Select Statements of Support for New START

Updated September 2020

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which entered into force in 2011, will expire on February 5, 2021, unless the U.S. and Russian presidents decide to extend the treaty by up to five years.

New START is the latest in a series of agreements negotiated by Republican and Democratic presidents that verifiably limit and reduce the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals.

Under the treaty’s terms, the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals are limited to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads; 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers assigned to nuclear missions; and 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and bombers.

New START was signed by the United States and Russia on April 8, 2010; approved by the Senate on Dec. 22, 2010; and ratified by President Barack Obama on Feb. 2, 2011. The treaty entered into force on Feb. 5, 2011.

Whether the treaty will be extended is uncertain. While Russia has declared its desire to extend New START, the Trump administration has yet to take Russia up on its offer to do so and raised concerns about whether prolonging the treaty makes sense for U.S. security. Prior to his departure, former National Security Advisor John Bolton said an extension is “unlikely.” President Trump is not expected to make a decision on an extension until 2020.

Below is a continuously updated list of statements of support for extension of the treaty from former and current government officials and national security leaders.

"With a rapidly approaching expiration date, the United States and Russia should extend the highly successful Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) while negotiating a follow-on agreement."
Future of Defense Task Force, co-chaired by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.)
and including Reps. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.),
Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), and Michael Waltz (R-Fla.),
Sept. 29, 2020
"I welcome the recent talks between the United States and the Russian Federation in Vienna, and I strongly urge both sides to agree to move quickly to extend the Treaty by the full five years."
Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general,
Sept. 15, 2020
"Allowing New START to expire in February would have a dangerous and destabilizing effect. Losing New START’s extensive and effective verification regime would create greater uncertainties about Russia’s current and future nuclear plans, intentions, and capabilities...At this juncture it is unlikely significant changes to the New START treaty could be successfully negotiated, nor a new treaty ratified in the Senate, prior to the lapse of the current agreement. The best course of action would be for the United States to extend the current treaty, allowing time to negotiate with Russia, as well as China, on the contours of a new agreement."
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.),
Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), 
Sept. 8, 2020, letter to President Trump
I think getting China involved in this thing was a nonstarter from the very beginning, and I really hope that they will renew New START, both for verification purposes and because of the predictability it brings into the arms control, into the strategic arms arena.
Robert Gates, former secretary of defense,
June 18, 2020
In the absence of any agreement which includes China, I think the right thing will be to extend the existing New START agreement to provide the necessary time to find agreement – US, Russia – but hopefully also with China. Because we should not end up in a situation where we have no agreement whatsoever regulating the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
—Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general,
June 23, 2020
We encourage "the United States and Russia to extend New START and engage in talks on its possible expansion."
—The Stockholm Initiative, which includes the ministers of Argentina,
Canada, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan,
the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Korea,
Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland,

