to change the Chinese perspective, and they're quite adamant right now that they don't have any need to participate with a (inaudible) smaller than that of the United States and Russia. I think they need to understand that this is not only about size of forces, but about qualitative characteristics, about what's stabilizing, what's destabilizing, at least to get them to understand that it’s in their interest to participate in some kind of process.

It may start with the verification or transparency measures for information sharing. In terms of, we are saying that the strategic-only framework, it's hard to see what we would gain by adding a ceiling amount of Chinese warheads and delivery systems. It would probably be higher than they currently deploy, so, you know, we make them feel good that we're putting some kind of block on some (inaudible) build-up in the future, and that might be useful.

I think if there's an area where we actually have something to offer is that more in the INF deal where we could offer to talk about putting some kind of constraints both on the numbers and the locations, particularly of the missiles that we are contemplating deploying in the Asia-Pacific theater to induce China's (inaudible).

I do think something like the INF is something we should be thinking about, even though the Russians violated the old one, but I think there's still ways we could promote stability and predictability, in this case, perhaps, on a trilateral basis.

KIMBALL: Any other thoughts in addition to what you're...

CREEDON: I mean I'd certainly would agree on the idea that it has to be broader than nuclear, it can't just be nuclear, it probably is a non-starter, yes, even under New START it's 1,550 deployed strategics, obviously the U.S. arsenal is much larger; it's just under 4,000. But where there is some, is what Sandy said, I think maybe is in INF, like the systems China has maybe as many as 2,100 short, medium and intermediate range missiles. We have just started -- the U.S. has just started a series of tests in that, and maybe this is something. But I think the first step is to have a conversation with China and just see, what are the things that they’re interested in, what are the things that we’re interested in.

There may be some completely off-the-wall sorts of concepts that we might want to think about that have nothing to do with nuclear systems, such as if the U.S. were to ratify the Law of the Sea convention which China has ratified and the U.S. abides by but hasn't ratified, maybe this is something, right, so now there is a reciprocity with ratification of treaties.

There are a lot of other ideas that we might bring to the fore on this, but I think the first is just get to sit down and figure out what are the shared interests, where are the diversion strategies and are there incentives to bring those to the table?

KIMBALL: All right, thank you. We’re going to turn it over the audience here. So if you could just raise your hand and identify yourself, the microphone will come to you so that we can record. So if we could take the gentleman at the back with the handsome pinstripe suit, and so that we can get this on a microphone and record it for our transcript.

BRUCE MACDONALD: All right. First of all, thanks to the Arms Control Association and to our speakers for their great presentations. First, I’m (inaudible), I’m a (inaudible) quoted in the Strategic Posture Review Commission 10 years ago.

I have a comment and a question. And the comment is it's ironic that in the (inaudible) on the question of extending New START, the administration puts at risk a lot of its strategic priorities. The only way the ground-based strategic deterrent, i.e. the Minuteman replacement, makes sense is if you hit the tight limits on warheads, otherwise it becomes, simply just allocating the top two warheads that are paced to 400 silos.

Right now, for them to do that on a very fixed level, every warhead you'd use to destroy the Russians would actually end up using up more warheads than they would destroy or as (inaudible), if it’s unlimited, then it becomes easy, but then two single warheads (inaudible) make no sense at all. That's my comment.

My question is that -- and I've raised this in one or two other forums -- is given the amount of chaos there is in U.S. strategic thinking, mightn't it be time to have a big group of senior experts like the Strategic Posture Review Commission, what is it, 10 or 11 years ago to review the whole question of strategic stability and the U.S. strategic posture. Back then it was strictly nuclear weapons arms control and non-proliferation. Today you might well want to add cyber and space to that. But there is chaos right now in U.S. strategic thinking. There is, the biggest drawback to New START of course is that it was negotiated under President Obama and that makes it lethal I think in the mind of President Trump, but it's time, to I think, to reorient or to restabilize and talk about stability, stabilize thinking in U.S. strategic policy. It's something that our allies might very much appreciate...

KIMBALL: Let's let our speakers answer your question.

MACDONALD: So my question is what do you think about that re-engagement, something like the Strategic Posture Commission --

KIMBALL: Talk about that.

