Testimony
Rose Gottemoeller
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee
Washington, DC
July 29, 2010


As prepared

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Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, and members of the Committee, I want to thank you for this opportunity to appear before you. I am honored to be here to provide my perspective as chief negotiator of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, also known as the New START Treaty. I’m also pleased to be joined by Dr. Ted Warner, who served on the delegation as Secretary Gates’ representative and as one of my deputies. We share a strong belief that the New START Treaty will make our country more secure, and we urge the Senate to provide its advice and consent to ratification. At the conclusion of my remarks, I will be pleased to respond to your questions.

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. Indeed, this treaty imposes no constraint on U.S. efforts to modernize its nuclear enterprise or develop and deploy the most effective missile defenses possible to protect U.S. national security and the security of our allies and friends.

A little over a year ago, the Administration set out to negotiate the New START Treaty with the goal of replacing the expiring START Treaty with a new agreement for each Party to reduce and limit its strategic offensive arms. I want to underscore that the focus of these negotiations from beginning to end was strategic offensive arms. We were also determined to move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh beginning in our relations with Russia. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review concluded that the United States could sustain a stable deterrent with significantly fewer deployed warheads and strategic delivery vehicles than permitted under earlier arms control agreements. It further recognized that we need to cooperate with Russia as our partner to meet these threats and other global challenges.

The New START Treaty represents a significant step forward in building a stable, cooperative relationship with Russia. But this Treaty is not just about Washington and Moscow. It advances the security of the entire world. By demonstrating that we are living up to our obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), we enhance our credibility to convince other governments to help strengthen the international nonproliferation regime and confront proliferators.

The New START Treaty will enhance U.S. national security by stabilizing the strategic balance between the United States and the Russian Federation at lower levels of nuclear forces. The New START Treaty preserves the United States’ right to determine our own force structure, giving us the flexibility to deploy and maintain our strategic nuclear forces in a way that best serves U.S. national security interests. As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and protect our allies.

To those who may have concerns regarding alleged back-room deals during the Treaty negotiations, let me state unequivocally today on the record before this Committee, as I have done previously before the Foreign Relations Committee, that there were no/no secret deals made in connection with the New START Treaty; not on missile defense or any other issue. Everything we agreed to is in the Treaty documents transmitted to the Senate on May 13. I also want to make clear that Article XV of the Treaty authorizes the Bilateral Consultative Commission to make changes in the Protocol without resorting to the Treaty amendment procedures only where such changes do not affect substantive rights or obligations under the Treaty. A similar provision was contained in, and successfully implemented under, the START Treaty.

Regarding the recently released 2010 Compliance Report, I want to point out that Russia was in compliance with START’s central limits during the Treaty’s life span. Moreover, the majority of compliance issues raised under START were satisfactorily resolved. Most reflected differing interpretations on how to implement START’s complex inspection and verification provisions.

Let me speak briefly about verification of the Treaty. Verification and the State Department’s recent verifiability assessment address the larger questions related to whether the United States could detect, in a timely manner, if Russia was preparing to move beyond the limits of the Treaty, or were cheating in a significant way on the Treaty well before such an attempt became a threat to U.S. national security. In addition, the verification regime will enable the United States to detect other activities inconsistent with the Treaty that, while they may not present an immediate risk to U.S. national security, could, if undetected, lead to a situation in which U.S. national security would be at risk. Last week, General Chilton testified before this committee that he agreed with this assessment, stating that the “New START retains sufficient flexibility in managing our deterrent forces to hedge against technical or geopolitical surprise.” Dr. Miller also agreed, adding that, under New START, the United States is “postured well to first deter cheating, but then to minimize the significance should it occur.” These assessments are based on the ability under the New START Treaty of the United States to retain a diverse triad of strategic forces, and in particular the fact that the survivability and response capabilities of strategic submarines and heavy bombers would be unaffected even by large-scale cheating.

It is important that the Department of State’s verifiability assessment not be confused with Intelligence Community monitoring confidences. The Intelligence Community’s monitoring efforts provide evidence, along with other inputs such as legal interpretations, information gathered from other sources, and compliance analysis, which contribute to the verification process.

