AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Contents Introduction Central Limits and Key Provisions Central Limits Limits on Delivery Vehicles Limits on Warheads Conversion and Elimination ICBM Launchers Mobile ICBM launchers SLBM Launchers Heavy Bombers Mobile ICBMs Mobile ICBMs in START Mobile ICBMs in New START Monitoring and Verification Type One Inspections Type Two Inspections Ballistic Missile Defense Conventional Long-Range Strike U.S. and Russian Forces Under New START U.S. Forces Russian Forces Ratification U.S. Ratification Process Russian Ratification Process Entry into Force and Implementation Issues for Congress New START and Strategic Stability Monitoring and Verification in New START New START and Ballistic Missile Defenses Modernization Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons New START and the U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Agenda Arms Control after New START
February 14, 2012
The United States and Russia signed the New START Treaty on April 8, 2010. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee both held hearings on the treaty. The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on December 22, 2010, by a vote of 71-26. Both houses of the Russian parliament--the Duma and Federation Council--approved the treaty in late January 2011, and it entered into force on February 5, 2011, after Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov exchanged the instruments of ratification.
New START provides the parties with seven years to reduce their forces, and will remain in force for a total of 10 years. It limits each side to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed ICBM and SLBM launchers and deployed and nondeployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. Within that total, each side can retain no more than 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. The treaty also limits each side to no more than 1,550 deployed warheads; those are the actual number of warheads on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, and one warhead for each deployed heavy bomber.
New START contains detailed definitions and counting rules that will help the parties calculate the number of warheads that count under the treaty limits. Moreover, the delivery vehicles and their warheads will count under the treaty limits until they are converted or eliminated according to the provisions described in the treaty's Protocol. These provisions are far less demanding than those in the original START Treaty and will provide the United States and Russia with far more flexibility in determining how to reduce their forces to meet the treaty limits.
The monitoring and verification regime in the New START Treaty is less costly and complex than the regime in START. Like START, though, it contains detailed definitions of items limited by the treaty; provisions governing the use of national technical means (NTM) to gather data on each side's forces and activities; an extensive database that identifies the numbers, types, and locations of items limited by the treaty; provisions requiring notifications about items limited by the treaty; and inspections allowing the parties to confirm information shared during data exchanges.
New START does not limit current or planned U.S. missile defense programs. It does ban the conversion of ICBM and SLBM launchers to launchers for missile defense interceptors, but the United States never intended to pursue such conversions when deploying missile defense interceptors. Under New START, the United States can deploy conventional warheads on its ballistic missiles, but these will count under the treaty limit on nuclear warheads. The United States may deploy a small number of these systems during the time that New START is in force.
The Obama Administration and outside analysts argue that New START will strengthen strategic stability and enhance U.S. national security. They contend that New START will contribute to U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals by convincing other nations that the United States is serious about its obligations under the NPT. This might convince more nations to cooperate with the United States in pressuring nations who are seeking their own nuclear weapons.
Critics, however, question whether the treaty serves U.S. national security interests, as Russia was likely to reduce its forces with or without an arms control agreement and because the United States and Russia no longer need arms control treaties to manage their relationship. Some also consider the U.S.-Russian arms control process to be a distraction from the more important issues on the nonproliferation agenda.
The United States and Russia signed a new strategic arms reduction treaty--known as New START--on April 8, 2010. (1) This treaty is designed to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), which expired, after 15 years of implementation, on December 5, 2009. (2) The U.S. Senate provided its advice and consent to ratification of New START on December 22, 2010, by a vote of 71-26. The Russian parliament, with both the Duma and Federation Council voting, did so on January 25 and January 26, 2011. The treaty entered into force on February 5, 2011, after Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov exchanged the instruments of ratification. New START supersedes the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (known as the Moscow Treaty), which has now lapsed. (3) New START provides the parties with seven years to reduce their forces, and it will remain in force for a total of 10 years.
Presidents Obama and Medvedev outlined their goals for the negotiations on a new START Treaty in early April 2009. In a joint statement issued after they met in London, they indicated that the subject of the new agreement "will be the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms." (4) This statement indicated that the new treaty would not address missile defenses, nonstrategic nuclear weapons, or nondeployed stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The Presidents also agreed that they would seek to reduce their forces to levels below those in the 2002 Moscow Treaty, and that the new agreement would "mutually enhance the security of the Parties and predictability and stability in strategic offensive forces, and will include effective verification measures drawn from the experience of the Parties in implementing the START Treaty."
