New START Treaty
Treaty between The United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START)
The New START is an agreement for nuclear arms reduction between the US and Russia, and establishes a limit on deployed strategic warheads.
8 April 2010
Entered into Force
5 February 2011
Ten years, extended additional five years on 3 February 2021
The New START Treaty is composed of three tiers of increasing levels of detail: the Treaty text, the Protocol to the Treaty, and the Technical Annexes. All three tiers will be legally binding. The Treaty Text and Protocol contain the basic rights and obligations of the Treaty. The Treaty also includes a standard withdrawal clause that states each Party has the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. The 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) was terminated when the New START Treaty entered into force on 5 February 2011.
The aggregate limits of the Treaty restrict the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads each. Warheads actually deployed on ICBMs and SLBMs count toward this limit while each deployed heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments whether with gravity bombs or ALCMs counts as one warhead. The Treaty also includes an aggregate limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. Within that limit, the number of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers cannot exceed 700. The United States and Russia must implement the necessary reductions to reach these limits no later than seven years after the Treaty’s entry into force. Within the aggregate limits, each State has the flexibility to determine the structure of its strategic forces.
The Treaty does not place any constraints on the testing, development or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs or U.S. long-range conventional strike capabilities.
In order to promote the objectives and implementation of the Treaty’s provisions, the Parties will establish the Bilateral Consultative Commission, which will meet no less than twice a year in Geneva.
Protocol to the Treaty
The Protocol to the Treaty is organized into ten parts: Terms and Their Definitions, Categories of Data Pertaining to Strategic Offensive Arms, Conversion or Elimination Procedures, Notifications, Inspection Activities, Bilateral Consultative Commission, Telemetric Information, Provisional Application, Agreed Statements, and Final Provisions.
Technical Annexes to the Protocol
Verification and Compliance
Verification measures for New START are based on the 1991 START I Treaty and were modified for the purposes of the new Treaty. These measures include national technical means (e.g. satellites), on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring. To increase transparency and confidence, the Treaty also provides for the annual exchange of telemetry data on a parity basis, for up to five ICBM and SLBM launches per year.
The Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year. These inspections are divided into two types. Type One inspections focus on sites with deployed and non-deployed strategic systems; Type Two inspections focus on sites with only non-deployed strategic systems. Each Party is allowed to conduct ten Type One inspections and eight Type Two inspections annually.
In Type One Inspections, each Party will have the right to count the number of reentry vehicles actually deployed on one ICBM or SLBM, rather than attribute a set number of warheads to each type of missile. If the inspected Party covers its reentry vehicles, each must have its own cover.
There will be no continuous perimeter and portal monitoring at missile production facilities, but Parties must provide notification within 48 hours of any treaty-limited item leaving a production facility.
View an article by article analysis of the Treaty and its Protocol and annexes.
As late as December of 2020 President Vladimir Putin continued to call for an unconditional extension to the New START Treaty. On Thursday January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would seek a five-year extension on the New START treaty without additional provisions. On January 22, 2021, spokesman for the Kremlin, Dimitri Peskov, told reporters that Russia welcomed an extension to New START.
On 4 February, the United States and Russia formally extended New START. The treaty will remain in effect until 5 February 2026.
On 5 February, exactly one year before the expiration of the existing New START Treaty, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that the Trump administration was scheduled to begin arms control negotiations with Russia. The day prior to O’Brien’s announcement, however, the United States deployed a new submarine-launched low-yield nuclear weapons as part of the arsenal modernization project promoted by the Trump administration, which many fear is antithetical to the aims of New START renewal.
In June, Russia and the United States began talks in Vienna on extending New START. China refused an invitation from the United States to join the talks. Russia has expressed a desire to extend the treaty while the Trump administration has not made an official decision either way.
In October, the United States proposed a one-year extension of the New START Treaty in conjunction with a short-term freeze on both nuclear arsenals. This proposal was initially rejected by Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Ryabkov, though President Putin later indicated that Russia would accept the deal if the United States did not add any additional verification conditions to the freeze. U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien rejected this, and the parties agreed to continue talks regarding the conditions of a possible extension.
Unlike previous years, the Trump administration chose not to declassify the 2018 report on the number of dismantled warheads, normally expected to have been released by 31 January.