SCHAKE: I think that those kinds of commissions are most helpful at start of an administration, when you can use the time that an administration is starting up to help shape their agenda and offer good ideas, and it's not clear to me the Trump administration is permeable to that kind of thinking, especially at this point in time. And that -- our test case, if you'd ask me, which is, I understand, got into the National Defense Authorization Act a year or two ago, a Cyber Solarium Commission. Congressman Mike Gallagher is on it, several others -- so I think Senator Angus King is on it, several good people, and they’re about to come out with their recommendations on an important subject that needs that kind of careful strategic analysis, and so we'll have a data point about how the administration, how receptive they are to that kind of help.

CREEDON: You know, I would say, probably, that I start with a bit of bias against these commissions, but the particular one that you mentioned I think it impacts some very good purposes, but I completely agree with Kori, you've very much better off at the beginning of an administration. And there certainly would be time for some commission to both get stood up, funded, selected, formulated, studied with any sort of a response that would provide any insight into the New START Treaty, because you kind of have to do that in the next couple of months.

But maybe long term, maybe, you know, for much broader discussion about strategic stability and working much farther than just Russia or just China.

VERSHBOW: (inaudible) The longer I've been retired, the more I’ve been interested in these kinds of commissions.

(LAUGHTER)

VERSHBOW: But I agree with that. But I agree it probably makes more sense at the beginning of the administration. But I think there's plenty of room for track-two initiatives even now, maybe trilateral track-twos with the Russians and the Chinese, which may be easier to get started than official (inaudible) with China, at least in the short run.

What the administration has to its credit, I think, is reaching out to China, although I don’t know exactly what they are able to accomplish, but there is potential to at least prepare the ground for serious negotiation after the next election.

KIMBALL: But clearly, it's a long process that takes time, and planning and more than 12 months.

The gentleman who has the microphone, identify yourself and ask your question.

QUESTION: Chase Enright, researcher at Physicians for Social Responsibility. This is kind of a two-parter, but the NPT Review Conference is coming up very rapidly, what impact will probably the U.S. not renewing New START have upon, say, (inaudible) the NPT Conference?

And also have there been any motions for an all-five nuclear powers states multilateral treaty on arms control, getting China’s nuclear weapons to permanently (inaudible) that they have special different arsenal sizes, well, why wouldn’t the U.K. and France be involved?

KIMBALL: Why don't you take Alex Liebowitz’s question here in the front row, and then we'll address the questions.

LIEBOWITZ:

KIMBALL: All right, we’ve got about three questions on the table. So, I invite you to address whichever ones you’d like.

VERSHBOW: OK. Well, clearly if we are rejecting the extension of the New START Treaty, it would probably put us in the doghouse in the NPT Review Conference. And I think it would cause at least some strains with our allies. It’s not that I don’t think it would reach the point of putting NATO’s nuclear strategy at risk, but it’s still a risk for our position.

I am not up to speed on the idea of a five nuclear-armed states agreement. I made the point that it has been, sort of, very difficult in the past to get a (inaudible) on strategic nuclear weapons, and the Russians have resisted any dialogue, even, that might provide some transparency in what they have, so we have, I think, considerable uncertainty about the actual numbers.

We had very little leverage to change their positions since we – remember when we unilaterally reduced most of ours. In a different time, in a more hopeful time, the president’s nuclear initiatives (inaudible) our unilateral protections. So inducing the Russians to put them into one basket (inaudible) isn’t going to be easy, but there's going to be some lessons from the New START verification regime of what the Russians have is that the intrusive inspections under the (inaudible) checking the right number of nuclear weapons there. That kind of very (inaudible) transparency can be (inaudible).

SCHAKE: So first to your question about the NPT review conference. I seem to recall the last NPT Review Conference, we were near a rebellion by the non-nuclear powers that the nuclear member states were not upholding their end of the bargain. And I think that's only picking up speed, and the withdrawal from the START Treaty was certainly gas going into that fire. So I think you are observing it right. I actually don't know the answer about the P5. Beyond what Edelman and Miller said in their Wall Street Journal piece, my guess is that the French will believe that the great glory of France is ill-suited by this.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHAKE: And yet they would gain from it as well. And that's (inaudible) to have the argument.

