Remarks at the Arms Control Association's Annual Meeting
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
April 26, 2010
(As prepared for delivery)
Thank you for the kind introduction. I am very pleased to be back in Washington and able to join you for your annual meeting. This has been an extremely eventful year in the area of arms control and your meeting is well-timed, as there is much more to come.
It was just over a year ago, on April 1, 2009, that President Obama and President Medvedev met in London and agreed to launch the negotiations toward a replacement treaty for START.
With their directive, we embarked on a new, uncharted path, but one which both our countries and the world community recognized was necessary: to replace the expiring START Treaty with a new agreement reflecting progress in arms control and the changes in the world and in the U.S.-Russian relationship over the 20 years since START was negotiated.
Twelve months later, the New START Treaty and its Protocol were completed and the Presidents signed both at Prague on April 8. It was a thrill to witness the signing ceremony, an event which signified not only the completion of the negotiation but the launch of the critical phase of work that lies ahead. Within the coming weeks, the Treaty, Protocol, Annexes and associated documents will be submitted formally to the United States Senate. I believe there is every reason for the Senate to provide its advice and consent to ratification of the New START Treaty. The Treaty will ensure and maintain the strategic balance between the United States and Russia at lower, verifiable weapons levels, appropriate to the current security environment. It will promote strategic stability by ensuring transparency and predictability regarding U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces over the life of the Treaty. It will definitively strengthen U.S. national security.
An important aspect of this phase of work is introducing the new Treaty not only to the Senate, but also to international organizations, non-governmental and advocacy organizations, and, most critically, the public. While I am here in Washington speaking to all of you, I know my Russian counterpart – Ambassador Anatoliy Antonov – is similarly engaged in Russia. Had it not been for the volcanic ash cloud hovering over Europe last week, the two of us would have jointly briefed the Conference on Disarmament, the OSCE, the EU and the IAEA on the new Treaty. We plan to do so at the NPT Review Conference next month in New York, and we intend to reschedule our European briefings soon thereafter. Embarking on a cooperative venture of this kind is a first in the history of arms control—an experiment, but an important one that we believe will work.
New START Treaty
I would like to take a step back for a minute and discuss another experiment, how we reached agreement with the Russian Federation on the New START Treaty.
I am sure this audience will appreciate that our work on this treaty began on the strong foundations established by the INF Treaty, the START Treaty, and the Moscow Treaty. Our many years of joint experience in implementing those treaties served as guiding principles as we negotiated this new Treaty.
What was experimental about these negotiations was the spirit in which they took place. As they began, Secretary Clinton had only just agreed with her counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that it was time to hit the reset button, moving us out of a difficult phase in our bilateral relationship. So the two delegations launched into the negotiations committed to conducting them in an atmosphere of mutual respect, with a premium on keeping the tone “businesslike and productive”— even when we did not agree. As my counterpart Ambassador Antonov would frequently say, “business is business.” Each delegation member brought to the table a sense of purpose and cooperation that allowed us to complete the treaty in a year – a span of time that is in sharp contrast to the more than nine years it took to negotiate the START I Treaty and the six years it took to negotiate the INF Treaty.
Much has changed, however, since START was signed by President Bush and President Gorbachev in 1991. These changes were reflected in the day-to-day work of our delegations. When our delegations sat across the table from each other, we had a better understanding of the other’s strategic focus. This was borne of the experience implementing INF and START. In fact, many of the U.S. and Russian experts on our delegations were inspectors under START. Multiple times, they had visited each others’ ICBM bases, SLBM bases, heavy bomber bases, and storage facilities. Communication lines are also well-established. For more than 22 years, the United States and Russia have communicated on START and INF through our respective Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers. And we speak each other’s languages. There were probably as many Russian speakers on the U.S. delegation as English speakers on the Russian delegation—many of them, again, from the cadre of inspectors. Arms control treaties of the past were negotiated when we did not have this multi-year implementation experience under our belts, and it helped enormously with the pace of negotiation.
This is not to say the negotiation was easy. Quite frankly, it was tough and there were serious issues to resolve, including those that required direct intervention by our Presidents. But there was a high degree of professionalism and expertise on both sides of the table, and the two teams were able to work together in a very intense and productive way. I know you will agree that what we achieved is an agreement that mutually enhances the security of the Parties and provides predictability and stability in strategic offensive forces.
Our Presidents described it best when, after signing the new Treaty earlier this month, President Obama called it “an important milestone for nuclear security and non-proliferation, and for U.S.-Russia relations” and President Medvedev declared it a “win-win situation.”
Details of the Treaty
The New START Treaty will improve international security by reducing and limiting U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces, promoting strategic stability by ensuring transparency and predictability regarding U.S and Russian strategic nuclear forces over the life of the Treaty, and advancing our collective nuclear non-proliferation agenda.
I would like to walk through some of the main points of the new START Treaty:
* The new Treaty will limit deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers to 1,550 per side, which is about 30 % below the maximum of 2,200 warheads permitted by the Moscow Treaty. When it is fully implemented, the Treaty will result in the lowest number of deployed nuclear warheads since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age.
