Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty [February 7, 2011]   [open pdf - 276KB]

"On May 24, 2002, President Bush and Russia's President Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (known as the Moscow Treaty). It mandated that the United States and Russia reduce their strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012. The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on March 6, 2003; the Russian Parliament did the same on May 14, 2003. The treaty entered into force on June 1, 2003, and lapsed on February 5, 2011, when the New START Treaty entered into force. Russia entered the negotiations seeking a 'legally binding document' that would contain limits, definitions, counting rules and elimination rules that resembled those in the START Treaties. Russia also wanted the treaty to contain a statement noting U.S. missile defenses would not undermine the effectiveness of Russia's offensive forces. The United States preferred a less formal process in which the two nations would state their intentions to reduce their nuclear forces, possibly accompanied by a document outlining added monitoring and transparency measures. Furthermore, the United States had no intention of including restrictions on missile defenses in an agreement outlining reductions in strategic offensive nuclear weapons. Russia convinced the United States to sign a legally binding treaty, but the United States rejected any limits and counting rules that would require the elimination of delivery vehicles and warheads removed from service. It wanted the flexibility to reduce its forces at its own pace, and to restore warheads to deployed forces if conditions warranted."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31448
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