USA — Mullen Calls Treaty Ratification ‘Right Thing to Do’

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2010 — The new Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty with Rus­sia is “the right thing for us to do,” the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, who spoke for all of the ser­vice chiefs dur­ing his tes­ti­mo­ny, urged the sen­a­tors to vote to rat­i­fy the agree­ment.

Mullen said the con­clu­sions and rec­om­men­da­tions that grew from the Nuclear Pos­ture Review informed the nego­ti­a­tions with Rus­sia.

“The chiefs and I believe the new START treaty achieves impor­tant and nec­es­sary bal­ance between three crit­i­cal aims,” Mullen said. “It allows us to retain a strong and flex­i­ble Amer­i­can nuclear deter­rent. It … strength­ens open­ness and trans­paren­cy in our rela­tion­ship with Rus­sia. It also demon­strates our nation­al com­mit­ment to reduc­ing the world­wide risk of nuclear inci­dents result­ing from the con­tin­u­ing pro­lif­er­a­tion of nuclear weapons.”

The chair­man stressed that the treaty’s cen­tral lim­its allows each side the free­dom to deter­mine its own force mix. The treaty also pro­vides the Unit­ed States with the flex­i­bil­i­ty to field the right force struc­ture to meet the nation’s needs.

“We plan to retain our tri­ad of bombers, bal­lis­tic-mis­sile sub­marines and land-based inter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles in suf­fi­cient diver­si­ty and num­bers to assure strate­gic sta­bil­i­ty between our­selves and the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion,” Mullen said. “We will also main­tain suf­fi­cient capa­bil­i­ty to deter oth­er nuclear states.”

Mullen said the treaty pro­vides an array of ver­i­fi­ca­tion mea­sures to ensure com­pli­ance.

“This treaty is also a crit­i­cal ele­ment in the president’s agen­da for reduc­ing nuclear risks to the Unit­ed States, our allies and part­ners and the wider inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty,” the chair­man said.

START is impor­tant by itself, and should also be viewed in wider con­text, Mullen told the sen­a­tors.

“It makes mean­ing­ful reduc­tions in the U.S. and Russ­ian strate­gic nuclear arse­nals while strength­en­ing strate­gic sta­bil­i­ty and U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty,” he said. “Cou­pled with the administration’s clear com­mit­ment to pru­dent­ly invest in our aging nuclear infra­struc­ture and in nuclear-war­head life exten­sion pro­grams, this treaty is a very mean­ing­ful step for­ward.”

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