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"The Arms Control Association’s work is an important resource to legislators and policymakers when contemplating a new policy direction or decision."

– General John Shalikashvili
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Issue Briefs

Editorials Nationwide Blast Delay on New START

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Volume 1, Number 38, November 29, 2010

As the Senate returns from the holiday break to resume its post-election session, a tidal wave of newspaper editorials from across the nation is urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to promptly approve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The treaty would cap and reduce the Russian nuclear arsenal, reestablish on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, strengthen international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and open the door to progress on reducing Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

On Sept. 16, with bipartisan support, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-4 to send the treaty to the full Senate for approval. Over the course of the past eight months, the treaty has been thoroughly vetted. More than 20 senate hearings and briefings have been held, and over 900 questions have been asked and answered. Yet some Republican senators say they still can't make up their minds.

As Senator Kerry wrote in a Nov. 26 op-ed, "If differences remain, we have sufficient time to have a floor debate and consider amendments. But it is time to have fewer nuclear weapons aimed at the United States, time to have the right to inspect Russian facilities, and time to keep Moscow as an ally in the fight against Iranian proliferation. Now is the time to ratify this treaty."

Unfortunately, despite the administration's updated plan calling for $85 billion in spending to upgrade the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl is apparently seeking to extract pledges of accelerated funding for the weapons complex and has gone back on his earlier suggestion that New START should be considered during the lame-duck session. Kyl's latest "pay-to-play" gambit is fiscally irresponsible, politically unsustainable, and damaging to U.S. security.

U.S. newspapers in Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa, Oregon and other states have responded with strongly worded editorials urging Senator Kyl and his colleagues to heed the advice of the U.S. military and bipartisan national security leaders who recommend prompt approval of New START.

Norman Ornstein at the American Enterprise Institute wrote last week: "Our military leaders are not prone to wishful thinking or peace-at-any-price thinking. The stakes for America's national interest, including Iran and Afghanistan, are immense here. Please, guys, suck it up and find a way to make this work."

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted Nov. 11-14, the American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. The poll found that 73% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while 23% believe it should not.

Below is a sample of the many recent editorials urging the Senate to approve New START as soon as possible.

California

Kyl's START treaty stunt is a new low for the GOP
The San Jose Mercury News, November 17, 2010

"If you doubted that Republicans could be so craven as to put their own political interests above national security, the proof was delivered Tuesday: Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced he will block New START, which calls for the resumption of nuclear controls that until now have had bipartisan support."

One senator delaying New START pact
The Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2010

"The Obama administration already set aside $80 billion over 10 years - much more than the previous administration. And to placate Kyl, the Obama administration committed to adding another $4 billion.  Still, Kyl has hunkered down. This is harmful to U.S. interests and credibility internationally."

Colorado

Playing politics on nuclear policy
The Denver Post, November 19, 2010

"The sudden and maddeningly non-specific objections to approving a long-negotiated continuation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, seem more about dealing President Obama a loss than anything substantive. That's a shame, because this agreement, which has its roots in President Reagan's administration, responsibly reduces the number of nuclear arms held by the U.S. and Russia and gives U.S. inspectors access to Russian nuclear silos."

Florida

Ratify START treaty
The Orlando Sentinel, November 22, 2010

"There's no practical reason to put off action on the treaty and start over with a new Congress. The Senate has held 18 hearings on the pact. In September, it was endorsed 14-4 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with three Republicans joining the panel's Democrats on the prevailing side."

GOP senators going rogue
The Palm Beach Post, November 23, 2010

"Yet Sen. Kyl and too many fellow Republicans, including Florida's George LeMieux, seem unlikely to budge. So despite months of briefings and hearings, the Senate is likely to shuffle New START onto next year's agenda, where partisan politics again could stall ratification. Delay means that, in addition to whatever the administration must do to keep North Korea under control, our defense, intelligence and diplomatic leaders will have to spend additional effort attempting to monitor Russia, Iran and would-be nuclear terrorists. Nuclear dangers are severe enough without forcing the president to perform an unnecessarily dangerous juggling act."

Illinois

Cutting Back Nukes
The Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2010

New START "has broad support among current and former U.S. military leaders, including seven out of eight former commanders of American nuclear forces. Gen. Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, has endorsed the deal, as has Bush's former national security adviser, Stephen Hadley."

Iowa

Ratify the new START treaty now
The Des Moines Register, November 16, 2010

"The treaty is a national security issue, not something that should become the victim of partisan politics. It would somewhat reduce strategic nuclear weapons for the two powers with most of the global stockpile. It would, for example, limit d eployed warheads for each side to 1,550, down from about 2,000 currently. Mutual inspections of each other's facilities will help create transparency and stability."

Kentucky

Politics over security
The Courier-Journal, November 21, 2010

"The determination of the national Republican Party to oppose anything that could be construed as a victory for President Obama has moved from being irresponsible to downright dangerous."

"Sen. Kyl's objections make little sense. He argues that there is not time in a lame-duck session for adequate debate of complex issues, while ignoring that there have been 21 Senate hearings and months of private consultations. He has expressed concern about modernizing the nation's nuclear force, but the President has pledged to spend $84 billion over 10 years on nuclear modernization."

Maine

Security trumps politics
The Times Record, November 17, 2010

"The silence of our two U.S. senators on this treaty is perplexing, given that both Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins have supported earlier arms control agreements negotiated by Republican presidents.

We encourage them to speak up for national security and urge their Republican leaders to stop the politicking and ratify this treaty."

Maryland

Stalled on START
The Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2010

"It used to be said that partisanship should stop at the water's edge. But those days seem long gone in today's toxic political climate, in which a senior figure like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell openly boasts that his party's top priority for the next two years is to ensure that Mr. Obama is a one-term president. Never mind that New START's provisions for on-site inspection and verification were one of Ronald Reagan's most enduring foreign policy accomplishments and that Mr. Obama is seeking to improve on and extend that legacy."

Minnesota

Ratify New START yet this year
The Bemidji Pioneer, November 24, 2010

"Now is the time to vote to ratify the treaty. To delay until January means starting over again from scratch. The new START replaces the original START which was negotiated and signed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. It maintains Reagan's foremost tenet to "Trust, but verify."

Missouri

Peace not politics (or) Psst...the Cold War is over
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 19, 2010

"But nothing comes easy these days, particularly in a lame-duck session of Congress. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., says he fears there isn't time to give [New START] the consideration it deserves. This is the same Jon Kyl who, in July, said he thought the treaty was 'relatively benign.'"

"Failure to ratify [New START] would leave the United States in a far weaker diplomatic position. Friends and enemies alike would see a nation less concerned about peace than politics. They would not be wrong."

Nebraska

Senate should get STARTed
The Omaha World-Herald, September 4, 2010

"Safeguarding our national security interests stands as one of the federal government's central obligations. The U.S. Senate can fulfill that duty by approving a new strategic arms treaty with Russia."

New Hampshire

Political posturing hurting U.S. security
The Nashua Telegraph, November 21, 2010

"After stringing along the president and congressional Democrats for several months, demanding and getting more money for modernizing the nation's nuclear weapons facilities, Kyl copped out Tuesday issuing a sanctimoniously vague press release citing undefined 'complex and unresolved' issues as reasons for his determination there is not enough time to act during the lame-duck congressional session.

The time to act would have been weeks ago, still well after the more than 20 Senate hearings and countless congressional briefings regarding the treaty clarified its provisions and permutations."

New Jersey

Dangerous Delay
The Times of Trenton, November 21, 2010

"Sen. Kyl, who is front and center in the bloc of GOP opposition to ratification of the treaty, has asked "Why the rush?"  We'd like to counter with "Why the delay?"

North Carolina

U.S. Senate should ratify New START treaty
The Rocky Mount Telegram, November 27, 2010

"Kyle's main stated objection to the treaty's ratification is his claim that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal - a position at odds with the president's pledge of more than $80 billion over the next 10 years for just that purpose.

This is not the time to begin holding U.S. security interests hostage for political advantage. Ratify the treaty."

In our interest
The News and Observer, November 28, 2010

"And the new treaty emphatically would not, despite the claims of Senate critics such as Republicans Jon Kyl of Arizona and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, impinge on our right to modernize nuclear weapons or create a defensive missile shield. President Barack Obama has pledged to spend tens of billions of dollars on the former project, and as for missile defense, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Republican appointed by Obama), flatly states that the new treaty imposes "no limits on us."

START ratification a matter of U.S. security, not petty politics
The Asheville Citizen-Times, November 27, 2010

"Kyl had said he was concerned about modernization of U.S. nuclear forces. Administration officials thought they had a deal when they offered an additional $4.1 billion for modernization. Nevertheless, Kyl insisted last week that he opposes a Senate vote this year, taking the White House by surprise.

What is his problem? Given the extent to which the treaty has already been debated, two or three days of floor time would be sufficient to iron out any issues."

Ohio

START rethinking
The Toledo Blade, November 22, 2010

"Good relations with Russia can have positive results for the United States in a number of areas, including negotiations to eliminate Iran's nuclear arms potential and efforts to achieve a Middle East peace.

By risking these potential gains in order to frustrate Mr. Obama, Republicans are acting in bad faith with not just Democrats, but the American people. They should carefully rethink their position on opposing New START."

Arms reduction is a matter of national security; it should rise above partisanship
The Vindicator, November 26, 2010

"In any case, Kyl and Corker are mixing apples and oranges. The Senate has the constitutional responsibility to ratify or reject treaties on their merits. The Senate has a separate role in the appropriation of money for federal projects, including arms development. By tying one to the other, Kyl and Corker are abdicating their responsibility to consider treaties and trivializing their ability to affect the budget."

Oklahoma

'No' to security?
The Tulsa World, November 26, 2010

"Where have [Senators] Kyl and McConnel been during the 21 Senate hearings on the treaty? Have they not paid any attention to previous treaties that have made the world and our nation a safer place?

This treaty, the first with Russia in 10 years, calls for both sides to reduce their deployed warheads to 1,550 from 2,200. That's a relatively small cut and would not diminish our nuclear deterrent. The most significant portion of the treaty is that it would restore verification, inspection and other exchanges of information about the two countries' arsenals.

