Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
"New START" Slated for June Committee Vote
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee appears likely to vote next month on a new U.S. nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, but it remains uncertain if the entire legislative body would take up the pact before adjourning for its August recess, the Los Angeles Times reported today (see GSN, May 17).
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April signed the replacement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The new agreement would obligate the two former Cold War adversaries to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 warheads, down from the maximum of 2,200 demanded of each by 2012 under the 2002 Moscow Treaty. The new deal would also limit U.S. and Russian deployed nuclear delivery vehicles to 700, with another 100 platforms allowed in reserve.
The committee today is scheduled to hear testimony on the agreement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials.
Obama "has been clear that it's in our national security interests to get this ratified this year," one White House official said. Midterm elections in November, though, could complicate a possible effort to bring the treaty to the Senate floor this fall, according to the Times.
Obama's administration and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) have been working to create momentum for the treaty's ratification, which would require 67 Senate votes. Backers of the pact have suggested it could strengthen U.S.-Russian ties while helping to dissuade non-nuclear weapon states from seeking their own atomic arsenals.
In a bid to court Republican support for the document, the administration unveiled a blueprint last week for spending $80 billion over 10 years for maintenance of U.S. nuclear warheads and the nation's nuclear weapons complex (see GSN, May 14).
Republicans appeared likely to address the treaty's potential to limit U.S. options in deploying missile defenses. Moscow, which deems such defenses a threat to its strategic deterrent, has indicated it could stop participating in the pact if Washington further augmented the systems.
The treaty might not be necessary because the United States has not planned a buildup of its strategic deterrent and economic concerns have pushed Russia to roll back its arsenal, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said. As a move toward Obama's stated goal of achieving eventual worldwide nuclear disarmament, the treaty "is a naive and potentially risky strategic approach," Sessions said in a statement (Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times, May 18).
Feb. 14, 2013
A new brochure describes the origins and the work of the Nuclear Security Project.
Feb. 14, 2013
George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn laid out their vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the urgent, practical steps to get there in a groundbreaking series of co-authored Wall Street Journal op-eds.