On 6 February, the U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Andrea L. Thompson, delivered a briefing on the future of the New START Treaty. According to Thompson, both the United States and Russia have complied with the regulations of the Treaty. Thompson reiterated that the Treaty is effective until 2021, and could be easily extended if necessary. However, in June, US National Security Advisor John Bolton expressed doubt that the Treaty would be extended, although the administration had yet to reach an official decision.
In May, the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act was introduced in the House of Representatives, in which Congress recommended that the United States seek to extend the New START Treaty unless a) the President determines that Russia is in violation of the Treaty or b) the Treaty is superseded by a new, equivalent or superior arms control agreement. The NDAA further specified that none of the funds it provided could be used to withdraw the United States from the New START Treaty unless Russia was determined to be in violation of the Treaty.
After the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty on 2 August, the New START Treaty became the last nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and Russia remaining in effect.
At the United Nations General Assembly in September, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov emphasized Russian readiness to extend the New START Treaty and claimed that Washington had been repeatedly requested to begin extension negotiations.
On 1 January, the United States released its Annual Report on the Implementation of the New START Treaty, detailing the reduction of both Russia’s and the United States’ deployed warheads throughout 2017.
On 12 January, the United States released its first quarterly report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive weapons possessed by the United States and Russia. Data from the first quarterly report of 2018 was current as of 1 September 2017.
On 5 February, the United States and Russia marked the seven-year anniversary of the New START treaty, with the Treaty’s central limits on each country’s strategic nuclear arsenals taking effect.
On 22 February, the United States released a report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive weapons possessed by the United States and Russia. The United States decreased the number of its deployed warheads from 1,393 to 1,350. Russia decreased its deployed warheads from 1,561 to 1,444.
From 10 April 10 to 20 April, the Fifteenth Session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission was held in Geneva. Delegations from the United States and Russia discussed practical implementations of the New START Treaty.
On 18 October, the delegations from the U.S. and Russia met in Geneva for the 16th Session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission under the New START Treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin had indicated support for extending the treaty in an interview in July 2018, but reports on U.S. support for extension suggest mixed opinions. Trump administration officials have signaled tepid support in U.S. media while U.S. senators have expressed bi-partisan support for extension.
On 1 January, the United States released a report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms possessed by the United States and Russia. Data in the first quarterly report of 2017 was current as of 1 September 2016.
On 28 January, President Trump and President Putin spoke by phone for the first time since Trump’s election. During the call Trump called the New START Treaty a “bad deal negotiated by the Obama administration.” In a subsequent interview with Reuters on 23 February, President Trump reiterated his view that the Treaty was “bad” and “one-sided.”
From 29 March to 11 April, the Thirteenth Session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission was held in Geneva. Delegations from Russia and the United States discussed practical matters regarding the implementation of the New START Treaty.
On 1 April, the United States released its quarterly report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms possessed by the United States and Russia. Since the January report, the United States increased its number of deployed warheads from 1,367 to 1,411. Russia decreased its deployed warheads from 1,796 to 1,765.
On 1 July, the United States released is quarterly report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms possessed by the United States and Russia. Since the April report, the United States remained at 1,411 deployed warheads. Russia remained with 1,765 deployed warheads.
On 17 July, State Department Undersecretary Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Rybakov. The conversation emphasized the need to create a long-term, bilateral agreement between the two countries.
On 1 October, the United States released its quarterly report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms possessed by the United States and Russia. Since the July report, the United States decreased the number of its deployed warheads from 1,411 to 1,393. Russia decreased its deployed warheads from 1,765 to 1,561.
From 11 October to 24 October, the Fourteenth Session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission was held in Geneva. Delegations from the United States and Russia discussed practical implementations of the Treaty.
On 1 January, the United States issued a report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms possessed by the U.S. and Russian federation. The report contained data that was declared current as of September 2015.
On 1 April, the United States released a report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms in the US and Russian arsenals. The number of United States deployed nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles continue to fall, whereas Russian stockpiles of warheads have increased by 87 since the January 2016 report.
On 1 July, the US published its quarterly report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms possessed by the US and the Russian Federation. No changes were reported since the April quarterly report.
On 1 October, the United States published its report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms in the US and Russian arsenals. The numbers of delivery vehicles decreased in both nations, but Russia shows an increase in warheads on its deployed arms, while the US numbers continue to fall.
