Shaping a Common Vision of Security between Russia and the United States
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
Also available in Russian
Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this conference. The timing of this meeting could not have been better coming so soon after the successful meeting yesterday between President Obama and President Medvedev in Washington.
I note that the previous time our Presidents met was on April 8, in Prague, when they signed the New START Treaty and that is what I am here to discuss. While the signing of the Treaty marked the end of the negotiation between the U.S. and Russia – a process that took a little under a year – it also marked the beginning of the critical ratification phase. Before I discuss the Treaty itself, I would like to start by commenting on the progress that has been made in gaining the advice and consent to ratification by the United States Senate.
First, I am pleased to report that much has happened since the Treaty was signed in early April. We worked quickly to prepare the Treaty ratification package for the United States Senate and this package was submitted to the Senate by the White House in mid-May.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the leadership of Senator John Kerry, who chairs the Committee and Senator Richard Lugar, who is the ranking member, arranged an aggressive schedule of hearings ensuring a timely and thorough review of the Treaty. To date, the Committee has held  hearings on New START.
The hearings got off to a very strong start when Secretary of State Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, appeared together before the committee and provided powerful testimony in support of the Treaty noting its importance to U.S. national security. I, along with Dr. Ted Warner of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who was a Deputy Head of Delegation during the Treaty negotiations, testified twice before the Committee.
The Committee also heard from Dr. Jim Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, and General Kevin Chilton, Commander of the United States Strategic Command.
In addition to administration officials, the Committee has heard from former government officials and military leaders including former Secretaries of Defense Bill Perry and Jim Schlesinger, former Secretaries of State James Baker and Henry Kissinger and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.
Last week, Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, and Chairman Mullen, who were joined by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, made another joint appearance, this time before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In addition to the testimony and questions posed by Senators during hearings, Senators have been briefed extensively on the Treaty and the Administration has responded to hundreds of questions submitted by senators. As I said, New START is getting a thorough vetting and we will continue to answer any and all questions by the members of the Senate as this process continues.
Senator Kerry has announced that he intends to put forth the “resolution of ratification” for a full Committee vote before the Senate takes its August break.
I believe there is every reason for the Senate to provide its advice and consent to ratification of the New START Treaty. The Treaty is a continuation of the international arms control and nonproliferation framework that the United States has worked hard to foster and strengthen for the last 50 years. It will provide ongoing transparency and predictability regarding the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, while preserving our ability to maintain the strong nuclear deterrent that remains an essential element of U.S. national security and the security of our allies and friends.
Negotiating New START
I would like to take a few steps back and talk about how we got to this point. It was a little over a year ago that we set out to negotiate the New START Treaty with the goal of replacing the expiring START Treaty with a new agreement mandating lower levels of strategic offensive arms. We were also determined to move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in our relations with Russia.
The negotiations benefitted from our long experience with implementing the INF Treaty, the START Treaty and the Moscow Treaty as well as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The New START Treaty is a hybrid of START and the Moscow Treaty – New START has its conceptual roots in both treaties. It contains a comprehensive verification regime as did START, to provide predictability, but it recognizes that we are no longer in a Cold War relationship. Thus, it allows each Party to determine for itself the composition and structure of its strategic offensive arms and how reductions will be made. This flexibility is the great contribution of the Moscow Treaty, and it will be important to the national security of both countries as we move forward to further reductions.
A few points about New START:
- The new Treaty establishes limits for U.S. and Russian nuclear forces significantly below the levels established by the START and Moscow Treaties.
- It should be noted that what is counted under each treaty is different.
- While the START Treaty relied primarily on attribution rules for counting warheads on delivery vehicles, in the New START Treaty we sought to count the actual number of warheads emplaced on each deployed ICBM and SLBM.
- For nuclear-capable heavy bombers, rather than count these heavy bombers at zero warheads to reflect the fact that today nuclear weapons are rarely loaded on them, the sides agreed to an attribution rule of one warhead per nuclear-capable heavy bomber.
- The new treaty will limit deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 per side, which is about 30% below the maximum of 2,200 warheads permitted by the Moscow Treaty.
