Key Point: On February 5, 2011, the New START Treaty entered into force. From that day and every day that has followed, the Treaty has been contributing to U.S. national security.
Type One and Type Two Inspections
The 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. Each side is allowed to conduct ten Type One inspections and eight Type Two inspections annually.
The U.S and Russia have been implementing the New START Treaty for over one year and the process so far has been positive and pragmatic. The good working relationship we established during the negotiations in Geneva continues today. We are in constant communication with the Russians, which helps to make the process precise and efficient.
The United States and Russia kept pace with each other on inspections in 2011, each conducting 18 inspections– the maximum number allowed under the Treaty each year. In 2012, the United States and Russia have each conducted 5 inspections.
The New START Treaty data exchanges are providing a very detailed picture of U.S. and Russian strategic forces, and the inspections enable each side to confirm the validity of that data. The Treaty’s verification regime is backed up by each side’s own national technical means (i.e., satellites and other monitoring platforms).
The United States and Russian Federation have exchanged over 2,300 New START notifications through the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers since the Treaty’s entry into force. The sides exchange information on numbers, locations, and technical characteristics of weapons systems and facilities that are subject to the Treaty. These notifications help to track movement and changes in the status of systems. For example, a notification is sent every time a heavy bomber is moved out of its home country for more than 24 hours.
In addition, every six months we exchange a comprehensive database. This gives us a full accounting of exactly where weapons systems are located, whether they are out of their deployment or operational bases and gone to maintenance, or have been retired. This semi-annual exchange, along with the mandatory treaty notifications that provide continuous updates, create a “living document” that gives us a comprehensive look into each other’s strategic nuclear forces.
The Parties have conducted four Treaty-required exhibitions. The Russian Federation exhibited the RS-24 mobile ICBM and its associated launcher in March 2011. That was the first time we had a chance to see the RS-24, the new Russian mobile missile with multiple warheads.
Following the U.S. exhibition demonstrating that B-1B heavy bombers are no longer capable of employing nuclear armaments, these aircraft no longer count toward the central Treaty limits regarding deployed heavy bombers.
During the same time period, the United States exhibited the B-2A heavy bomber and an SSGN Submarine equipped with cruise missiles; and conducted a one-time exhibition to demonstrate that B-1B heavy bombers are no longer capable of employing nuclear armaments.
Both Parties have conducted demonstrations of the equipment to be used during telemetry exchanges. Hammering out these technical details will help expedite the exchange of telemetric information. Under the Treaty, in 2012 the Parties may exchange telemetric information on ICBM and SLBM launches that occurred in 2011.
The Treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) held its first session in April 2011, and has since met two additional times. Under the Treaty, this implementing body must meet at least two times per year.
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. This Treaty represents a significant step forward in building a more stable, cooperative relationship with Russia.