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– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

New START

New START at a Glance

August 2012

Contact: Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

August 2012

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was signed April 8, 2010 in Prague by Russia and the United States and entered into force on Feb. 5, 2011. New START replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired December 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which terminated when New START entered into force. 

New START continues the bipartisan process of verifiably reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals begun by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  New START is the first verifiable U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control treaty to take effect since START I in 1994.

See Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START and U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START for more information about current nuclear forces under the treaty.

New START’s Key Provisions

New START includes a main treaty text with a preamble and sixteen articles; a protocol with definitions, verification procedures, and agreed statements; and technical annexes to the protocol. 

Main Treaty Limits (Article II)

Nuclear warhead limit:  Seven years after entry into force (Feb. 2018), New START limits accountable deployed strategic nuclear warheads and bombs to 1,550, down approximately 30 percent from the 2,200 limit set by SORT and down 74 percent from the START-accountable limit of 6,000.  Each heavy bomber is counted as one warhead (see below).

Missile, bomber and launcher limits:  Deployed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers assigned to nuclear missions are limited to 700. Deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and bombers are limited to 800. This number includes test launchers and bombers and Trident submarines in overhaul, and is approximately a 50 percent reduction from the 1,600 launcher-limit set under START (SORT did not cover launchers).  The 800 ceiling is intended to limit the ability for “break out” of the treaty by preventing either side from retaining large numbers of non-deployed launchers and bombers.

New START does not limit the number of non-deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, but it does monitor them and provide for continuous information on their locations and on-site inspections to confirm that they are not added to the deployed force.  Non-deployed missiles must be located at specified facilities away from deployment sites and labeled with “unique identifiers” to reduce concerns about hidden missile stocks.  Moreover, the strategic significance of non-deployed missiles is reduced given that non-deployed launchers are limited.  Both sides agreed under the treaty to prohibit systems designed for “rapid reload” of non-deployed missiles (Fifth Agreed Statement).

Force structure:  Each side has the flexibility to structure its nuclear forces as it wishes, within the overall limits of the treaty.

Counting Rules (Article III)

Warheads:  For deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, the number of warheads counted is the actual number of re-entry vehicles (RVs) on each missile (an RV protects the warhead as it re-enters the atmosphere from space; it can carry only one warhead).  START I did not directly count RVs, but instead counted missiles and bombers that were “associated with” a certain number of warheads.  New START counts each heavy bomber as one warhead (although the maximum loading is 16-20), the same counting rule that START I used for bombers carrying short-range weapons.  Neither side typically deploys nuclear bombs or cruise missiles on bombers, but keeps them in storage.  Thus inspections of bombers would find no weapons to inspect.  The parties agreed to arbitrarily count each bomber as one warhead.  Under SORT, Russia did not count stored bomber weapons at all.  New START, like START I, does not track or limit warheads or bombs once they have been removed from deployed launchers.

Delivery vehicles and launchers:  Each deployed ICBM, SLBM and nuclear-capable bomber is counted as one delivery vehicle against the 700 limit. Each deployed and non-deployed missile launcher or bomber is counted as one launcher against the 800 limit.  Non-deployed missiles are monitored but not limited in number.

Monitoring and Verification (Article VI, IX, X, XI, Protocol and Annexes)

New START’s verification regime includes relevant parts of START I as well as new provisions to cover items not previously monitored.  For example, the new treaty contains detailed definitions of items limited by the treaty; provisions on the use of National Technical Means (NTM); an extensive database on the numbers, types and locations of treaty-limited items and notifications about those items; and inspections to confirm this information.  Even so, the verification system has been simplified to make it cheaper and easier to operate than START and to reflect new strategic realities.  New START monitoring has also been designed to reflect updated treaty limitations.

For example, the old treaty did not directly limit warheads but instead assigned a certain number of warheads to each launcher; a count of the launchers gave an upper limit on the number of warheads that could be deployed, but not necessarily an actual count.  New START includes direct limits on deployed warheads and allows for on-site inspections to give both sides confidence that the limits are being upheld.  Under the new treaty, both sides will exchange lists of the number of warheads deployed on individual missiles.  During “Type One” inspections, each side can choose one ICBM or SLBM to inspect on short notice and count the warheads.  The re-entry vehicles (RVs) can be covered by the host nation to protect sensitive information, but the actual number of RVs must be evident to the inspectors.  These inspections are designed to help deter both sides from deploying a missile with more than its declared number of warheads.

For missile-generated flight test data, known as telemetry, START I called for telemetry to be openly shared, with limited exceptions, to monitor missile development.  New START does not limit new types of ballistic missiles, and thus the old START formula for extensive telemetry sharing was no longer necessary.  New START requires the broadcast of telemetry and exchange of recordings and other information on up to five missile tests per side per year to promote openness and transparency.

Under the new treaty, the United States and Russia will continue to depend on NTM to monitor the other’s strategic forces.  To monitor Russian mobile ICBMs, all new missiles are subject to the treaty as soon as they leave a production facility, and each missile and bomber will carry a unique identifier.  Russia must notify the United States 48 hours before a new solid-fueled ICBM or SLBM leaves the Votkinsk production facility and when it arrives at its destination, which will facilitate monitoring by national means, such as satellites.  The treaty does not prohibit the modernization of strategic forces within the overall treaty limits (Article V).

Verification of treaty limits and conversion or elimination of delivery systems is carried out by NTM and 18 annual short-notice, on-site inspections.  The treaty allows ten on-site inspections of deployed warheads and deployed and non-deployed delivery systems at ICBM bases, submarine bases and air bases (“Type One” inspections).  It also allows eight on-site inspections at facilities that may hold only non-deployed delivery systems (“Type Two” inspections).

Ballistic Missile Defense (Preamble, Article V, Unilateral Statements)

Current and planned U.S. missile defense programs are not constrained by New START.  The preamble acknowledges the “interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms” and that “current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties.”

Article V prohibits both sides from converting launchers for ICBMs and SLBMs into launchers for missile defense interceptors and vice versa.  This provision does not apply to five U.S. ICBM silo launchers at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, that were previously converted to missile defense interceptor launchers.  The United States has no plans for any such conversions in the future.

The missile defense launcher provision is designed to address Russian concerns that the U.S. could “break out” of New START by placing ICBMs in silos that once held missile defense interceptors. In practice, the provision will protect U.S. missile defense interceptors from falling under the treaty inspection regime. “If the parties were permitted to convert missile defense silos to ICBM silos, they would also have been able to visit and inspect those silos to confirm that they did not hold missiles limited by the treaty,”stated a report by the Congressional Research Service. The ban on silo conversions means that silo inspections are unnecessary and not permitted.

Finally, both sides have made unilateral statements about the relationship between missile defense deployments and the treaty. These statements are not legally binding, and similar statements were issued with previous treaties, including START I.  Under START, the Soviet Union said that U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty would constitute reason for withdrawal.  However, when the United States actually did withdraw from the ABM Treaty in 2002, Russia did not withdraw from START and, in fact, went on to negotiate SORT.

Conventional Warheads (Preamble, Protocol and Annexes)

New START does not prohibit either side from deploying conventional warheads on long-range ballistic missiles.  Such deployments would be counted under the warhead and missile limitations of the treaty.  The preamble states that both sides are “mindful of the impact of conventionally armed ICBMs and SLBMs on strategic stability.”  The State Department stated in a report that “there is no military utility in carrying nuclear-armed and conventionally-armed reentry vehicles on the same ICBM or SLBM.”

Trident submarines converted to carry conventional cruise missiles would not be counted under the treaty, nor would formerly nuclear-capable bombers that have been fully converted to conventional missions, such as the B-1B.

Duration and Withdrawal (Article XIV)

The treaty’s duration is ten years from entry into force (Feb. 2021) unless it is superseded by a subsequent agreement and can be extended for an additional five years.  As in START I, each party can withdraw if it decides for itself that “extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests.”  The treaty would terminate three months from a notice of withdrawal. 

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

Subject Resources:

Posted: July 25, 2017

Moscow is ready to discuss New START, but where is Washington?

In a July 18 interview with Kommersant , Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated Russia’s offer to begin talks with the United States on extending the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) . Ryabkov’s comments echoed previous statements he and other Russian officials—including President Vladimir Putin—have made in support of starting talks on an extension. The option of extending New START had been broached by the Obama administration in late-2016, but Russia was noncommittal at the time. In a January phone call with President Donald Trump, Putin reportedly...

Congress Puts Bipartisan Arms Control Policies at Risk

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The House and Senate Armed Services Committee are currently considering defense authorization legislation that if passed into law would deal a major, if not mortal, blow to longstanding, bipartisan arms control efforts.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, July 17, 2017

The future of U.S. nuclear weapons and missile defense policy is at a crossroads. The Trump administration is conducting comprehensive reviews—scheduled to be completed by the end of the year—that could result in significant changes to U.S. policy to reducing nuclear weapons risks.

As the possessors of over 90 percent of the world's roughly 15,000 nuclear weapons, the United States and Russia have a special responsibility to avoid direct conflict and reduce nuclear risks. Yet, the U.S.-Russia relationship is under significant strain, due to to Moscow’s election interference, annexation of Crimea, continued destabilization of Ukraine, and support for the brutal Assad regime in Syria. These tensions have also put put immense pressure on the arms control relationship.

It is against this backdrop that the House and Senate Armed Services Committee versions of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) include provisions that if passed into law would deal a major, if not mortal, blow to longstanding, bipartisan arms control efforts.

The House approved its version of the NDAA July 14 by a vote of 344-81 and the Senate could take up its bill later this month. 

The problematic arms control provisions in the bills would undermine U.S. security by eroding stability between the world's two largest nuclear powers, increasing the risks of nuclear competition, and further alienating allies already unsettled by President Donald Trump’s commitment to their security. In fact, some are so radical that they have even drawn opposition from the White House and Defense Department.

The bills also fail to provide effective oversight of the rising costs of the government’s more than $1 trillion-plan to sustain and upgrade U.S. nuclear forces and propose investments in expanding U.S. missile defenses that make neither strategic, technical, or fiscal sense.

Sowing the Seeds of the INF Treaty’s Destruction

The United States has accused Russia of testing and deploying ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The treaty, which remains in force, required the United States and the then-Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

Both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA authorize programs of record and provide funding for research and development on a new U.S. road-mobile GLCM with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The House bill requires development of a conventional missile whereas the Senate bill would authorize a dual-capable (i.e., nuclear) missile.

The House bill also includes a provision stating that if the president determines that Russia remains in violation of the treaty 15 months after enactment of the legislation, the prohibitions set forth in the treaty will no longer be binding on the United States. A similar provision could be offered as an amendment to the Senate bill.

These provisions are drawn from legislation introduced in February by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in the Senate and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) in the House to “provide for compliance enforcement regarding Russian violations” of the INF Treaty.

Development of a new treaty-prohibited GLCM is militarily unnecessary, would suck funding from other military programs for which there are already requirements, divide NATO, and give Russia an easy excuse to publicly repudiate the treaty and deploy large numbers of noncompliant missiles without any constraints.

The report accompanying the Senate bill notes that the Senate “does not intend for the United States to enter into violation of the INF Treaty.” (The treaty does not ban research and development of treaty-prohibited capabilities.) But this claim is belied by the report’s statement that development of a GLCM is needed to “close the capability gap opened” by Russia. Moreover, supporters of a new GLCM also argue it is needed to counter China, which is not a party to the treaty.

Before rushing to develop a new weapon that the Pentagon has yet to ask for and NATO is unlikely to support, the administration and Congress must at the very least address concerns about the suitability and cost-effectiveness of a new GLCM. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) offered an amendment to the bill on the House floor that would have done just that, but it was defeated by a vote of 173-249.

Meanwhile, mandating that the United States in effect withdraw from the treaty if Russia does not return to compliance by the end of next year raises constitutional concerns. If Congress can say the United States is not bound by its obligations under the INF Treaty, what is to stop it from doing the same regarding other treaties?

The administration's statement of policy on the House NDAA objected to the House INF provision on requiring a new GLCM, stating "[t]his provision unhelpfully ties the Administration to a specific missile system, which would limit potential military response options.” The statement also noted that bill would “raise concerns among NATO allies and could deprive the Administration of the flexibility to make judgments about the timing and nature of invoking our legal remedies under the treaty.”

Instead of responding to Russia’s violation by taking steps that could leave the United States holding the bag for the INF treaty’s demise, Congress should emphasize the importance of preserving the treaty and encourage both sides to more energetically pursue a diplomatic resolution to the compliance controversy. Lawmakers should also encourage the Trump administration to pursue firm but measured steps to ensure Russia does not gain a military advantage by violating the treaty and reaffirm its commitment to the defense of those allies that would be the potential targets of Russia’s noncompliant missile.

Cutting Off Our Nose to Spite Our Face on New START

One of the few remaining bright spots in the U.S.-Russia relationship is 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Signed in 2010, the treaty requires each side to reduce its deployed strategic nuclear forces to no more than 1,550 warheads and 700 delivery systems by 2018. It also includes a comprehensive suite of monitoring and verification provisions that help ensure compliance with these limits.

The agreement, which is slated to expire Feb. 5, 2021, can be extended by up to five years if both Moscow and Washington agree.  The House bill includes a provision that would prohibit the use of funds to extend New START until Russia returns to compliance with the INF treaty. This is senseless and counterproductive. By “punishing” Russia’s INF violation in this way, the United States would simply free Russia to expand the number of strategic nuclear weapons pointed at the United States after New START expires in 2021.

If the treaty is allowed to lapse, there will be no limits on Russia’s strategic nuclear forces for the first time since the early-1970s. Moreover, the United States would have fewer tools with which to verify the size and composition of the Russian nuclear stockpile.

For these reasons and more, the U.S. military and U.S. allies continue to strongly support New START.

Undermining the Norm Against Nuclear Testing

A small but influential group of Republican lawmakers are seeking to cut U.S. funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and undermine international support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the global nuclear test moratorium.

Sen. Cotton and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) introduced legislation on Feb.7 to “restrict” funding for the CTBTO and undermine the U.S. obligation – as a signatory to the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – not to conduct nuclear test explosions.

Rep. Wilson successfully offered the bill as an amendment to the House NDAA and Sen. Cotton could seek to do the same on the Senate bill.

With North Korea threatening to conduct a sixth nuclear test explosion, it is essential that the United States reinforce, not weaken, the global nuclear testing taboo

More information on the problematic provision in the House bill is detailed in a recent issue brief on CTBTO funding.

Nuclear Weapons Spending Run Amok

The Trump administration’s first Congressional budget request pushes full steam ahead with the Obama administration’s excessive, all-of-the-above approach to upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Both the House and Senate bills authorize the requested level of funding for these programs, and even increase funding for some programs beyond what the Trump administration requested.

As the projected costs for programs designed to replace and upgrade the nuclear arsenal continue to rise, Congress must demand greater transparency about long-term costs, strengthen oversight over high-risk programs, and consider options to delay, curtail, or cancel programs to save taxpayer dollars while meeting deterrence requirements.

A February 2017 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the United States will spend $400 billion (in then-year dollars) on nuclear weapons between fiscal years 2017 and 2026. The new projection is an increase of $52 billion, or 15 percent, over the CBO’s most recent previous estimate of the 10-year cost of nuclear forces, which was published in January 2015 and put the total cost at $348 billion.

In fact, the CBO’s latest projection suggest that the cost of nuclear forces could greatly exceed $1 trillion over the next 30 years.

What makes the growing cost to sustain the nuclear mission so worrisome for military planners is that costs are scheduled to peak during the mid-2020s and overlap with large increases in projected spending on conventional weapon system modernization programs. Numerous Pentagon officials and outside experts have warned about the affordability problem posed by the current approach and that it cannot be sustained without significant and sustained increases to defense spending or cuts to other military priorities.

Unfortunately, the House rejected two Democratic floor amendments that would have shed greater light on the multidecade costs of U.S. nuclear forces. One amendment would have required CBO to extend the timeframe of its biennial report on the cost of nuclear weapons from 10 years to 30 years. Another would have required extending the timeframe of a Congressionally mandated report submitted annually by Defense Department and National Nuclear Security Administration from 10 years to 25 years.

In addition, the House defeated by a vote of 169-254 an amendment offered by Rep. Blumenauer that would have restricted funding for the program to develop a new fleet of nuclear air-launched cruise missiles at the FY 2017 enacted level until the administration completes its Nuclear Posture Review and a detailed assessment of the need for the program.

Though the administration requested a major increase for the new missile and associated warhead refurbishment program in FY 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis has repeatedly stated that he is still evaluating the need for the weapon.

The House Rules Committee also prevented debate on a floor amendment that would have required the Pentagon to release the value of the contract awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. in October 2015. The department has refused to release the contract value citing classification concerns.

Tripling-Down on Missile Defense Despite Technical Flaws

Both the House and Senate bills authorize significant increases in funding for U.S. ballistic missile defense programs. The House bill authorizes an increase of $2.5 billion above the administration’s FY 2018 budget request of $7.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency. The Senate bill authorizes a $630 million increase.

The bills also include provisions that would authorize a significant expansion of the ground-based midcourse (GMD) defense system in Alaska and California, which is designed to protect against limited long-range ballistic missile attacks from North Korea or Iran, and accelerate advanced technology programs to increase the capability of U.S. missile defenses. The GMD system has suffered from numerous reliability problems and has a success rate of just over 50 percent in controlled and scripted flight intercept tests.

In addition, the House bill includes a provision that would require the Pentagon to submit a plan for the development of a space-based missile defense interceptors and authorize $30 million for a space test bed to conduct research and development on such interceptors. The House bill would also require the Pentagon, pursuant to improving the defense of Hawaii, to conduct an intercept test of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) target. The interceptor, which is still under development, is designed to defend against medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and the department has no public plans to test it versus an ICBM.

Rushing to deploy more unreliable GMD interceptors or building additional long-range interceptor sites is not a winning strategy to stay ahead of the North Korean ICBM threat. Quantity is not a substitute for quality.

Any consideration of building and deploying additional homeland interceptors or interceptor sites should wait until a new ground-based midcourse defense kill vehicle under development is successfully tested under operationally realistic conditions (including against ICBM targets and realistic countermeasures). The first test of the new kill vehicle under these conditions is not scheduled until 2020 and deployment is not scheduled until 2022.

In addition, future testing and deployment of new capabilities should not be schedule-driven, but based on the maturity of the technology and successful testing under operationally realistic conditions. Accelerating development programs risks saddling them with cost overruns, schedule delays, and test failures, as has been the case with previous missile-defense programs.

Despite numerous nonpartisan studies that have been conducted during both Republican and Democratic administrations which concluded that a spaced-based missile defense is unfeasible and unaffordable, a small faction of missile defense supporters continues to push the idea. Most recently, a 2012 report from the National Academy of Sciences declared that even a limited space system geared to longer-burning liquid fueled threats would cost about $200 billion to acquire and have a $300 billion 20-year life cycle cost (in FY 2010 dollars), which would be at least 10 times any other defense approach. 

While missile defense has a role to play as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat the North Korean missile threat, it’s neither as capable nor as significant as many seem to hope. More realism is needed about the limitations of defenses and the longstanding obstacles that have prevented them from working as intended.

The potential blowback of an expansion of U.S. missile defense capabilities from Russia and China must also be considered. Missile defense does not provide an escape route from the vulnerability of our allies, deployed forces, and citizens in the region to North Korea’s nuclear and conventional missiles.—KINGSTON REIF, director for disarmament policy

Posted: July 17, 2017

Reducing the Risks of U.S.-Russia Nuclear Conflict

The violence in Ukraine and rising tension in the Baltics, combined with concern about Russian nuclear doctrine and posturing, has heightened the risk of nuclear conflict in Europe. As William Perry, former Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton, recently warned , “A new danger has been rising in the past three years and that is the possibility there might be a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia.” A recent uptick in fighting in Ukraine, last week’s unrest in Belarus and Russia , and increasing concern in Washington and Brussels about the solidity of the NATO...

REMARKS - Why New START Is a Treaty Worth Keeping

If we do not safeguard and continue arms control, we'll be removing the constraints that do exist on Russia's modernization, says Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

April 2017

By Hans M. Kristensen

There has been much conster-nation among some about Russia’s increase in deployed warheads counted under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The number has grown since 2013 and, at last count, stood at 1,796 warheads—246 warheads above the treaty limit and 429 warheads more than the United States at the time. However, the number does not reflect an increase of the Russia arsenal but rather a fluctuation of the warhead level during the transition from Soviet-era weapons to newer types.

Hans M. KristensenI don’t see that the numbers indicate that Russia intends to break away from New START. The fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin in his first phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly brought up the possibility of extending the treaty suggests that he is not interested in violating it but continuing it. The United States should welcome that.

Nor do I think the disparity in deployed strategic warheads matters strategically at this point. There is another New START number that is much more important in that context: the number of strategic launchers. And there, the United States is counted with a significant advantage of 173 launchers more than Russia. It is the structure of the posture that is important. Russia knows that the United States has an additional 2,000 warheads in storage it could upload onto launchers if it needed to. Russia does not have nearly that upload capacity.

It is on this basis that the U.S. Department of Defense and the director of national intelligence in 2012 informed Congress that Russia “would not be able to achieve a militarily significant advantage by any plausible expansion of its strategic nuclear forces, even in a cheating or breakout scenario under the New START.”

Even so, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, some former U.S. defense officials began to question whether “the weapons limits imposed by New START [are] still consistent with our own and our allies’ national security requirements” and “whether our security can afford a strategic arsenal capped at limits which were based on an alternate reality.”

The United States should always assess whether its military forces are adequate and appropriate. But as far as I can see, there is no basis for questioning New START, which has equal limits for Russia and the United States and keeps a cap on what Russia could otherwise do.

Despite that, in his first telephone conversation with Putin, Trump reportedly brushed aside New START as a one-sided deal when Putin raised the issue of extending the treaty for five years beyond its 2021 expiration date. If the report is accurate, then that was an extraordinary bad decision.

If we do not safeguard and continue arms control, we’ll be removing the constraints that do exist on Russia’s modernization. In fact, it is precisely because of Russia’s modernization that we need to retain New START. 


Hans M. Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. This is adapted from remarks he made February 28 at the Nuclear Deterrence Summit, an industry conference held in Washington.

Posted: March 31, 2017

BRIEFING: How U.S. and Russian Leaders Can Avoid Renewed Nuclear Tensions

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March 22 Briefing from U.S., German, and Russian Experts on Uncertain Future of Nuclear Arms Restraints and Policy Options for Presidents Trump and Putin

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Russia and the West are on the brink of a renewed confrontation. Key pillars of mutual restraint are in jeopardy, including the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the 2010 New START agreement. Washington and Moscow are heavily investing in new and redundant nuclear systems that exceed their respective deterrence requirements. Both NATO and Russia are ramping up their defenses in the Baltic region, with close military encounters increasing the chances of a dangerous miscalculation.

Three members of the Deep Cuts Commission, a 21-member experts group from the United States, Russia, and Germany, presented their perspectives and proposals for how Presidents Trump and Putin can chart a safer course. This event was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. 

Audio of the event will be available soon. The transcript is below. 

Speakers include:

  • Sergey Rogov, Director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Walter J. Schmid, former German Ambassador in Moscow (2005-2010) 
  • Steven Pifer, Director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative
  • Daryl Kimball, Director, Arms Control Association, Moderator

The Deep Cuts Commission's most recent report, published June 2016, is available online


This is an unedited transcript provided by CQ Roll Call.

Transcript: 

      DARYL G. KIMBALL:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome to the First Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club.  I am Daryl Kimball.  I'm the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.  And as most of you know, we're a non-governmental organization that has been in existence since 1971 to address the risks and dangers of the world's most dangerous weapons.  And we are focused for many decades on the U.S.-Soviet and now U.S.-Russian nuclear balance.

      And we are one of the organizational partners of the Russian, German, U.S. expert commission on removing obstacles to achieving deeper nuclear weapons reductions known as the Deep Cuts Commission which was established in 2013.  It's led by our colleagues at the Hamburg Peace Research Institutes and we are the American partner organization.  And today, we are happy to bring folks together for a briefing on the current challenges relating to the U.S.-Russian nuclear balance.

      Since the commission was put together four years ago in 2013, and we developed a name the Deep Cuts Commission, the political situation has changed dramatically and the prospect for further progress looks dim.  And the challenges between the U.S. and Russia and for the pillars of Arms control look to be much more difficult. 

      I'm just going to provide a brief introduction to the subject we're going to discuss today.  We've got three expert speakers who are going to into more depth and then we're going to follow their presentations with Q&A with you all.

      So, just to remind everyone, as we know since 2013, Russia and the West are engaged in a period of renewed confrontation.  Key pillars of the security architecture including the 1987 INF Treaty, Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the 2010 New START agreement, and the Open Skies Treaty are all in some form of jeopardy.

      Both Washington and Moscow are investing heavily in new and redundant nuclear systems that exceed their respective deterrence requirements and both NATO and Russia are ramping up the military capabilities in the frontier region and there are close military encounters that increase the chance of dangerous miscalculations.

      So, I think one of the core messages that you might come away with today is that without renewed and sober dialogue and restraint on the part of both sides, it is quite possible that the key mechanisms that have served to regulate the U.S. nuclear relationship may disappear in the next year or two.

      So, we have three very experienced insightful experts to share their perspectives on these issues, Sergey Rogov, the Director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  He will go first being the most senior of our panelists and coming the furthest, I think to Washington for this event.

      Ambassador Walter Schmid, former German Ambassador to Moscow from 2005 to 2010, and Ambassador Steve Pifer, Director today of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative, close colleague with whom we work with in Washington. 

      So each of them is going to provide their comments, their perspective as members of the Deep Cuts Commission on the crisis in bilateral U.S.-Russian Arms control, what they see as the most urgent two or three problems, what's at stake and what U.S. and Russian and European leaders can do and must avoid doing to help avoid further damage.  So with that, Sergey, the floor is yours. Thank you for being here.

      SERGEY ROGOV:  Thank you, Daryl. 

      It's a great pleasure and honor for me to be here today.  I spent more than 50 years studying the United States.  I never thought I would live so long.  And now, I feel like I'm 33 or 35 years younger, because, well, I spent half of my life in the trenches of the Cold War.  And I have the feeling that we are back to those trenches, since the relationship between Russia and the United States today is extremely bad.  Of course, well, the direct parallel with the Cold War may be not quite correct, but there are some common features. 

      First of all, all the stereotypes of the Cold War propaganda are back.  And this anti-American and anti-Russian propaganda is truly ugly.  And what is really frightening is that sometimes propaganda becomes a substitute for a strategy.  And the most dangerous is when political players are beginning to believe their own propaganda. 

      The second commonality is that we don't have practical normal political dialogue.  In a couple of hours, I'm going to see Ambassador Kislyak.  And I can tell you that, well, he was so badly treated, a solid professional diplomat who is doing his work has been publicly attacked as a recruiter spy, that really demonstrates how low our relations are.    Without the political dialogue, we simply cannot find solutions to the problems we face. 

      The third feature is the economic sanctions, the economic warfare.  And finally, and that is most dangerous the resumption of the arms race and the military tension between Russia and the United States when we face all kind of ugly incidents which can produce unbelievable consequences.

      So what should be learned?  I don't intend to spend the rest of my life in the trenches of the new Cold War.  I think we have to stop it and reverse it and try to build a positive relationship between Russia and the United States. That will be good not only for our two countries, but for the rest of the world, since Russia and the United States, we are still nuclear superpowers.  And while 30 years ago or 40 years ago, we had so many nuclear weapons that we can destroy the entire humanity 20 times, today, the number is smaller. 

      But we still can destroy the entire mankind three or four times.  We are locked in a very strange relationship called mutually assured destruction, so strategic stability is based on this notion.

      And right now, it seems that we cannot avoid this paradigm.  But why Russia and the United States should be forever doomed to mutually assured destruction?  Let me give you the example of the United Kingdom and France.

      They actually have enough weapons to destroy each other, 200 or 300 nuclear warheads, that's sufficient.  And the French and the British don't always like each other.  But the relationship is not mutually assured destruction. Mostly, it's cooperative relationship.

      And I wonder why Russia and United States despite the existence of nuclear weapons cannot move to a positive cooperative relationship.  That, of course, requires to avoid the total collapse of the arms control regime, because many elements of the arms control regime which we negotiated at the end of the Cold War and after it like the ABM Treaty are gone. 

      And what we have, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty today are under attack.  I presume we'll have more time to talk about specific suggestions how we can reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, how well we can engage other nuclear weapons states like China, India, the United Kingdom, France and others into some kind of the arms control regime, which probably would be different from Russian-American arms control regime, but still there should be some rules of the game.

      And this is particularly important when the international system based on the rules, institutions, multilateral institutions today is under attack.  And I won't -- trying to be a little bit diplomatic,  I won't tell you which country is driving this attack on the United Nations, on NAFTA, on NATO, on Trans-Pacific Partnership and I can continue with this list.

      And Russian-American cooperation, if we're able to resume it, will help to deal with many challenges which the present international community faces.  One of them are the weapons of mass destruction.  But there are other challenges, problems like the Islamic State. Today, Russians and Americans fight against the Islamic State in Syria, which theoretically should have made us allies like when the Soviet Union and the United States were fighting against Hitler as a common enemy. 

      So the Islamic State is a common enemy.  And each of us in one way or another is resisting it, but we are not allies.  And actually some pretty bad things happen unless we are able to find how, well not just to avoid accidents, but how to cooperate.

      There are other issues which we should be concerned, but I presume that the time which was allocated by Daryl to me has expired, so I have to stop. 

      KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you, Sergey.

      Ambassador Schmid, the floor is yours.  Thank you. 

      WALTER J. SCHMID:  Thank you, Daryl. 

      Ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure for me to address to you some problems we are talking about in the Deep Cuts Commission.  And working in this commission I can draw not only from my experience in Moscow but also from my time for 2000 to 2005 as Federal Commissioner of the Federal Government for Arms Control and Disarmament in Germany. 

      The Deep Cuts Commission is basically an arms control commission.  And before I will try to discuss some aspects of the INF Treaty, New START and the military problems related to the Baltic State, I would like to make some comments on the nature and the tasks arms control can fulfill.  Arms control is about organizing one country's security.  And in doing so, it's in some competition with unilateral defense.

      Both unilateral defense and arms control which is an element of cooperative security start by the same procedure.  First, there must be an assessment of the security threat, of the security need one country faces.

      And then at the next level, we see the difference.  Defense, unilateral defense tries to fill gaps, normally by buildup of military capabilities.  Arms control on the other hand tries to come an agreement, to come to an agreement with the adversary most likely at the lower level of weapons that existed before.  That's the ideal view.

      And it is since two centuries that one great philosopher, Immanuel Kant, illuminated the problems of unilateral defense, stating in his famous essay, Perpetual Peace, that once one country or one state tries to increase its security by military means, there is a risk that it is going to decrease the security situation of others and the adversaries.

      And as you know, the other state, the adversary has done the same procedure to face.  He has to define its security needs and then probably will end by a buildup of his armed forces.  And this, as the Cold War has shown, can lead to a buildup of arms, to an arms race and to less stability, less security for both sides.

      If it goes well, this buildup, then those states will end up at a higher level of balance.  This causes during the time of the period of the buildup, of course, some instability, and at the end of the day it's more extensive than security on a lower level, so it's a waste of money.

      And I am drawing my attention now to -- given this framework to the three problems I would like to address.  First one, INF, I think INF is an example of such, while the history, the run-up to INF is an example of such a buildup because one side in those days, the Soviet Union, introduced a new weapon.

      The German chancellor Helmut Schmidt thought we should react because this weapon was directed not against United States but against Europe.  It's a problem of Europe and also talking as a European here, you cannot reduce the INF Treaty to an issue between United States and Russia. It's also of utmost concern to Europe because we are faced with a new weapon that's directed against -- can be directed against Europe.  So, Helmut Schmidt was very nervous about this and he started a policy campaign that finally was very costly for him, because he had to pay with his job in '83 -- '82 and (inaudible).

      So what happened?  You know, this was the double solution, the two track approach.  The western countries came to the conclusion that they had to react.  They reacted and they deployed Pershing.  Then the other side realized that this, of course, caused a new problem to them because they were now confronted with rockets, with missiles that could reach their country within a few minutes. So they saw the risk of the first strike problematic.  So at the end of the day we had a buildup on both sides.  We had to pay for more than 2,000 missiles and then both sides decided that it would be better if they could abolish this kind of weaponry (inaudible).

      And that's the situation where we are today.  And I think that everybody on all sides who is talking today, the problems of the IFA, the possibility of withdrawing, thinking about it should not forget this experience, that once we didn't have the INF Treaty, we ran run into a very difficult situation.

      And those who think that because other states are not part of the INF Treaty and withdrawal from the treaty could be a good solution in order to solve these problems,  I am talking about, immediately about this, should never forget the problems I've talked about that could arise in Europe and where the Europeans don't have any interest in recreating this situation.

      Of course, INF Treaty is apart from what I have said, a bilateral issue, and it would be advisable to take other countries in.  I don't know if it's advisable to start an initiative for multi-lateralization, but it probably could be a good idea to take countries that are of interest to both sides and to Europe, in the Far East into this treaty.  And to make them concrete proposals because I could think that also countries like China, like Japan, like South Korea could have an interest not to run into this problem of this kind of conflict. 

      Second, New START, we know that this treaty finished a period where we didn't have, the binding instruments in order to face the nuclear threat.  And fortunately the New START in our view was concluded. It runs until '21.  And we would be very happy if it could be at least extended for more years to come.  And we would even be more happy if it could be improved.  And I think there is a possibility to do so.  I'm coming back to what I've said about the general nature of arms control.  First is the military as the military planner should assess the security risk and the security needs.

      And we had in 2013 a statement by the then-American President Obama who said that according to military assessment, the United States could reduce further.  And we are hopeful that the upcoming new nuclear posture will not diverge too much from the military statement some years ago. 

      This will also be positive, an extension, and probably an improvement of the treaty would also be very positive with regard to the NPT.  You know that the non-nuclear weapon states under this regime of the NPT are getting more and more unsatisfied and they are looking for alternatives. 

      We will have next week or so a conference of the "ban" countries how they are called and they passed a resolution in the United Nations where the majority of 134 votes.  So, it would be detrimental to the interest of us all if the NPT could be damaged. 

      And I can assure you, having assisted two NPT conferences, that the problem of nuclear disarmament is decisive.  If it's dealt well with, it's decisive for the mood of the conference and progress that can be made.  If we miss this opportunity, we will also face problems with the NPT which is a pillar and the cornerstone of our international security.

      The third issue I wanted to talk very briefly is the Baltics.  What we are seeing currently on all sides is a preparedness to increase military spending, increase military capabilities on both sides.  And so, we face the risk of a buildup in these capabilities in close proximity to the common border between Russia and NATO. 

      NATO, by the way, coming back to my general remarks on arms control, is committed to both aspects, to collective defense and collective security.  These are principles established in the strategic concept of NATO.  And that's why it would be advisable if we could think on both sides, before we are going to build up military capabilities to assess the concrete security risk both sides faces, and then to discuss on that basis how they could by arms control measures of a regional nature reduce tension without coming under the pressure to start a buildup. 

      And we could imagine, and the commission has proposed some technicalities we could talk about later, in order to reduce tension to dislocated forces and to work that way against the risk of a, let's say, military accident. 

      These are the three examples I wanted to illustrate a little bit in order to show you that arms control which is often being neglected in these days, sometimes ignored, is not an out-of-date instrument, but it can be very instrumental and very helpful in facing the security risks and threat we are finding today in a risky world. 

      Thank you very much. 

      KIMBALL:  Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. 

      Steve Pifer, your perspective after the Russian and German perspective on these challenges. 

      STEVE PIFER:  Yes.  Thank you, Daryl.  For 45 years the nuclear arms control regime has contributed to the security of both the United States on the one side, the Soviet Union and Russia on the other end, and it's also had broader security benefits. 

      But there are certain things now which lead people to be concerned including myself that that regime could be at risk and I'll talk about three challenges very briefly.  And my two co-panelists have already touched on these questions, but the first challenge is just you have a broad U.S.-Russia political relationship that is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War, lots of mistrust, very difficult issues. 

      The question is can you get that relationship to a point where you can begin to engage on some of these questions that relate to arms control, avoiding military activities that could be problematic.  I think you probably have to start off with small steps. 

      One step, I think, would be of urgent attention should be some kind of a military-to-military dialogue at a time when American, NATO and Russian military units are operating in close proximity at a higher tempo than the past; some kind of regime to address issues so that you avoid dangerous military incidents, that you avoid things that could lead to accident or miscalculation. 

      A second challenge is the preservation of the treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces.  That treaty was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 and it bans the United States and Russia from testing or deploying ground-based cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, and it resulted in the elimination of almost 2,700 American and Soviet missiles back by 1991. 

      The United States has charged Russia with testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile at intermediate range and as we heard two weeks ago, the U.S. military believes that the Russians have begun to deploy that missile.  The Russians have leveled several charges about American non-compliance with the treaty. And that poses a problem, can the treaty be preserved. 

      I think the Obama administration in its last several years was hoping to find a way to bring Russia back into compliance.  And I'll talk about the American violations in a moment.  That presumably is going to be much harder to do if we're now talking about Russia deploying a prohibited missile as opposed to testing. 

      You have discussions going on now, I think.  A senior American official yesterday raised the question, what leverage does the United States have to bring Russia back into compliance.  There have been suggestions on Capitol Hill about perhaps building an American intermediate-range missile.  And my guess is that would actually get the attention of Moscow.  Certainly, in the 1980s, the deployment of the American Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missile in Europe focused Soviet attention and was important to getting the treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces in the first place. 

      Personally, I would prefer to avoid steps that add to the numbers of nuclear weapons, but those who are advocating this idea I think need to answer two questions.  One, can the U.S. defense budget afford to build this missile and two, if the United States built it, would NATO agree to deploy it.  And unless the answers to both of those questions are yes, I'm not sure that's a doable option. 

      Other possibilities would be looking more at countervailing conventional capabilities.  I think I'd build on the point that while this is a treaty dispute between the United States and Russia, the real security threat, if Russia is in fact deploying an intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile, is to its neighbors in Europe and Asia. 

      And I think it would be worthwhile for the U.S. government to be doing what it can to begin to get those countries that would be directly threatened by this missile -- Germany, France, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, China and South Korea -- to begin to make this an issue on their agendas with Moscow. 

      My sense is we're probably not going to get a lot of traction making this just a U.S.-Russian issue.  We should be trying to make this an issue between Russia and the other countries for whom this missile would be a threat if in fact it is being deployed. 

      Also, there's an importance to dealing with the Russian concerns about American compliance.  I think that a couple of the Russian concerns are, probably can be handled fairly easily but there is one concern that to my mind has merit, and that is the Russian concern that the site in Romania to deploy SM-3 missile interceptors is a potential violation of the treaty or is a violation of the treaty. 

      And the argument goes, if you look at that site which is based on the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System, if you take those launchers and them on U.S. Navy warship, they can hold SM-3 interceptors but they can also hold sea-launched cruise missiles which are virtually identical to ground-launched cruise missiles.

      So, I think that's an issue the U.S. government needs to pay attention to in terms of preserving the treaty, and this will require a significant degree of political will on both sides.  Preserving the treaty at this point is going to be very, very difficult.  But if that treaty unravels, it has significant consequences and perhaps could lead to an unraveling of the overall nuclear arms control regime. 

      The third issue is the New START Treaty and what happens there.  Under the terms of New START, the United States and Russia by February of next year each are allowed no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on no more than 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers.  According to press reports in a February phone conversation, President Putin raised with President Trump the possibility of considering the extension of that treaty.  The treaty goes until 2021 but by its terms it can be extended to up to five years if the sides agree. 

      Reportedly, President Trump was a bit confused as to which treaty was being discussed and then was dismissive of it.  I hope that reflects the fact that the President is still learning about some of these questions.  It's very clear that his military supports this. 

      Two weeks ago, the Commander of Strategic Command and Vice Chairman of Joint of Chiefs of Staff in testimony on Capitol Hill made clear they support the treaty.  They like the fact that it caps the overall levels of Russian strategic forces, and they like the fact that the treaty provides for semi-annual data exchanges, thousands of notifications every year, and the opportunity 18 times a year to go and look at Russian strategic forces. That gives both sides a lot more information about the other side in a way that prevents having to make worst case assumptions. 

      Now, yesterday, Chris Ford who's at the National Security Council staff indicated that the U.S. policy would be to observe New START up until at least February, 2018 which is when the limits take full effect.  And that period runs roughly with the time where the administration will be conducting its nuclear posture review. 

      I very much hope that that review results in an agreement to continue to observe New START and perhaps to extend it to 2026.  But then, the question comes up, could you do more.  I personally would like to see us do more.  I believe it's in the U.S. security interest to further reduce nuclear weapons.  I would prefer fewer Russian nuclear weapons that could target the United States.  And my guess is that Sergey would like fewer American weapons that could target Russia.  But I'm not sure if that's going to be where the Trump administration comes out. 

      If the Trump administration would like to pursue those further reductions, my guess is they're going to have to deal with several questions the Russians have raised over the last four or five years.  One would be missile defense which will be a very tricky issue in this town.  A second issue would be Conventional Prompt Global Strike. And then, the third question might be could you begin to limit some of the capabilities of third country nuclear forces. 

      That's going to be a question though not only of preserving the arms control regime, but could you strengthen that regime.  And that's going to be a question both for the Trump administration and also for how the Kremlin wishes to pursue it. 

      Finally, just my concern about what happens if the INF treaty does collapse and if you don't get an extension of New START.  For the first time in 50 years, the United States and Russia would be in a situation in which there are no negotiated limits covering their strategic nuclear forces.  And I think potentially that has significant costs, particularly for the United States.  First of all, we lose limits on overall capabilities; we lose the transparency, we're not going to know things like how many warheads are on deployed Russian systems. 

      There is a potential for a nuclear arms race which from the American perspective is not a good idea.  My guess is the Russians can build nuclear weapons more cheaply than we can.  It's not an area of American comparative advantage. 

      Moreover, if we start this competition around 2021, it would begin at a time when the Russians have hot production lines, they're in the midst of their strategic modernization program.  Our program only cranks up in the 2020s.  And it would have a significant impact or it could have a significant impact on the U.S. defense budget. 

      We already have a strategic modernization program which the Pentagon or the Obama Pentagon said they did not know how to afford.  How do you then add to that on the nuclear side when you also have a White House that wants to have a 350-ship Navy and additional manpower for the Army and the Marines? 

      The other cost we have there is that other countries will react, in particular my concern is about China.  China has modestly increased its nuclear forces, but if the United States and Russia are in a situation where they are not limited and the limits go away, can we count on the Chinese to show restraint? 

      So, it seems to me that there are real costs to an end of that negotiated arms control regime.  It needs to be preserved, that's in the interest of the United States; it's an interest to Russia and of Europe.  But it's going to be a difficult challenge in the next couple of years. 

      KIMBALL:  Thank you much. 

      We're going to open up the floor to questions.  And as you ponder your questions, I wanted to start with a specific question perhaps starting with Steve about how specifically to solve the INF puzzle. 

      And I would just note that while there have been some Republicans on Capitol Hill who have proposed the initiation of efforts to develop a U.S. INF missile in response, there are other members of Congress, particularly the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have said,  "No, we should not do that. That would be unwise."  And they have suggested that there be a second meeting of the Special Verification Commission, the SVC which the treaty provides for. 

      So, is that part of the solution?  What is the SVC, what could they do in this context, and can these technical people deal with this by themselves or does it take leadership from above to solve this? 

      PIFER:  The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty established the Special Verification Commission, and one of its mandated tasks is to examine issues of compliance with the treaty.  And that's the point or the place where the United States and Russia can bring together the technical expertise to solve the problems. 

      I think the first question is, is there a political will.  And if there's a political decision to try to solve these problems, you then have the technical experts who could figure out ways to do it.  In our commission, we've had some discussions, and in our third report we write about some possible solutions. 

      For example, the Russian concern about America's use of what the Russians say are intermediate-range ballistic missiles in tests for missile defense.  One way to resolve that problem, and I think it actually is a problem that both militaries would like to resolve, because both militaries are going to be using intermediate-range missiles as targets for their missile defense test, is work out language, and the SVC, the Special Verification Commission, would be the place to do this, that would say this is what is a prohibited intermediate-range ballistic missile, this is what is a permitted test missile. 

      And then perhaps you could say, and either of the sides can have no more than X number of test missiles at any one time and they have to be limited to locations that are associated with missile defense tests.  So, that's the kind of technical solution that you could work out that could solve the problem. 

      

      Likewise, again, on the question of the SM-3 interceptors in Romania, are there are certain things that you could do at that site that would say this is a system that cannot contain a sea-launched cruise missile, or could you allow the Russians periodically to come and take a look and say, okay, there are 24 launch boxes there, open that box number 1 and 16, we get to choose and show us there's an SM-3 interceptor in there, not a sea-launched or not a cruise missile. 

      So, I think those are the kinds of solutions.  It's a little bit more difficult at this point in time on the outside to come up with potential solutions for the American charge because we don't yet have a lot of detail.  But you could see possibilities for inspections, things like that that might at least begin to define exactly is there a problem here.  And then, again, if there was a political decision in Washington and in Moscow to try to preserve this treaty, the people in the Special Verification Commission could come up with ways to do it. 

      ROGOV:  Let me add a few words.  I basically agree with what Steve said.  But I'd like to mention two factors.  One is that with each arms control treaty, we always face some problems and some allegations, claims and we had the mechanism to resolve those problems and get rid of those accusations. 

      With the INF Treaty, we face a very strange situation.  When Russia was claiming that the United States is violating the INF treaty presented the facts, on American side, the position is unprecedented; the United States says Russia violated the INF Treaty.  And when we asked what are the facts, the response is you know yourself, so we are not going to tell you.  That's kind of a shell game. And unless the United States makes public what exactly it considers to be a violation by Russia, it's going to be very difficult to resolve the problem. 

      The second factor is that when the treaty was negotiated and that was what, 30 years ago, some of the new technological developments have not been taken into account.  Who, for instance, thought 30 years ago about unmanned aerial vehicles which can fly hundreds if not thousands of miles and carry a heavy payload? 

      So, well, the treaty has some elements which have to be clarified. Besides, when the INF Treaty was signed, the Soviet Union and the United States had almost 3,000 medium range missiles and the rest of the world just a few dozen.  Today, Russia and the United States don't have such missiles, land-based medium range missiles.  But China has more than 1,000.  Other countries like India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel also have medium range missiles.  And in terms of geography, that means that the missiles from those countries can attack targets on the Russian territory, but not on American territory since, as you know, there are no more medium-range Russian missiles on Cuba for, what, for 65 years, or 55.  And it's very unlikely that Russia will deploy them in Cuba. 

      So, well, we have to think how to engage other countries because, well, in a multipolar system in which we live, it's insufficient for Russia and the United States only to create legally binding arms control arrangements.  We have to think how to engage China, how to engage the United Kingdom, India, France and others. 

      And that is also a very important issue, since other nuclear weapon states say, "Oh, no, no.  Well, we are not going to get into arms control regime because we're small guys.  But you have thousands of nuclear warheads so why should we? Reduce to our level, then we shall think."  And that, of course, creates a situation when we have more and more uncertainty about what can happen in the future. 

      In particular, for instance, when we think whether China will get engaged in nuclear buildup responding to what the Chinese perceive as an American provocation of deployment of American ballistic missile defenses like the THAAD system in Korea and other places.  So, well, it's not just simply the question of the letter of the INF Treaty.  We have to think about the entire set of issues related to the INF Treaty. 

      KIMBALL:  Ambassador Schmid, you had a comment on INF? 

      SCHMID:  A short remark.  I think what Steve said and what Sergey said is very reasonable, but I wanted to make clear one point.  In order to satisfy these needs, we shouldn't run the risk to lose the treaty, because if we lose it, then of course, we are reimporting the security problem we had to solve it by the treaty.  And I think the advantage is we could have, vis-a-vis China or other countries you mentioned, would be much less than the problem we would create in Europe. 

      KIMBALL:  Right. 

      Are there questions from our audience?  We've answered all of your questions with U.S.-Russia relationship.  That's amazing. 

      Yes?  Identify yourself and tell us. 

      HERMAN:  Yes, I'm Steve Herman from the Voice of America.  Thank you, all, for coming here today.  I'm just wondering, maybe a brief elaboration on the comments that Chris Ford made yesterday concerning the nuclear posture review, and that essentially everything is on table including moving CTBT over to the executive branch to effectively kill it I guess. 

      And also, President Obama made a big deal of his goal which obviously a lot of people would consider to be utopian of zero nuclear weapons in the world.  If this administration moves away from that, what is the symbolism that you interpret in that move? 

      KIMBALL:  All right.  So just to repeat the question because we're recording it.  Question is a response to Chris Ford's comments about the nuclear reviews underway and how that affects you U.S. policy including the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  Why don't we start with Steve?  I actually have a thought on this, too, but as the American, why don't you respond to our American President's aide's comments for the VOA? 

      PIFER:  OK.  Well, first of all, let me say that it was probably natural for Chris Ford to say we're doing the nuclear posture review and I believe he also said there's going to be a missile defense posture review and everything's on the table.  I mean, that's where the administration is going to start so I would not read too much into that. 

      The important question is where do they come out at the end 12 or 16 months down the road when they finish this?  I also wouldn't read too much into the comment which did get some media play about him saying we might reconsider the end goal of world without nuclear weapons because I believe he qualified it, said, you know, is that a goal in the near to midterm?  Is that realistic? 

      I personally support a world without nuclear weapons.  I actually think American security interests would be better off in that world and that the risk of the world, of that kind of world, there would be risks there but they are less than the risk of a nuclear world.  But I would also admit that it would be very hard to get there. 

      

      So I can see an outcome where the Trump administration might say, "Yes, that's our goal."  And, in fact, President Trump said that pretty much three weeks ago.  But they may come to a different conclusion than the Obama administration came to as to how realistic it is to make that a goal that drives your near and your medium term policy approaches. 

      KIMBALL:  You know, let me just add a couple of observations, too.  I mean when President Obama on April 5, 2009 gave his speech in Prague about steps towards a world without nuclear weapons, he was not talking about a, you know, a near-term objective of achieving global nuclear disarmament.  But he was echoing the call from George Shultz, Sam Nunn, Bill Perry and Henry Kissinger issued about a year earlier, which is an echo of Ronald Reagan, of Jack Kennedy, of President Johnson, President Nixon, President Carter about the importance of pursuing the goal of nuclear disarmament.  And that goal is a treaty obligation of the United States and all of the parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty under Article 6 of the treaty and the subsequent review conference statements and commitments made. 

      And, in fact, in the year 2000, five years after the NPT was extended indefinitely, the five permanent members of the Security Council made a joint statement of an unequivocal commitment to achieving the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  It's a political statement, but it was important at the time. 

      So I would say to Chris Ford, I'll remind him that U.S. support for the goal of a world without nuclear weapons is non-negotiable.  This is not something up for review for President Trump to rethink as he sends out his next tweets.  This is a serious matter that has had a lot of consideration, bipartisan support.  And if United States does not commit to that in the long-term, it will have serious consequences across the system, particularly the nuclear nonproliferation treaty system. 

      And then just quickly on the review, the nuclear posture review, yes, as Steve said, everything is under reconsideration.  And I think what that should remind us about is that the policies that have been part of U.S. practice for several years, the 25-year long taboo on nuclear testing, no U.S. nuclear testing since September, 1992, the pursuit of further U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions, the policy that Obama put in place of no new nuclear weapons.  All of that is up for grabs again.  That does not mean that it's going to change, in fact, I think it'd be very difficult for Trump to change those things, but we should not take those policies for granted. 

      ROGOV:  Let me say a few words from a Russian point of view.  I was not at this meeting with Chris Ford, but I pay attention, as Steve said, that he claimed that the United States will stick to the START II Treaty until February 2018. 

      PIFER:  At least.

      ROGOV:  At least.  But the treaty expires only in 2021, so should I interpret this as a hint, as a message that after nuclear posture review will be finished, is finished, the Trump administration may decide to withdraw from the New START Treaty like George W. Bush did with the ABM Treaty. 

      That creates a lot of uncertainty, in particular since during the campaign Donald Trump made very contradictory statements about nuclear weapons.  Sometimes he supported no first use.  Sometimes he said, well, we shall win any nuclear arms race.  We shall always be number one. 

      Apparently, today there is no nuclear policy for the new administration, it's developing.  But the problem is that the Republican Party has almost no arms controllers left.  In 1972, it was Nixon and Kissinger and the Republicans who were launching to play the leading role in creating the arms control regime.  After Dick Luger left the Senate, are there any Republican senators who are supporting arms control regime? 

      And looking at the Republican platform, one gets the feeling that there is no arms control regime, arms control treaties the Republican Party will support.  Of course, if the Republican president, and you have now the Republican president or a Republican president, will propose some arms control initiatives, Republicans will probably support him. 

      But we see that the so-called defense hawks in the Senate and in the House already, well, threaten that they would not permit any arms control agreement, and that's in particular related to the bill which was introduced a month ago by Senator Cotton which suggests that the United States should deploy both defensive and defensive medium-range weapons and even give them to American allies, presuming Germany and others. 

      There is another element which creates uncertainty, and that, fundamental changes which the Republicans made in the National Missile Defense Act of 1999.  It was in 1999 that this act defined the purpose of the BMD as limited defenses.  So the word "limited" was dropped out last year and replaced by robust layered defenses including a suggestion that the United States should test and deploy space-based defenses. 

      Of course, well, that's a big concern for Russia and many people in Russia are beginning to believe in the worst case scenario.  Worst case scenario happens seldom, but the present uncertainty and the situation when we accuse each other of violation of legally binding obligations is not a very positive environment for preservation and strengthening of the arms control regime. 

      KIMBALL:  Ambassador Schmid? 

      SCHMID:  Coming back to your question, the zero option, I would (inaudible) what Daryl has just said.  This is stated in Article 6 of the NPT, and that's why it's not the free choice of the member states to adhere to it or not.  But there is something more to it.  This was an obligation undertaken by the nuclear weapon states.  In exchange for it, the non-nuclear weapon states renounced the acquisition of nuclear weapons.  I think we should never forget this.  This was the bargain.  And, of course, everybody knew that this objective of a zero option could only be reached step by step and not tomorrow morning. 

      But -- and I would recall what I've just said before, as soon as we face the risk that there would be no arms control instrument, of course, non-nuclear weapon states would see this as a non-compliance to the obligation of the other side under the NPT. 

      PIFER:  Just coming back to the point about what Chris Ford said yesterday, my assumption is that when he said at least through February 2018 an abundance of caution to preserve the flexibility for the administration. I personally am very confident that we'll observe the New START Treaty up through 2021 and the evidence I would offer is that we saw just a couple of days ago a press report saying that the Air Force intends to complete the removal of another 50 ICBMs by April, which would bring the U.S. ICBM force down to 400.  That is the New START planned force. 

      If, in fact, the Trump administration wanted to keep all options open after February of 2018, they might have slowed that program down to give themselves options to go beyond New START.  So I'm not sure that the administration has a decision yet about what happens after 2021, but I have a fair degree of confidence that the administration would adhere to New START through 2021. 

      KIMBALL:  All right.  Any other thoughts, questions?  Yes, sir, in the back. 

      QUESTION:  (OFF-MIKE)

      KIMBALL:  A good question.  So the question I think was do the non-nuclear weapon states of the world, the majority, do they continue to believe in forswearing nuclear weapons given some of the difficulties that we now see with respect to the nuclear armed states not fulfilling their responsibilities on disarmament? 

      SCHMID:  As you -- as you can see, today I think the way that non-nuclear weapon states would go is not to rearm as well.  But if you look at the ban initiative, they try to find ways and means in order to reinforce efforts to disarm nuclearly (ph).  You can discuss if the ways and means they found so far are adequate ones, very helpful ones. 

      We -- our German position, for instance, the government's position is that this is not very helpful.  It could damage the NPD a well and that will sure speak for the step-by-step approach.  But it's quite obvious that if even the step-by-step approach doesn't work, then there will be reactions of the new nuclear weapon states vis-a-vis the NPT.  And I don't think, this is my personal view, that they would like to rearm, but I think they will try to find ways and means to circumvent the NPT.  This could be a serious risk and this wouldn't be a positive news for all of us. 

      KIMBALL:  Yes. 

      Steve? 

      PIFER:  I would add that if you look at the two most significant nuclear proliferation challenges we seen now which would be North Korea and Iran, if the United States abandons its commitments to reduce nuclear weapons and ultimately move towards their elimination, if we move away from that, it will greatly diminish both the diplomatic and the moral authority of the United States to mobilize pressure on the part of third countries against Iran and North Korea.  So there's a very big risk in terms of our ability to contain proliferation in those cases where it perhaps is moving forward. 

      KIMBALL:  And, yes, and I would agree with that and we should also remember that we can't judge the effects of this in the short-term very well.  We need to think about the long term.  And we have to remember, the NPT was created in 1968.  There was a conference in 1995 about whether to extend it or not.  It was decided that it would be extended indefinitely.  We're now approaching the 50th anniversary of the NPT.  We have to think in these long timelines.  So what will happen 25 years from now if -- but I'll agree with Steve that it would diminish the U.S. moral authority, the Russians' moral authority if they're not making good faith progress on disarmament with respect to other states. 

      Yes? 

      QUESTION:  (inaudible) and this is about North Korea.  To what extent does North Korea's continuing development of ballistic missiles and the outcome of current confrontation over that program affect the U.S.-Russia issues, the U.S.-Russia agenda that you've been discussing? 

      KIMBALL:  Oh, I can take a crack at that, but if others want to contemplate that.  I mean I would -- I would say that, you know, if North Korea's nuclear missile program is not halted in the near term, and I think that requires pressure, more effective sanctions and engagement, if that does not occur they're going to have the ability to strike Japan, South Korea, even China and U.S. forces in the region with nuclear armed ballistic missiles.  They may not have an ICBM for several years even if they begin testing it in 2017. 

      What does that do?  I don't that affects directly the U.S.-Russia dynamics.  I think it would gravely affect U.S.-Chinese dynamics and that may, in the longer run, affect U.S.-Russia dynamics.  And what I mean is that, you know, as, if North Korea advances its nuclear and missile capabilities, the U.S., South Korean and Japanese response is going to be to install ever more capable missile interceptor systems.  Right now it's THAAD which is a relatively modest system.  The radar there actually can't detect all North Korean ballistic missile launches.  It's not the most effective system.  But there are more effective systems that are available, the AEGIS system on destroyers. 

      And if the North Koreans pursue an ICBM, I think one of the likely responses or impulses of the United States would be to bolster the ground-based ballistic missile interceptor capability in Alaska, which is actually quite minimal at the moment.

      So, you know, that is going to lead to a Chinese reaction, a very negative one.  And, you know, if China begins to increase its nuclear capabilities, I think Russia will have to pay attention, and it will make Russia far less interested in deeper nuclear reductions with the United States because it will continue, as Sergey said, to remind the world that, "Well, we don't just have the United States and NATO to worry about, we have these third countries that happen to be on our border."

      So, you know, the North Korean proliferation challenge does have serious ramifications for in the long run, the U.S.-Russia risk reduction agenda we're talking about.  Ambassador Schmid, you had some thoughts.

      SCHMID:  Just adding a question to this.  Of course, once you get North Korea with ICBMs, you need a missile defense against the ICBMs.  And this would be a worldwide missile defense.

      PIFER:  And I think just to reiterate what Daryl said.  You know, right now, the United States has a rather thin missile defense against the North Korean ICBM.  Interceptors in Alaska and California, the goal is I think to have 40 interceptors by the end of this year.  That probably doesn't threaten Russian forces or Chinese forces.

      But if the North Korean advances lead to an increase in that, even though I think -- where the U.S. military now is we accept we're not going to be able to defend the United States against a Russian attack and we probably couldn't stop a Chinese attack.  But what we may end up doing is if we have to push our numbers up to defend against North Korea, then do we lead the Chinese and the Russians to say they have to add, and we could get into this inadvertent U.S.-China cycle even though the goal of our missile defense is to stop a North Korean attack. 

      So this potentially has ramifications that go well beyond just the U.S.-North Korean balance.

      ROGOV:  So as the question deals with the Russian-American relations, I can  (inaudible).  Russia is very critical of North Korea, North Korean nuclear policy, North Korean testing.  We consider it's a very serious problem.  But at the same time, Russia is against a military solution to the North Korean challenge.

      And there is concern in Russia taking into account that the new U.S. administration speaks that the time for strategic patience is gone, that the United States may decide to run a preemptive attack on North Korean nuclear and missile facilities.  And that's right near Russian border.  So that would be a development which will have very serious consequences for Russia's security.

      Another factor is the Aegis Ashore in Europe, which the United States claims was not against Russian missiles but against Iranian and North Korean missiles.  Well, since -- as far as Iran is concerned, we have at least a 10-year grace period about the Iranian nuclear program, who is left?  North Korea.

      And it's extremely difficult for me to imagine a scenario when North Korea decides to attack with its missiles Germany.  So, well, this contributes to the Russian perception that the American ballistic missile defenses in Europe are in fact aimed against Russia.

      Can Russia play a more important role?  Since we are not providing North Korea with economic assistance or sophisticated weapons like we used to do many decades ago, we don't have much of a leverage.

      But we can work with the Chinese, engaging them to bring greater pressure on North Korea to give up some of its provocations.  But, on the other hand, if the United States says, well, that it's not going to negotiate with North Koreans, hardly Russia can do much.  But one possibility that we have a multilateral format dealing with North Korean problem like we had five plus one with the Iranian problem.

      So in my interpretation, North Korea could be one of the areas where Russia and the United States can cooperate.  But, again, well, it's very difficult right now to understand what is the new administration policy towards North Korea.

      KIMBALL:  Although I would just add, the U.S. policy towards North Korea may become clearer sooner because President Xi will be having a fabulous weekend in Mar-a-Lago and he'll be speaking with President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson.  And it is my guess -- I don't have any inside information but it's my guess that that is the point at which the U.S. policy will, you know, essentially be clarified, because this problem with North Korea is even more urgent in terms of the timing than the Russia-U.S. issues we were just discussing. 

