For a period of 15 years, U.S. weapons inspectors could travel to Russia and inspect its strategic nuclear forces under the terms of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START. December 5 will mark one full year since the original START Treaty expired.
New START restores an effective verification regime and continues the trend of making modest reductions in U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals. U.S. inspectors are poised to resume their important work, but they can only do so after the New START Treaty -- now awaiting a Senate vote to approve ratification -- enters into force. Ratification of this Treaty will reinforce our cooperation with Russia on a range of issues, including one of our highest priorities -- preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
You can find a series of quotes below from U.S. government and military officials describing why the United States needs New START.
"It is a national security imperative that the United States ratify the New START treaty this year...There is no higher national security priority for the lame duck session of Congress...If we don't [ratify the treaty], then we don't have a verification regime -- no inspectors, no insights into Russia's strategic arsenal, no framework for cooperation between the world's two nuclear superpowers."President Barack Obama"The New START treaty is a fundamental part of our relationship with Russia, which has been critical to our ability to supply our troops in Afghanistan and to impose and enforce strong sanctions on the Iranian government...the time to act is now."Vice President Joseph Biden"The American people expect us...to come together and do what is necessary to protect our country. We can and we must go forward now on the New START Treaty during the lame duck session."Secretary of State Hillary Clinton"There would be significant consequences in the failure to ratify the new START treaty."Secretary of Defense Robert Gates"I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security. I believe it enhances and ensures that security. And I hope the Senate will ratify it quickly."Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen"I think the earlier, the sooner, the better...From an intelligence perspective only, are we better off with it or without it? We're better off with it."Director of National Intelligence James Clapper"Without New START, we would rapidly lose insight into Russian strategic nuclear force developments and activities, and our force modernization planning and hedging strategy would be more complex and more costly. Without such a regime, we would unfortunately be left to use worst-case analyses regarding our own force requirements."STRATCOM Commander General Kevin Chilton"The START Treaty ought to be ratified and ought to be ratified as soon as possible."Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz"This treaty is the best way to reduce and address threats to our country, and we need to proceed forward to address it now."Senator John Kerry"This is very serious...we're talking about thousands of warheads that are still [in Russia], an existential problem for our country. To temporize at this point I think is inexcusable."Senator Richard Lugar
Learn more about the Treaty at www.state.gov/newstart.