On 11 October, US Secretary of State John Kerry celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Reykjavik Summit. The Reykjavik Summit fostered negotiations leading to the INF treaty and the original START treaty.
On 18 October, the Twelfth Session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission under the new START treaty concluded after 13 days. Held in Geneva, the delegations discussed the on-going practical implementation issues related to the treaty.
On 1 January, the United States issued aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms up to 1 September 2014. Compared to numbers from 1 March 2014, Russia increased strategic warheads and bombers from 1,512 to 1,643; the U.S. also increased the number from 1,585 to 1,642. The U.S. increased deployed strategic delivery vehicles from 778 to 794; and Russia slightly increased from 498 to 528. The U.S. reduced deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles from 952 to 912, while Russian increased the number from 906 to 911.
On 17-20 February, the 7th Annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit was held in Washington. In a conference on 18 February, Russia’s ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak reaffirmed Russian commitment to the Treaty. Rose Gottemoeller, US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, reiterated the US commitment to the Treaty and expressed concerns about Russian commitment.
On 1 April, the United States and Russia exchanged aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms up to 1 March 2015. The Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose said, “The two sides have made significant progress over the restrictions presumed by the treaty by February 2018.”
On 15 May, the US Congress voted to suspend funding US implementation of the New START Treaty until Russia returns to compliance with the INF Treaty and Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.
On 1 July, the United States issued a report on the aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms. The report contained data that was current as of March 2015.
On 1 October, the United States released the most recent numbers of strategic arms in relation to the New Start Treaty. This report shows that the US number of deployed strategic warheads, now 1538, has dropped below the limit of 1550, set by the Treaty. Conversely, the Russian Federation has increased its nuclear weapons stockpiles since the last report in July 2015. Their numbers of deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and deployed heavy bombers increased from 515 to 526. Additionally, their reported number of warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and deployed heavy bombers increased from 1582 to 1648.
On 1 February, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s security and disarmament department head, Mikhail Ulyanov, threatened Russia’s withdrawal from the New START Treaty. The statement was a response to U.S. deployment of an Aegis warship to Rota, Spain, as part of the European missile defense initiative. Ulyanov expressed concern that the United States was accumulating weapons capability “without considering the interests and concerns of Russia.”
From 18-28 February, U.S. and Russian delegations met in Geneva for the seventh session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission. The two sides agreed on an official number for ICBMs and SLBMs launched in 2014, and will continue to exchange telemetric information.
On 8 March, an anonymous high-level source in the Russian Defence Ministry announced there would be a halt on foreign inspectors under the New START Treaty in response to U.S condemnation of the situation in Crimea. However, on 12 March White House coordinator for defense policy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall defused this allegation, saying: “We see no reason that the tensions that exist over Ukraine should in any way obstruct the path toward fulfilling the commitments that we have made with the Russians to reduce nuclear weapons on both sides.”
On 8 April, the U.S. Defense Department announced its planned reductions of deployed and non-deployed nuclear weapons. Scheduled cuts were declared for the Air Force, which will strip 30 B-52 bombers of their nuclear weapons deployment capabilities and withdraw warheads from 50 of its 450 ICGM launch silos. The Navy will also convert 56 ballistic missile tubes, 4 on each Navy submarine, to “conventional-only roles.” Estimated costs for the modifications total $300 million.
On 22 May, the U.S. House approved an amendment prohibiting the Department of Defense from using 2015 funds to carry out New START treaty requirements. This block will take place until Russia was shown to be “in compliance” with other disarmament agreements and circumstances, particularly the situation in Ukraine.
On 23 May, ten U.S. senators requested a State Department investigation of former Assistant Secretary for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller. They charged that during the Senate process of ratifying the New START treaty in 2010, Gottemoeller intentionally concealed suspicions that Russia was violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The senators’ charges are part of an ongoing investigation to determine if the New START treaty still applies to U.S. interests and security.
On 17 July, members of the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament proposed to revise the New START Treaty as a response to expanding U.S. sanctions against Russia over the events in Ukraine.
On 24 December, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov stressed that the Treaty is still alive and being fulfilled.
From 6 – 19 February, the United States and Russian delegations met in Geneva, Switzerland for the fifth session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission to discuss practical issues related to New START implementation. The delegations reached agreement related to the provisions on the exchange of telemetric information from ICBM and SLBM launches in 2013.
On 21 February in Arlington, Virginia, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller delivered a statement on priorities for new arms control negotiations in the post-New START era at the Exchange Monitor’s Fifth Annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit. She praised the ongoing Bilateral Consultative Commission and resolution of New START implementation issues, and urged further negotiations on issues such as non-strategic weapons, the Fissile Material Cutoffs Treaty (FMCT), and progress in starting discussions on multilateral nuclear disarmament.
On 19 June President Obama delivered a speech at Brandenburg Gate, Germany where he announced plans for the United States to unilaterally reduce its deployed nuclear arsenal by one-third. Such a reduction would lower the U.S. deployed arsenal to around 1,000 compared to the 1,500 agreed upon with Russia in the New START Treaty.
From 11-21 November, the U.S. and Russian delegations met in Geneva for the sixth session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission. While the two sides debated “practical issues related to the implementation of the Treaty,” no formal document was produced.
From 24 January–7 February, the United States and Russian delegations met in Geneva, Switzerland for the third session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission to discuss practical issues related to Treaty implementation. The delegations signed agreements related to the provision of telemetric information from ICBM and SLBM launches.
As of 1 March 2012, as drawn from the data exchange by the Parties:
The United States
- Deployed: 812 ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers; 1737 warheads on ICBMs, on SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers
- Deployed & Non-deployed: 1040 launchers of ICBMs, launchers of SLBMs, and heavy bombers
The Russian Federation
- Deployed: 494 ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers; 1492 warheads on ICBMs, on SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for heavy bombers
- Deployed and Non-deployed: 881 launchers of ICBMs, launchers of SLBMs, and heavy bombers
On 18 June, the heads of state of Russia and the United States issued a joint statement in which they reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the New START treaty, and despite “differences in assessments… agreed to continue a joint search for solutions to challenges in the field of missile defense.”
On 21 June, the U.S. Senate held a hearing on the New START Treaty. Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, testified that the U.S. is now “able to confirm the actual number of warheads on any randomly selected Russian ICBM and SLBM – something [it was] not able to do under the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)”. She noted that the U.S. and the Russian Federation each conducted eighteen (18) inspections in the last year, the maximum number permitted each year by the Treaty. In addition, the United States conducted a cruise missile submarine (SSGN) exhibition.
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn) stated that he was “highly disappointed” that the Obama administration did not request as much money for nuclear weapons as it said it would in 2010. Corker went on to say that he “would be very reticent to agree to any treaty with this administration on any topic, until something changes as it relates to the commitments on this START treaty.”
On 27 June, Secretary of State Clinton reiterated the value of New START to the U.S., Russia, and the wider world during a press briefing in Helsinki, Finland.
On 9 August in Omaha, Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, updated attendees of the U.S. Strategic Command 2012 Deterrence Symposium on the implementation of New START. She praised the verification regime put in place for New START for providing “the predictability and mutual confidence that will be essential to any future nuclear reduction plans.”
On 11 September, President Obama officially nominated Rose Gottemoeller for the position of Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security.
On 15 September, the U.S. Department of State issued a press release commemorating the 25th anniversary of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers. The U.S. NRRC “exchanges thousands of time-sensitive notifications a year under a multitude of arms control treaties and agreements such as the New START Treaty and is a key resource for the promotion of transparency and stability that enhances confidence and directly contributes to our national security interests.”
On 21 September, the United States and Russian delegations met in Geneva, Switzerland for the fourth session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission to discuss practical issues related to New START implementation.
On 3 October, the U.S. Department of State released data indicating that the United States cut its number of strategic nuclear weapons to 1,722 on 806 active ICBMs, submarines, and bombers. 15 deployed weapons and six launch-ready delivery vehicles were cut from the U.S. Arsenal between March and September 2012. The data indicates that the United States remains above the treaty limits for deployed nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles, while Russia is below the treaty limits.
On 12 January the Russian State Duma voted in favor of New START in the second of three required readings. The Duma adopted a resolution of ratification with 349 votes in favor, 57 against and 2 abstentions. The resolution contains 6 articles outlining the exclusive rights of the Russian executive and legislative branches for implementation of the treaty. Article 2 contains 9 conditions necessary for implementation of the treaty. Conditions 1-3 stipulate that the Russian Federation will maintain its capacity of strategic forces and their combat readiness, while preserving, funding and developing the necessary research and development base and production capabilities. Condition 5 mandates taking into account the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms. Article 4 stipulates extraordinary circumstances under which Russia will be allowed to withdraw from the New START treaty. Article 4 clause 2 refers to the deployment of missile defense systems capable of reducing the effectiveness of the Russian Federation’s strategic nuclear forces as constituting a strategic risk to the Russian Federation. According to the Russian interpretation of the Treaty, U.S. strategic conventional forces deployed without permission from the Bilateral Consultative Commission could also constitute a breach of the agreement.
