This treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation implemented reductions in two phases in order to meet the established limit on strategic weapons for both states.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II (START II) complemented START I. START I’s provisions were unchanged; START II established a limit on strategic weapons and required that reductions be implemented in two phases. Phase I obligated the United States and Russia to reduce their arms to a certain quantitative limit by the end of the phase. Phase II obligated the states to eliminate all heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by the end of the phase. States were verified by on-site inspections, like in START I, but START II also included inspections to confirm the elimination of ICBMs and their silo launchers. START II created the Bilateral Implementation Commission (BIC) as a forum where the United States and the Russian Federation could work towards compliance.
This treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russian Federation was the first to call for reductions of U.S. and Soviet/Russian strategic nuclear weapons and served as a framework for future, more severe reductions.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (START I) was the first treaty that required U.S. and Soviet/Russian reductions of strategic nuclear weapons. It was indispensable in creating a framework that ensured predictability and stability for deep reductions.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union caused a delay in the entry into force of the treaty, as the classification of states as nuclear or non-nuclear had to be determined, among other things. Reductions of nuclear weapons had to be completed within seven years after entry into force and maintained for another eight years. States were verified by on-site inspections. Both the United States and the Russian Federation continued reduction efforts.
These negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union slowed the arms race in strategic ballistic missiles armed with nuclear weapons by curbing the manufacture of strategic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Begun in November 1969, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) produced two agreements by May 1972:
the Interim Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (Interim Agreement or SALT I), an executive agreement that capped U.S. and Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) forces.
Under the Interim Agreement, both sides pledged not to construct new ICBM silos and not to increase the dimensions of existing ICBM silos “significantly,” and capped the number of SLBM launch tubes and SLBM-carrying submarines. The agreement ignored strategic bombers and did not address warhead numbers, leaving both sides free to enlarge their forces by deploying multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) onto their ICBMs and SLBMs and increasing their bomber-based forces.
The agreement froze the number of launchers the United States and the Soviet Union could maintain, with Washington limited to its existing 1,054 ICBM silos and Moscow to its 1,618 silos. The agreement also capped the number of SLBM launch tubes for each side and allowed for an increase in launchers if done alongside the dismantling or destruction of a corresponding number of older ICBM or SLBM launchers. The United States was limited to 710 SLBM launch tubes, from its base level of 656 SLBM launch tubes, and no more than 44 modern ballistic missile submarines. The Soviet Union was limited to 950 SLBM launch tubes, from its base level of 740 SLBM launch tubes, and no more than 62 modern ballistic missile submarines.
In June 2002, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty.