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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks to AAAS-Japanese Symposium

Rose Gottemoeller
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Washington, DC
November 8, 2010



Thank you for inviting me to join you this morning.

The agenda for this symposium looks excellent and I wish I could stay all day but unfortunately I will need to return to the State Department following my remarks.

I will begin my remarks by discussing the New START Treaty. As you are probably aware, the administration is working hard to ratify the Treaty before the end of the year so this issue is particularly timely.

I will also share with you some recent organizational changes at the State Department that better position us to implement the President’s arms control and nonproliferation agenda and how we are working on the technology front to address verification challenges of the future.

New START Treaty

In April 2009, President Obama spoke in Prague about his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and recognized the need to create the conditions to bring about such a world. The U.S. administration has been working diligently on a number of concrete steps on the path toward a world without nuclear weapons. One step, the step that I was charged with, was to negotiate a new arms treaty with Russia – the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START. With my excellent U.S. team, I spent most of 2009 and the first part of this year with my Russian counterpart in Geneva, Switzerland doing just that.

This Treaty is very important because the United States and Russia control more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. When the New START Treaty is fully implemented, it will result in the lowest number of deployed nuclear warheads since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age. Further, the limits on deployed and non-deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, SLBMs, and heavy bombers that can carry nuclear weapons will be well below previous limits.

Verification Regime

For the United States, New START is designed to allow for flexible modernization and operation of our strategic forces, as well as predictability regarding the deployment of Russian strategic forces. This predictability is based on insights gained through a strong and effective verification regime.

New START’s verification measures are designed to ensure that each party is able to verify the other’s compliance with the central limits of 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 nuclear warheads 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 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, on-site inspections, exhibitions, restrictions on where specified items may be located, and additional transparency measures.

The regime includes some significant innovations such as adding unique identifiers to all ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers so these weapons can be tracked throughout their lifecycles.

New START provides for the resumption of vital on-site inspections of Russian strategic nuclear facilities. With the December 2009 expiration of START, the United States is unable, for the first time in more than 20 years, to conduct nuclear arms inspections inside Russia.

There is no substitute for on-site inspections. They provide not only the “boots on the ground” presence to confirm Russian data declarations provided to us, but through these inspections, we gain insights into Russian strategic forces.

It has been nearly a year since we had our experts inside Russia, inspecting Russian strategic forces.

Simply put, the United States is more secure and safer when our country is able to gain a better understanding of the Russian strategic arsenal.

Ratification Update

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification of the New START Treaty by a vote of 14-4 in September.

There is broad bipartisan support for this Treaty, as has traditionally been the case for arms control treaties. The INF Treaty, negotiated by President Reagan, was approved in 1988, by a vote of 93-5. The START Treaty, negotiated by President George H.W. Bush, was approved in 1991 by 93 votes to 6. The Moscow Treaty, negotiated by President George W. Bush, was approved by a 95 to 0 vote. We hope the New START Treaty will receive similar bipartisan support.

Leaders from across the political spectrum, including Secretaries of State and Defense and Republican and Democratic administration, have endorsed this Treaty. They recognize that it is in our national security interest.

As I mentioned, it has been almost a year since START’s verification regime expired. The U.S. intelligence community and military leadership say that we need New START so we can get boots back on the ground in Russia to monitor and inspect their strategic nuclear forces.

As the President said November 4th: “This is not a traditionally Democratic or Republican issue but rather an issue of American national security. And I am hopeful that we can get that done before we leave and send a strong signal to Russia that we are serious about reducing nuclear arsenals, but also sending a signal to the world that we’re serious about nonproliferation. We’ve made great progress when it comes to sending a message to Iran that they are isolated internationally, in part because people have seen that we are serious about taking our responsibilities when it comes to nonproliferation, and that has to continue.”

The time is now to ratify New START.

Conclusion:  New START

This Treaty is not just about Washington and Moscow. It is about the entire world community. We understand the world looks to us for leadership in securing nuclear material globally and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

The new treaty sets the stage for engaging other nuclear powers in fulfilling the goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and expanding opportunities for enhancing strategic stability.

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 will also seek to include non-strategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons in future reductions. Such steps would truly take arms control into a new era.

Technology and Verification

I would like to mention briefly the organizational changes at the State Department and how we are using and exploring new technologies for verification purposes.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation (VCI) recently underwent a realignment to give it more capabilities to answer the challenges of verifying compliance with today’s arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements. The renamed Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance (AVC) looks to identify and build the necessary blocks needed to build confidence in other States Parties’ adherence to, and compliance with, their international obligations.

AVC also has an eye on future arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament issues that require international agreement and action in order to answer these upcoming challenges.

As part of that realignment, the new Office of Verification and Transparency Technologies (VTT) was established. This is a clear recognition of the critical value technology has in addressing our arms control needs. But it also recognizes the critical value high technology has as a tool of international diplomacy.

Recognizing the importance of Science &Technology, VTT is working on a number of activities to boost technology development. Three of these are:

  • Verification Technology Requirements Document. The Requirements Document, reviewed and updated annually, highlights specific technical areas needed to assist AVC and policymakers in evaluating compliance activities, developing transparency initiatives, or enabling verification of certain treaties. Also, this document may help S&T shops prioritize or focus projects that directly address current arms control policy concerns.
  • Key Assets Verification Fund. The V Fund Program provides modest funds to S&T projects that have applicability towards verification and transparency technologies. The V Fund requests, annually, project proposals ranging from the basic science level to assistance for the operation of a fully developed capability. The V Fund also looks to encourage teaming opportunities within the U.S. government and to promote S&T projects or programs that have a whole-of-government approach.
  • Outreach and Transparency. AVC’s outreach and transparency activities aim to foster more S&T interaction and collaboration in and outside of the U.S. government. Domestically, AVC looks to strengthen the ties between science and policy to drive better solutions and policy options. Internationally, AVC looks to develop common understanding among countries on the issues including best practices, common lexicons, and validated standards.

With this in mind, I would like to mention one program in particular and that is the Foster Fellows Program. This program affords tenured and tenure-track academic faculty the unique opportunity to bring their research and expertise to the Department of State to assist in policy and programmatic development in arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament activities. Fellows are assigned to one of the three bureaus under the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security—the AVC Bureau, the International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) Bureau, or the Political-Military Affairs (PM) Bureau. The Department brings on up to three Foster Fellows each academic year for placement in one of these bureaus. We are enthusiastic about this program and hope you will help us spread word about it to interested candidates.

Thank you again for asking me to participate in your symposium. I’m sorry I can’t stay longer; it looks like you have a very interesting day ahead. Before I go, I would be happy to respond to a few questions.

Thank you.

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