The Russian State Duma completed the third reading and approved New START on 25 January by a vote of 350-96, with one abstention. On 26 January, the Council of Federation voted unanimously in favor of New START. On 28 January President Dmitry Medvedev signed a bill of ratification of the New START agreement. The Russian bill states that the New START agreement can only be fulfilled if planned U.S. missile defense systems don’t diminish the Russian nuclear deterrent.
On 2 February President Obama issued a series of assurances to the U.S. Senate regarding implementation of the New START agreement. He affirmed that the U.S. is technically capable of implementing the treaty’s monitoring terms, that modernization of the U.S. nuclear triad will remain a top priority in the coming years, and that the agreement will not require the United States to share flight data from satellite liftoffs or tests of missile interceptors and target missiles. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates affirmed the need to begin talks on tactical nuclear weapons reductions within one year of the entry into force of the New START pact.
From 4-6 February, during the annual Munich Security Conference which took place, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed dissatisfaction that Russia had persistently been denied equal participation in the discussion of planned U.S. anti-missile systems. He asserted that development of the future ABM system without Moscow would force his country to review its participation in the treaty. Nonetheless, Foreign Minister Lavrov addressed the possibility of beginning talks on reductions of tactical nuclear weapons in the future.
On 5 February, the New START entered into force when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov exchanged the instruments of ratification.
On 7 February, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reaffirmed that a buildup of U.S. missile defense capability would prompt Moscow to re-consider its obligations under the New START treaty. In addition, he urged the United States to return its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe to U.S. national territory, and to dismantle related infrastructure in the interest of ensuring greater transparency and predictability.
On 22 March, it was reported that Russia and the United States started exchanging data as stipulated by the Treaty’s provisions. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said that on 19-20 March the U.S. Nuclear Risk Reduction Center transmitted to Russia the U.S. database, which includes data on the parties’ missiles, launchers, heavy bombers, and warheads subject to the treaty.
The United States and Russia have also hosted special exhibitions, with Russians viewing B-1B heavy bombers and Americans viewing the RS-24 Yars ICBM.
On 10 March U.S. delegates met in Moscow with their Russian counterparts for discussion of military and political issues related to the observation of the New START arms control treaty. Key issues on the agenda included missile defense, the practical implementation of the New START treaty, and the modernization of the European conventional weapons control regime. Under the auspices of the Arms Control and International Security Working Group of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher presided over the talks.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with President Dmitry Medvedev on 9 March and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on 10 March to hold discussions on the achievements of the “reset” in relations. Maintaining the momentum of the reset and implementing deeper cuts in Russian and American strategic arsenals will be difficult without addressing the obstacle of missile defense. Moscow has warned that without Russia playing a role in European missile defense or limits on a Western missile shield, a renewed arms race may be unavoidable. Russia and NATO are exploring different alternatives for collaborative missile defense and favor different approaches. The establishment of two separate but coordinated antimissile systems is NATO’s preference, while Moscow advocates each side assuming responsibility for intercepting missiles traveling across a specific geographic sector.
On 13 April, the State Department announced that a team of U.S. inspectors had arrived in Russia for the first on-site inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities.
From 19 October – 2 November, the second session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The United States and Russia discussed issues related to the implementation of the Treaty during these consultations.
On 1 December, the State Department announced that the United States made available the unclassified U.S. data for the most recent data exchange, effective 1 September 2011.
As of 1 September 2011 as drawn from the data exchange by the Parties:
The United States
- Deployed: 822 ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers; 1790 warheads on ICBMs, on SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for heavy bombers
- Deployed and Non-deployed: 1043 launchers of ICBMs, launchers of SLBMs, and heavy bombers
The Russian Federation
- Deployed: 516 ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers; 1566 warheads on ICBMs, on SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for heavy bombers
- Deployed and Non-deployed: 871 launchers of ICBMs, launchers of SLBMs, and heavy bombers
On 26 March, U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev formally announced they had reached agreement on the New START Treaty.
