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A New START unveiled; historic step towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons

March 26, 2010

Today, President Obama announced that he would meet President Medvedev in Prague to sign the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on April 8th, 2010. This treaty marks a unique and historic moment as Russia and the United States signal to the world that progress is being made toward a world free of nuclear weapons. This Treaty not only marks a significant foreign policy achievement for the administration but, more importantly, builds the case for a global consensus on the security benefits of moving toward nuclear disarmament and eventual complete elimination.

The New START will commit both nations to cutting their nuclear arsenal by almost 1/3; less than half of the strategic nuclear delivery vehicle limit of the previous START; a combined limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. A White House statement below conveys more details of the key provisions of the new treaty.

PSR will continue to monitor unfolding developments and will pass on more information on the START ratification  process as it becomes available. PSR advocates will have a key role to play in  helping to ensure American leadership on this issue.

Office of the Press Secretary

March 25, 2010

Key Facts about the New START Treaty

Treaty Structure:  The New START Treaty is organized in three tiers of increasing level of detail.  The first tier is the Treaty text itself.  The second tier consists of a Protocol to the Treaty, which contains additional rights and obligations associated with Treaty provisions.  The basic rights and obligations are contained in these two documents.  The third tier consists of Technical Annexes to the Protocol.  All three tiers will be legally binding.  The Protocol and Annexes will be integral parts of the Treaty and thus submitted to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. 

Strategic Offensive Reductions:  Under the Treaty, the U.S. and Russia will be limited to significantly fewer strategic arms within seven years from the date the Treaty enters into force.  Each Party has the flexibility to determine for itself the structure of its strategic forces within the aggregate limits of the Treaty.  These limits are based on a rigorous analysis conducted by Department of Defense planners in support of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review. 

Aggregate limits:

  • 1,550 warheads.  Warheads on deployed ICBMs and deployed SLBMs count toward this limit and each deployed heavy bomber equipped for nuclear armaments counts as one warhead toward this limit.
    • This limit is 74% lower than the limit of the 1991 START Treaty and 30% lower than the deployed strategic warhead limit of the 2002 Moscow Treaty.
  • A combined limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
  • A separate limit of 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
    • This limit is less than half the corresponding strategic nuclear delivery vehicle limit of the START Treaty.

Verification and Transparency:  The Treaty has a verification regime that combines the appropriate elements of the 1991 START Treaty with new elements tailored to the limitations of the Treaty.  Measures under the Treaty include on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring.   To increase confidence and transparency, the Treaty also provides for the exchange of telemetry.

Treaty Terms:  The Treaty’s duration will be ten years, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement.   The Parties may agree to extend the Treaty for a period of no more than five years.  The Treaty includes a withdrawal clause that is standard in arms control agreements.  The 2002 Moscow Treaty terminates upon entry into force of the New START Treaty.  The U.S. Senate and the Russian legislature must approve the Treaty before it can enter into force.

No Constraints on Missile Defense and Conventional Strike:  The Treaty does not contain any constraints on testing, development or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs or current or planned United States long-range conventional strike capabilities.



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