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Diplomacy in Action

New START Verification

Rose Gottemoeller
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
Remarks at the United States Institute of Peace
Washington, DC
July 26, 2010


As prepared


Thank you for inviting me to speak at your event this afternoon. I am pleased to have this chance to discuss the New START Treaty and its verification provisions.

Since May 13th, when the White House transmitted the New START Treaty to the United States Senate for its advice and consent to ratification, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the leadership of Senator John Kerry and Senator Richard Lugar, have held an intensive series of hearings ensuring a timely and thorough review of the Treaty. Additional hearings have been held by other Senate committees and in fact, later this week, Dr. Ted Warner of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who was one of my deputies on the delegation that negotiated the New START Treaty, and I will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The hearings got off to a very strong start when Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, appeared together before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and provided powerful testimony in support of the Treaty noting its importance to U.S. national security. They were later joined by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Numerous administration officials, former government and military leaders, and representatives of non-governmental organizations have testified about the Treaty. In addition to the testimony provided during hearings, Senators have been briefed extensively and the Administration continues to respond to any and all questions posed by Senators about the Treaty.

New START Negotiations

Before discussing the specifics of the New START verification regime, I would like to comment on the negotiation of the Treaty.

The negotiation benefitted from our long experience with implementing the INF Treaty, the START Treaty, and the Moscow Treaty. New START has its conceptual roots in both the START and Moscow Treaties and could be considered a hybrid of the two agreements.

Our many years of joint experience in implementing those Treaties served as guiding principles as we negotiated this new Treaty. Much was learned, in particular, over the 15 years in which the START Treaty verification regime was implemented. During this negotiation, we sought to take advantage of that knowledge in formulating the verification regime for the new Treaty – seeking to maintain elements which proved useful, include new measures where necessary, and eliminate or improve those measures that proved less than satisfactory or were determined not essential for verifying the obligations of the New START Treaty.

Members of both delegations brought valuable experience, with some having worked as inspectors under START. Multiple times they had visited each other’s ICBM bases, SLBM bases, heavy bomber bases, and storage facilities.

The result is a strong verification regime that is tailored to the obligations of the new Treaty.

Verification Measures

New START’s verification measures are designed to ensure that each Party is able to verify the other’s compliance with the requirements in the Treaty, including:

  • No more than 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers;
  • No more than 1,550 warheads emplaced on deployed ICBMs and deployed SLBMs and counted for deployed heavy bombers; and
  • No more than 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, deployed and non-deployed SLBM launchers, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers.

The obligations and prohibitions of the New START Treaty are different from those in START, reflecting both the improved U.S.-Russia relationship and the lessons learned from 15 years of implementing the START Treaty. The differences also reflect the spirit of the Moscow Treaty, by permitting each Party the flexibility to determine for itself the configuration of its strategic forces at the reduced levels of delivery vehicles and warheads established in this Treaty.

Like START, however, the New START Treaty promotes strategic stability by ensuring transparency and predictability regarding U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces and confidence that the Russian Federation does not exceed the Treaty’s limits throughout its ten-year term.

New START’s verification regime was designed to be effective while at the same time reducing the implementation costs and the disruption to operations at facilities subject to the Treaty compared to those experienced under the original START Treaty.

The verification regime is based on an extensive set of data exchanges and timely notifications regarding all strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, two types of on-site inspections, exhibitions, restrictions on where specified items may be located, and additional transparency measures.

The regime includes some significant innovations over the START regime, such as the provision of unique identifiers for all ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers. In addition, New START includes reentry vehicle onsite inspections that are designed to monitor the exact number of reentry vehicles emplaced on individual missiles selected for inspection. That is a first.

Under the expired START Treaty, provisions allowed for confirmation that a certain type of missile was not carrying more than the maximum number of warheads attributed to that type of missile. During inspections, we will have the opportunity to confirm that the actual number of warheads emplaced on a designated missile matches the declared figure at the pre-inspection briefing. Verification of the actual number of re-entry vehicles deployed on an ICBM or SLBM was not required by the START Treaty.

The new Treaty provides for an annual quota of 18 on-site inspections a year. While this is less than the number permitted under START (28), the number of Russian facilities that are eligible for inspection will be 35, which is half the 70 total former Soviet facilities that were subject to inspection under START. And, of course, the number of inspections without the New START Treaty is and will be zero.

In addition, what we refer to as Type One inspections under New START, combine elements of two different types of inspections conducted under START. This means that a New START Treaty inspection will provide us with the opportunity to acquire more information than we were able to do under a single START Treaty inspection.


I would like to briefly note the role of telemetry, and compare the START and New START approaches. The New START Treaty’s telemetry provisions promote transparency and predictability. Unlike START, telemetric information is not needed to verify a Party’s compliance with the New START Treaty. For example, the New START Treaty has different criteria for determining what constitutes a new type of missile for purposes of the Treaty so there is no requirement to determine certain technical characteristics of new missiles such as their launch weight or throw-weight in order to distinguish them from existing types of missiles. Therefore, the telemetry provisions in New START are different than those in START.

The Parties agreed to allow for the exchange of telemetric information on an agreed equal number (up to five annually) of launches of ICBMs and SLBMs, with the testing Party determining the launches for which it will exchange information. The specifics of the annual telemetry exchanges will be worked out in the Treaty’s implementation body, the Bilateral Consultative Commission.

We believe that exchanging telemetric information will prove valuable to both sides. Although such information is not required to verify the specific provisions of the new Treaty, it is helpful in providing additional information about both currently deployed missiles and new missiles under development in Russia.


In conclusion, the New START Treaty is a continuation of the international arms control and nonproliferation framework that the United States has worked hard to foster and strengthen for the last 50 years. It will provide ongoing transparency and predictability regarding the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, while preserving our ability to maintain the strong nuclear deterrent that remains an essential element of U.S. national security and the security of our partners and allies.

Its comprehensive verification regime will provide predictability, but it recognizes that we are no longer in a Cold War relationship. Thus, it allows each Party to determine for itself the composition and structure of its strategic offensive arms and how reductions will be made.

With the New START Treaty we are setting the stage for further arms reductions. As we say in the Preamble to the Treaty, we see it as providing new impetus to the step-by-step process of reducing and limiting nuclear arms, with a view to expanding this process in the future to a multilateral approach. We also will seek to include non-strategic and non-deployed weapons in future reductions. For those who are concerned about addressing Russia’s stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons, ratification of the New START Treaty will be a key step to engaging Russia on those types of weapons. Absent ratification, it is difficult to imagine Russia showing any willingness to address tactical nuclear weapons.

As Secretary Clinton has testified, the United States is better off with this Treaty than without it. It is the right agreement for today and for the future.

The New START Treaty contains the mechanisms that will enable us to monitor and inspect Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. Our knowledge of Russian nuclear forces would substantially erode over time without ratification of the Treaty, increasing the risks of misunderstandings, mistrust, and worst-case analysis and policymaking.

The New START Treaty is in the best national security interests of the United States and I believe there is every reason for the Senate to provide its advice and consent to ratification.

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