Russia and the West: Moving the Reset Forward
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. It is a pleasure to be here and to be part of this distinguished panel. All of you have made and continue to make such valuable contributions to the U.S. - Russia discourse, so I look forward to an interesting discussion.
Actually, Rick and I were on a panel together almost a year ago to the day and at that point, we were still in the process of getting New START through the Senate, so I am very happy to be here talking about the next steps.
New START Treaty Implementation
The New START Treaty implementation is going very well. It’s been a bright spot in the U.S.-Russian relationship, and we see it continuing to be an area of positive cooperation.
So far, the process of Treaty implementation has been very pragmatic, business-like, and positive – a continuation of the working relationship we established during the negotiations in Geneva.
Negotiators worked very hard to find innovative new mechanisms to aid in the verification of this Treaty and the results of that work are already evident. The regime is simpler to implement than the original START Treaty and it lessens disruptions to the day-to-day operations of both sides’ strategic forces, while allowing for effective verification of the Treaty.
On-site inspections are underway and, as of today, the U.S. has conducted nine inspections in Russia and Russia has conducted eight inspections in the U.S.
We have also just exchanged our 1,300th notification between the United States and the Russian Federation under the New START Treaty. These notifications help to track movements and changes in the status of systems.
The New START Treaty data exchanges are providing us with a very detailed picture of Russian strategic forces and the inspections will give us crucial opportunities to confirm the validity of that data. Of course, the Treaty’s verification regime is backed up by our own National Technical Means: our satellites and other monitoring platforms.
Our experience so far is demonstrating that the New START Treaty’s verification regime works, and is setting an important precedent for future agreements.
Now let’s look to the next steps.
Next Steps in U.S.-Russian Reductions
The United States has made it clear that we are committed to continuing a step-by-step process to reduce the overall number of nuclear weapons, including the pursuit of a future agreement with Russia for broad reductions in all categories of nuclear weapons – strategic, non-strategic, deployed and non-deployed. The President communicated this continued commitment in Prague when he signed the New START Treaty in April 2010.
While we still have much homework to do, we can begin talking with Russia about some big concepts, important ideas and the definitions that go with them. We are not ready for the negotiating table, but we are ready for conversation.
In addition to starting the conceptual conversation, we would also like to increase transparency on a reciprocal basis with Russia. We are in the process of thinking through the types of transparency measures that might be helpful and how they could be implemented.
We will consult with our NATO Allies on the development of transparency initiatives, as well as the next steps more broadly. Addressing non-strategic nuclear weapons will require close coordination, as NATO reviews its overall deterrence and defense posture, including its nuclear posture.
We have a lot of very complicated issues to consider, so the more creative and innovative ideas we have to work with, the better off we will be.
With regard to missile defense, cooperation with Russia is a Presidential priority, as it has been for several previous U.S. Administrations. We have been clear that the United States cannot accept limitations or restrictions on the development or deployment of U.S. missile defenses. We do believe, however, that missile defense cooperation with Russia will strengthen our bilateral and NATO-Russia relationships and could enhance NATO’s missile defense system.
Persistent misperceptions about the capabilities of the proposed NATO system—specifically that the system would target Russian ICBMs or undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent—are unfounded. We have worked at the highest levels of the United States Government to be transparent about our missile defense plans and capabilities and to explain that our planned missile defense programs do not threaten Russia or its security.
Successful missile defense cooperation would provide concrete benefits to Russia, our NATO Allies, and the United States – and will strengthen, not weaken – strategic stability over the long term.
Conventional Forces in Europe
Even as we think about further cooperation on nuclear reductions and missile defense cooperation, we need to continue efforts to revitalize conventional arms control in Europe. Our conventional agreements play a vital role in contributing to military and political stability across the European continent.
The United States values the OSCE Vienna Document for its contribution to European security, but this set of confidence- and security-building measures is not a substitute for the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (or CFE) Treaty with its system of verifiable equipment limits, information exchange, and verification. These regimes are complementary, not interchangeable. As we saw several years ago when we attempted to “harmonize” the regimes, there is no simple way to adjust the provisions of the Vienna Document to incorporate all the elements of the CFE Treaty.
That is why, beginning in April 2010, the United States led renewed and intensified efforts among the 30 CFE States Parties, plus the 6 non-CFE NATO Allies, to try to break the impasse that has prevented full implementation of the Treaty.
Considerable progress was made this past year in narrowing differences, but more work remains to close gaps on the most difficult issues if we are to overcome the current impasse. The United States and our Allies stand ready to return to the negotiating table whenever we have a signal that real progress can be made on the remaining issues.
With that, I’ll stop, but I look forward to the remarks of the panelists and your questions. Thank you.