      Other thoughts, questions?  Yes.

      QUESTION:  (OFF-MIKE)

      KIMBALL:  All right.  So the -- how could INF unraveling lead to a broader unraveling of the nuclear arms control architecture and -- that's a good question.  How could the other nuclear armed states be engaged in a nuclear risk reduction dialogue?  What are the modalities?  So let me ask you, Sergey and then Steve, to talk about the modalities on engaging third party nuclear states.  There are no easy answers as one but there are some ideas.

      ROGOV:  Well, let me start by saying that there are nuclear weapon states and nuclear weapon states.  And it's not easy to find the common denominator for other nuclear weapon states.  But I want to talk a little bit about the European situation.

      When the nuclear arms control process started, the Soviets, when Steve and I were very young, insisted that we should count in the nuclear balance and restrict not only American strategic weapons but also American forward-based tactical nuclear weapons, and there were thousands of them at the time.  And British and French nuclear weapons, since the United Kingdom and France are members of NATO.

      So, well, that was I presume our position almost at the beginning of each next tour of strategic arms reductions.  And each time, we agreed not to count American tactical nuclear weapons which could reach the Russian territory from Central Europe, and not to count the British and French nuclear weapons, but narrow the definition of the strategic stability only to the long-range ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers which the United States and Russia possessed.

      And this is related to the present problem including the INF.  As Mr. Ambassador said, Russian medium-range missiles could attack targets in Europe and in Asia.  But not on American territory.  But American medium-range weapons like Pershing II could attack Moscow, could attack other targets in the European part of the Soviet Union. 

      So, for us, they were strategic weapons.  And in this sense, the whole story of INF was the Soviet decision to agree to a complete elimination of medium-range missiles, which could cover Europe and Asia, in return for elimination of American medium-range missiles which were an element of American strategic posture playing an extremely dangerous role for us with the short flight time of 10 or 12 minutes.

      So well, in the scenario of the preemptive decapitating and even disarming strike, the Pershing IIs were quite prominent.  So, well, that means that what seemed to be a Russian concession agreeing to eliminate completely the entire class of weapons was -- I believe that was a great gain for Russian security, because we got rid of that American possibility to start a surprise attack with a first salvo of the American forward deployed weapons.

      And when we talk now about the present problems of the INF, there are some people in Russia who complain that we face thousands of medium-range missiles in Asia, but have no symmetrical system which could counterbalance those medium-ranges, not American but medium-range missiles of Russia. 

      And from time to time, there is a discussion in Russia that, well, the INF Treaty is something which may be not so good for Russia.  But if the INF Treaty collapses and the United States again deploys the new generation of medium-range missiles, it will be not in western Germany.  It will be in Estonia, in Poland, and Romania.  And the flight time to Moscow will be just a few minutes.  So that's what makes many Russia very much concerned about, well, proposals like which I've mentioned of Senator Cotton.

      (UNKNOWN):  Rubio.

      ROGOV:  No, that -- Rubio also made noises about it but Cotton introduced the bill on preservation of the INF Treaty, which actually means total abolishment of it.  So well, the -- in this scenario, Russian security will be enormously jeopardized.  Another point is -- there is a discussion that, on Russian tactical nuclear weapons.  And we have more tactical nuclear weapons than the United States, although the official number has not been announced but nobody questions that issue.

      But in Europe, Russia faces in the balance with NATO not only 200 of American forward deployed tactical nuclear weapons, but 500 of British and French nuclear weapons, which are not covered by the START Treaty.  So in terms of the Russia-NATO balance, there is a situation where not only tactical nuclear systems of Russia and the United States should be counted but also the British and French.  It's a very complicated scenario and sometimes it's forgotten, but this should be kept in mind.

      KIMBALL:  Steve, some thoughts on this and...

      PIFER:  Yes, we did actually a fairly long paper at Brooking back last August looking at the question.  I'd start out by saying that if you look at the levels of American and Russian nuclear weapons, probably 4,000 to 4500 weapons on each side.  And then compare them to third countries, the largest country would be France at 300, China about 280, the U.K. about 220.  That's a huge gap.  And I would argue there's probably room for another U.S.-Russia bilateral negotiation without getting to third countries.

      Now, having said that, if you look at what the Russian government has said going back to 2011, 2012, there seems to be an insistence on the Russian part that there has to be something done with third countries.  It's not easy.  Even though the Russian government and Foreign Minister Lavrov several times have said the next negotiation has to be multilateral, there's never been a suggestion by the Russian government as to what that negotiation would look like.

      And I think that's because it's very, very hard.  How do you get the -- let's just take the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China.  The five countries that are on the U.N. Security Council as permanent members.  How do you come up with a negotiation that deals with that?  My guess is Britain, France, and China would not have accepted if it says the United States and Russia can be up here at 4,000 and you stay at 300. 

      We're not going to be able to negotiate something like the Washington Naval Treaty of the 1920s which had different levels for different countries.  So that's a big problem.  My suggestion would be is that the United States and Russia engage in a negotiation that brings their levels of nuclear weapons down below New START, brings in all of the stuff that's not covered by the New START Treaty, non-strategic weapons.  And then the United States and Russia jointly ask the British, and French, and Chinese to say, "Look, as long as the U.S. and Russia are coming down towards that treaty that goes below New START, we, the British and French and Chinese, will not increase our weapons."

      You're going to have to narrow that gap to the point before you can get to a real negotiation where you start doing numbers because it's very difficult to see any state saying, "Sure, I'll take a number of 400 while you're allowed 4,000."  I don't see how that works.  So it's tough. 

      On the question of how the INF treaty unravels.  Here's my theory.      If we can't come to grips with the compliance issues and if, as I believe is happening, Russia continues to deploy a ground launched cruise missile of intermediate range, I think the regime is in danger.  You've already seen in Congress the proposals, one of which is to declare Russia in material breach.  Typically, you do not do that until you're saying that the violation is to such a point where it destroys the fundamental purpose of the treaty.  That declaration is typically a precursor to withdrawal from the treaty.

      Other ideas that have come in Congress, again, deploying an American intermediate-range missile basically contribute to the downfall of the treaty.  If the INF Treaty collapses, you also have proposals in Congress that would say we should defund American implementation of the New START Treaty. 

      So you could see this carrying over to the New START, it might not -- it might not end the New START Treaty, but it would make very difficult for extending the New START Treaty beyond 2021 and it would not be in the interest of either the United States or Russia in 2021 to find that the INF treaty was gone, the New START treaty was gone.  And that for the first time in 50 years, there were really no negotiated treaty limits covering U.S. and Russian nuclear forces.

      KIMBALL:  So we're running short on time, I wanted to try to sum up some of the ideas that my colleagues have expressed here in terms of a positive agenda for action.  And I'm drawing bits and pieces from several of their comments here, and I mean -- so first of all, the United States and Russia have an urgent need to reduce overall tensions.  There will be a summit between the two presidents at some point later this year.

      There are ways that they can lower the temperature through a joint statement that expresses their support for cooperative measures in other areas.  And also that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, the words of Gorbachev and Reagan from about 30 years ago, still true today.

      Another key part of reducing tensions would be to set up the kind of long term negotiation that Steve just talked about with other nuclear armed states.  A pre-condition would be to, at the very least, extend New START for another five years maintaining the existing balance and enabling if the two sides wished engage in further talks about a wide range of issues, conventional strike, missile defense, strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, over the course of that longer period when New START would continue.

      The INF treaty violations, I think we all agree here, it is absolutely essentially the two sides sit down together again to try to work through what the dispute is, how it can be resolved, that takes leadership from the top.  And in the meantime, it's important that there aren't actions like those that Steve was just describing that make a bad situation worse. 

      And not to neglect this, it is just as important, as Ambassador Schmid was describing, there are dangerous military incidents that are occurring on a fairly regular basis.  It is important to avoid those and that requires military to military conversations. 

      And there is the longer term conventional balance that we spoke about here today.  The conventional forces in Europe treaty no longer exists.  That was another key instrument to ending the Cold War but there can and should be a new dialogue on how there can be mutual restraint measures including some regional arms control limits that provide greater confidence and predictability going forward in the future. 

      And there some ideas that the German government has begun to forward in this regard that could be built upon.  So I think those are some of the key themes from our presentations today.  I hope this has been helpful.  And there's even more, of course, in the third report of the Deep Cuts Commission, which we have copies of.  So thank you very much for being here. 

      Please join me in thanking our expert speakers.

      [APPLAUSE]

Country Resources:

Posted: March 22, 2017

No Winners in a Nuclear Arms Race, Mr. Trump

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Our response to comments by President Trump on New START

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(Washington, DC) -- In an interview with Reuters published today, President Donald Trump said he wants to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the "top of the pack," saying the United States has fallen behind in its nuclear weapons capacity and he said he thinks the 2010 New START agreement is “one-sided.”

Mr. Trump’s comments suggest, once again, that he is ill-informed about nuclear weapons and has a poor understanding of the unique dangers of nuclear weapons.

The history of the Cold War shows us that no one comes out on “top of the pack” of an arms race and nuclear brinksmanship. President Trump needs to work with Russia's President Putin to build down, not build up their excessive nuclear arsenals and stop stirring up nuclear tensions. 

New START Data Exchange Number for Deployed Warheads and Deployed Delivery Vehicles (February 2017)In reality, New START has advanced U.S. and global interests by lowering and capping the two nation’s excessive strategic deployed nuclear arsenals, both of which remained poised on "launch-under-attack" alert status, meaning that thousands of nuclear weapons could be launched by the U.S. and Russian leaders within minutes of a presidential order.

Discarding New START would irresponsibly free Russia of any limits on its strategic nuclear arsenal and would terminate the inspections that provide the United States with significant additional transparency about Russian strategic nuclear forces.

A wide-range of U.S. national security leaders from, including Mr. Trump’s own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, support New START. 

With up to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons allowed under New START and no limits on the tactical nuclear weapons possessed by each side, Russia and the United States have far more weapons than is necessary to deter nuclear attack by the other or by any other nuclear-armed country. Neither the United States nor Russia comes out of the treaty “ahead” or “behind.” 

Currently, Russia deploys 1,796 strategic warheads, the United States 1,367, but the United States deploys 681 strategic delivery vehicles (ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers) to Russia’s 508, giving the United States a substantially greater warhead upload potential. 