The Presidents further refined their goals for New START, and gave the first indications of the range they were considering for the limits in the treaty, in a Joint Understanding signed at their summit meeting in Moscow in July 2009. They agreed that the new treaty would restrict each party to between 500 and 1,100 strategic delivery vehicles and between 1,500 and 1,675 associated warheads. They also agreed that the new treaty would contain "provisions on definitions, data exchanges, notifications, eliminations, inspections and verification procedures, as well as confidence building and transparency measures, as adapted, simplified, and made less costly, as appropriate, in comparison to the START Treaty." (5)
The New START Treaty follows many of the same conventions as the 1991 START Treaty. It contains detailed definitions and counting rules that the parties will use to identify the forces limited by the treaty. It also mandates that the parties maintain an extensive database that will describe the locations, numbers, and technical characteristics of weapons limited by the treaty. It allows the parties to use several types of exhibitions and on-site inspections to confirm information in the database and to monitor forces and activities limited by the treaty.
But the new treaty is not simply an extension of START. The United States and Soviet Union negotiated the original START Treaty during the 1980s, during the latter years of the Cold War, when the two nations were still adversaries and each was still wary of the capabilities and intentions of the other. Many of the provisions in the original treaty reflect the uncertainty and suspicion that were evident at that time. The New START Treaty is a product of a different era and a different relationship between the United States and Russia. (6) In some ways, its goals remain the same--the parties have still sought provisions that would allow for predictability and transparency in their current forces and future intentions. But, the United States and Russia have streamlined and simplified the central limits and the monitoring and verification provisions. The new treaty does not contain layers of limits and sublimits; each side can determine its own mix of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers. Moreover, in the current environment, the parties were far less concerned with choking off avenues for potential evasion schemes than they were with fostering continued cooperation and openness between the two sides.
Central Limits and Key Provisions
Limits on Delivery Vehicles
The New START Treaty contains three central limits on U.S. and Russian strategic offensive nuclear forces; these are displayed in Table 1, below. First, it limits each side to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed ICBM and SLBM launchers and deployed and nondeployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. Second, within that total, it limits each side to no more than 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. Third, the treaty limits each side to no more than 1,550 deployed warheads. Deployed warheads include the actual number of warheads carried by deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, and one warhead for each deployed heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments. Table 1 compares these limits to those in the 1991 START Treaty and the 2002 Moscow Treaty.
According to New START's Protocol (7) a deployed ICBM launcher is "an ICBM launcher that contains an ICBM and is not an ICBM test launcher, an ICBM training launcher, or an ICBM launcher located at a space launch facility." A deployed SLBM launcher is a launcher installed on an operational submarine that contains an SLBM and is not intended for testing or training. A deployed mobile launcher of ICBMs is one that contains an ICBM and is not a mobile test launcher or a mobile launcher of ICBMs located at a space launch facility. These deployed launchers can be based only at ICBM bases. A deployed ICBM or SLBM is one that is contained in a deployed launcher. Nondeployed launchers are, therefore, those that are used for testing or training, those that are located at space launch facilities, or those that are located at deployment areas or on submarines but do not contain a deployed ICBM or SLBM.
The New START Treaty does not limit the number of nondeployed ICBMs or nondeployed SLBMs. It does, however, state that these missiles must be located at facilities that are known to be within the infrastructure that supports and maintains ICBMs and SLBMs. These include "submarine bases, ICBM or SLBM loading facilities, maintenance facilities, repair facilities for ICBMs or SLBMs, storage facilities for ICBMs or SLBMs, conversion or elimination facilities for ICBMs or SLBMs, test ranges, space launch facilities, and production facilities." Nondeployed ICBMs and SLBMs may also be in transit between these facilities, although Article IV of the treaty indicates that this time in transit should be "no more than 30 days."
The parties will share information on the locations of these missiles in the database they maintain under the treaty and notify each other when they move these systems. These provisions are designed to allow each side to keep track of the numbers and locations of nondeployed missiles and to deter efforts to stockpile hidden, uncounted missiles. A party would be in violation of the treaty if one of its nondeployed missiles were spotted at a facility not included on the list, or if one were found at a location different from the one listed for that missile in the database. (8)
According to the Protocol to New START, a deployed heavy bomber is one that is equipped for nuclear armaments but is not a "test heavy bomber or a heavy bomber located at a repair facility or at a production facility." Moreover, a heavy bomber is equipped for nuclear armaments if it is "equipped for long-range nuclear ALCMs, nuclear air-to-surface missiles, or nuclear bombs." All deployed heavy bombers must be located at air bases, which are defined as facilities "at which deployed heavy bombers are based and their operation is supported." If an air base cannot support the operations of heavy bombers, then the treaty does not consider it to be available for the basing of heavy bombers, even though they may land at such bases under some circumstances. Test heavy bombers can be based only at heavy bomber flight test centers and non-deployed heavy bombers other than test heavy bombers can be located only at repair facilities or production facilities for heavy bombers. Each party may have no more than 10 test heavy bombers.