As President Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."

Oregon

Don't stop START
The Oregonian, November 20, 2010

"There's no reason to block a treaty of which 67 to 73 percent of all Americans approve, according to two recent polls. There's no reason at all, except to vex an administration that happens to be controlled by Democrats. Here's hoping the Senate heeds the counsel of wise men like Lugar, and ignores the tactics of people like Kyl."

GOP should back treaty
The Register-Guard, November 24, 2010

"It is hard to believe that Republicans may try to block this treaty. Long before Obama, their party had established a tradition of strong support for the military. Today The New York Times reports that the START treaty is backed by 'Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the country's top military leaders, six former secretaries of state (from both parties), five former secretaries of defense (from both parties) and seven former nuclear weapons commanders.'"

Pennsylvania

Politics over safety
The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 23, 2010

"Despite all their postelection talk about bipartisanship, Republican leaders are sending strong signals that their main goal is to cripple this presidency and improve the chances of a GOP successor in 2012. They don't care that without START inspections, the Russians can do what they please with long-range missiles."

Tennessee

Sacrificing national security
The Chattanooga Times Free Press, November 21, 2010

"There was no acceptable reason for Arizona Sen. John Kyl, the Senate's chief Republican negotiator on the proposed treaty, to announce last Wednesday that he would oppose and help block a vote on the pending treaty. Indeed, his statement that time in the lame-duck session is too short to resolve what he claimed were remaining 'complex issues' concerning the treaty seems a blatant contrivance - an artifice to mask an obvious effort to damage President Obama politically by undercutting his ability to improve security and foreign relations in key areas abroad.

Kyl's galling move is surprising given the great value of renewing a treaty with Russia. His obstructionism puts partisan politics ahead of national security and the nation's most vital international interests. That's a lump we would think Republicans couldn't swallow given their frequent grandstanding on the importance of national security and limiting partisanship at the border."

Senators should vote on New START
The Knoxville News Sentinel, November 21, 2010

"Unfortunately, Tennessee's senators, Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, appear willing to go along with Kyl.

Instead, they should follow the lead of U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar on Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar confirmed his support for a vote before the lame-duck session ends during a news conference Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass."

Texas

New START now
The Houston Chronicle, November 27, 2010

"Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has said there is insufficient time to take up START in the coming lame-duck session. At this point, his position seems likely to prevail. A vote on the treaty appears likely to be delayed until after the new year.

Given the record on START discussion, Kyl's assertion begs the question: Insufficient time for what?"

"And so it is. We join many others in calling on Sen. Kyl to withdraw his objections and allow a Senate vote on the new START treaty without delay."

Utah

New START
The Salt Lake Tribune, November 24, 2010

"The treaty has received numerous Senate hearings during the past six months and the White House has committed to providing the funding to modernize the arsenal, as Sen. Kyl has asked. We believe it is in the nation's security interest for the White House and Senate Republicans to strike a deal and pave the way to ratification."

"There's no good reason to delay a ratification vote."

Washington

Senate GOP stalling on new arms treaty
The Seattle Times, November 22, 2010

"REPUBLICAN Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona is putting the politics of No ahead of national security.

Kyl is refusing to budge on a new arms-control treaty with Russia to the complete dismay of a bipartisan roll call of former secretaries of state and defense, national-security advisers and top Pentagon brass, past and present."

West Virginia

Bizarre flap over nuclear treaty
The Charleston Gazette, November 18, 2010

"And it has turned even stranger: The Senate Republican whip, Jon Kyl of Arizona, declared GOP opposition to the new START missile-control treaty with Russia -- apparently for no reason except to make President Obama look bad in the eyes of the world."

"What a galling situation. Kyl cares more about playing politics than about protecting America."

Wisconsin

Senate should pass nuke weapons treaty
The Sheboygan Press, November 26, 2010

"It's ironic that [Senator] Kyl is holding the treaty hostage while he demands that the U.S. spend more money upgrading its cache of nuclear weapons. Not only does this fly in the face of the spirit of the treaty, it also makes hollow the GOP call for less government spending."

National

The Party of National Security?
The New York Times, November 18, 2010

"The world's nuclear wannabes, starting with Iran, should send a thank you note to Senator Jon Kyl. After months of negotiations with the White House, he has decided to try to block the lame-duck Senate from ratifying the New Start arms control treaty.

The treaty is so central to this country's national security, and the objections from Mr. Kyl - and apparently the whole Republican leadership - are so absurd that the only explanation is their limitless desire to deny President Obama any legislative success."

The New START pact should be passed, not politicized
The Washington Post, November 20, 2010

"[A] delay would put the administration's 'reset' of relations with Russia at risk - along with Moscow's cooperation on vital matters like Iran's nuclear program and maintaining secure military supply routes to Afghanistan. It might lessen the willingness of nonaligned nations to cooperate with sanctions against Iran and other would-be proliferators. And it could cause both friends and foes of the United States to question Mr. Obama's leadership. At a time when the country is engaged in two wars and the president has two years left in his term, that's not an outcome that Republicans should wish for."

Nuclear treaty meltdown
The Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2010

"'I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security,' said Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an event last week. Kyl apparently wasn't listening. His obstructionism shows that the November election hasn't changed the GOP's strategy, at least in the Senate. Republicans remain determined to thwart Obama's agenda and sabotage his legacy even when doing so is deeply contrary to the national interest."

- ROB GOLAN-VILELLA

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Volume 1, Number 38

As the Senate returns from the holiday break to resume its post-election session, a tidal wave of newspaper editorials from across the nation is urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to promptly approve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The treaty would cap and reduce the Russian nuclear arsenal, reestablish on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, strengthen international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and open the door to progress on reducing Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

Country Resources:

Mine Ban Treaty by the Numbers

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Volume 1, Number 37, November 23, 2010

Last year the Obama administration announced that it was conducting a comprehensive review of its landmine policy, including whether the United States should join the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Mine Ban Treaty. States-parties will meet next week, Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, in Geneva to review the treaty.

As it did last year for the first time, the United States is planning to send an official delegation to a Mine Ban Treaty state-parties meeting. Also like last year, Washington has yet to determine whether to sign onto the accord, which bans the use of victim-activated antipersonnel landmines.

Facts and numbers provide this administration with plenty of reasons to conclude it is time to join with the international norm and sign onto the Mine Ban Treaty.

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68
Number of U.S. Senators who signed a letter to President Obama in May saying, “We are confident that through a thorough, deliberative review the Administration can identify any obstacles to joining the Convention and develop a plan to overcome them as soon as possible." [1]

156
States-parties to the Mine Ban Treaty.

26
NATO members that have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.

2
NATO members that have not ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.
(Poland has signed and indicated its attention to ratify in 2012. The United States has not signed.) [2]

33
Countries in the Americas that have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.

2
Countries in the Americas that have not ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.
(Cuba and the United States.)

19
Number of years since the United States is known to have used antipersonnel landmines banned by the treaty. [3]

18
Number of years since the United States has exported banned antipersonnel landmines.

13
Number of years since the United States has produced banned antipersonnel landmines.

0
Number of antipersonnel landmines embedded in South Korean soil that are the responsibility of the United States. [4]

0
Number of U.S. antipersonnel landmines used in recent conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan.

363
Days since State Department Spokesperson Ian Kelly corrected his statement (of the day before) and confirmed that an ongoing comprehensive review of U.S. landmine policy was still underway. [5] — JEFF ABRAMSON

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[1] “Momentum Building for U.S. Accession to the Mine Ban Treaty” Arms Control Association Issue Brief - Volume 1, Number 6, May 25, 2010.
http://www.armscontrol.org/issuebriefs/MomentumForUSMineBanTreaty

[2] “Poland: Mine Ban Policy,” Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, updated June 19, 2010.
http://www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/58

[3] “United States: Mine Ban Policy,” Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor, updated Oct 18, 2010.
http://www.the-monitor.org/index.php/cp/display/region_profiles/theme/312

[4] Antipersonnel mines in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) are the responsibility of South Korea, not the United States. See endnote 3 and Human Rights Watch for additional explanation:
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/08/us-two-thirds-senate-back-landmine-ban

[5] See endnote 3 and “In a First, U.S. Attends Landmine Meeting,” Arms Control Today, January/February 2010.
http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_01-02/Landmines

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 37

Last year the Obama administration announced that it was conducting a comprehensive review of its landmine policy, including whether the United States should join the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Mine Ban Treaty. States-parties will meet next week, Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, in Geneva to review the treaty.

North Korea's Uranium Enrichment Challenge

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Volume 1, Number 36, November 22, 2010

The revelation regarding North Korea’s Yongbyon uranium-enrichment plant provides new insight into long-held suspicions about the country’s enrichment efforts, but also raises new questions. More importantly, it demonstrates that the proliferation challenge from North Korea will continue to grow if it is not addressed, and pursuing renewed negotiations with Pyongyang is the only viable option to tackle the problem.

What We Know

Dr. Siegfried Hecker has revealed that North Korea has a 2,000-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant at its Yongbyon nuclear complex. North Korea claims that the facility will produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) for a light-water reactor (LWR) North Korea has also revealed that it is constructing at the same complex, but the plant can be converted to produce highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for weapons. North Korea likely has a smaller-scale facility elsewhere which it operated before progressing to this point. That facility may have already been used to produce small amounts of HEU, as U.S. technicians detected HEU particles on North Korean aluminum tubing and the operating records of key nuclear facilities in 2008. Whether or not North Korea has other facilities of the scale viewed by Hecker which are dedicated to a military program is unknown.  Finding out will be a difficult prospect without a verifiable denuclearization process.

A recent Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) assessment suggested that North Korea intensified its procurement efforts for a gas-centrifuge uranium enrichment program over the past several years, and acquired enough materials for a pilot-scale plant. This procurement would have built on early and sustained assistance from Pakistan during the 1990s and early 2000s. The apparent sophistication of the Yongbyon enrichment plant does raise questions as to whether Pyongyang received enough centrifuges and centrifuge components from Pakistan at that time to build a 2,000-machine facility, or if North Korea continued to receive assistance form other sources, such as Iran, after the AQ Khan network was shut down. Iran also received materials, equipment, and technology for the P-1 and P-2 centrifuges from Pakistan and has carried out extensive work on enrichment. Whereas Iran has primarily focused on the P-1 model, however, North Korea’s Yongbyon plant is apparently based on the P-2 variety.

