Gates, Clinton Press for New START Ratification

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2010 — Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton and Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates have reit­er­at­ed their call to the Sen­ate to rat­i­fy the New Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty that will give U.S. inspec­tors access to Russ­ian strate­gic sites and reduce both coun­tries’ nuclear weapons stock­piles.

“Time is run­ning out for this Con­gress,” the sec­re­taries warned in a joint opin­ion piece in yesterday’s Wash­ing­ton Post news­pa­per. “Until a new treaty comes into force, our inspec­tors will not have access to Russ­ian mis­sile silos and the world’s two largest nuclear arse­nals will lack the sta­bil­i­ty that comes with a rig­or­ous inspec­tion regime.”

The START treaty expired in Decem­ber, and Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Dmit­ry Medvedev signed the New START in April, but it requires U.S. con­gres­sion­al sup­port to take effect.

The treaty has broad bipar­ti­san sup­port from six for­mer sec­re­taries of state, five for­mer sec­re­taries of defense and three for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­ers, along with sev­en for­mer com­man­ders of U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand and the entire cur­rent U.S. mil­i­tary lead­er­ship, Clin­ton and Gates not­ed.

“They under­stand that nuclear dan­gers did not dis­ap­pear with the Sovi­et Union and that we have a respon­si­bil­i­ty — to Amer­i­cans and our allies — to keep our eyes on the world’s oth­er major strate­gic nuclear arse­nal,” they wrote.

The sec­re­taries empha­sized the nation­al secu­ri­ty objec­tives the new treaty will advance: “reduc­ing the num­ber of deployed nuclear weapons while retain­ing a safe and effec­tive deter­rent; pro­vid­ing direct insight into Russia’s nuclear arse­nal; and cre­at­ing a more sta­ble, pre­dictable and coop­er­a­tive rela­tion­ship between the world’s two lead­ing nuclear pow­ers.”

It also will put into place an effec­tive ver­i­fi­ca­tion regime to track each side’s progress in reduc­ing its arse­nal to 1,550 strate­gic war­heads and set the stage for future arms reduc­tions, they wrote.

Mean­while, they empha­sized that the treaty “will not restrict our abil­i­ty to mod­ern­ize our nuclear forces.”

The treaty also will enable the Unit­ed States to main­tain a robust nuclear deter­rent while con­tin­u­ing to devel­op and deploy the most effec­tive mis­sile defens­es as well as the most effec­tive con­ven­tion­al capa­bil­i­ties, they wrote. It also will enable the coun­try to make invest­ments, as need­ed, to main­tain a secure and effec­tive nuclear stock­pile.

“Every pres­i­dent since the begin­ning of the Cold War has opt­ed for ver­i­fi­able arms con­trol deals,” and each time, the Sen­ate has sup­port­ed these treaties by “over­whelm­ing mar­gins,” the sec­re­taries wrote.

“The New START Treaty also deserves prompt rat­i­fi­ca­tion,” the con­clud­ed. “Our nation­al secu­ri­ty depends on it.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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