Heavy bombers that are not equipped for long range nuclear ALCMs, nuclear air-to-surface missiles, or nuclear bombs will not count under the treaty limits. However, the treaty does specify that, "within the same type, a heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments shall be distinguishable from a heavy bomber equipped for non-nuclear armaments." Moreover, if a party does convert some bombers within a given type so that they are no longer equipped to carry nuclear weapons, it cannot base the nuclear and non-nuclear bombers at the same air base, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
Hence, the United States could reduce the number of bombers that count under the treaty limits by altering some of its B-52 bombers so that they no longer carry nuclear weapons and by basing them at a separate base from those that still carry nuclear weapons. In addition, if the United States converted all of the bombers of a given type, so that none of them could carry nuclear armaments, then none of the bombers of that type would count under the New START treaty. This provision would allow the United States to remove its B-1 bombers from treaty accountability. They no longer carry nuclear weapons, but they still counted under the old START Treaty and have never been altered so that they could not carry nuclear weapons. The conversion rules that would affect the B-1 bombers are described below.
Limits on Warheads
Table 1 summarizes the warheads limits in START, the Moscow Treaty, and the New START Treaty. Two factors stand out in this comparison. First, the original START Treaty contained several sublimits on warheads attributed to different types of strategic weapons, in part because the United States wanted the treaty to impose specific limits on elements of the Soviet force that were deemed to be "destabilizing." Therefore, START sought to limit the Soviet force of heavy ICBMs by cutting in half the number of warheads deployed on these missiles, and to limit future Soviet deployments of mobile ICBMs. The Moscow Treaty and New START, in contrast, contain only a single limit on the aggregate number of deployed warheads. They provide each nation with the freedom to mix their forces as they see fit. This change reflects, in part, a lesser concern with Cold War models of strategic and crisis stability. It also derives from the U.S. desire to maintain flexibility in determining the structure of its own nuclear forces.
Table 1 also highlights how the planned numbers of warheads in the U.S. and Russian strategic forces have declined in the years since the end of the Cold War. Before START entered into force in 1991, each side had more than 10,000 warheads on its strategic offensive delivery vehicles. If the parties implement the New START Treaty, that number will have declined by more than 80%. However, although all three treaties limit warheads, each uses different definitions and counting rules to determine how many warheads each side has deployed on its strategic forces.
Under START, the United States and Russia did not actually count deployed warheads. Instead, each party counted the launchers--ICBM silos, SLBM launch tubes, and heavy bombers--deployed by the other side. Under the terms of the treaty, they then assumed that each operational launcher contained an operational missile, and each operational missile carried an "attributed" number of warheads. The number of warheads attributed to each missile or bomber was the same for all missiles and bombers of that type. It did not recognize different loadings on individual delivery vehicles. This number was listed in an agreed database that the parties maintained during the life of the treaty. The parties then multiplied these warhead numbers by the number of deployed ballistic missiles and heavy bombers to determine the number of warheads that counted under the treaty's limits.
In most cases, the number of warheads attributed to each type of ICBM and SLBM was equal to the maximum number that missile had been tested with. START did, however, permit the parties to reduce the number of warheads attributed to some of their ballistic missiles through a process known as "downloading." When downloading missiles, a nation could remove a specified number of reentry vehicles from all the ICBMs at an ICBM base or from all the SLBMs in submarines at bases adjacent to a specified ocean. (9) They could then reduce the number of warheads attributed to those missiles in the database, and therefore, the number that counted under the treaty limits.
Unlike ballistic missiles, bombers counted as far fewer than the number of warheads they could carry. Bombers that were not equipped to carry long-range nuclear-armed cruise missiles counted as one warhead, even though they could carry 16 or more bombs and short-range missiles. U.S. bombers that were equipped to carry long-range nuclear-armed cruise missiles counted as 10 warheads, even though they could carry up to 20 cruise missiles. Soviet bombers that were equipped to carry long-range nuclear-armed cruise missiles counted as 8 warheads, even though they could carry up to 16 cruise missiles. These numbers were then multiplied by the numbers of deployed heavy bombers in each category to determine the number of warheads that would count under the treaty limits.
In contrast with START, the Moscow Treaty did not contain any definitions or counting rules to calculate the number of warheads that counted under the treaty limit. Its text indicated that it limited deployed strategic warheads, but the United States and Russia could each determine its own definition of this term. The United States counted "operationally deployed" strategic nuclear warheads and included both warheads on deployed ballistic missiles and bomber weapons stored near deployed bombers at their bases. Russia, in contrast, did not count any bomber weapons under its total, as these weapons …