What This Means for North Korea’s Weapons Capabilities

In the long term, if North Korea's capability is not addressed, this new plant will likely advance its nuclear capabilities. Once the facility becomes fully operational, and it is not certain that it is despite North Korean claims to that effect, it would be capable of producing enough material for 1-2 bombs each year. This is roughly the same rate at which it produced plutonium for its weapons. However, Pyongyang would still need to turn that material into a weapon, and then develop a means to deliver it. Plutonium-based weapons, which North Korea has relied on to date, are easier to miniaturize to fit on a missile, and North Korea may not have developed such a capability up to this point. Such miniaturization for HEU weapons will likely prove even more challenging and could require additional nuclear test explosions.

In the meantime, this development does not move North Korean military capabilities forward. In fact, North Korea seems to have abandoned the prospect of restarting its plutonium-producing reactor in the near term. The fastest way to begin producing nuclear material again would have been to restart its existing reactor by rebuilding the cooling tower and refueling it. Instead, Pyongyang is building a light water reactor where the cooling tower would have been and built an enrichment plant in the fuel fabrication facility for the plutonium-producing reactor. This does not rule out a reconstitution of the existing reactor operations, but Pyongyang has made the enrichment effort a priority, apparently at the expense of the plutonium program.

This means that, until North Korea can effectively run its centrifuges to produce HEU for weapons, its stockpile of weapons material is still limited at around 10 weapons, and likely fewer. On that basis, there remains an opportunity to cap the military program. Unfortunately, it also means North Korea is likely to argue that its “peaceful” enrichment program is off limits in any negotiation, pursuing a similar argument as that of Iran.

It is also important to remember that, while North Korea will not likely hesitate to use the enrichment plant to make HEU, just as Pyongyang genuinely wants the ability to launch satellites and long-range ballistic missiles, they do seem to want to have both a military nuclear capability and a capability that can be used for nuclear power. The possession of a light-water reactor program has been an issue of political symbolism for North Korea. That does not mean that North Korea should be able to violate its obligations for symbolic reasons, but that motivation should be considered when determining the nature of the threat that Pyongyang’s uranium enrichment efforts pose and ways to rollback its nuclear program.

What Needs to Be Done

There is only one way to seriously address this development and North Korea’s nuclear program as a whole, and that is through engagement. There are no viable military options and, even with the most stringent sanctions to date in force, North Korea was still able to construct this new plant. Moreover, this development should give pause to those who wish to pursue “strategic patience,” because Pyongyang is only using that patience to move its nuclear program forward.

The latest situation requires a renewed diplomatic push, led by Washington, in concert with its allies and China, aimed at freezing and then verifiably dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program without further delay. The construction of this new plant likely means that such a process will be drawn out even longer, with many steps being taken to roll back North Korea’s nuclear activities, but that means it is all the more important to start sooner rather than later, before Pyongyang expands its capabilities even further.

At the same time, the development of this plant is a violation of North Korea's denuclearization obligations and North Korea could not have acquired the materials and technology without violating international sanctions. The international community, and in particular the members of the UN Security Council and the Six-Party Talks participants, cannot turn a blind eye to such transgressions. In fact, North Korean tricks to skirt the sanctions were described in detail in the recent UN North Korea sanctions committee panel report.

China, as North Korea’s key economic and political partner, has an important role to play in demonstrating that Pyongyang cannot violate its obligations with impunity. Beijing may have sought to delay or prevent the publication of the UN panel report, but it cannot run from its findings and implications. Particularly since North Korea is believed to acquire many of the materials that it needs for its enrichment program through front companies based in China, it is in Beijing’s own interest to ensure that its territory is not being used to circumvent the very sanctions that it voted to put in place. Beijing should be able to address North Korean proliferation without undercutting its concerns about the stability of the regime, and the impact instability would have for China.

There is also an important lesson to be learned from the history of U.S. efforts to address the North’s suspected uranium-enrichment program. In 2002, the United States accused North Korea of pursuing a uranium-enrichment program, leading it to halt the implementation of the 1994 Agreed Framework, resulting in North Korea’s unfreezing of its plutonium program and its development of a nuclear weapons capability. But in the years since, the size and sophistication of that program came in doubt, and there was little evidence that North Korea had developed a functioning facility geared towards producing HEU for weapons.

It appears that it is only now, eight years after the Bush Administration scuttled the Agreed Framework, that North Korea has a pilot facility that could be used eventually to produce HEU. In other words, by acting on exaggerated threat perceptions, a working diplomatic process was abandoned in favor of a strategy of isolation and sanctions, which did nothing to stop North Korea from producing enough material for up to a dozen nuclear weapons and carrying out nuclear tests.

A diplomatic process is not easy, and the United States and its allies should not pay any asking price North Korea brings to the table over its nuclear activities. But we should not be afraid to go to the table to glean from the North Koreans directly what their positions and motivations are, and convey to them directly where our red lines are and what they stand to benefit from a change in direction. – PETER CRAIL

For more information see these additional ACA Resources on North Korea

ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball responds to the revelation over the uranium-enrichment facility in the ArmsControlNow blog post, “North Korea’s Uranium Enrichment Gambit Signals Trouble Ahead and the Need for Active U.S. Engagement with Pyongyang.”

The following articles: “Can Washington and Seoul Try Dealing With Pyongyang for a Change?” by Leon Sigal, and  “Work at North Korea Reactor Site Unclear” by Peter Crail, can be found in the current issue of Arms Control Today.

Also see ACA’s detailed Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy.

Description: 

Volume 1, Number 36

The revelation regarding North Korea’s Yongbyon uranium-enrichment plant provides new insight into long-held suspicions about the country’s enrichment efforts, but also raises new questions. More importantly, it demonstrates that the proliferation challenge from North Korea will continue to grow if it is not addressed, and pursuing renewed negotiations with Pyongyang is the only viable option to tackle the problem.

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Close the Verification Gap: Ratify New START

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Volume 1, Number 35, November 19, 2010

The United States is approaching the first anniversary of losing its treaty rights to inspect Russia's nuclear forces "up close and personal," which expired along with  the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) last December.  Given that the United States has an opportunity to restore those inspections under the New START treaty, one has to wonder why some U.S. Senators are reluctant to promptly approve ratification of New START. In a stunning upending of President Reagan's admonition to "trust, but verify," critics of the agreement appear not to want to take advantage of the treaty's intrusive inspections to assure compliance.

It is small wonder that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, is "extremely concerned" about the time that has already lapsed without inspections.

U.S. Strategic Forces Commander Gen. Kevin Chilton warned that: "If we don't get the treaty, [the Russians] are not constrained in their development of force structure and ... we have no insight into what they're doing... the worst of both possible worlds."

At the heart of the urgent pleas from senior military officers and security officials is an appreciation of the need to implement verification provisions in New START , which are crucial to the U.S. ability to monitor Russian strategic forces. There is no substitute for on-the-ground information gathered by treaty-authorized inspections. Satellites and other intelligence assets cannot look inside Russian missiles to see how many warheads they carry, but U.S. inspectors under New START verification provisions would do just that.

On-Site Inspections. New START allows up to 18 on-site inspections per year, including direct monitoring of Russian nuclear warheads, something no treaty has allowed before.  New START's "Type One" inspections, which occur at bases for deployed missiles and bombers, can achieve two goals at the same time (confirm data on delivery vehicles and on warheads), compiling as much data as two inspections under the original START agreement. Together with the eight "Type Two" inspections of non-deployed systems, the 18 New START inspections are essentially equivalent to the 28 inspections under START.

Moreover, the original START's 28 inspections had to cover 70 facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as Soviet strategic forces were spread across these four now-independent nations. Today, all former Soviet nuclear weapons and facilities have been centralized in Russia, and New START's 18 inspections need to cover only 35 Russian sites.

Telemetry. Telemetry, or missile flight test information, was needed under START I to determine the maximum number of warheads that might be loaded onto Russian ballistic missiles. Since New START requires data exchanges on the actual warhead loading of each deployed missile and allows direct on-site inspections to confirm this, telemetry sharing is no longer required.  Even so, New START provides for telemetry sharing on up to five missile tests per year as a confidence-building measure.

Mobile Missile Production Monitoring. Although the George W. Bush administration agreed in 2008 to end mobile missile production monitoring at Russia's Votkinsk plant, the new treaty requires Russia to notify the United States 48 hours before a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) leaves Votkinsk and when it arrives at its destination, which will facilitate monitoring by national technical means.

The updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections established by New START would, in conjunction with "national technical means," allow the United States to verify compliance with the treaty's lower limits on deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

After hearing testimony in closed session from U.S. Intelligence Community witnesses, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) concluded in its October 1 report that "the New START Treaty is effectively verifiable."  A July 30 letter from Secretary of Defense Gates to the committee reported the same conclusion from the nation's defense leadership:

"The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs, the Commander, U.S. strategic Command, and I assess that Russia will not be able to achieve militarily significant cheating or breakout under New START, due to both the New START verification regime and the inherent survivability and flexibility of the planned U.S. strategic force structure."

The longer New START remains in limbo, the wider will be the yawning gap in the collection of strategic information. Without New START in force, the U.S. Intelligence Community will not be able to predict with high confidence the status of Russia's nuclear forces, and both sides will be tempted to engage in more-costly force modernization and hedging strategies.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Agence France-Presse on Nov. 16: "I think the earlier, the sooner, the better. You know, my thing is, from an intelligence perspective only, are we better off with it or without it? We're better off with it."

Prompt ratification of the new treaty is the only way to close this  knowledge gap about  the only weapons that pose an existential potential threat to the United States. Failure by the Senate to approve New START would not only delay the re-establishment of an effective U.S.-Russian inspection and monitoring system, but it would undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership and jeopardize U.S.-Russian cooperation in other fields, including joint efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program and support U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.

