USA/Russland — Arms Reduction Treaty Would Make U.S. Safer, Officials Say

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2010 — The lead­ers of U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand and the U.S. Mis­sile Defense Agency told a Sen­ate com­mit­tee today that they were close­ly involved in devel­op­ing the new Strate­gic Arms Con­trol and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Treaty, and that they believe it will make the Unit­ed States and its allies safer.

“I was ful­ly con­sult­ed in the nego­ti­a­tion process, and I ful­ly sup­port [the treaty],” Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, Strat­com com­man­der, told the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee dur­ing a hear­ing on the new START treaty. 

Three ways the treaty will make the Unit­ed States safer if it’s rat­i­fied, Chilton said, is by lim­it­ing the num­ber of Russ­ian war­heads and vehi­cles that can tar­get the Unit­ed States, allow­ing suf­fi­cient flex­i­bil­i­ty for the Unit­ed States to retain and use its arse­nal, and re-estab­lish­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion and trans­paren­cy of weapons that end­ed when the pre­vi­ous treaty expired in April 2009. 

“What we want is trans­paren­cy and insight to know that either side is com­ply­ing with the treaty,” Chilton said. “I would wor­ry about any abil­i­ty for Rus­sia to make strate­gi­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant changes [to its arse­nal] that we don’t detect and could­n’t respond to.” 

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Dmit­ry Medvedev signed the treaty in Prague on April 8. Since then, Defense Depart­ment lead­ers have spo­ken out in sup­port of it on Capi­tol Hill where some law­mak­ers have voiced con­cern that it will weak­en U.S. defens­es or allow Rus­sia an arms advantage. 

Chilton, along with James N. Miller Jr., prin­ci­pal deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, and Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reil­ly, direc­tor of the Mis­sile Defense Agency, tried to allay those con­cerns in today’s testimony. 

“This treaty does not con­strain any cur­rent [U.S.] mis­sile defense plans,” Chilton said. “America’s nuclear arse­nal remains a vital pil­lar of U.S. nation­al security.” 

Asked whether the treaty under­mines secu­ri­ty by not allow­ing the Unit­ed States to con­vert offen­sive mis­sile launch­ers to defen­sive launch­ers, O’Reil­ly said he “would­n’t do that any­way,” because it is not pru­dent or oper­a­tional­ly effective. 

“I do not see any lim­i­ta­tion on my abil­i­ty to devel­op mis­sile defens­es,” O’Reil­ly said. “The options that are pro­hib­it­ed are not ones I would choose or any oth­er direc­tor would choose, because it would make us less effec­tive. I see no lim­i­ta­tions to us for the plans we are pursuing.” 

The treaty’s lim­its of 1,550 war­heads will allow the Unit­ed States to sus­tain effec­tive nuclear deter­rence, includ­ing a sec­ond strike capa­bil­i­ty. Its lim­it of 700 deployed inter­con­ti­nen­tal and sub­ma­rine-launch bal­lis­tic mis­siles and heavy bombers will allow the Unit­ed States to retain a robust triad. 

Also, by pro­vid­ing the free­dom to mix strate­gic forces, the treaty allows for the rebal­anc­ing of weapons over time. 

“The Unit­ed States can and will con­tin­ue to expand and improve mis­sile defens­es,” Miller said. The depart­ment is study­ing the appro­pri­ate mix of long-range strike capa­bil­i­ties and will include its con­clu­sions in the fis­cal 2012 bud­get request, he said. Any deploy­ment of bal­lis­tic mis­siles should be lim­it­ed to niche capa­bil­i­ties, he added. 

“The new START treaty does not in any way con­strain the U.S. from deploy­ing the most effec­tive nuclear defens­es pos­si­ble,” Miller said. “It allows for the defense of the nation, as well as our forces and allies abroad.” 

Chilton said the U.S. nuclear arse­nal today “is safe, secure and effec­tive,” but also is in need of main­te­nance. The Defense Depart­ment plans to invest $100 bil­lion over the next decade to sus­tain and mod­ern­ize its strate­gic nuclear deliv­ery sys­tems, while the Ener­gy Depart­ment plans to invest $80 bil­lion to sus­tain and mod­ern­ize the nuclear stock­pile and weapons com­plex, he said. 

“These invest­ments are not only impor­tant, they are essen­tial in my view,” Chilton said. 

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

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →