USA/Russland — Officials: Treaty Would Give Best Look at Russian Weapons

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2010 — Rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the new Strate­gic Arms Con­trol and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Treaty would give the Unit­ed States the most-detailed look pos­si­ble into Russia’s strate­gic nuclear forces, Pen­ta­gon offi­cials told a Sen­ate pan­el yes­ter­day.

James N. Miller, prin­ci­pal deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, and Ken­neth A. Myers III, direc­tor of the Defense Threat Reduc­tion Agency and U.S. Strate­gic Command’s Cen­ter for Com­bat­ing Weapons of Mass Destruc­tion, were the lat­est senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cials to tes­ti­fy before Con­gress in favor of the treaty’s rat­i­fi­ca­tion. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Dmit­ry Medvedev signed the treaty on April 8.

Miller and Myers told the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee that the treaty’s pro­vi­sions for on-site inspec­tions are an improve­ment on the pre­vi­ous START treaty. And, it’s crit­i­cal to resume such inspec­tions, the two offi­cials said, since the pre­vi­ous treaty expired in April 2009.

Miller said on-site inspec­tions “pro­vide the cor­ner­stone of the treaty’s ver­i­fi­ca­tion regime,” allow­ing U.S. inspec­tors into some of Russia’s most-sen­si­tive facil­i­ties. “This, in turn, will estab­lish a strong dis­in­cen­tive to Russ­ian cheat­ing,” he said. “More broad­ly, these inspec­tions and exhi­bi­tions will give us a detailed pic­ture of Russia’s strate­gic deliv­ery sys­tems and asso­ci­at­ed infra­struc­ture.”

The treaty allows the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia to con­duct as many as 18 short-notice, on-site inspec­tions each year, with as many as 10 “Type 1” inspec­tions, which focus on strate­gic sys­tems, such as ICBMs, sub­marines and bombers, and up to eight “Type 2” inspec­tions, which cov­er stor­age sites, test ranges and oth­er facil­i­ties, Miller said.

On-site inspec­tions work in syn­er­gy with oth­er ele­ments of the treaty, includ­ing data exchanges on the tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, loca­tions, and dis­tri­b­u­tion of weapons, Miller said. Under the treaty, any changes in the sta­tus of strate­gic sys­tems must be report­ed through time­ly noti­fi­ca­tions and bian­nu­al reports, he said.

On-site inspec­tions will con­firm that infor­ma­tion, includ­ing the con­ver­sion or elim­i­na­tion of sys­tems, Miller said.

“Inspec­tions will not be ‘shots in the dark,’ ” he said. “We can choose to inspect those facil­i­ties of great­est inter­est to us.”

If the Unit­ed States has con­cerns or sees ambi­gu­i­ties in Russia’s report­ed data, U.S. offi­cials will be able to raise them through a bilat­er­al com­mis­sion, or pur­sue the mat­ter at high­er lev­els, Miller said.

Myers, a for­mer staff mem­ber of the com­mit­tee, said the new treaty improves on the pre­vi­ous one by reduc­ing the types of on-site inspec­tions from nine to two, and by not pro­vid­ing for a base­line inspec­tion of every facil­i­ty. In nego­ti­at­ing the new treaty, both sides agreed that it would not be nec­es­sary to con­duct base­line inspec­tions at facil­i­ties that had been sub­ject to inspec­tion under the pre­vi­ous treaty, he said.

The Defense Threat Reduc­tion Agency will staff, train, equip, and lead U.S. inspec­tion teams in Rus­sia and escort Russ­ian inspec­tors at U.S. facil­i­ties, Myers said. The agency, based at Fort Belvoir, Va., will main­tain detach­ments at Yoko­ta Air Base, Japan, and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., as well as at its divi­sion in Darm­stadt, Ger­many, he said.

Under the treaty, 35 facil­i­ties in Rus­sia and 17 in the Unit­ed States would be sub­ject to inspec­tions, Myers said. Russ­ian inspec­tors would be per­mit­ted entry into the Unit­ed States via Wash­ing­ton and San Fran­cis­co, escort­ed by DTRA offi­cials, he said. Each side would have to give 32 hours notice dur­ing nor­mal work­ing hours before a short-notice inspec­tion. While the new treaty allows for few­er inspec­tions than the pre­vi­ous one, Myers said, inspec­tions of weapons sys­tems will be more dif­fi­cult. DTRA already is train­ing inspec­tion and escort per­son­nel on the pro­vi­sions of the new treaty, and their ini­tial cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are under way, he said.

“We will be pre­pared to car­ry out all of its inspec­tion and escort pro­vi­sions with the utmost accu­ra­cy and effi­cien­cy,” Myers told the com­mit­tee.

If rat­i­fied, the new treaty would be car­ried out in con­junc­tion with the Nunn-Lugar Coop­er­a­tive Threat Reduc­tion Pro­gram, a 20-year-old effort to advance nuclear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion around the world, Miller said. As of June 21, the pro­gram has sup­port­ed the elim­i­na­tion of 783 inter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles and 672 ICBM launch­ers; 651 sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­siles and 476 SLBM launch­ers; 155 heavy bombers; 906 air-to-sur­face mis­siles; and deac­ti­va­tion of 7,545 nuclear war­heads.

“The CTR pro­gram has made a tremen­dous con­tri­bu­tion to U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty and will con­tin­ue to do so under the new START treaty,” Miller said. Bio­log­i­cal threat reduc­tion now com­pris­es 40 per­cent of the program’s bud­get, he added.

The new treaty and the CTR pro­gram togeth­er are crit­i­cal to nation­al secu­ri­ty, Miller said.

“This lev­el of detailed infor­ma­tion on Russ­ian strate­gic forces could sim­ply not be accu­mu­lat­ed in the absence of a treaty ver­i­fi­ca­tion regime,” he said. “The new START, if rat­i­fied, will pro­mote trans­paren­cy and help avoid worst-case assump­tions and plan­ning.”

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