The Time to Act Is Now, Not Later

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee performed due diligence in examining the treaty over a six-month period and voted its bipartisan endorsement by a 14-4 margin in September. Eighteen Senate hearings had been held and over 900 questions for the record had been answered. It is now time for senators on both sides of the aisle to come together to strengthen U.S. and global security by completing the process of "advice and consent" with a floor vote.

Senator Richard Lugar, SFRC ranking minority member, issued a clarion call to his colleagues on November 17 to finish the job in the lame duck session: "Every senator has an obligation in the national security interest to take a stand, to do his or her duty."  - GREG THIELMANN

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Volume 1, Number 35

The United States is approaching the first anniversary of losing its treaty rights to inspect Russia's nuclear forces "up close and personal," which expired along with  the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) last December.  Given that the United States has an opportunity to restore those inspections under the New START treaty, one has to wonder why some U.S. Senators are reluctant to promptly approve ratification of New START. In a stunning upending of President Reagan's admonition to "trust, but verify," critics of the agreement appear not to want to take advantage of the treaty's intrusive inspections to assure compliance.

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Military Leaders Urge Senate to Approve New START

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Volume 1, Number 33, November 17, 2010

Yesterday, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) issued an equivocal statement about the possibility of scheduling time for a floor debate and a vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which U.S. military officials including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen has called "essential to our future security."

Numerous other current and former military officials, including seven former U.S. strategic commanders, are urging prompt Senate approval for ratification of New START.

In the following op-ed, Maj. Gen. William Burns (U.S. Army, Ret.) outlines the reasons why New START is clearly in the U.S. national security interest. Burns, who was the director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, notes:

"Treaties require careful consideration, but senators have had all the information and time necessary to reach a decision on New START. The Senate must approve New START, and quickly. The U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for decades, and it's made our world safer. This is no time to stop."

The full op-ed by General Burns is reproduced below.

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Get STARTed: Senate must ratify U.S.-Russia arms control treaty

By Maj. Gen. William F. Burns

The Palm Beach Post, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010

Congress has to take care of some crucial business by Dec. 31. One priority is consideration of New START - a United States-Russia treaty that could significantly reduce the threat to global security posed by nuclear weapons. The Senate must put the tough election behind and put U.S. national security first by approving the treaty.

The treaty would require Russia and the U.S. to trim their nuclear arsenals to no more than 1,550 strategic warheads each - 30 percent below current limits. Time is of the essence. The START I pact, which Presidents Reagan and Bush negotiated, expired in December 2009. Since then, U.S. officials have been unable to conduct on-site inspections of Russian long-range nuclear bases. For the previous 15 years, U.S. officials were on the ground every few weeks. Showing up with only a day's notice, they peered into underground silos and submarine bases to verify that Russia was meeting the treaty limits.

Without Senate approval of New START, those inspections will not resume. As the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, testified: "If we don't get the treaty, (a) the Russians are not constrained in their development of force structure, and (b) we have no insight into what they're doing. So, it's the worst of both possible worlds."

Further, other countries may interpret Senate dithering on New START, which was signed in April, as a sign that the U.S. isn't serious about controlling nuclear weapons. Since April, a vast, bipartisan array of experts - including four secretaries of state, four secretaries of defense, three national security advisers, seven Strategic Command chiefs and all three leaders of the nation's nuclear labs - have urged ratification. And New START has what Defense Secretary Robert Gates termed "the unanimous support of America's military leadership."

Treaties require careful consideration, but senators have had all the information and time necessary to reach a decision on New START. The Senate held 21 hearings and briefings, and the White House answered more than 900 questions from senators. In September, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommended ratification with a bipartisan 14-4 vote.

Unfortunately, some senators continue to urge delay. They erroneously believe that New START would constrain U.S. missile defense because the treaty prohibits both countries from converting offensive missile silos into missile defense launchers. Mr. Gates has made it clear that the U.S. military has no interest in making such conversions. Further, it's far less expensive to build a ground-based interceptor silo from scratch than to convert an existing silo.

Concerns about maintaining the existing U.S. nuclear stockpile also have been addressed. The Obama administration has budgeted $80 billion to maintain and update our nuclear weapons and infrastructure over the next decade, a 15 percent increase that the directors of the weapons labs agree is more than sufficient. The administration also has outlined a $100 billion plan to modernize the submarines, missiles and bombers that carry nuclear
bombs.

Still, some skeptics refuse to budge. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Tuesday opposed any vote on the treaty, perhaps to extract even more funding to "modernize" our nuclear arsenal. Such tactics are unhelpful and unnecessary. Mr. Obama's $7 billion request for nuclear weapons maintenance and infrastructure in fiscal year 2011 is 10 percent higher than it was in the final year of the Bush administration. And if there are cost overruns for weapons maintenance, lawmakers can revise the budget.

The Senate must approve New START, and quickly. The U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for decades, and it's made our world safer. This is no time to stop.

Maj. Gen. William F. Burns, retired from the Army, was director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1988 to 1989. He is a distinguished fellow at the Army War College.

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Volume 1, Number 33

Yesterday, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) issued an equivocal statement about the possibility of scheduling time for a floor debate and a vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which U.S. military officials including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen has called "essential to our future security." In the following op-ed, Maj. Gen. William Burns (U.S. Army, Ret.) outlines the reasons why New START is clearly in the U.S. national security interest.

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New START Commands Broad Public Support

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Volume 1, Number 32, November 17, 2010

With the Senate back in business for its post-election session, one of the main items on the Obama administration's agenda is ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The treaty would cap and reduce the Russian nuclear arsenal, reestablish on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, strengthen international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and open the door to progress on reducing Russian tactical nuclear weapons.  On Sept. 16, with bipartisan support, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-4 to send the treaty to the full Senate for approval.

The American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted Nov. 11-14, 73% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while 23% believe it should not. An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted Nov. 3-8 reached a similar conclusion, finding that 67% of Americans support ratification and 29% oppose it.

This high level of public support is also reflected on opinion pages around the country, as many U.S. newspapers have published editorials and op-eds in favor of New START. Below is a sample of the broad editorial support for New START from all regions of the United States.

National

We can't delay this treaty
The Washington Post, November 15
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

"New START will advance critical national security objectives: Reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons while retaining a safe and effective deterrent; providing direct insight into Russia's nuclear arsenal; and creating a more stable, predictable and cooperative relationship between the world's two leading nuclear powers."

"New START will also set the stage for future arms reductions, including negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons. It will help solidify the 'reset' of U.S. relations with Russia, which has allowed us to cooperate in pursuit of our strategic interests."

Ratify the New Start Treaty
The New York Times, September 14
Editorial

"Failure to ratify this treaty would be hugely costly for American credibility and security. It would mean that the United States will have far less information about Russia's nuclear plans. (The two sides stopped sharing data and halted all ground inspections in December when the Start I treaty expired.) And it would mean no further reduction for the foreseeable future in the 20,000 nuclear weapons still in the two countries' arsenals."

Ratify New START Now
The Washington Times, September 22
Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Senator Jake Garn

"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has just approved the new U.S.-Russian nuclear arms treaty (New START) and sent it to the Senate floor. We are writing to urge that the Senate move promptly to ratify it. The arguments that have been advanced in favor of the treaty are strong and compelling."

Senate must ratify new START agreement on nuclear arms
Christian Science Monitor, November 15
Editorial

"Failure to ratify would set back the 'reset' in US-Russian relations. It would jeopardize other weapons issues with Russia that need attention (short-range nuclear arms and conventional weapons). It would give Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin one more reason to vilify the West.

But the bottom line, and most important consideration, is that without it, the US can't inspect Russia's nukes. That's reason enough to ratify."

Consensus is clear: Ratify New START now
USA Today, September 11
General Dirk Jameson

"Every day that we delay is another day we aren't getting the security and intelligence benefits we urgently need. The Senate has done its due diligence; it should offer its advice and give its consent. Listen to America's leading military commanders: It is time to ratify this treaty."

It's time for the Senate to vote on New START
The Washington Post, September 10
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator Gary Hart, and former Senator Chuck Hagel

"Given the national security stakes and the overwhelming support from the military and national security community, we hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will send the treaty to the floor with robust bipartisan backing and that senators will promptly ratify it with the kind of resounding margin such measures have historically enjoyed."

Learning from Experience on Arms Control
The Wall Street Journal, September 7
Former Secretary of State George Shultz

"The New Start treaty, like others before it, was built on previous experience. And, like earlier treaties, it provides a building block for the future. As lower levels of warheads are negotiated, the importance of accurate verification increases and the precedent and experience derived from New Start will ensure that a literal counting process will be available. The New Start treaty also sets a precedent for the future in its provision for on-site observation of nondeployed nuclear systems-important since limits on nondeployed warheads will be a likely next step."

The START debate
The Washington Post, July 26
Editorial

"[R]atification of the accord will ensure that inspections of Russian weapons continue; the regime established by the previous START treaty lapsed last year. It will also provide the United States some credibility as it seeks to persuade Russia and other key nations around the world to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Iran and other states.

[G]iven where the discussion stands, ratification of START is something that could, and should, get done this year."

Arizona

Regarding nuclear arms control, Jon Kyl is letting gamesmanship trump statesmanship
Tucson Weekly, September 23
Tom Danehy

"The treaty will also institute a new inspection and monitoring program that replaces the one that lapsed last year, when the initial START Treaty of 1991 expired. After a nine-month (and counting) lapse, the new treaty would again put in place a system that allows for exchanging information and putting inspectors on the ground. It's a program that the United States and Russia need, and one that both sides justifiably pat themselves on the back for being mature enough to want."

Senate must OK U.S.-Russia pact on nuclear arms
The Arizona Republic, September 6
General John Adams

"Rejection or delay of this treaty carries serious consequences. By the time the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes in mid-September on whether to send it to the floor for ratification, it will have been more than 280 days since U.S. on-site monitoring of Russia's nuclear weapons and facilities was suspended.

