New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions

The United States and Russia signed the New START Treaty on April 8, 2010. After more than 20hearings, 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. Both parties met the treaty’s requirement to complete the reductions by February 5, 2018. The treaty is due to expire in February 2021, unless both parties agree to extend it for no more than five years 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 Obama Administration and outside analysts argued that New START strengthens strategic stability and enhances U.S. national security. Critics, however, questioned whether the treaty would serve U.S. national security interests because, they argued in 2010, 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. The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review confirmed that the United States would continue to implement the treaty, at least through 2021. The Trump Administration has raised questions about the value of the treaty and, although it has not announced a decision about extension, has suggested that the United States might allow it to lapse while negotiating a new treaty that would include Russia and China, and capture all types of Russian nuclear weapons.

Purchase This Volume