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"In my home there are few publications that we actually get hard copies of, but [Arms Control Today] is one and it's the only one my husband and I fight over who gets to read it first."

– Suzanne DiMaggio
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019
Kingston Reif

U.S., Russia Extend New START for Five Years

With only days remaining until its expiration, the United States and Russia officially sealed an extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty ( New START ) for an additional five years, keeping in place the treaty’s verifiable limits on the deployed strategic nuclear arsenals of the world’s two largest nuclear powers. The U.S. Department of State and the Russian Foreign Ministry issued separate statements Feb. 3 announcing that the formal exchange of documents on the extension had been completed. Biden administration officials stressed that the extension would buy time and space...

Agreement to Extend New START a Win for Global Security

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Statement from Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

For Immediate Release: Jan. 26, 2021

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 104

We applaud the businesslike, no-nonsense decision by President Biden and President Putin to extend the New START agreement by five years—the maximum allowed under the 2010 treaty.

Maintaining New START and its verification system will enhance U.S. and global security, curtail dangerous nuclear arms racing, and create the potential for more ambitious steps to reduce the nuclear danger and move us closer to a world without nuclear weapons.

New START extension should be just the beginning and not the end of U.S. and Russian nuclear disarmament diplomacy. Both countries have a special responsibility and a national interest in reducing and eventually eliminating their bloated, costly, and deadly nuclear stockpiles, which are by far the largest among the world’s nine nuclear-armed actors.

We urge President Biden and President Putin to go further by directing their diplomats to quickly—within the next 200 days—begin negotiations on a follow-on agreement to achieve deeper mutual reductions in their stockpiles, and seek ways to engage other nuclear-armed states, which possess far smaller but still deadly arsenals, in the nuclear disarmament enterprise.

A key objective of the next round of bilateral talks should be, in part, deeper verifiable cuts in deployed strategic nuclear weapons. In 2013 the Obama administration determined that the United States could reduce its nuclear force by one-third below New START levels and still meet deterrence requirements. Unfortunately, President Putin rejected the proposal at that time.

U.S.-Russian follow-on negotiations should also address nonstrategic nuclear weapons; the interrelationship between offensive nuclear weapons and strategic missile defenses; and long-range, dual-capable conventional missiles, including those formerly banned by the INF Treaty.

Within the first 100 days, the Biden administration should also take steps that could allow the United States to rejoin the Open Skies Treaty so long as Russia continues to remain a party. The Trump administration’s announcement that it would withdraw from the agreement violated Sec. 1234 of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which required the administration to notify Congress 120 days ahead of a U.S. notification of an intent to withdraw from the treaty. The Trump administration did not do so.

The Biden administration clearly understands the value of effective nuclear arms control for U.S. and international security. As Joe Biden said in the past: “pursuing arms control is not a luxury or a sign of weakness, but an international responsibility and a national necessity."

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A Statement from Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

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Entry into Force of Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty a Step Forward

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For Immediate Release: January 21, 2021

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 104

(Washington, D.C.)—On Jan. 22, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons formally enters into force.

For the first time since the invention of the atomic bomb, nuclear weapons development, production, possession, use, threat of use, and stationing of another country’s nuclear weapons on a states party's national territory will all be expressly prohibited in a global treaty. The TPNW will also require states to provide assistance to those affected by nuclear weapons use and testing.

“We welcome the arrival of the TPNW, which marks a historic and very positive step forward in the decades-long effort to prevent nuclear war and create a world free of nuclear weapons,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

“Rather than adopt the Trump administration’s misguided criticism of the TPNW as a threat to the NPT and repeat its clumsy attempt to get states un-sign the treaty, the incoming Biden administration should make it clear that the United States views the TPNW a good faith effort by the majority of the world’s nations to fulfill their own NPT-related disarmament obligations and help build the legal framework for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons,” suggested former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Tom Countryman, who serves as chair of the board of the Arms Control Association.

“While the TPNW will not immediately eliminate any nuclear weapons, the treaty further delegitimizes nuclear weapons and strengthens the legal and political norm against their possession and use—and hopefully will compel renewed action by nuclear-weapon states to fulfill their commitment to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons,” Kimball said.

“The TPNW is a powerful reminder that for the majority of the world’s states, nuclear weapons — and policies that threaten their use for any reason — are immoral, dangerous, and unsustainable,” Kimball added.

The TPNW complements other nonproliferation and disarmament instruments, including the 1968 Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The TPNW effort was also designed to fill a “legal gap” in the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.

While the NPT obligates non-nuclear-weapon states to foreswear nuclear weapons, it recognized the five original nuclear-weapon states — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China — that already possessed them at the time the NPT was negotiated.

Article VI of the NPT obliges all of its 190 states parties to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” But the NPT does not explicitly ban nuclear weapons, and some nuclear-armed states (India, Israel, and Pakistan) are not members of the NPT.

“This adjustment to the United States’ rhetorical approach to the TPNW, which can help begin to restore the U.S. reputation as a global leader and bridge-builder and it will improve Washington’s opportunity rally support around a meaningful consensus final document and action plan at the pivotal 10th NPT Review Conference in August 2021,” Countryman said.

“Now that the TPNW exists, all states—whether they are opponents, supporters, skeptics, or undecideds on the treaty—need to learn to live with it responsibly and find creative ways to move forward together to press for progress on their common challenge: preventing nuclear conflict and eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons,” Countryman suggested.

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For the first time since the invention of the atomic bomb, nuclear weapons development, production, possession, use, threat of use, and stationing of another country’s nuclear weapons on a states party's national territory will all be expressly prohibited in a global treaty. 

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