On the substance, Sen. Kyl's call for even more funding [for the nuclear weapons complex] runs counter to the thinking of our military leadership and those in charge of our nuclear weapons. The U.S. secretary of Defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, STRATCOM commander and NNSA director have all said the administration's proposed $80 billion plan for modernization of the nuclear-weapons infrastructure over the next decade - a significant, 10 percent increase over current levels - is more than adequate. Substance notwithstanding, the treaty should not be held hostage over this unrelated matter."

California

Senate should vote to ease nuclear tensions
San Francisco Chronicle, September 22
Editorial

"The U.S. Senate has become a policy graveyard ruled by political gridlock, not long-term vision. But it can repair its image by approving the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia."

Florida

Get STARTed: Senate must ratify U.S.-Russia arms control treaty
Palm Beach Post, November 17
Major General William F. Burns

"Still, some skeptics refuse to budge. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Tuesday opposed any vote on the treaty, perhaps to extract even more funding to 'modernize' our nuclear arsenal. Such tactics are unhelpful and unnecessary. Mr. Obama's $7 billion request for nuclear weapons maintenance and infrastructure in fiscal year 2011 is 10 percent higher than it was in the final year of the Bush administration. And if there are cost overruns for weapons maintenance, lawmakers can revise the budget.

The Senate must approve New START, and quickly. The U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for decades, and it's made our world safer. This is no time to stop."

Arms reduction pact with Russians deserves support
The Florida Times-Union, September 13
Nancy Soderberg, former ambassador to the United Nations

"Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., who has yet to declare his position on the treaty, ought to join Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in supporting the [New START] treaty when it comes up for a vote later this year. It's a smart vote in our national security interest.

New START makes an important 30 percent reduction in the number of nuclear warheads deployed by both the United States and Russia - which, combined, make up 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. That will leave each side's arsenal at 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed delivery vehicles, such as nuclear submarines, bombers and missiles. We will be able to keep a close watch on the Russians to make sure they don't cheat."

Georgia

A faith perspective on arms treaty
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 14
Joseph E. Lowery and Jonathan Merritt

"For those called to seek the kingdom of God before all other things, the quest for peace is never optional. While this treaty will not end the nuclear danger, let alone end war, it is a step in the right direction - and a measure deserving the support of all who wear Christ's gentle yoke."

Treaty protects against nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 7
Major General Paul D. Eaton

"For more than 40 years, the U.S. has pursued strategic stability through an arms control process that has been vigorously supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. The New START Treaty both continues these established principles and tailors them to meet the security needs of the 21st century."

Iowa

Ratify the new START treaty now
Des Moines Register, November 16
Editorial

"The treaty is a national security issue, not something that should become the victim of partisan politics. It would somewhat reduce strategic nuclear weapons for the two powers with most of the global stockpile. It would, for example, limit deployed warheads for each side to 1,550, down from about 2,000 currently. Mutual inspections of each other's facilities will help create transparency and stability."

Maine

New START ratification important for our security
Bangor Daily News, November 10
Chris Rector, Maine state senator

"New START establishes a state-of-the-art verification process that allows us to track Russia's nuclear activities and verify the reductions they've committed to. Improving U.S. intelligence on Russia's nuclear capability and securing and reducing its nuclear stockpile significantly enhances American national security. Anyone who supports greater stability, transparency and predictability of the world's other major nuclear power should support of this treaty."

Massachusetts

A GOP legacy at risk
The Boston Globe, September 14
John B. Rhinelander, former Nixon administration treaty negotiator

"Republicans have a proud history of taking the lead on nuclear arms control treaties with Russia - treaties that have made America safer.

A ratified new START Treaty would once again provide on-the-ground information about Russian strategic forces, allowing US officials to make better-informed decisions about investments in our nuclear forces and other military capabilities. Relying on worst-case or best-guess decision-making invariably leads to wasteful military spending."

Nebraska

Let's reduce nuclear threat
Omaha World-Herald, September 6
Greg Thielmann, former U.S. foreign service officer and former senior staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, ACA senior fellow

"[New START] Treaty ratification will set in motion the verifiable reduction of hundreds of strategic nuclear weapons, without weakening the deterrent capability of U.S. forces. It also will re-establish the on-site monitoring of Russian and U.S. missile and bomber bases. This monitoring is necessary for confidence that both sides are reducing their stockpiles as agreed."

Senate should get STARTed
Omaha World-Herald, September 4
Editorial

"Safeguarding our national security interests stands as one of the federal government's central obligations. The U.S. Senate can fulfill that duty by approving a new strategic arms treaty with Russia."

New Hampshire

Let national security, not politics, guide decision on START
Nashua Telegraph, August 29
Generals John Castellaw, Dirk Jameson, and John Adams

"As those whose career has been dedicated to our nation's defense - including responsibility for all U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles, overseeing Marine Aviation and the Marine Corps budget creation and execution, and as the U.S. deputy military representative to NATO - we take very seriously the idea that national security should be above political partisanship.

Unfortunately, there has been an increasing push to make a treaty designed to provide stabilization to our strategic nuclear forces, vital intelligence and verification, as well as a modest reduction in those nuclear weapons, into a political issue. Senators should resist that push, stick to the facts and ratify the [New START] treaty."

New Jersey

Senate should speed approval of New START arms treaty with Russia
The Star-Ledger, September 12
Avis Bohlen, former Asst. Sec. of State for Arms Control, and Daryl Kimball, ACA executive director

"The revival of U.S.-Russian strategic dialogue has already improved cooperation in a variety of fields. New START will help strengthen our joint efforts to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, as well as keep pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, which it could use to build the bomb. Without New START, Russian support will be far harder to obtain."

North Carolina

Senate should approve new arms treaty
Asheville Citizen-Times, October 14
Lee McMinn

"Despite the claims to the contrary, New START will not limit modernization of existing stockpiles, nor will it limit development of anti-missile technology, or weaken our ability to defend against a large-scale nuclear attack. In fact, this treaty will strengthen our security by reducing the amount of military-grade nuclear material that might fall into the hands of rogue states and stateless terrorist groups bent on harming us."

Ohio

Senate must make arms treaty lame-duck priority
The Blade, November 9
Phineas Anderson, Richard P. Anderson, and Stephen Stranahan

"Senator Voinovich and his fellow Republicans should unanimously join Democrats in passing New START this year, as senators of both parties joined in 2002 to approve the Moscow treaty. On national security, bipartisanship rather than politics should rule the day."

Pennsylvania

Nuclear-arms treaty will test Obama, GOP
The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 8
Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund

"In July, referring to New START, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress, 'This treaty has the full support of your uniformed military.' Cabinet officials from every administration since Richard Nixon's also gave their support to the treaty during 20 Senate hearings and briefings. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave it a bipartisan 14-4 vote of approval. With this level of consensus, Senate passage of New START would seem like a no-brainer."

Tennessee

New START treaty good for the country and ET
Knoxville News Sentinel , September 24
Editorial

"The treaty makes sense for the country's foreign policy and national defense goals. Both countries would be able to inspect and verify each other's arsenals for compliance, and the pact should bolster America's standing as it tries to curb the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea."

Utah

New START widely supported, should be ratified
Salt Lake Tribune, November 13
Mark Shurtleff, Utah attorney general, and Ryan Wilcox, Utah state representative

"The signing of New START has cemented U.S. leadership on nonproliferation issues, strengthening efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials and building support for sanctions aimed at ending Iran's nuclear program.

Since the treaty was signed, Russia has now joined the United States in a Security Council vote on sanctions and canceled weapons sales to Iran."

Wyoming

Senate should support New START treaty
Casper Star-Tribune, September 15
Former Senator Alan Simpson

"New START will continue to provide on-the-ground information about Russian strategic force deployments that is unavailable from any other source. There is just no other way to gain such insight into Russia's arsenal. Moreover, such transparency improves predictability and stability not only between our two nations, but it also helps prevent this dangerous material from falling into the hands of those who wish us harm."

-ROB GOLAN-VILELLA

 

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Volume 1, Number 32

With the Senate back in business for its post-election session, one of the main items on the Obama administration's agenda is ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. This high level of public support is also reflected on opinion pages around the country, as many U.S. newspapers have published editorials and op-eds in favor of New START. Below is a sample of the broad editorial support for New START from all regions of the United States.

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New START: A Missile-Defense-Friendly Treaty

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Volume 1, Number 31, November 16, 2010

One of the biggest ironies in the debate over ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is that critics use the agreement's treatment of missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START is conspicuous for its lack of significant constraints on strategic ballistic missile defenses. The Barack Obama administration's negotiation of a missile-defense-friendly-treaty is particularly remarkable considering that missile defense constraints appear to have been an important objective of the Russian negotiators.

Missile Defense Myths About New START

That this barking dog did not bite has not stopped some advocates of strategic missile defenses from complaining loudly about "unilateral constraints on missile defenses." Yet the only missile defense constraint of any kind is the treaty's Article V prohibition on converting intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers for use as launchers of missile defense interceptors. With regard to this provision, Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, has testified to Congress that retaining the silo conversion option was not sought by the United States because there were no plans to exercise it; if any new missile defense launchers were needed, they could be more quickly and less expensively acquired through the construction of new silos. None of the critics have explained how this provision limits U.S. missile defense options in the real world.  Moreover, Gen. O'Reilly told a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year that: "The New START treaty actually reduces constraints on the development of the missile defense program [present in the 1991 START agreement]." START I prohibited the launch of missile defense target vehicles from airborne and waterborne platforms.

Some missile defense acolytes have also complained about New START's non-binding, preambular language recognizing the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms and that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced. Yet including this simple truism in the preamble did not lead to any numerical or qualitative limits on missile defenses in the treaty itself. Moreover, the preamble continues with the assertion that "current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties" - a striking acknowledgement by Russia that the 30 strategic ballistic missile interceptors currently deployed by the United States do not threaten Russia's strategic nuclear retaliatory capability.

A final complaint of critics stems from the unilateral "Statement of the Russian Federation Concerning Missile Defense." Following a practice used by both parties to past strategic arms treaties, Russia provided a formal warning that New START "may be effective and viable only in conditions where there is no qualitative or quantitative build-up in [U.S. missile defense system capabilities]" and that a build-up in U.S. missile defense capabilities that "would give rise to a threat to [Russia's strategic nuclear force potential]" is one of the "extraordinary events" mentioned in Article XIV of the treaty, which could prompt Russia to exercise its right of withdrawal.