New START’s verification measures are designed to ensure that each Party is able to verify the other’s compliance with the central limits in the Treaty, including:

  • No more than 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers;

  • No more than 1,550 warheads emplaced on deployed ICBMs and deployed SLBMs and counted for deployed heavy bombers; and

  • No more than 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, deployed and non-deployed SLBM launchers, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers.

The obligations and prohibitions of the New START Treaty are different from those in START, reflecting lessons learned from 15 years of implementing the START Treaty. The differences also reflect the spirit of the Moscow Treaty, by permitting each Party the flexibility to determine for itself the configuration of its strategic forces at the reduced levels of delivery vehicles and deployed warheads established in this Treaty. Like START, the New START Treaty contains extensive verification provisions that promotes strategic stability by ensuring transparency and predictability regarding U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces and confidence that the Russian Federation does not exceed the Treaty’s limits throughout its ten-year term.

The START Treaty’s verification regime was tailored to the specific obligations of the START Treaty, while the New START verification provisions are tailored to the specific obligations of the new treaty. The Treaty’s verification regime was designed to be effective while at the same time reducing the implementation costs and the disruption to operations at U.S. and Russian military facilities subject to the Treaty as compared with the original START Treaty. The regime is based on an extensive set of data exchanges and timely notifications regarding all strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, two types of on-site inspections, exhibitions, locational restrictions, and additional transparency measures, including the use of unique identifiers on each ICBM, SLBM, and heavy bomber. Although telemetry from missile flight tests is not required to verify the provisions of the New START Treaty, the Treaty includes provisions regarding the exchange of some telemetric information as a means of enhancing transparency and predictability.

Deterrence of cheating is a key part of the assessment of verifiability, and is strongest when the probability of detecting significant violations is high, the benefits to cheating are low, and the potential costs are high. We assess that this is the case for Russia cheating under the New START Treaty.

During the negotiation of the New START Treaty, negotiators on both sides drew on the lessons learned from START implementation. Both sides benefited from having experienced START Treaty inspectors serving on their respective delegations. Much was learned over the 15 years in which the START Treaty verification regime was implemented, and the United States and Russia sought to take advantage of that knowledge in formulating the verification regime for the new Treaty – seeking to maintain elements which proved useful, to include new measures where necessary, improve those measures that were an unnecessary drag on our strategic forces, and eliminate those that were not essential for verifying the obligations of the New START Treaty.

Mr. Chairman, as Secretary Clinton stated in her testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and in a similar statement made to this committee: “The choice before us is between this treaty and no treaty governing our nuclear-security relationship with Russia, between this treaty and no agreed verification mechanism on Russia's strategic nuclear forces, between this treaty and no legal obligation for Russia to maintain its strategic nuclear forces below an agreed level. We cannot turn a blind eye to Russian nuclear force developments, which would be a step in the wrong direction from our burgeoning relationship with Russia.” Secretary Gates noted that the Treaty “has the unanimous support of America’s military leadership;” Admiral Mullen said that the “conclusion and implementation of the New START Treaty is the right thing for us to do;” General Chilton reminded us that, “Without New START, we would rapidly lose some of our insight into Russian strategic nuclear force developments and activities, and our force modernization planning and hedging strategy would be more complex and more costly” and Secretary Chu testified that “the New START Treaty will serve the interests of the United States without jeopardizing our ability to sustain the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.” The entire Administration is united behind this treaty.

Mr. Chairman, in sum, I believe that the New START Treaty is in the national security interests of the United States, is the right treaty for today and the coming years, and will restore the transparency and predictability that START provided while it was in force. The combination of improved U.S. understanding of Russian strategic forces resulting from the implementation of the START Treaty, U.S. NTM capabilities, the New START Treaty’s verification provisions, and a favorable posture deterring cheating or breakout, results in a New START Treaty that is effectively verifiable.

Thank you and I will be happy to respond to any questions.

[This is a mobile copy of The New START Treaty]