U.S., Russia Must Extend Arms Control Agreement


CONTACT: Anna Schumann
202.546.0795 #2115


(FEBRUARY 5, 2019 – WASHINGTON) On the anniversary of its signing, former Congressman and arms control expert John Tierney says it is imperative for the United States and Russia to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). If not, Congress must withhold funding that would enable a new nuclear arms race.

Fast facts about the New START Treaty:

  • United States and Russia signed April 8, 2010; entered into force Feb. 5, 2011; replaced 1991 START treaty
  • Required both countries to limit the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 and the number of deployed and non-deployed launchers to 800 by Feb. 5, 2018; both countries met – and are continuing to meet – these limits.
  • Allows each country to conduct 18 on-site inspections per year through duration of treaty and provides for frequent data exchanges
  • Expires on Feb. 5, 2021. With the consent of both countries, the treaty can be extended for another five years

Tierney, now executive director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said the agreement keeps the risk of nuclear war at bay.

“Today marks the eighth anniversary since this historic nuclear reduction treaty entered into force, and one year since both the United States and Russia each met the agreement’s central limits. Every day that New START is in force is another day of avoiding a strategic nuclear arms race.

“The Trump Administration has already withdrawn from the Iran nuclear agreement and is now planning to tear up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In this era of broad nuclear instability, New START is a stabilizing force that we cannot afford to lose. Congress must push the Trump Administration to extend New START to 2026, an option available under the treaty. No matter what, lawmakers must ensure that no funds are allocated to embark on a new, misguided, and dangerous nuclear arms race.”

Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell, who worked on New START at the State Department, said the bottom line is clear.

“New START is working. It is in our national security interest and with the potential collapse of the INF Treaty, it is one of the last bulwarks against a 21st century nuclear arms race. It should be extended as soon as possible.”

Tierney was a nine-term Congressman from Massachusetts, serving as chairman of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee from 2006 to 2010.