In response to Russia's statement, the United States issued its own unilateral statement explaining that U.S. missile defenses "are not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia," and that the United States intends "to continue improving and deploying its missile defense systems in order to defend itself against limited attack...." This language will undoubtedly provoke criticism in the Duma's consideration of the treaty, but is not expected to prevent ratification.

Put simply, New START would mandate verifiable reductions of Russian and U.S. strategic offensive nuclear forces without placing limits on strategic defensive forces. Moreover, the United States has made clear in its unilateral statement that the treaty would not prevent it from improving and deploying missile defense systems. The subsequent adoption of President Obama's Phased Adaptive Approach has provided a clear and logical conceptual roadmap for U.S. development and deployment of future missile defense systems in Europe during the treaty's duration. Obama's cancellation of plans for deploying unproven, strategic missile interceptors in Poland constituted a shift in emphasis to regional, non-strategic systems, more responsive to present and near-term missile threats from Iran. Russian civilian and military leaders have indicated that they do not feel threatened by U.S. theater missile defense systems based in Europe.

Missile Defense Politics vs. U.S. National Security

That the critics' line of argument is so contrary to the facts cries out for explanation. Most of these critics probably know full well that New START protects rather than jeopardizes U.S. missile defense options during the next decade. They realize that the treaty has broad support among present and former senior military and security officials. They should also understand that without New START in force, the U.S. intelligence community would not be able to predict with high confidence the status of Russia's nuclear forces, and both sides would be tempted to engage in more-costly force modernization and hedging strategies.

However, since missile defense programs are so popular in Congress, rallying to their defense is a convenient subterfuge. Spurious charges and snipe hunts for imaginary secret understandings between U.S. and Russian negotiators to curb missile defenses are useful excuses for delaying the Senate vote. Ideological opponents of arms control hope that likely Senate approval may be derailed by stalling a Senate vote until the 112th Congress convenes or by provoking a negative Russian reaction. Some missile defense enthusiasts worry that future compromises with Russia might limit U.S. programs. They find that withholding support for treaty approval now increases leverage with Congress to secure future budgets and to insert qualifying language in the Senate's resolution of approval, which builds firewalls against negotiating future limits on missile defenses.

There is a legitimate debate to be had over the chances of reconciling post-New START reductions in nuclear weapons with a build-up in U.S. strategic defenses at some point in the future. But the critics' distortion of New START as hostile to missile defense only raises suspicions that they fear an honest debate on the merits of this treaty and a frank discussion about the real opportunity costs of pursuing unconstrained strategic missile defenses in the future. - GREG THIELMANN

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Volume 1, Number 31

One of the biggest ironies in the debate over ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is that critics use the agreement's treatment of missile defense as an excuse to oppose Senate approval. In reality, New START is conspicuous for its lack of significant constraints on strategic ballistic missile defenses. The Barack Obama administration's negotiation of a missile-defense-friendly-treaty is particularly remarkable considering that missile defense constraints appear to have been an important objective of the Russian negotiators.

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The Case for New START

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Volume 1, Number 30, November 15, 2010

The United States and Russia have dramatically reduced their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War, thanks to bilateral arms control agreements that have won the support of Republicans and Democrats alike. In the bipartisan tradition of earlier agreements negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) would keep Washington and Moscow on track to reduce their arsenals by about 30 percent below current limits.

Signed April 8, 2010, New START would increase U.S. security by limiting Russia to no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 700 delivery vehicles (missiles and bombers) and re-establishing a robust, up-to-date monitoring system to verify compliance. The United States would retain a modern nuclear force more than sufficient in size to deter nuclear attack by Russia or any other potential adversary.

Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate should agree to make time to debate and vote on ratification of New START before Congress adjourns for the year.

Why the urgency? The original START treaty expired Dec. 5, 2009, and with it went START's arsenal limits and on-site inspections. General Kevin Chilton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testified in June, "If we don't get the treaty, [the Russians] are not constrained in their development of force structure and... we have no insight into what they're doing. So it's the worst of both possible worlds."

Prompt ratification of New START is the only way to close this "verification gap." The treaty would establish an updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections that would provide more information on the status of Russian strategic forces than was available under the original START accord.

For these and other reasons, a long list of U.S. military leaders, including seven former U.S. strategic commanders and national security leaders from past Republican and Democratic administrations support New START.

Over the last eight months, more than 20 Senate hearings and briefings have been held on the pact. The administration has answered more than 900 questions from senators.  On Sept. 16 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) passed the New START resolution of advice and consent by a bipartisan vote of 14 to 4.

This resolution answered all of the major questions posed by treaty skeptics, and was able to satisfy all 11 Democratic committee members and Republican Senators Richard Lugar (Ind.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), and Johnny Isakson (Ga.).  This Issue Brief highlights the reasons why New START deserves prompt Senate approval.

1. New START would cap and reduce Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal.

Today, Russia deploys approximately 2,000 strategic nuclear warheads, not counting bomber weapons in storage, according to the Congressional Research Service.  New START would reduce this force to 1,550 or less, meaning that hundreds of Russian nuclear warheads would no longer be deployed on ballistic missiles that could be aimed at the United States.  Moreover, New START would lock-in these limits for the next decade or longer.

At the same time, New START would allow the United States to maintain a devastatingly powerful nuclear arsenal deployed on a "triad" of nuclear delivery systems.  Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Nov. 11 that New START would leave the United States with nuclear forces that are "...more than enough for us to handle our military responsibilities."  Besides Russia, the United States' only potential nuclear adversary is China, which has fewer than 50 nuclear-armed long-range missiles.

2. New START would resume inspections of Russian strategic forces.

It has been almost a year since the United States lost the ability to conduct intrusive, on-site inspections of Russia's nuclear arsenal mandated by the 1991 START accord. The 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), still in force, contains no verification provisions.  The longer New START remains in limbo, the longer this strategic blackout will continue.

New START would reestablish on-the-ground information gathering about Russian strategic forces that the United States could not get any other way.  For example, satellites and other intelligence assets cannot look inside Russian missiles to see how many warheads they carry, but New START's on-site inspection provisions would do just that.  The treaty would provide predictability about Russian strategic forces, allowing the United States better-informed decisions about investments in nuclear forces and other military capabilities.

Without New START in force, the U.S. intelligence community would not be able to predict with high confidence the status of Russia's nuclear forces, and both sides would be tempted to engage in more-costly force modernization and hedging strategies.

3. New START is effectively verifiable.

New START would establish an updated system of information exchanges and enhanced on-site inspections that would provide high confidence that Russia is complying with the new, lower limits on deployed strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

On-Site Inspections. New START allows up to 18 on-site inspections per year, including direct monitoring of Russian nuclear warheads, something no treaty has allowed before.  Some senators have raised concerns that New START allows fewer annual inspections than did the original START.

However, for all practical purposes, the number of inspections in New START is the same as START.  New START's "Type One" inspections, which occur at bases for deployed missiles and bombers, can achieve two goals (confirm data on delivery vehicles and warheads) at the same time, and thus ten of these inspections equal 20 START inspections.  Together with the eight "Type Two" inspections of non-deployed systems, the 18 New START inspections are essentially equivalent to the 28 inspections under START.

Moreover, the original START's 28 inspections had to cover 70 facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as the Soviet nuclear complex was spread across these four now-independent nations.  Today, all former Soviet nuclear weapons and facilities have been centralized in Russia, and New START's 18 inspections need to cover only 35 Russian sites.

Telemetry. Telemetry, or missile flight test information, was needed under START I to determine the maximum number of warheads that might be loaded onto Russian ballistic missiles.  Since New START requires data exchanges on the actualwarhead loading of each deployed missile and allows direct on-site inspections to confirm this, telemetry sharing is no longer required.  Even so, New START provides for telemetry sharing on up to five missile tests per year as a confidence-building measure.

"Telemetry is not nearly as important for this treaty as it has been in the past," said Secretary Gates March 26. "In fact, we don't need telemetry to monitor compliance with this treaty," he said.

Votkinsk. Although the George W. Bush administration agreed in 2008 to end mobile missile production monitoring at Russia's Votkinsk plant, under the new treaty Russia must notify the United States 48 hours before a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) leaves Votkinsk and when it arrives at its destination, which will facilitate monitoring by national technical means, such as satellites.

After hearing testimony in closed session from U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) witnesses, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concluded in its Oct. 1 report that "the New START Treaty is effectively verifiable."  A July 30 letter from Secretary of Defense Gates to the committee reached the same conclusion:

"The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs, the Commander, U.S. strategic Command, and I assess that Russia will not be able to achieve militarily significant cheating or breakout under New START, due to both the New START verification regime and the inherent survivability and flexibility of the planned U.S. strategic force structure."

"If Russia were to attempt to gain political advantage by cheating or breakout, the U.S. will be able to respond rapidly by increasing the alert levels of SSBNs [strategic submarines] and bombers, and by uploading warheads on SSBNs, bombers, and ICBMs. Therefore, the survivable and flexible U.S. strategic posture planned for New START will help deter any future Russian leaders from cheating or breakout from the treaty, should they ever have such an inclination."

Nevertheless, SFRC member Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who voted against the treaty, said Sept. 16 that the IC had revealed "very serious information" that in his view should have held up committee approval of New START.  Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) replied that the new information "in no way alters [the IC's] judgment, already submitted to this committee, with respect to the [New] START treaty...  It has no impact, in their judgment."

4. New START bolsters U.S. nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

New START helps to demonstrate that the United States and Russia are keeping up their end of the bargain under the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).  New START would increase Washington's leverage in seeking stronger non-proliferation measures, such as more effective nuclear inspections, tougher penalties for states that do not comply with nonproliferation obligations, and faster action to secure the most vulnerable nuclear weapons materials.  Improving the NPT system is essential to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorists and additional nations.