On the non-strategic, unquestionably true, extraordinarily difficult to verify, and yet in a day when Bellingcat can tell you who shot down an airliner by tracking social media and production codes, I just can't believe that the Madelyn Creedons of the world cannot find a way that we can do this.

Moreover, it seems to me -- I just read a little bit of (inaudible) of having no leverage over the Russians on this. I think we have an enormous amount of moral leverage by virtue of the fact that the NATO allies reduced their non-strategic nuclear forces by over 90 percent, and Russia's made no corresponding cut.

And so -- again, I feel like we underuse shame in the international politics, because but reputations matter, and the Russians have painted themselves into a reputational corner, being the people who bombed hospitals after the Syrian government uses chemical weapons. And if they ever want to be out of that penalty box, we can offer them a way to be a good international citizen, and I think we ought to find a creative way to have that discussion.

(UNKNOWN):

CREEDON: I completely agree on the comments about the NPT. I won't belabor those for -- uh, you know, P5 do talk about things, on occasion, but in terms of, in terms of where -- where we go next in Treaty Land, there probably is room for one more bilateral treaty with Russia before it -- before we expand to others, mostly because of the discrepancy of the pure numbers, I mean, we have much more parity with Russia across the board, and I just think that would also really be a test in terms of how you verify these things.

There is, I think, an advantage of having some further discussions with Russia on what the treaty would look like, because we tend to disagree with having these conversations with Russia. There's a lot to be said just for having the conversations. Historically, just the act of these conversations provided a lot of insight into what were real concerns or fears or desires in the Middle East to actually move forward with a treaty.

I know the administration has had, I think, at least two strategic stability discussions with Russia. Those are certainly good things. We've agreed it's going to prevent more (inaudible) than track twos. I know NTI has tried to do some track twos with Russia. I mean, those are the things that would keep this ball rolling and going forward. But I think we have a long way to before we actually get to the five-way, and on the five-way side is probably where you want to do non-treaty weapons and that gets us into the transparency, confidence-building measures and those sorts of things.

SCHAKE: For anybody talking to the folks in the administration who are frothing at the mouth in fury about Britain's 5G Huawei decision, it would be a great time to suggest that five -- five-power Security Council arms control treaty. That would give the administration something constructive to focus their ire on.

(LAUGHTER)

KIMBALL: Well, just a quick additional comment about this -- the Russian response to the Trump administration's proposal that there's a trilateral nuclear arms control negotiation with the Chinese is well, we should involve the British and the French arsenals into the conversation. To which I've not heard a Trump administration response, but this is just an example of what I think -- you know, the American policy with respect to what follows onto New START has to be thought through carefully. The planning in my estimation has not yet been done.

And this a long-term process, unfortunately, that is not going to bear fruit within 12 months, which is -- which brings me back to underscoring one of the main points of the discussion today, which is that none of these more ambitious options, however, whatever shape or form they take, at whatever pace, are not going to be possible in the absence of this foundational U.S.-Russian strategic nuclear arms control agreement without which all of these things become incredibly more complex.

So we had a couple other questions out there. Let's go to some of the good people in the middle and the back, with this gentleman right here in the middle. Please. Yes, stand up. Identify yourself and ask us your question.

QUESTION: Dave Crandall, retired from the Department of Energy, where Madelyn was my boss at one time, and independent consultant now. Just trying to keep up with things. My experience trying to work with trilaterals with UK, France, etc., was never going to work. And it feels to me like a trilateral with China and Russia would take as much as five years, assuming you get New START renewed. (inaudible) What's -- what is realistic? When you talk about bilaterals with China and Russia, you talk about trilaterals, you talk about (inaudible) Russia. What is your opinion about what's realistic?

KIMBALL: Hold that question in your mind, we're going to take two more questions. And why don't we go here, and then we have Greg in the back.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) international (inaudible). Could you make more comments on the impact of exotic hyper-velocity weapons? When will you start modernizations (inaudible)? (Inaudible) are all of you (inaudible)?

KIMBALL: Okay. All right. Let me take this two. What is realistic in terms of a follow on to New START, as I understand your question. And how do we deal with these Russian exotic systems that Vladimir Putin is scaring everybody about?

