The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms—the New START Treaty—entered into force on February 5, 2011. Under the Treaty, the United States and Russia are required to meet the Treaty’s central limits on strategic arms by February 5, 2018. The Treaty’s duration is ten years, but it allows the parties to agree to extend the Treaty for an additional five years until February 5, 2026. The Trump administration, including the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released on February 2, 2018, has not indicated whether the United States will pursue extension of New START.
“We commend the United States and Russia for faithfully implementing the New START Treaty which provides essential limits, transparency and verification regarding their strategic nuclear forces.
“These mutual benefits will endure only as long as the Treaty, which will expire in three years. We call on President Trump and President Putin to agree now to extend New START for an additional five years, as the Treaty permits. This will provide greater predictability, reduce incentives for a new nuclear arms race, and ensure a solid foundation for the United States and Russia to take urgently needed steps to rebuild trust, improve strategic stability, and reduce the risk that nuclear weapons will be used.
“Extending the verification and predictability provided by New START is all the more important in light of the U.S. government’s serious concerns about Russia’s compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and Russian countercharges. As long as Russia is complying with New START, it remains strongly in the U.S. national interest to extend its benefits, even as we seek to preserve the INF Treaty and address the many challenges and deficit of trust in the bilateral relationship. New START is the sole bilateral agreement in force that provides verification and transparency through numerous on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and facilitates the use of national technical means for Treaty monitoring. This robust verification regime provides both countries with a unique and critical source of information about each other’s strategic nuclear forces, thereby reducing uncertainties and incentives for worst case planning and enhancing strategic stability. The predictability that New START provides helps to discourage the reemergence of a nuclear arms race.
“Avoidance of nuclear use by deliberate act, miscalculation, or accident must be the highest priority of our national security policy and of our bilateral relationship with Russia. Extending New START and its essential verification provisions would be a much needed step in the right direction.”