The revival of U.S.-Russian strategic dialogue has already improved cooperation in a variety of fields. For example, Russia supported the U.S.-led effort to enact U.N. sanctions against Iran, and Russia has cancelled its sale of the S-300 air-defense system to Iran.  New START will help strengthen U.S.-Russian joint efforts to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, as well as keep pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

Without New START, Russian support will be harder to obtain.  On Nov. 8, for example, Sen. Lugar said it is unlikely that Moscow would sustain cooperative threat reduction efforts indefinitely without New START coming into force. "The prospects for extending Nunn-Lugar work in Russia after [2013] would be especially complicated without New START's transparency features that assure both countries about the nuclear capabilities of the other," Lugar said.

5. New START protects U.S. missile defense options.

Claims that the treaty's nonbinding language on the "interrelationship" between strategic offenses and defenses will limit U.S. missile defense options do not add up. As Secretary of Defense Gates bluntly said May 18, "the treaty will not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defenses possible."

Some treaty critics erroneously suggest that Article V, which prohibits both sides from converting launchers for ICBMs and SLBMs into launchers for missile defense interceptors, and vice versa, limits U.S. missile defense plans in the future.

However, the United States has no plans for any such conversions.  "It's a limit in theory, but not in reality," wrote U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones on April 20. "We have no plans to convert any additional ICBM silos. In fact, it would be less expensive to build a new silo rather than convert an old one. In other words, if we were to ever need more missile defense silos in California, we would simply dig new holes, which is not proscribed by the treaty."

Russia is concerned that future U.S. strategic missile interceptor deployments could undermine its nuclear retaliatory capability, and has made a unilateral statement that it could potentially withdraw from New START if the United States deploys such systems in large numbers.

The SFRC resolution of advice and consent clearly states that it is the Senate's understanding that "the New START Treaty does not impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses" other than the treaty's ban on converting ICBM and SLBM launchers for use by interceptors--which the Pentagon has said it has no intention of doing in any case--and that any further limitations would require Senate approval.

The resolution clarifies that "the April 7, 2010, unilateral statement by the Russian Federation on missile defense does not impose a legal obligation on the United States." It also reaffirms language in the 1999 Missile Defense Act that it is the policy of the United States to deploy an effective national missile defense system "as soon as technologically possible" and that nothing in the treaty limits future planned enhancements to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system or the European Phased Adaptive Approach.

Indeed, the Obama administration is going full-bore on its plans to increase SM-3 intermediate-range interceptor deployments in Europe. While some may bemoan the decision to revise the Bush-era plan to deploy silo-based strategic interceptors in Europe, the new plan better addresses the existing Iranian short- and medium-range missile threat.

6. New START allows for the maintenance of modern, effective nuclear forces.

The Obama administration has pledged, pursuant to section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, to spend $80 billion over the next ten years to maintain the nuclear stockpile and modernize the weapons complex. The plan calls for spending another $100 billion over the same period to upgrade strategic nuclear delivery systems.

The administration's $7 billion request for the weapons complex for FY 2011 was 10 percent higher than the previous year.  Linton Brooks, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the Bush administration, said in April, "I'd have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration." As Secretary of Defense Gates wrote in his preface to the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), "These investments, and the NPR's strategy for warhead life extension, represent a credible modernization plan necessary to sustain the nuclear infrastructure and support our nation's deterrent."

Despite this, some senators are concerned that the administration might not deliver on its commitments.

In response, the SFRC's resolution of advice and consent states that "the United States is committed to proceeding with a robust stockpile stewardship program, and to maintaining and modernizing the nuclear weapons production capabilities and capacities."  To achieve these goals, the resolution says that the United States is committed to providing the necessary resources, "at a minimum at the levels set forth in the President's 10-year plan."

The resolution also states that "if at any time more resources are required than estimated in the President's 10-year plan," the President shall submit a report detailing: 1) how he proposes to remedy the shortfall; 2) the proposed level of funding required; 3) the impact of the shortfall on the safety, reliability, and performance of U.S. nuclear forces; and 4) "whether and why, in the changed circumstances brought about by the resource shortfall, it remains in the national interest of the United States to remain a Party to the New START Treaty."

Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) Sept. 30 that includes the administration's $7 billion FY2011 budget request for weapons activities at NNSA.  Sen. Kerry said Sept. 30 that this funding "sends a strong signal about this administration's commitment to keeping our nuclear arsenal at a viable and suitable level" under New START.  The CR runs out on Dec. 3. If the Senate does not vote on New START before year's end, the administration may not be able to protect the program from cuts.

Senators of both parties should recognize that delaying approval of New START-and reconsideration of the Test Ban Treaty next year-would create uncertainty about U.S. nuclear policy and jeopardize the fragile political consensus to increase funding to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile in the years ahead.

7. New START allows conventional global strike weapons.

Conventional warheads that the United States may in the future decide to deploy on strategic ballistic missiles would be subject to New START limits.  However, there are no firm plans to deploy Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) weapons, and any future deployments are likely to be small in number.  As a result, there is room within the treaty's limits for future CPGS deployments.

In an answer for the SFRC record, Secretary of Defense Gates stated: "As envisaged by our military planners, the number of such conventionally armed delivery vehicles and the warheads they carry would be very small when measured against the overall levels of strategic delivery systems and strategic warheads. Should we decide to deploy them, counting this small number of conventional strategic systems and their warheads toward the treaty limits will not prevent the United States from maintaining a robust nuclear deterrent."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee concluded that it saw "no reason to doubt statements by the cognizant civilian and uniformed military officials that, at least over the ten-year duration of the treaty, the treaty's limits provide sufficient room to accommodate both the strategic nuclear forces and the limited number of CPGS weapons the United States is likely to deploy."

Moreover, the SFRC resolution clarifies that New START does not limit potential CPGS concepts that would not meet the definitions of ICBMs and SLBMs under the treaty, such as "boost-glide" systems that do not have a ballistic trajectory.

8. New START sets the stage for limits on tactical weapons.

Some complain that New START does not reduce Russia's tactical nuclear warhead levels, which have never been covered by a treaty. By design, New START addresses strategic nuclear weapons. It does not make sense to risk verifiable reduction in Russia's long-range nuclear weapons by insisting that the policy for short-range weapons be settled now. New START lays the diplomatic foundation necessary for a future accord on tactical nuclear weapons reductions.

On this question, the SFRC resolution calls on the President "to pursue, following consultation with allies, an agreement with the Russian Federation that would address the disparity between the tactical nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and of the United States and would secure and reduce tactical nuclear weapons in a verifiable manner."

President Obama has said that he intends to work with Moscow to pursue further nuclear reductions in all types of nuclear warheads--including tactical weapons--after New START is ratified.  Moreover, Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Secretary Gates, in a joint answer for the SFRC record, said that:

"Because of their limited range and very different roles from those played by strategic nuclear forces, the vast majority of Russian tactical nuclear weapons could not directly influence the strategic nuclear balance between the United States and Russia... Because the United States will retain a robust strategic force structure under New START, Russia's tactical nuclear weapons will have little or no impact on strategic stability."

9. New START is supported by the U.S. military and bipartisan national security leaders.

New START has the support of the U.S. military establishment and former senior national security officials, both Republicans and Democrats, including:

James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of Central Intelligence, Nixon and Ford administrations; Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor, Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations; Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor, George W. Bush administration; James Baker, former Secretary of State, George H.W. Bush administration; Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Nixon and Ford administrations; George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State, Reagan administration; Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State, George W. Bush administration; former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, Carter administration; former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, Reagan administration; and former Republican Senators Howard Baker (Tenn.), John C. Danforth (Mo.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Nancy Kassebaum-Baker (Kansas), Warren Rudman (N.H.), Alan Simpson (Wyo.), and William Cohen (Maine),among others.

Seven former U.S. military commanders of Strategic Command announced their support for New START.  In a July 14 letter to senators, 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."

10. New START allows command and control upgrades.

On Oct. 23, a communications failure occurred at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyo., involving 50 nuclear-armed Minuteman III ICBMs.  Even though this incident, which lasted one hour, could have prevented officers at the base from launching the missiles, back-up airborne command and control systems could still have launched on orders from the commander-in-chief.  An administration official, speaking about the president's ability to control nuclear forces, said: "At no time did the president's ability decrease."

Meanwhile, even without the 50 ICBMs in question, the United States at the time still had over 800 strategic missiles and bombers deployed with 1,900 nuclear warheads in its active force.  Moreover, even if this incident had happened after New START had been fully implemented, the United States would still have had over 600 missiles and bombers with 1,500 nuclear warheads ready to go.

Nuclear command and control systems can and will be improved and New START would not in any way prevent such improvements.  In fact, the U.S. military is planning to invest $180 billion in its nuclear weapons and delivery systems over the next decade, while New START would be in force.  As a result, Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, head of the United States' new Global Strike Command, said Nov. 9 that the Warren incident "has absolutely no link at all to the START Treaty."

Stalling New START undermines U.S. security

For all of these reasons, New START deserves the Senate's prompt support.  In particular, given START's expiration in December 2009, there is currently no bilateral system for monitoring Russia's nuclear forces. Failure by the Senate to approve New START would not only delay the re-establishment of an effective U.S.-Russian inspection and monitoring system, but it would undermine U.S. nonproliferation leadership and jeopardize U.S.-Russian cooperation, including joint efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program.

It is time for senators on both sides of the aisle to come together to strengthen U.S. and global security by voting in favor of New START ratification. -- TOM Z. COLLINA and DARYL G. KIMBALL

Additional Resources:

New START at a Glance: http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/NewSTART

New START text and official documents: http://www.state.gov/t/avc/newstart/c39903.htm

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Volume 1, Number 30

The United States and Russia have dramatically reduced their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War, thanks to bilateral arms control agreements that have won the support of Republicans and Democrats alike. In the bipartisan tradition of earlier agreements negotiated by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) would keep Washington and Moscow on track to reduce their arsenals by about 30 percent below current limits.

