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Diplomacy in Action

New START


“The New START Treaty responsibly reduces the number of nuclear weapons and launchers that the United States and Russia deploy, while fully maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent.” – President Barack Obama


Date: 04/08/2010 Description: U.S. President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, right, after signing the newly completed New START treaty reducing long-range nuclear weapons at the Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 8, 2010. © AP ImageTreaty Structure: The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms also known as the New START Treaty.

Strategic Offensive Reductions: The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, also known as the New START Treaty, entered into force on February 5, 2011.  Under the Treaty, the United States and Russia must meet the Treaty’s central limits on strategic arms by February 5, 2018; seven years from the date the Treaty entered into force.  Each Party has the flexibility to determine for itself the structure of its strategic forces within the aggregate limits of the Treaty.  These limits are based on the rigorous analysis conducted by Department of Defense planners in support of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.

Aggregate limits:

  • 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;
     
  • 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments (each such heavy bomber is counted as one warhead toward this limit);
     
  • 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

Verification and Transparency: The Treaty has a verification regime that combines appropriate elements of the 1991 START Treaty with new elements tailored to the limitations and structure of this Treaty.  Verification measures under the Treaty include 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 confidence and transparency, the Treaty also provides for an annual exchange of telemetry on an agreed number of ICBM and SLBM launches.

Treaty Duration: The Treaty’s duration is ten years, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement.  The Parties may agree to extend the Treaty for a period of no more than five years.  The Treaty includes a withdrawal clause that is standard in arms control agreements.  The 2002 Moscow Treaty terminated when the New START Treaty entered into force.

No Constraints on Missile Defense and Conventional Strike: The Treaty does not constrain testing, development, or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs or long-range conventional strike capabilities.

What is the difference between a “Type One” and a “Type Two” inspection?Date: 02/02/2011 Description: President Barack Obama signs the instrument of ratification of the New START Treaty in the Oval Office. © White House Image

The New START Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year.  There are two basic types of inspections.  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.  Permitted inspection activities include confirming the number of reentry vehicles on deployed ICBMs and deployed SLBMs, confirming numbers related to non-deployed launcher limits, counting nuclear weapons onboard or attached to deployed heavy bombers, confirming weapon system conversions or eliminations, and confirming facility eliminations.  Each side is allowed to conduct ten Type One inspections and eight Type Two inspections annually.

For more information, visit www.state.gov/newstart


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