Foreign Policy Blogs

Implementation of New START: I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Implementation of New START: I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours
Since its entry into force in February, the U.S. and Russia have been busy implementing the hard-won reductions embodied in the New START treaty to which both countries are party. On Tuesday, the State Department released new numbers reflecting reductions that have taken place under the treaty. Walter Pincus at the Wash Post profiled the action in a piece on Wednesday.

According to State, the two countries have conducted a whole raft of on-site inspections of each other’s missiles, bombers, stored weapons and test sites. They have notified each other almost 1,500 times about missile movements, flight tests and other actions regulated by the treaty (my, they are busy, aren’t they?). All good stuff considering we are likely to have a “President Putin” again soon – you know, the guy who House Speaker John Boehner astutely pointed out “harbors intense Soviet nostalgia”?

Among the other highlights of the 8 month old treaty’s accomplishments:

U.S. – removed 60 nuclear-weapons delivery systems from deployment, leaving 822 land- and submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers in place.

Russia – reduced their deployed systems by five, leaving 516. (Pincus notes that Russia has increased by 29 its warheads deployed on strategic weapons; the United States has reduced that number by 10.)

In the “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” category, the Russians had a look at the B-1B heavy bomber at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, intended to show that the plane had been reconfigured so that it could not carry nuclear bombs and therefore should no longer be counted under the START treaty. The U.S. checked out the newest RS-24 road-mobile Russian intercontinental missile launcher at the Teykovo military base, and traveled to the Votkinsk Machine-Building Plant to view the missile.

The end state in this treaty will be to get the U.S. and Russia down to 1550 deployed nuclear warheads. When New START went into effect, the United States had 1,790 deployed nuclear warheads, Russia 1,556.

For more background on the New START update, check out Global Security Newswire.

P.S. In other nuke reduction news, the U.S. took a giant, if symbolic, step forward two days ago, dismantling its big mamma jamma of nukes, the B53 bomb, at the Pantex disassembly facility in Amarillo, Texas. This bad boy was 600 hundred times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb, weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan. You don’t want to be on the bad side of that mess. It was put into service in 1962 and has been just hanging around, having been taken out of service in 1997. With no B53 to kick around, the U.S. still has its 1.2 megaton B83. Still pretty unpleasant.

 

Author

Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.

Great Decisions Discussion group