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U.S.-Saudi Arms Deal: Congress Should Take A Closer Look

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Volume 1, Number 29, November 12, 2010

The initial 30-day clock for Congress to review the $60 billion U.S.-Saudi arms deal expires next week. Although some members of Congress have promised to fight it, lawmakers will have little time to muster a joint resolution of disapproval required to stop it at this stage, should they want to do so. Nonetheless, the unprecedented size of this deal warrants Congressional hearings and greater oversight.

On October 20, the Obama administration formally notified Congress of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which if completed in full would be valued at more than $60 billion. After the 30-day period expires, Congress retains the ability to question sales at any point. Given that full implementation of this deal is expected to take 15 to 20 years, Congress will be able to intervene, if necessary, for quite some time.

Comprised of four separate notifications,[1] the deal consists of weapons and services primarily related to air forces. It includes: 84 F-15SA tactical fighters and the upgrade of Saudi Arabia’s existing fleet of 70 F-15S’s to the F-15SA configuration; 70 Apache Longbow attack helicopters; 72 Blackhawk helicopters; and additional light attack helicopters and trainers. It also includes many missiles and bombs: 500 AIM-120C/7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles; 1000 joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs); more than 2000 additional laser- and GPS-guided bombs; more than 4000 Hellfire missiles; and 1300 cluster bombs, which are prohibited by the international Convention on Cluster Munitions.[2]

Additional deals are expected, but during an Oct. 20 press briefing, Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro declined to comment on naval or other possible sales not yet notified.[3] Lawmakers should pay attention to the U.S.-Saudi deal, and future sales to the region, for the following reasons:

Do These Weapons Make Sense?

Countering Iran is one of the reasons cited for the massive deal, but Saudi Arabia’s military buildup already significantly outpaces Iran’s. A September report by the Congressional Research Service found that Saudi Arabia was the number one developing world partner for arms transfer agreements between 2006 and 2009, with deals valued at $29.5 billion compared to only $0.9 billion for Iran in that period.[4] The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) also noted in October that Saudi Arabia was the largest Gulf region arms importer from 1990-2009 and had military expenditures roughly three to four times that of Iran each year from 2000 to 2008.[5] Evidence also suggests that recent UN Security Council resolutions are succeeding at blocking arms trade with Iran.[6] An April unclassified U.S. report on Iran’s military power focused not on its conventional force projection capabilities, but rather its support of terrorism and asymmetrical threats as being of most concern.[7]

In the Oct. 20 briefing, Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow highlighted the need for border security and countering rebel groups from Yemen. Yet, the F-15 fighters and some of the equipment in these deals have functionally no role in such operations. In U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Israeli operations in Palestinian territories and Lebanon, the over-application of force has at times drawn strong international criticism and built local resentment. When considering any deal with Saudi Arabia, where the U.S. State Department continues to report that significant human rights abuses occur,[8] Congress must be sure that weapons will not do more harm than good.

Is This the Right Approach on Iran?

Supplying arms to Saudi Arabia as well as other Gulf Cooperation Council states is an established, but controversial, regional approach vis-à-vis Iran.[9] Congress must again ask whether a massive inflow of conventional arms to Arab states in the region will only embolden nationalist voices and encourage Iran to invest more in its asymmetric capabilities, be that in greater support for terrorist organizations or lesser cooperation with the IAEA and international efforts to reign in its nuclear program.

Using Israeli Supremacy to Fuel Arms Build Up

In the Oct. 20 press briefing, Shapiro stressed that the Saudi deal would not undermine U.S. policy of making sure Israel has a qualitative military edge in the region. Vershbow indicated that Jerusalem had been consulted and that “Israel does not object to this sale.” Israel is slated to receive more advanced F-35 fighters later this decade, one part of maintaining that edge.

The ongoing transfer of yet more sophisticated hardware and continued support of Israel’s qualitative military advantage in the region is a recipe for a massive arms build up in the Middle East. Just because Israel has something better cannot be a sufficient rationale for approving future regional deals. In arming Saudi Arabia, the lessons of past support to the Shah’s Iran or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, only to later find those countries aligned against U.S. interests, are being forgotten. Congress should think about how to strengthen relations with Middle Eastern countries in ways that are not based on potentially destabilizing arms deals.

Balancing Economic Arguments

With a pledge to double exports as a means of economic recovery, this administration appears to be looking to arms sales as one mechanism for reaching those goals. With expected cuts to military spending, the defense industry is also welcoming the U.S.-Saudi and other deals. The value of these deals, however, is simply small compared to the size of the U.S. economy and its annual export of $1.6 trillion in goods and services in 2009.[10] Congress should make sure that national and international security needs trump economic concerns when it comes to weapons transfers and soberly assess possible negative security implications before turning to economic considerations. - JEFF ABRAMSON and MATTHEW SUGRUE

FOOTNOTES:

1-Foreign military sales notifications are hosted on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency web site: http://www.dsca.osd.mil/PressReleases/36-b/36b_index.htm

2-Trade in the sensor-fuzed weapons included in the deal are barred under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The treaty entered into force earlier this year and has been signed by more than 100 countries, including more than two-thirds of NATO’s member states. Neither the United States nor Saudi Arabia have signed it.

3-“Briefing on Pending Major Arms Sales,” October 20, 2010 at http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/rm/149749.htm

4-“Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2002-2009,” Richard F. Grimmett, Congressional Research Service, September 10, 2010.

5-“Military Spending and Arms Procurement in the Gulf States,” Carina Solmirano, Pieter D. Wezeman, SIPRI fact sheet, October 2010.

6-“The UN Sanctions' Impact on Iran's Military,” Arms Control Association issue brief, June 11, 2010. http://www.armscontrol.org/issuebriefs/iransanctionseffectonmilitary

7-"Unclassified Report on Military Power of Iran," Department of Defense, April 2010.

8-“2009 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia,” U.S. State Department, March 11, 2010. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136079.htm

9-“Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations,” Christopher Blanchard, Congressional Research Service, June 14, 2010.

10-“U.S. International Trade In Goods And Services-Annual Revision for 2009” U.S. Census Bureau, June 10, 2010

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Volume 1, Number 29

The initial 30-day clock for Congress to review the $60 billion U.S.-Saudi arms deal expires next week. Although some members of Congress have promised to fight it, lawmakers will have little time to muster a joint resolution of disapproval required to stop it at this stage, should they want to do so. Nonetheless, the unprecedented size of this deal warrants Congressional hearings and greater oversight.

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Missile Incident Has Zero Impact on New START

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Volume 1, Number 27, October 28, 2010

Misinformed sources, such as Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), are claiming that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is somehow in trouble as a result of a recent missile communications incident in Wyoming.  These claims are simply false, and the Senate should not let this incident get in the way of ratifying New START when it returns to Washington after the elections.

The significance of the Wyoming incident has been overblown, and its link to New START is non-existant.  "Based on our understanding of the situation right now, as the Air Force has described it, it was not a significant disruption; it was a technical problem," Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told the Associated Press.

The missiles in question could have still been launched if needed, and even assuming they could not, the United States had 1,900 other nuclear weapons ready to go at the time.  And if improvements to the U.S. nuclear command and control system are needed, New START would not prevent them.

The facts are clear:

  1. The 50 missiles in question could have been launched if needed.
    On Oct. 23, according to reports, a communications failure occurred involving 50 Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), based at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and loaded with nuclear warheads.  This incident, which lasted less than one hour, could have prevented officers at the base from launching the missiles.  This is troubling, but not catastrophic; the missiles could have been launched from air-born command and control systems.  An administration official, speaking about the president's ability to control nuclear forces, told The Atlantic: "At no time did the president's ability decrease."
  2. 1,900 other nuclear weapons were deployed at the time.
    The United States deploys a total of 450 Minuteman III ICBMs on constant alert along with 336 Trident II Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) based on invulnerable submarines at sea and 94 Strategic Bombers that can be loaded and launched on short order.  Thus, even without the 50 ICBMs in question, the United States at the time still had over 800 strategic missiles and bombers with 1,900 nuclear warheads in its active force.  Moreover, even if this incident had happened after New START had been fully implemented, the United States would still have had over 600 missiles and bombers with 1,500 nuclear warheads ready to go.
  3. New START does not prevent improvements to command and control systems.
    The Oct. 23 incident at Warren should be investigated and, if needed, command and control systems should be improved.  However, New START would not in any way prevent such improvements.  In fact, the U.S. military is planning to invest $80 billion in its nuclear weapons and production complex and $100 billion in its nuclear delivery systems over the next decade, while New START would be in force.
  4. New START would reduce the nuclear threat from Russia and resume on-site inspections.
    If Senators are worried about nuclear threats to the United States, they should support New START.  The treaty would reduce hundreds of Russian nuclear weapons that would otherwise be aimed at the United States.  It also would resume on-site inspections in Russia that stopped when the 1991 START treaty expired last December.

Sen. Barrasso Over-Reaches

In response to the Oct. 23 incident, New START opponents predictably drew their cynical swords.  "The recent failure reinforces the need for the United States to maintain 450 ICBMs to ensure a strong nuclear defense," said Sen. Barrasso. "Before ratifying this treaty, the Senate must ensure we modernize our own nuclear weapons and strengthen our national security."

It should be noted that Sen. Barrasso’s state is host to Warren Air Force Base and its 150 ICBMs, and that New START could reduce that force.  Sen. Barrasso voted against New START on Sept. 16 in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which approved the treaty with a 14-4 bipartisan vote.  Sen. Barrasso offered an amendment in committee to require the United States to maintain all 450 Minuteman III’s, rather than reduce them to 420 under START.  The amendment failed by voice vote.

Instead of playing politics with U.S. national security, New START opponents should listen to current and former U.S. military officers who overwhelmingly support New START.  The Senate should ignore Sen. Barrasso’s desperate arguments and approve New START as soon as possible. - TOM Z. COLLINA

For more information, please see:

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/USStratNukeForceNewSTART

Twelve Reasons to Support New START http://www.armscontrol.org/issuebriefs/TwelveReasonsNewSTART

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Volume 1, Number 27

Misinformed sources, such as Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), are claiming that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is somehow in trouble as a result of a recent missile communications incident in Wyoming.  These claims are simply false, and the Senate should not let this incident get in the way of ratifying New START when it returns to Washington after the elections.

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