SCHAKE: So I want to take a shot at what is realistic. I am old enough to remember the NBFR negotiations and the PFB negotiations that had, definitely (inaudible).

So if you actually want to get something done, it is possible to get it done in large numbers. It requires leadership. It requires common purpose. It requires a whole bunch of time, but I don't share your view that the U.S. and two close allies are an impossible troika to get anything done with.

KIMBALL: OK. Other thoughts?

(UNKNOWN):

VERSHBOW: On the P5, what can be accomplished? I mean, you should be able to find a way to deal with our British and French allies, and I think the Russians are going to absolutely insist if we go to any kind of multilateral arrangements that would bring China in, the British and French would have to be brought in as well. And the French will resist, but I there are going to be ways, depending on us, how directly (inaudible) on limits, there may be technical limits on U.S. and Russia as the big boys, and some kind of no-increase (inaudible) transparency would apply to France or maybe China.

If they have a strategic modernization plan that people (inaudible) doubles (inaudible) that the Russians getting a no-increase commitment to this year's (inaudible) a few years ago might be better than seeing it just continue to grow.

But the Frank Miller-Eric Edelman idea, I think, might be adapted to also think about combined START-INF type of limits, that’s with the supplements (inaudible), makes verifications easier, and that may create some...

SCHAKE: (inaudible) Madelyn’s problem of acknowledging the cheating --

VERSHBOW: Well, they'd have to make the 9M729 subject to this agreement. But this would be reduced from actual symmetry, or closer to symmetry, because the Chinese have a lot of INFs, numerous strategic weapons, (inaudible) what’s in it for us. But there’s a kind of incentive in terms of, you know, the leverage points. We're threatening (inaudible) definitely on their corners, they might be willing to negotiate (inaudible).

KIMBALL: And what is this -- let me push you on, what is this -- what is in this discussion for the Chinese, for instance? I mean, I would think that if I were a Chinese negotiator, I might say, not only am I concerned about U.S. conventional forces in the South China Sea, but with this missile defense system that threatens our retaliatory capabilities. So...

VERSHBOW: They think it does.

KIMBALL: Well, whether they think it does or not, it actually does -- that's another conversation. But I think it's quite likely, they're going to ask for something. That's my point. So far none of you have addressed the question, what is in it for the Chinese? What could we give to induce them to...

VERSHBOW: The Russians have always said they're going to bring up missile defense again, if we ask them to go one warhead lower than the New START requires.

KIMBALL: Okay. All right.

SCHAKE: I like Madelyn's idea as an asymmetric treaty acknowledgment and participation. I mean, the U.S. should ratify a lot of this (inaudible) anyway. Not only do we comply with it, we enforce it on other people, and the other administration had just been willing to roll our sleeves up and get the congressional votes, my own Republicans as well as Democrats.

So we should try to do that. It's a good thing. We're going to want it a lot more. You don't want to be in a position the Lincoln administration was in during the Civil War, where all of a sudden you desperately want compliance, where everybody (inaudible) this treaty you've been unwilling to ratify.

So it is really (inaudible) as the Chinese threat continues to increase in the South China Sea, that we embrace the treaty that we led, we signed, and we are compliant with, and we enforce the terms of that, and anything that you get from the Chinese, so that would be fabulous.

Then I am a lot less skeptical than you, that there are things China wants that the United States has in (inaudible), transparency on freedom of navigation, schedules, the prospects for a mutual and balanced force reductions between China and the United States, they're all there. So if we could persuade them that if you would make the time and effort, that it would require patience, that it requires to make progress on this. But as you said, they're just not even trying.

KIMBALL: Madelyn, the hypersonic systems.

CREEDON: Before I get to those, you know, even things like crisis stability mechanisms with China. I mean we don't have a real hotline with China. You know, even some very basic things that we might want to talk about that would seem to be of mutual -- of mutual benefit going forward. I guess -- you know, I guess my problem is realistically, all of this is going to be extraordinarily difficult and none of them will be easy. And it will take leadership. I mean it will just take leadership to figure out what -- what it is that we would like to pursue.

