U.S. House Move to Freeze New START Nuke Reductions Under Contention
April 18, 2013
WASHINGTON — U.S. House lawmakers voted last week to prevent the United States from scaling down its fielded strategic nuclear arsenal to meet the terms of a 2-year-old treaty with Russia, citing a failure by Obama officials to provide specifics required by February 2012 on how they would carry out the cuts.
The sought-after plans are still up in the air, though, and could remain so for more than a year, a Defense Department spokeswoman told Global Security Newswire on Thursday. The congressional demand to provide the data appeared in prior-year funding legislation that became law.
Language attached to the House version of a new defense appropriations bill would defund any long-range nuclear force reductions mandated under the New START agreement until the Pentagon informs Congress what quantities of nuclear-armed missiles and bombers it would maintain once the treaty is fully implemented. Details about the type and quantity of warheads that would go onto each weapon are also to be furnished to Capitol Hill.
Other details required in the so-called “1042” report — named for the section of the Fiscal 2012 National Defense Appropriations Act in which it was mandated — include how much the cuts are expected to cost, a schedule for carrying them out and how many nuclear warheads would remain in storage once the reductions are complete.
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