The United States and Russia have conducted more than 1,000 notifications under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) since its entry into force in February, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller said Aug. 4 at a conference in Omaha hosted by U.S. Strategic Command. The notifications are used to track movements and changes in the status of treaty-covered systems, such as when a heavy bomber is out of its home country for more than 24 hours.
Gottemoeller said the United States and Russia together have conducted eight on-site inspections since April. “We are keeping par with each other,” she said. Gottemoeller said that, for the first time, the two sides were exchanging data about actual re-entry vehicle (warhead) loadings on U.S. and Russian missiles.
“On-site inspection procedures under New START allow the United States to confirm the actual number of warheads on any randomly selected” Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, she said. This inspection right did not exist under the original START, which was in force from 1994 to 2009.
Also under New START, every six months the sides exchange a comprehensive database of exactly where weapons systems are located, are undergoing maintenance, or have been retired. This semiannual exchange creates a “living document,” a comprehensive look into each other’s strategic nuclear forces, Gottemoeller said.
The data exchanges under New START “are providing us with a more detailed picture of Russian strategic forces than we were able to obtain from earlier exchanges,” Gottemoeller said, “and the inspections will give us crucial opportunities to confirm the validity of that data.” Both sides back up the verification regime with their own national technical means of verification, such as satellites and other monitoring systems.
New START’s “verification regime works and will help to push the door open to new, more intrusive inspections involving warheads or other smaller items of account. Such inspections will be crucial to any future nuclear reduction plans,” Gottemoeller said.