The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which was signed April 8 and is before the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification, provides for a resumption of vital on-site inspections of Russian strategic nuclear facilities. There is no substitute for on-site inspections. They provide not only the “boots on the ground” presence to confirm Russian data declarations, thus helping to verify compliance with treaty obligations, but also insights into Russian strategic forces located at those facilities.
The 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 strategic arsenals, while preserving the United States’ ability to maintain the strong, credible nuclear deterrent that is a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and friends. U.S. knowledge of Russian nuclear forces will substantially erode over time if the treaty is not ratified and brought into force, increasing the risk of misunderstandings, mistrust, and worst-case analysis and policymaking.
As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in May, the United States is better off with New START than without it. It is the right agreement for today and for the future. New START, quite simply, is in the best national security interests of the United States and of U.S. allies and partners around the world.
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