On 7 April, the Russian Federation released a unilateral statement on missile defense, in which it stated its view that the Treaty “may be effective and viable only in conditions where there is no qualitative and quantitative build-up in the missile defense system capabilities of the United States of America.” In response, the United States issued a unilateral statement on missile defense stating the position that U.S. missile defense systems are not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia. The United States also issued a unilateral statement on Trident I SLBMs declaring that Trident I SLBMs are not SLBMs of an existing type for purposes of the Treaty. These three unilateral statements are not integral parts of the Treaty, nor are they legally binding.
On 8 April, President Obama and President Medvedev met in Prague to sign the New START Treaty.
On 29 April, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began a series of hearings with current and former administration officials. Two former U.S. Secretaries of Defense, James R. Schlesinger and William J. Perry, made statements during the initial hearing.
On 13 May, President Obama submitted the New START Treaty to the Senate for ratification. The package submitted to the Senate included a letter of transmittal from the President to the Senate, a letter of submittal from the Secretary of State to the President, the Text of the Treaty, Protocol, Annexes to the Protocol, a detailed report prepared by Department of State analyzing each provision of the Treaty, Protocol and Annexes, and unilateral statements issued by the United States and the Russian Federation at the time of signature (these are provided to the Senate for its information and are not subject to advice and consent).
On 13 May, the United States and the Russian Federation issued a joint statement declaring the early ratification of the Treaty a priority for both Parties.
On 18 May, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard statements from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen on the Treaty. On 25 May, a further statement was delivered to the committee by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
On 28 May, President Medvedev submitted the New START Treaty to the Duma for ratification. This submission included a request that ratification occur simultaneously with the United States in order to ensure that Russia does not commit to a Treaty that is not able to gain support in the U.S. Senate.
On 10 June, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard statements from former U.S. National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft and Stephen J. Hadley on the effects of the Treaty on U.S. national security. On 15 June, further statements were made to the committee by Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller and Secretary of Defense Representative to Post-START Negotiations Edward L. Warner.
On 16 June, officials from the Department of Defense, including Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command General Kevin P. Chilton, and Lieutenant General Patrick J. O’Reilly, made statements to the committee concerning the impact of the Treaty on the U.S. military.
On 24 June, the committee heard statements from Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTR) and U.S. Strategic Command’s Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction, Kenneth A. Myers; former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Robert G. Joseph; Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric S. Edelman; Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Society Institute, Morton H. Halperin; and Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller that examined the benefits and risks of the Treaty to the United States.
On 15 July the committee further assessed the ability of the United States to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal under the Treaty and heard statements from Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and President of the Los Alamos National Security LLC, Michael R. Anastasio; Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory George H. Miller, and President and Director of Sandia National Laboratories, Paul J. Hommert. Two additional classified hearings were conducted alongside.
On 4 August, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry announced that the committee vote on the Treaty would be delayed until later in the year instead of taking place on 9 August as announced in July to allow time for Treaty supporters to garner additional Republican support. At the time of the announcement, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana was the only Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who openly supported the Treaty. The announcement to delay the vote was accompanied by a statement by President Obama that the administration remained optimistic about the agreement being able to pass through the Senate by the end of the year.
On 3 September, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry circulated an initial draft resolution to ratify the New START. Senator Lugar submitted a substitute resolution on 16 September modifying Senator Kerry’s language and adding more than 15 amendments, in the hope of securing the votes of additional Republican senators.
On 16 September, by a vote of 14 to 4 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution of ratification of the New START based on a draft by Senator Lugar. All Democratic Senators along with Republican Senators Richard Lugar (IN), Bob Corker (TN), and Johnny Isakson (GA) voted in favor of the New START.
On 22 December, by a vote of 71 to 26 the Senate consented to the ratification of New START. The U.S. Administration brought the treaty to the vote despite the objections of Republican Senator Jon Kyl (AZ), the minority whip, who voiced opposition to considering the treaty during the “lame duck” session of the Senate. Thirteen republican senators and all democratic senators supported the treaty..
The Resolution of advice and consent to Ratification contains 14 conditions, 3 understandings and 12 declarations, which are not amendments to the Treaty, but clarify the position of the U.S. Senate on a number of issues.
