START work said improving verification

June 21, 2012 at 4:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- Work under the latest arms reduction treaty with Russia is improving verification and reducing nuclear weapons, U.S. officials told a Senate committee Thursday.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Russia is 16 months old.

Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, and Madelyn R. Creedon, assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs, testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the American Forces Press Service reported.

"Our experience so far demonstrates that the New START's verification regime works and will help push open the door to new and more complicated verification techniques in the future," said Gottemoeller. The acting undersecretary led the U.S. treaty negotiating team as assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance.

The U.S. Senate approved the treaty in 2010, but the related legislative process produced a federal commitment to spend $185 billion over 10 years to modernize nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

"When the treaty is fully implemented, it will result in the lowest number of deployed nuclear warheads since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age," Gottemoeller said, "and 1,550 warheads deployed on or counted on 700 delivery vehicles: That is, intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine launch ballistic missiles and bombers."

The United States and the Soviet Union each had deployed about 10,550 nuclear warheads when the first START was signed in 1991.

The United States and Russia kept pace with each other during the first year with 18 inspections. Now, she said, each side can make 25 short-notice inspections a year, and inspections have taken place involving intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, heavy bombers at their operating bases, storage facilities, conversion or elimination facilities, and test ranges.

Testifying on the implications for U.S. nuclear forces and policy, Creedon said implementation is proceeding successfully.

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