According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, New START “will not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defenses possible, nor impose additional costs or barriers on those defenses.” While Russia is concerned about U.S. missile defense plans, the Obama administration kept missile defense on a separate track from reductions in strategic offensive arms during the New START negotiations.
New START and Verification
New START contains an updated, streamlined, and more cost-effective system of verification procedures that are tailored to the treaty’s limits, reflect the realities of the current U.S. and Russian arsenals, and, most importantly, will allow the U.S. to effectively verify Russia’s compliance with the treaty. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen testified that, “in totality, I’m very comfortable with the verification regime that exists in the treaty right now.”
New START and Nuclear Modernization
As it seeks to unilaterally and bilaterally reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy, the Obama administration has also pledged to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent.
New START and Tactical Nuclear Weapons
New START does not impose limits on non-strategic warheads. No previous arms control agreement has limited these weapons. While experts agree that tactical weapons present difficult challenges, there was not sufficient time to reach an agreement on nonstrategic forces during this round of negotiations. The best way to address tactical nuclear weapons is to ratify the New START agreement as soon as possible, and then to begin negotiations with Russia on nonstrategic forces, which the Obama administration intends to do.
Sharing New START’s Negotiating Record Is Unwarranted
While childhood lessons (“sharing is caring”) and platitudes (“what do you have to hide?”) suggest that the Obama administration ought to share the New START negotiating record with Senate Republicans, doing so is unwarranted. In fact, sharing the record might delay the approval process and would confuse key issues, misinterpret ratification precedents from previous arms control treaties, and undermine future US diplomacy based on flimsy evidence.
Responses to Additional Arguments Against New START
Responses to additional arguments made by skeptics of New START.
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