The first Declaration states that it is the policy of the United States to deploy national missile defense systems as soon as technologically possible. Condition 5 of the resolution stipulates that New START does not impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses other than the requirements of paragraph 3 of Article V of the treaty. Condition 14, on the effectiveness and viability of the New START treaty and U.S. missile defenses, stipulates that continued improvement and deployment of US missile defense systems do not constitute a basis for questioning the viability of the treaty. Additionally, the first understanding states that there be no limits on deployment of U.S. missile defense systems.
Condition 12 states that no later than one year after the entry into force of the New START Treaty the United States will seek to initiate negotiations with the Russian Federation on an agreement to address the disparity between the non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapon stockpiles of the Russian Federation and the United States. Condition 9 states the U.S. commitment to ensuring the safety, reliability, and performance of its nuclear arsenal at New START Treaty levels. Declaration 12 stipulates the U.S. commitment to maintaining and modernizing its nuclear weapons production capabilities and capacities, and its right to ensuring the safety, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear triad. Declaration 6, on conventional prompt global strike, outlines the intent to further develop conventionally armed strategic-range weapon systems.
On 24 December, the Russian State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, endorsed New START in the first of three readings, required for the ratification, with 350 votes in favor and 58 votes against.
On 6 February, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Ivanov stated at the Munich Security Conference that Moscow was committed to continuing the START negotiations process but maintained concerns regarding uploading procedures and the U.S. planned missile defense system in Europe. At the same conference, U.S. Vice President Biden stated that Russia and the U.S. should cooperate “to renew the verification procedures in the START treaty.”
On 7 March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva where both committed to a “reset” of bilateral relations, which had cooled in recent years. They noted that as part of their effort to rebuild the relationship, the United States and Russia would try to reach an agreement on a new strategic arms reduction treaty by the end of 2009.
On 1 April, at the G-20 meeting in London, Presidents Obama and Medvedev emphasized the need for lower levels of strategic offensive arms, including delivery vehicles and warheads, than those determined by the SORT agreement, and including verification measures “drawn from the experience of the Parties in implementing the START Treaty.” Both leaders underlined their plan to conclude the agreement before the START I expiration date in December 2009.
The U.S. and Russian negotiating teams, headed by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller and Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Security and Disarmament Department, held their first “very productive” meeting in Rome on 24 April. The first round of negotiations followed in Moscow 18-20 May.
Both the second and the third round of negotiations took place in Geneva 1-3 and 22-24 June. On 6 July, during a bilateral meeting in Moscow, Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed a Joint Understanding to guide the negotiations, committing their countries to ranges of 1,500-1,675 for strategic warheads and 500-1,100 for strategic delivery vehicles, and a treaty including effective verification measures drawn from the experience gained under START I.
At the same 6-7 July summit, the two Presidents underlined their plans to continue the discussions regarding cooperative approaches in response to missile proliferation. They noted that U.S. and Russian experts were “intensifying dialogue on establishing the Joint Data Exchange Center, which is to become the basis for a multilateral missile-launch notification regime.”
The fourth round of negotiations took place in Geneva 22-24 July. The fifth round of negotiations took place in Geneva from 31 August – 2 September. The sixth round of negotiations took place in Geneva from 21 September – 2 October. The seventh round of negotiations took place in Geneva 19-30 October.
On 28 and 29 October, U.S. National Security Advisor General James Jones met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow. They discussed the START follow-on and agreed to make every effort to fulfill their Presidents’ pledge to conclude the new treaty by December.
The eighth round of negotiations took place in Geneva from 9 November to 19 December.
On 4 December, after a phone call, both Presidents released a Joint Statement expressing their commitment to work together in the spirit of the START treaty following its expiration the next day and to ensure that a new treaty enters into force at the earliest possible date.
START I expired on 5 December, and negotiations on a new START Treaty continued into 2010.
In October of 2008, the United States and Russia, along with representatives from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan met in the Joint Compliance and Implementation Commission (JCIC), but did not reach any agreement on extending START I.
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- Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT)
- SORT: Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, also called the Treaty of Moscow on 24 May 2002. The treaty stated that both the United States and Russia would reduce the numbers of their deployed nuclear warheads to between 1700 and 2200 within the next ten years. It established a Bilateral Implementation Commission, scheduled to meet at least twice a year, to establish procedures to verify and assist reductions. The treaty was rendered obsolete by the signing of the New START treaty in 2010. For additional information, see SORT.