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  • Yet Another Negotiating "Achievement" of the U.S. Department of State

    New START, a strategic arms control treaty with the Russian Federation that entered into force in February, is disadvantageous for the United States and advantageous for Russia. The treaty actually allows the Russians to build up their nuclear strategic forces. This raises the question: What did the U.S. negotiators actually achieve for the advancement of the U.S. national security?

    According to the factsheet released on June 1, by the State Department’s Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation, the U.S. will have to remove 182 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers from their operational status. Russia can add 179. Regarding deployed accountable warheads, the U.S. will have to remove 250 accountable nuclear warheads from its operational arsenal; Russia can actually add 23.

    The third central limit of New START—the number of deployed and non-deployed launchers of ICBMs, deployed and non-deployed launchers of SLBMs, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers—is 800. Here, the U.S. will be required to destroy in accordance with the provisions of the treaty 324 ICBMs, SLBMs, or bombers—Russia only 65.

    Leaving the arms control parlance aside, the disparity between Russian reductions and U.S. reductions is clear. The situation is actually even worse than what the analysts at The Heritage Foundation predicted prior to the Senate’s advice and consent to the ratification of the treaty, especially regarding numbers of nuclear warheads, where Heritage estimated the number of Russian warheads at 1,739. (Russia ended up declaring 1,537.)

    In November 2010, Senator Kit Bond (R–MO) stated that the treaty “forces the United States to reduce unilaterally our forces, such as missiles, bombers, and warheads, in order to meet treaty limits.” The State Department rebutted his point. But while the treaty imposes equal limitations on both parties, the United States is required to unilaterally remove from operational stage or destroy many more systems than Russia over the course of the next seven years. The State Department says that “having a single, equal numerical limit ensures parity and enhances predictability for both sides.” But there is no predictability if one of the parties to the treaty is permitted to actually add tens of delivery systems into its strategic arsenal.

    All the reductions required from the U.S. are costly and will further increase the pressure on the already overstretched defense budget. Obama Administration officials were silent on the issue of costs related to New START implementation during Senate committee hearings prior to the Senate’s consent to ratification of the treaty. It is also unclear whether the air force or the navy will be required to build new storage facilities to accommodate missiles taken out of operational deployment as a result of New START.

    The treaty is a bad deal for the U.S. national security. The release of the State Department’s factsheet just makes it official.

    Co-authored by Michaela Bendikova

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Yet Another Negotiating "Achievement" of the U.S. Department of State

    1. West Texan says:

      The Obama administration has not a clue what they're doing. We owe the Russians absolutely nothing in terms of arsenal reductions. They don't trust us anymore than we trust them. That's about as equal as things need to be right now. Obama has created another mess that the next executive team will have to clean-up.

      I'm starting to choose my favorites for a conservative White House in 2012. So far my three picks include Herman Cain as president, Mitt Romney as vice president and Allen West as secretary of defense. These names were carefully considered as to their comments on federalism and national security while respecting the realities of today's electorate.

    2. Robert, Edmonton Alb says:

      If we are to live under the New Start limits we need not only to immediately embark on a Triad and nuclear enterprise modernization plan but insure we can react to future strategic surprise.

      Russia is fully modernizing its' forces with missiles that can carry up to ten warheads for no apparent reason. They even want to replace their monster SS-18 ICBM with a modern successor. It is posited that the new missile will have a slightly larger throw weight to the the SS-18 (8000kg) or over two times Peacekeeper. For what to carry one or two warheads?

      The US on the other hand is trying to figure out how to even maintain its' large solid rocket industrial base. We might not even be able to produce a Minuteman III replacement, now that is scary.

      Has Heritage given any thought to outlining a responsible modernization strategy? Because it is needed badly!

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