- The Treaty has a limit of 700 on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed nuclear-capable heavy bombers.
- This limit is more than 50 percent below the START Treaty limit of 1,600 deployed strategic delivery vehicles.
- There will be a separate limit of 800 on the total number of deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers.
The verification regime includes extensive provisions that contribute to verification of the Parties’ compliance, including notifications, data exchanges, agreed conversion and elimination procedures, inspections, demonstrations, and exhibitions. It also includes some significant innovations over the START verification regime, such as the provision of unique identifiers for all ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers, and reentry vehicle onsite inspections that are designed to monitor the exact number of reentry vehicles emplaced on individual missiles selected for inspection.
The verification regime will provide each Party confidence that the other is upholding its obligations, while also being simpler and less costly to implement than START. The regime reflects the improved U.S.-Russian relationship since the end of the Cold War and reduces the disruptions to operations at strategic nuclear force facilities as occurred under START.
Spirit of the Negotiations
I would like to talk for a moment about the spirit in which these negotiations took place, a spirit that was best defined as one of mutual respect. It was due to this spirit that our meetings were always “businesslike and productive”—or as Ambassador Antonov would frequently say, “business is business.”
Each delegation member brought to the table a sense of purpose and cooperation that allowed us to complete the Treaty in a year – a span of time that is in sharp contrast to the more than nine years it took to negotiate the START I Treaty and the six years it took to negotiate the INF Treaty.
Much has changed since START was signed by President Bush and President Gorbachev in 1991. These changes were reflected in the day-to-day work of our delegations. When our delegations sat across the table from each other, we had a better understanding of the other’s strategic forces. This was borne of the experience implementing INF and START. In fact, many of the U.S. and Russian experts on our delegations were inspectors under START. Multiple times, they had visited each others’ ICBM bases, ballistic missile submarine bases, heavy bomber bases, and storage facilities.
Communication lines are also well-established. For more than 22 years, the United States and Russia have communicated on START and INF through our respective Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers. And we speak each other’s languages. There were probably as many Russian speakers on the U.S. delegation as English speakers on the Russian delegation—many of them, again, from the cadre of inspectors. Arms control treaties of the past were negotiated when we did not have this multi-year implementation experience under our belts, and it helped enormously with the pace of negotiation.
There was a high degree of professionalism and expertise on both sides of the table, and the two teams were able to work together in a very intense and productive way. What we achieved is an agreement that mutually enhances the security of the Parties and provides predictability and stability in strategic offensive forces.
In my view, it is no accident that we were able to complete this treaty quickly. New START reflects the determination of our two governments to begin a new era in our security relations, one of greater openness and cooperation.
This Treaty is not just about Washington and Moscow. It is about the entire world community. As you know, the United States and Russia control more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal and we understand the world looks to us for leadership in securing nuclear material globally and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Although not tied to this Treaty, the recently released data on the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile show how far we have come in reducing the number of nuclear warheads from the stockpile maximum of 31,255 in 1967 to the 5,113 warheads in the stockpile as of September 2009.
Increasing transparency of global nuclear stockpiles is important to non-proliferation efforts and to pursuing follow-on reductions after the ratification and entry into force of the New START Treaty. And the new treaty sets the stage for engaging other nuclear powers in fulfilling the goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and expanding opportunities for enhancing strategic stability.
As we say in the preamble to the Treaty, we see it as providing new impetus to the step-by-step process of reducing and limiting nuclear arms with a view to expanding this process in the future to a multilateral approach. We will also seek to include non-strategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons in future reductions. Such steps would truly take arms control into a new era.
The New START Treaty continues a narrative begun near the end of the Cold War that recognizes the need to eliminate the paralyzing threat of nuclear war by reducing – and ultimately eliminating – nuclear weapons.
As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee the defense of our allies. But with this new Treaty, we are setting the stage for further arms reductions.
I would like to conclude with the words of our Presidents who described it best when, after signing the new Treaty, President Obama called it “an important milestone for nuclear security and non-proliferation, and for U.S.-Russia relations” and President Medvedev declared it a “win-win situation.”