Feb. 25, 2020
"I call upon the United States and Russia to come to an early agreement of the extension of New START. This treaty is a crucial component of global security and would provide a key scene setter for the Review Conference."
Ann Linde, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Feb. 24, 2020
“It is critical that the New Start Treaty be extended beyond 2021.”
—Emmanuel Macron, French president,
Feb. 7, 2020
“Extending New START will bolster U.S. security while future arms control arrangements are negotiated...It would be better for both sides to negotiate such a treaty from an existing baseline rather than in a vacuum, and we have little to lose by extending it. ”
—Adm. James Winnefeld, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Jan. 1, 2020
“I believe the New START Treaty should be extended before it expires in 2021. I reach this conclusion for two reasons; first, while the New START Treaty is not perfect, it limits Russia's ability to deploy nuclear weapons and as long as Russia remains in compliance, it's in U.S. national interest to prevent Russian expansion of its nuclear arsenal. Second, the five-year extension can and should be used to address recent technological developments and include China and expanded negotiations and commitments. ”
—Kenneth Myers, former Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency,
Dec. 4, 2019
“It serves American interests to extend the treaty.”
—Rose Gottemoeller, former under secretary of state for arms control
and international security and chief U.S. negotiator of New START,
Nov. 8, 2019
“When the first START Treaty entered into force in 1994, the U.S. and Russia were limited to 6,000 strategic offensive arms each. Now, under New START, they are limited to no more than 1,550 each. These Treaties have worked. They have built up trust, promoted transparency, and cut down the number of nuclear weapons. They have made our world a safer place. We have to keep what we have built and maintain the gains made through these treaties.”
—Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general,
Oct. 25, 2019
“The United States and Russia, which still hold nearly 90 percent of nuclear arsenals, must continue their efforts to reduce stocks. This involves extending the New START Treaty in 2021 and negotiating a successor treaty between the two countries.”
—Yann Hwang, French ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament,
Oct. 11, 2019
“New START has reduced the two largest nuclear arsenals, set a new verification standard, and helped containing a global nuclear arms race. We call on the U.S. and Russia to show leadership by extending New START and subsequently adjusting it to new developments.”
—Peter Beerwerth, German ambassador and permanent representative to the Conference on Disarmament,
Oct. 10, 2019
“We had a couple of words—very important ones—on arms control. We—some of us remember the worst years of Cold War in 1960s. There was no agreement at all. Just Cold War. We can't let the situation return to no agreement at all about arms control. And that is why it is important to try to negotiate new agreements and to continue the New START Agreement. That will be a good new start for international cooperation on that.”
Sauli Niinistö, president of Finland,
Oct. 2, 2019
“Russian and U.S. governments should comply with existing commitments, maintain existing tools, and develop new approaches to deal with a more complex future. This includes the continuation of the INF Treaty’s core objectives (mutual nuclear restraint in Europe and no deployment of intermediate range delivery systems), implementation and extension of New START (with provisions for transparency), and intensification of existing talks on strategic stability to reduce the risks of miscommunication and miscalculation.”
—More than 100 members of the European Leadership Network,
Sept. 12, 2019
“Extending New START would buy the U.S. five years of additional stability, predictability, and transparency. It would also buy time to pursue a more ambitious agreement. Throwing away the treaty's limits on Russian President Vladimir Putin's enormous existing arsenal of large, deployed nuclear weapons—just because it doesn't cover all Russian weapons or include China's much smaller arsenal—would be akin to cutting off our nose to spite our face.”
—Michèle Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy, and Kingston Reif, director for
disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association,

Aug. 19, 2019
“Senator Lugar championed the New START Treaty as a means for keeping Russia’s nuclear weapons ambitions in check… I’m glad to join Senator Van Hollen in this bipartisan push to continue Senator Lugar’s work and curb the threat of nuclear weapons from countries like Russia for years to come.”
—Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) statement introducing legislation calling for an extension of New START,
Aug. 1, 2019
“We regret the fact that Russia has not done what was necessary to save the INF Treaty. We therefore now call on Russia and the U.S. all the more urgently to preserve the New START Treaty as a cornerstone of global arms control.”
—Heiko Maas, German foreign minister,
Aug. 1, 2019
“When it comes to the New START treaty, from a STRATCOM perspective, we like the idea of arms control agreements, particularly with Russia, that provide us with some level of assurance that at least a portion of their nuclear forces are capped…From a military perspective, at STRATCOM, those verification procedures that the U.S. gets to execute all the time provides great insight into Russia’s capabilities, numbers, and all kinds of things associated with their nuclear weapons. We want that information flowing. If we were to lose that for any reason in the future, we would have to go look for other ways to fill in the gaps for the things we get from those verifications.”
Vice Adm. David Kriete, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command,
July 31, 2019
“It would be national security malpractice to discard New START in the hopes of negotiating a more comprehensive, ambitious nuclear arms control agreement with Russia and China to say nothing about getting it ratified and into force.”
—Thomas Countryman, former acting under secretary of state for arms control and international security,
July 25, 2019
“The New START Treaty is a very good agreement. It’s not perfect; no international treaty is. But it provides important constraints that make the United States safer, predictability for the U.S. military as it recapitalizes our nuclear forces, and a foundation for strategic stability between the United States and Russia at a time when there are significant challenges in the bilateral relationship. Assuming that Russia remains in compliance with New START, it would be foolishness of the first order to let the treaty lapse.”
—Brian McKeon, former acting under secretary of defense for policy,
July 25, 2019
“Extension of New START is in the national security interests of the United States, as the treaty provides strategic stability, certainty, and transparency in the relationship between the United States and Russia at least as far as strategic nuclear arms are concerned. Moreover, a 5-year extension would allow an opportunity for discussions of what comes next in the broader U.S.-Russian relationship and in arms control.”
—Madelyn Creedon, former assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs and former principal deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration,
July 25, 2019
“I'll pursue an extension to the New START treaty, an anchor of strategic stability between the United States and Russia, and use that as a foundation for new arms control agreements.”
—Joe Biden, former U.S. vice president,
July 11, 2019
“New START in particular strengthens our security through robust verification measures and legally binding numerical limitations on strategic delivery systems and warheads. We believe that a decision to forego the benefits of New START by failing to extend the agreement would be a serious mistake for strategic stability and U.S. security, and urge you to negotiate the full extension of New START through 2026, as permitted by the Treaty.”
—Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
and Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.),