* The Treaty has a limit of 700 for deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and deployed nuclear capable heavy bombers. This limit is more than 50 percent below the START Treaty limit of 1600 deployed strategic delivery vehicles.
* There will be a separate limit of 800 on the total number of deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers.
* The new Treaty gives each side’s military the flexibility to deploy and maintain its forces in ways that best meet that nation’s national security interests. The U.S. will maintain its triad of bombers, submarines and missiles for nuclear missions.
* The Treaty’s verification regime was designed to be strong and effective while at the same time reducing implementation costs and mitigating the operational disruptions to strategic nuclear forces that each side experienced for 15 years under START.
* The regime calls for on-site inspections of both deployed and non-deployed systems at the same types of facilities that were subject to inspection under START, extensive notifications, six-month data exchanges accompanied by frequent data updates, exhibitions, and demonstrations. In addition, each ICBM, SLBM, and heavy bomber will be assigned a unique identifier that will enable us to monitor individual systems over the life of the treaty.
* The new Treaty counts the actual number of warheads carried on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs. Since heavy bombers on both sides are no longer on alert, they no longer carry warheads on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, we agreed on an attribution rule of one warhead per heavy bomber rather than counting heavy bombers at zero warheads. This approach underscores the fact that these bombers have the capability to deliver nuclear weapons, although they are not ready to do so on a day-to-day basis.
* The Treaty provides for an exchange of telemetry information on up to 5 ballistic missile flight tests per year, by each side.
* The Treaty also protects our ability to develop and deploy ballistic missile defenses, and to develop and deploy a conventional prompt global strike capability should we opt to pursue such a capability.
A Look to the Future
Almost a year to the day before President Obama and President Medvedev signed the New START Treaty in Prague, President Obama gave a speech, also in Prague, in which he set forth a specific agenda to address the challenges posed by the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons. He articulated a bold vision, to “seek the peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons,” no matter how hard it might be or how long it might take.
The President amplified these remarks at the signing ceremony for the Treaty, saying “this is a long-term goal, one that may not even be achieved in my lifetime. But I believed then – as I do now – that the pursuit of that goal will move us further beyond the Cold War, strengthen the global non-proliferation regime, and make the United States, and the world, safer and more secure.“ As long as nuclear weapons exist, however, the President also affirmed that the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee the defense of our allies.
With the New START Treaty, we are setting the stage for further arms reductions. As we say in the Preamble to the Treaty, we see it as providing new impetus to the step-by-step process of reducing and limiting nuclear arms, with a view to expanding this process in the future to a multilateral approach. We also will seek to include non-strategic and non-deployed weapons in future reductions. Such steps would truly take arms control into a new era.
We are looking forward with great anticipation to the NPT Review Conference, which will begin in a week’s time. Heading into the Conference, the New START Treaty sets a powerful example of responsible U.S.-Russian leadership in managing and reducing our remaining nuclear arsenals. Along with the recent release of the Nuclear Posture Review, which deemphasizes the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy, and the strong communiqué issued at the Nuclear Security Summit in mid-April, the Treaty is a key to strengthening the global non-proliferation regime.
The New START Treaty is not just about Washington and Moscow. It is about the entire world community. While the treaty is bilateral, it has big implications for global security. The United States and Russia control more than 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenal, and we know that the world looks to us for leadership in securing nuclear materials globally and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Thus, the new Treaty sets the stage for engaging other powers in fulfilling the goals of the NPT.
At the upcoming NPT Review Conference, we look to reaffirm each party’s commitment to that treaty and to strengthen its three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In addition, we want to discourage abuses of the treaty withdrawal provision and ensure there is a strong focus on NPT compliance. That said, the Review Conference is not an end in itself, but a milestone toward enhancing the non-proliferation regime worldwide.
As you know, two other major goals the Obama Administration is pursuing are bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty – CTBT – and negotiating a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty – FMCT. Ratifying the CTBT will not be an easy task, but we will work closely with the Senate, the public and key stakeholders to achieve this goal. The administration appreciates the active role of the Arms Control Association in advancing the goal of CTBT ratification.
We will also work to reduce the materials needed to produce nuclear weapons. Achieving a verifiable FMCT is an essential condition for a world free of nuclear weapons. If the international community is serious about drawing down, we must constrain the ability to build up. We are working hard to keep the United Nations’ Conference on Disarmament – the CD – focused on this goal.
Each of these steps will move us closer to President Obama’s vision of reducing – and ultimately eliminating – nuclear weapons.
There will be obstacles along the way; this work will be difficult, and will require enormous efforts from governments, NGOs, think tanks, academics, scientists and others to address the insecurities in many regions around the world that may lead some to seek nuclear weapons. But it is work in which all of us must engage. We do not want a world where there is even one more nuclear-armed country and we must also prevent terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear weapons.
I look forward to working with all of you in the months ahead on this ambitious agenda.