Both countries will be required to meet the New START limits by February 2018. The agreement expires in 2021 but the two leaders could extend the treaty for another five years and take parallel, reciprocal steps to achieve further nuclear reductions.

In 2013, President Barack Obama, with input from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other elements of the national security establishment, determined that the United States can reduce its nuclear force by another one-third below New START levels and still meet U.S. deterrence requirements.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile, 1962-2017Further nuclear reductions would reduce the price—estimated at $400 billion over 10 years by the Congressional Budget Office—to replace the U.S. arsenal at current levels. Expanding the U.S. arsenal with new or additional nuclear weapons would cost billions more.

The five most recent U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, all negotiated agreements with Russia to reduce their nuclear stockpiles. 

In his final news conference as president, Barack Obama noted that if incoming President Donald Trump can restart the stalled U.S.-Russian dialogue on further nuclear risk reduction measures in a serious way, “… there remains a lot of room for both countries to reduce our nuclear stockpiles.” 

Mr. Trump must get smart and avoid reckless statements or actions that upend decades of successful efforts to reduce bloated nuclear arsenals and renew dangerous U.S. and Russian nuclear competition.  

Country Resources:

Posted: February 23, 2017

Trump Ill-Informed About Value of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty

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In his first call with President Putin, Trump denounced the 2010 New START agreement despite not being aware of what the treaty was.

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(Washington, DC)—According to an exclusive Reuters story published this afternoon, President Donald Trump denounced the landmark 2010 New START agreement in his first telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters also reported that when Putin raised the option of extending New START, Mr. Trump had to ask his aides what the treaty was.

Signing of Russian-US Treaty on Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. With US President Barack Obama, April 2010. (Photo: Office of the President of Russia)The 2010 New START agreement has advanced U.S. and global interests by lowering and capping the two nation’s excessive strategic deployed nuclear arsenals, both of which remained poised on launch-under-attack alert status, meaning that thousands of nuclear weapons could be launched by the U.S. and Russian leaders within minutes of the go order.

The most important responsibility of any American president is to reduce nuclear dangers and to avoid nuclear catastrophe. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump appears to be clueless about the value of this key nuclear risk reduction treaty and the unique dangers of nuclear weapons.

A wide-range of U.S. national security leaders, as well as U.S. military officials, continue to assess that New START remains squarely in the U.S. national interest and that terminating or withdrawing from the agreement would undermine U.S. security. Ending New START would irresponsibly free Russia of any limits on its strategic nuclear arsenal and terminate the inspections that provide us with significant additional transparency about Russian strategic nuclear forces.

It has been longstanding U.S. policy to seek to further reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons in U.S. policy. The five most recent U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, negotiated agreements with Russia to reduce their nuclear stockpiles. During his confirmation hearing last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed his support for New START and continued engagement with Russia and other nuclear-armed countries on seeking further verifiable reductions of nuclear weapons stockpiles.

Trump and his team must get smart about New START and the unique dangers of nuclear weapons. Before the end of his term in office, Trump will need to decide whether to invite Russia to extend New START for another five years and/or negotiate a new arms reduction treaty.

The United States and Russia should work together to build down, not build up. With up to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons allowed under the 2010 New START agreement and no limits on the tactical nuclear weapons possessed by each side, Russia and the United States have far more weapons than is necessary to deter nuclear attack by the other or by another nuclear-armed country.

Further nuclear reductions would also save both countries tens of billions of dollars in their ongoing programs to replace their current arsenals and would strengthen global nonproliferation and nuclear risk reduction efforts.

In 2013, President Barack Obama, with input from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other elements of the national security establishment, determined that the United States can reduce its nuclear force by another one-third below New START levels and still meet deterrence requirements.

As President Obama said in his last news conference Jan. 18 “… there remains a lot of room for both countries to reduce our nuclear stockpiles.”

RESOURCES:

  1. U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START (February 2017)
  2. Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START (October 2016)
  3. New Report Calls for Russia and the West to Move Back from the Brink (June 2016) 
  4. New START at a Glance (August 2012)

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Posted: February 9, 2017

Press Release: U.S., Russia Can And Should Reduce Nuclear Excess, But On Proper Terms

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“The sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and our European allies should only be eased if Russia changes its behavior vis-a-vis Ukraine,” Kimball said.

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For Immediate Release: January 18, 2017

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 105

(Washington, D.C.) — In his final news conference as president, Barack Obama noted that if incoming President Donald Trump can restart the stalled U.S.-Russian dialogue on further nuclear risk reduction measures in a serious way, “… there remains a lot of room for both countries to reduce our nuclear stockpiles.” 

President Obama at his final news conference, January 18, 2017 (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)“President Obama is right. The United States and Russia have an opportunity and a responsibility to further reduce their excess nuclear weapons stockpiles,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the independent Arms Control Association.

Before the end of his term in office, Trump will need to decide whether to invite Russia to extend New START for another five years and/or negotiate a new arms reduction treaty.

“Trump should choose to build down, not build up,” Kimball said. "With up to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons allowed under the 2010 New START agreement and no limits on the tactical nuclear weapons possessed by each side, Russia and the United States have far more weapons than is necessary to deter nuclear attack by the other or by another nuclear-armed country,” Kimball noted.

"About 900 U.S. nuclear weapons can be fired within minutes of a presidential decision to do so, and no Congressional approval is required,” he said.

In 2013, President Barack Obama, with input from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other elements of the national security establishment, determined that the United States can reduce its nuclear force by another one-third below New START levels and still meet deterrence requirements.

Last weekend, Mr. Trump told the Times of London that "nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially,” but he suggested that such a deal might be linked to the easing of sanctions against Russia for its annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia is a party to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, a political understanding that the parties would respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan if they renounced nuclear weapons and joined the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states.

"Such a linkage would be unwise and impractical,” Kimball said. “The sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and our European allies should only be eased if Russia changes its behavior vis-a-vis Ukraine,” he said.

“We have recommended for some time that the U.S. and Russian sides should seek further, parallel reductions of one-third or more below the New START limits. This approach would not necessarily require that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin negotiate a new treaty,” he said.

“However, any further U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons reductions will most likely need to consider other issues of concern for both Moscow and Washington,” Kimball said. "These include: compliance with the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a new understanding about the scope of U.S. and Russian missile defense systems, and concerns about advanced conventional weapons."

“A renewal of the U.S.-Russian strategic dialogue is in the interests of both countries. Further progress in reducing the risk and number of nuclear weapons is possible and necessary and would very much follow in the tradition of past U.S. presidential administrations,” Kimball said.

Country Resources:

Posted: January 18, 2017

Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START

July 2016

Contact: Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, 202-463-8270 x104

April 2017

On April 8, 2010, Russia and the United States signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The treaty requires the sides to limit the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550 and fielded delivery platforms to 700. The treaty also permits the United States and Russia to conduct 18 annual on-site inspections of facilities operated by the other country. Biannual data exchanges indicate the current state of their strategic forces.

As of the data exchange dated April 1, 2017, Russia had 523 deployed delivery systems and 1,765 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. Russia is in the process of both retiring many of its older strategic systems and replacing them with new systems.

For a factsheet on U.S. nuclear forces, click here.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)

As of February 2017, Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris estimated that the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces included 316 operational missile systems that can carry 1,076 warheads.

Missile system

Number of systems

Warheads Total warheads

Deployment

R-36M2 (SS-18)

46

10

460

Dombarovsky, Uzhur

UR-100NUTTH (SS-19)

20

6

120

Kozelsk, Tatishchevo

Topol (SS-25)

90

1

90

Yoshkar-Ola, Nizhniy Tagil, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Barnaul, Vypolzovo

Topol-M silo (SS-27)

60

1

60

Tatishchevo

Topol-M mobile (SS-27)

18

1

18

Teykovo

RS-24 mobile

70

4

280

Teykovo

RS-24 silo

12

4

48

Kozelsk

Total

316

1,076

All tables are from http://russianforces.org.

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and Submarines

As of January 2016, the Navy had 12 functional strategic submarines of three different types. The Russian strategic fleet includes 12 functional strategic missile submarines deployed with two of the four naval fleets: the Northern Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. Bases of the Northern Fleet host six 667BDRM (Delta IV) submarines. The Delta IV are undergoing overhaul in which they are being equipped with new missiles. The Pacific Fleet base hosts three 667BDR (Delta III) submarines but these are being withdrawn from service. Project 955 (also known as Borey or Yuri Dolgorukiy) is the newest class of submarines. Construction began in 1996 and the first joined the Northern Fleet in 2013, though subsequent submarines of this class will join the Pacific Fleet. As of January 2016, three Project 955 submarines have been accepted into service. When the missiles on Project 941 (Typhoon) class submarines reached the end of their service lives, these submarines have been withdrawn from service. The one exception is the lead ship of the class, TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy, which was refitted for the new missile system, R-30 Bulava.

Strategic submarines

Number of submarines

Number of SLBMs and their type

Warheads

Total warheads

Project  667BDR (Delta III)

3*

32 R-29R (SS-N-18)

3

96

Project  667BDRM (Delta IV)

6*

96 R-29RM (SS-N-23)

4

384

Project 941 (Typhoon)

1**

- - -

- - - 

- - -

Project 955 (Borey)

3

48 R-30 Bulava

6

288

Total

12

160

768

[a] One submarine is undergoing overhaul and those missiles are not counted.
[b] One submarine of the Project 941 type has been refitted as a test bed for the Bulava missile system. It is not counted in the total number of operational submarines.
  • RIA News reported, in June 2012, that the Bulava sea-based ballistic missile had entered service. The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM, developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, carries up to 6 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class nuclear submarines.
  • The Borey class submarines are expected to constitute the core of the Russian strategic submarine fleet, replacing the aging Project 941 and Project 667 boats.
  • Russia is planning to build eight Borey and Borey-A class subs by 2020.
  • Borey class strategic submarines will carry up to 16 Bulava ballistic missiles, each with multiple warheads.

Strategic bombers

Russian Long-range Aviation Command consists of six divisions, two of which are the heavy-bomber divisions made up of Tu-160 and Tu-95MS aircraft. As of January 2016, the Command is estimated to have 68 bombers. The bombers can carry various modifications of the Kh-55 (AS-15) cruise missile and gravity bombs.

Bomber

Number of bombers

Number of cruise missiles and their type

Total cruise missiles

Tu-95MS (Bear H)

55

Up to 16 Kh-55 (AS-15A)

No estimates available

Tu-160 (Blackjack)

13

12 Kh-55SM (AS-15B)

No estimates available

Total

68

~200

 

-Updated by Marissa Papatola

 

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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Posted: July 20, 2016

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