June 5, 2019, letter to President Trump
“Extension of New START will ensure that Russia and the United States maintain verifiable limits on their strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems; exchange data about their strategic nuclear forces; and keep boots on the ground through on-site inspections. Maintaining this important guardrail will provide a critical foundation of restraint and predictability upon which both countries should take additional steps to reduce the risk of nuclear use and continue the process of verifiable nuclear reductions.”
—Ernest Moniz, former energy secretary;
Sam Nunn, former Chairman of U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee;
Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
William Perry, former secretary of defense;
George Schultz, former secretary of state,

May 10, 2019
“The New START Treaty has aided global security for nearly a decade, limiting Russia’s ability to deploy nuclear weapons. So long as Russia remains compliant, it’s in America’s national security interest to extend this Treaty because it will help prevent Vladimir Putin from enhancing his arsenal.”
—Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ranking member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
May 8, 2019
“We write to urge your administration to extend [New START] with Russia for another five years in order to ensure that the United States can continue to enjoy the treaty’s clear national security benefits over this period. Since its signing nine years ago, the treaty has provided stability, predictability, and critical intelligence insights over more than ninety percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Therefore, we are very concerned that so far, the United States has made no visible or concrete effort to extend its life. Failure to extend New START risks unraveling a broader arms control regime that has helped uphold stable deterrence and curb a costly, destabilizing arms race for nearly half a century.”
—Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley
(D-Ore.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Margaret Wood
Hassan (D-N.H.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden
(D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom
Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Elizabeth Warren (D- Mass.), Ed Markey (D-
Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.),

April 12, 2019, letter to President Trump
“[New START] is still being observed by both sides and will soon be the only remaining, legally binding agreement that limits the nuclear weapons of the United States and Russia. New START remains in both sides’ interest in terms of reducing strategic nuclear weapons in a balanced, verifiable way and in ensuring transparency and predictability regarding each side’s capabilities.”
—Alexander Vershbow, former NATO deputy secretary-general and U.S. ambassador to Russia,
Feb. 26, 2019
“The most prudent course of action would be to extend New START before it expires in 2021 and thereby gain the time needed to carefully consider the options for a successor agreement or agreements and to negotiate a deal with the Russians.”
—Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, former administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration and
commander of Air Force Global Strike Command,

January/February 2019
“We urge you to take up Russia’s offer to engage in talks on the extension of New START.”
—Richard Burt, former ambassador to Germany and chief U.S. negotiator for the Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty; Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-Ind.) former chairman of U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Sen.
Sam Nunn, (D-Ga.) former chairman of U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee; William J. Perry, former
secretary of defense; Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, former under secretary of state for political affairs,
and former ambassador to the United Nations, to Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan, and El Salvador;
George P. Shultz, former secretary of state,

Nov. 7, 2018, letter to President Trump
“The INF treaty gives us benefits, as does the other major arms control agreement, the 2010 New START treaty. Both sides are complying with New START and are benefitting from its weapons limits and verification procedures. An important step toward greater stability would be for President Trump to offer to extend New START to 2026. I urge him to do so.”
—Richard Lugar, former U.S. senator from Indiana,
Oct. 25, 2018
“My concern is that we could be…saying, ‘Well, they’re violating the INF [Treaty]…and all these other treaties, and we don’t like all the stuff they’re doing,’ which is true. But I worry that we just throw, then, the New START treaty out.”
—Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.),
Sept. 18, 2018
“We ought to be a little bit more pro-continuing the benefits the [New] START treaty gives us rather than getting the idea there might be some way we get out of it.”
—Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.),
Sept. 18, 2018
“If we withdrew or failed to extend New START, it would be an unforced error on our part. An easy win is to pursue an extension of the treaty as is. It buys us predictability. It buys us transparency and verification measures. It buys us a lot that contributes to stability at a time when the other dimensions of the relationship with Russia are both in flux and under tremendous scrutiny.”
—Michèle Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy,
July/August 2017