On the -- on the other Russian systems, so Sergey Lavrov has, of course, recently said that the Sarmat, which is the heavy ICBM, and Avangard, which is the hypersonic system which apparently was, could be launched on an ICBM, just because of those relationships as to ICBMs, they would naturally fall under New START and they would be in types, so there really is flexibility on the new types to preempt these sorts of systems. The ones that are way more problematic, of course, are the nuclear -- nuclear torpedo and the nuclear cruise missile. They both feel -- even though they have great distance, they certainly both feel like things that we would bring on to strategic systems historically, but it's a good place to start in terms of what the intentions could be, how their doctrine applies to them, these would be sort of the transparency discussions that one would want to have on these systems.

And I think with time, we will continue to have -- I think in time we will have more leverage with respect to Russia as our -- as the U.S. modernization program progresses, I think we’ll actually get leverage at the moment. Obviously, Russia is -- of course, is winding up their modernization but they still have production lines, they still have the ability to make warheads. Things that we don't have at the moment. So as we move forward on our modernization programs and we get back into the business of making things again, certainly the new submarine is up front, but when we -- and when we get progress on the -- on the new ICBM, when we get more progress on the bomber, when we have more than one warhead life extended, if we ever get the capability back, these are all the things that will now enable us to have serious leverage over Russia, all of which argues that we need to maintain the stability between now and then, whenever then is. So, you know, it's just a -- it's just a stronger argument for getting New START extended right now.

KIMBALL: All right. We're going to take one final question before we conclude. Let me ask the... (inaudible) Greg, why don't we take Greg Thielmann’s question?

(UNKNOWN):

KIMBALL: OK. And then -- OK, go ahead Greg and then we'll take...

QUESTION: Greg Thielmann, board member of the Arms Control Association.

Through the years strategic arms control between the U.S. and Soviet Union, Russia, included both offensive and defensive systems. Russia still maintains that this is a very important part of the equation. In fact, implies that it cannot lower its number of offensive ordnance once the U.S. purses (inaudible) training the defenses. And even explicitly cites U.S. chief missile defenses as a reason for Putin's wunderwaffe.

So my question is, is this something that we will continue to be able to stiff the Russians on, or is there created space that somehow involves the transit system?

CREEDON: Well, right now, they're just -- I mean, I would say, there has to be some way to have these discussions, but there are a lot of statutory impediments right now to having these discussions. And I think one of the first steps is to get rid of some of these statutory impediments to these discussions, but somehow we have to -- we have to be able to talk about this.

SCHAKE: So the last 87 or so time (inaudible) that we’ve tried to have conversations with the Russians to reach agreement on something that is patently obvious, which is that limited ballistic missile defense systems are easily overwhelmed by ballistic missiles, by decoys, by chaff -- the Russians don’t believe it, and the Russians don't want to believe it, and I am a lot less sympathetic to the -- we all need to remain un-dependent in order to have strategic stability. I think strategic stability is more stable than the suggestion that limited missile defenses would unbalance it the amount that Russia may suggest.

VERSHBOW: I think the Russians are worried that some technological breakthrough that is not actually on the horizon, that somehow we might achieve that would give us a credible defense of the U.S. homeland of missile defense. I don't think that's attainable, and even with the technologies that we're looking ahead to in the next 10 or 15 years. And I think at the end of the day, they use this as a cudgel and a propaganda tool. At the end of the day, it's not a New START agreement without any constraints on missile defense. And their preambular language about the offense-defense relationship. I think they'll make that calculus again if we negotiate another agreement. But I think the limits provide the balance and if they still see U.S. as (inaudible) against the ones and twos and threes of (inaudible) large Russian (inaudible), next time we (inaudible).

KIMBALL: I want to thank all of our speakers for their insights and their comments. We're going to have to end it there. I want to thank all of you for being with us. The Arms Control Association is going to be posting in the next three or four days a transcript of today's discussion. We're going to have more on the future of the New START Treaty in the months ahead, as we discussed today, and the day's not over.

Congress is looking at this, and looking for discussion about the NPT Review Conference which begins April 27 on disarmament treaties, including New START. So thanks for being with us, and (inaudible).

(APPLAUSE)

We're adjourned.

Description: 

Former officials from the U.S. government outline the case for extending New START and address frequently asked questions about the treaty and the future of arms control.

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