Former Nuclear Commanders Support New START

Volume 1, Number 13, July 29, 2010

Seven former U.S. military commanders of Strategic Air Command and U.S. Strategic Command have announced their support for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START.  In a July 14 letter to senators (PDF), the five Air Force Generals and two Navy Admirals wrote that they "strongly endorse [New START's] early ratification and entry into force" because "the treaty will enhance American national security."

The military commanders state in their letter that:

  • "[C]ontinuing the formal strategic arms reduction process will contribute to a more productive and safer relationship with Russia."
  • "We will understand Russian strategic forces much better with the treaty than would be the case without it. For example, the treaty permits on-site inspections that will allow us to observe and confirm the number of warheads on individual Russian missiles; we cannot do that with just national technical means of verification."
  • "[T]he post-treaty force will represent a survivable, robust and effective deterrent, one fully capable of deterring attack on both the United States and America's allies and partners."
  • "[T]he treaty provides no meaningful constraint on U.S. missile defense plans. The prohibition on placing missile defense interceptors in ICBM or SLBM launchers does not constrain us from planned deployments."

The letter was signed by General Larry Welch (USAF, Ret), General John Chain (USAF, Ret), General Lee Butler (USAF, Ret), Admiral Henry Chiles (USN, Ret), General Eugene Habiger (USAF, Ret), Admiral James Ellis (USN, Ret), and General Bennie Davis (USAF, Ret).

They join former U.S. Strategic Commander General James Cartwright (now Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and current U.S. Strategic Commander General Kevin Chilton and a growing list of current and former military leaders who have endorsed New START.  For additional names, please see "Why New START is Essential to U.S. National Security: What Bipartisan National Security Officials Are Saying." - TOM Z. COLLINA