The already strong bipartisan support for New START just got a little stronger. On Monday, the American Security Project launched the “Consensus for American Security,” a group of more than 30 senior former military and national security leaders who support the New START treaty and other common sense measures to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism and proliferation.
The bipartisan initiative includes former Senators Gary Hart (D-CO) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), former STRATCOM Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff Gen. Arlen “Dirk” Jameson (USAF, ret.), former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral WIlliam Owens (USN, ret.), and the Center’s very own Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret.).
Senator Chuck Hagel:
I think our greatest responsibility, our being certainly the United States and all of our allies and all governments and peoples of the world, is to work together to build a new global security framework, and the START Treaty in my opinion is part of that.
We all know that arms control treaties and any treaties are not perfect, they are imperfect documents, they are imperfect institutions and structures. But what motivates the treaty itself and why it is important that we have these kinds of structures and institutions to work within is because they do allow us to work within a framework of responsible, in this case, arms reduction.
…if this would fail, if this START Treaty would fail in the Senate, in my opinion it would be a devastating blow to future efforts in the world to try to harness some discipline and build, what I talked about earlier, a new 21st century framework to deal with these issues that are becoming more and more complicated.
General Dirk Jameson:
There are many reasons why ratifying New START Treaty without delay is important. As both senators said, it continues a critical process begun almost 50 years ago to bring stability, transparency, enhanced security and significant reductions to the two nuclear arsenals that hold more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.
The new treaty picks up where the expired start left off by mandating reductions in the strategic nuclear warheads each country may deploy.
The new treaty requires extensive verification monitoring and information exchanges between the U.S. and Russia. This means reduced risk of accident, miscalculation or theft.
Without the New START agreement we would be poorly equipped to monitor what Russia is doing with the nuclear arsenal that in the past has been poorly guarded and poorly maintained. Risk of weapons or a nuclear material falling into the wrong hands is greater without the new treaty.
There are many other reasons to ratify the new treaty but one of perhaps greatest importance is that it will allow the U.S. to lead in pursuing greater cooperation and progress from our allies and other nations around the world.
Admiral Bill Owens:
So I am totally convinced that the provisions of the New START Treaty are in the best interests of our country. I think that many thoughtful military leaders who have, like the General and I, spent a lot of our time in nuclear positions along the way, are of a similar mind, and I just strongly encourage our Senate to take a bipartisan approach, pass this important legislation, and show the world that we truly are the leaders that they expect us to be.