New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions [February 7, 2011]   [open pdf - 348KB]

This Congressional Research Service (CRS) report discusses central limits and key provisions of the U.S.-Russian New START Treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). "The United States and Russia signed the New START Treaty on April 8, 2010. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee both held hearings on the treaty. 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, after Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov exchanged the instruments of ratification. [...] The Obama Administration and outside analysts argue that New START will strengthen strategic stability and enhance U.S. national security. They contend that New START will contribute to U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals by convincing other nations that the United States is serious about its obligations under the NPT [Nonproliferation Treaty]. This might convince more nations to cooperate with the United States in pressuring nations who are seeking their own nuclear weapons. Critics, however, question whether the treaty serves U.S. national security interests, as 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. Some also consider the U.S.-Russian arms control process to be a distraction from the more important issues on the nonproliferation agenda."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41219
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