Media Contacts: Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Thomas Countryman, board chair, 301-312-3445
The landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty led to the elimination of 2,692 U.S. and Soviet Union nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. On February 2, 2019, the Trump administration announced its decision to suspend U.S. obligations under the treaty and its intention to withdraw from agreement in six months. The U.S. withdrawal from the treaty will take effect on Friday, August 2.
The Defense Department has requested nearly $100 million in fiscal year 2020 to develop three new missile systems that would exceed the range limits of the treaty, but the Democratic-led House of Representatives has expressed concern about the rationale for the missiles. The House versions of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and defense appropriations bill zeroed out the Pentagon’s funding request for the missiles.
On June 18, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reiterated Russia’s position that it will not deploy INF Treaty-range missiles until the United States does. The United States alleges that Russia has already deployed the treaty-noncompliant 9M729 missile, also known as the SSC-8.
NATO defense ministers met in Brussels on June 26 to discuss defense and deterrence measures “to ensure the security of the alliance” if Russia fails to resolve U.S. allegations of treaty noncompliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is considering several military options, including additional exercises, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, air and missile defenses, and conventional capabilities.
- “Earlier this year, the administration recklessly announced its intent to withdraw the United States from the INF Treaty without a viable diplomatic, economic, or military strategy to prevent Russia from deploying additional and new types of prohibited missiles in the absence of the treaty. Rushing to build our own INF-range missiles in the absence of such a strategy and without a place to put them doesn't make sense.” —Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy
- “Without the INF treaty, there needs to be a more serious U.S. and NATO arms control plan to avoid a new Euromissile race. NATO could declare as a bloc that no alliance members will field any INF Treaty-prohibited missiles or any equivalent new nuclear capabilities in Europe so long as Russia does not deploy treaty-prohibited systems where they could hit NATO territory.” —Daryl Kimball, executive director
- “Without the INF Treaty, as well as the soon expiring New START, there would be no legally binding, verifiable limits on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in nearly half a century.” —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and chair of the ACA board of directors
- "Russia, China, Arms Control, and the Value of New START," Testimony of Thomas Countryman, board chair, before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, July 25, 2019
- “As INF Treaty Falls, New START Teeters,” by Kingston Reif, Arms Control Today, March 2019
- “Rising from the Ashes: Securing and Expanding Past Achievements in INF Arms Control,” by Greg Thielman, Oliver Meier and Andrei Zagorski, Deep Cuts Commission Working Paper, July 2019
- “NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg's INF Response Is Inadequate,” by Daryl Kimball, Arms ControlNow, July 15, 2019
- The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at a Glance, February 2019
- INF Treaty Crisis: Background and Next Steps, February 2019
- U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Agreements at a Glance, February 2019
EXPERTS AVAILABLE IN WASHINGTON:
- Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy,[email protected], 202 463 8270 ext. 104, @KingstonAReif
- Thomas Countryman, former Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and Chair of the Board for the Arms Control Association, [email protected], 301 312 3445, @TMCountryman
- Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, [email protected], 202 463 8270 ext. 107, @DarylGKimball
or contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202 463 8270 ext. 110 / 202 213 6856 (mobile) to schedule an interview.