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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

25 July 2002

Top U.S. Military Official Highlights Moscow Treaty Benefits

(Myers cites accord's flexibility while allowing strategic cuts)
(1190)
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told key senators that the
new Moscow Treaty will enable the United States "to make deep
reductions in strategic nuclear warheads while preserving our
flexibility to meet unpredictable strategic changes."
Air Force General Richard Myers said the Treaty, which will be
implemented by the United States and Russia over a period of 10 years
and will reduce the number of deployable nuclear warheads on each side
to a level of 1,700 to 2,200, "finally puts to rest the Cold War
legacy of superpower suspicion."
The Bush administration submitted the Treaty June 20 to the Senate for
its advice and consent to ratification. In testimony July 25 before
the Senate Armed Services Committee, Myers said the U.S.-Russian
accord "reflects the new relationship of trust, cooperation, and
friendship with an important U.S. partner."
Myers explained that, for purposes of the Treaty, the United States
will include only those warheads that are "operationally deployed." As
such, he said, "we will derive the total number of warheads from the
number of warheads on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)
deployed in their launchers, the number of warheads on
Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) in their launch tubes
onboard submarines, and nuclear weapons loaded on heavy bombers or
stored in weapons storage areas at heavy bomber bases."
Refining it further, he said small numbers of spare strategic nuclear
warheads at heavy bomber bases are not included in the agreed upon
definition. "We also will not include the warheads associated with
strategic systems that are non-operational for maintenance actions,
those warheads downloaded from SLBMs or ICBMs, or those warheads
associated with the deactivated Peacekeeper ICBMs," Myers added.
Following is the text of Myers prepared statement: 
(begin text)
STATEMENT ON MOSCOW TREATY BY GENERAL RICHARD B. MYERS, USAF, CHAIRMAN
OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, BEFORE THE 107TH CONGRESS, SENATE ARMED
SERVICES COMMITTEE
It is an honor to appear before this committee and share with you the
implications of the Moscow Treaty on our Nation's defense. The Joint
Chiefs of Staff maintain that this treaty enhances the security of our
country, and that of the world, by making a dramatic reduction in the
number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads while allowing the U.S.
to retain the flexibility to hedge against future uncertainty. While
the requirements of this treaty are fewer and more direct than
previous arms control agreements, there are a number of key provisions
to highlight.
The Treaty requires the U.S. to reduce its strategic nuclear warheads
to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads. From current levels, this number
reflects almost a two-thirds cut in our strategic arsenal. This
reduction is consistent with our conclusions in the recent Nuclear
Posture Review.
Furthermore, as we implement the Treaty, the U.S. will include only
those warheads that are "operationally deployed." As such, we will
derive the total number of warheads from the number of warheads on
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) deployed in their
launchers, the number of warheads on Submarine-Launched Ballistic
Missiles (SLBMs) in their launch tubes onboard submarines, and nuclear
weapons loaded on heavy bombers or stored in weapons storage areas at
heavy bomber bases. We will not include the small number of spare
strategic nuclear warheads located at heavy bomber bases. We also will
not include the warheads associated with strategic systems that are
non-operational for maintenance actions, those warheads downloaded
from SLBMs or ICBMs, or those warheads nominally associated with the
deactivated Peacekeeper ICBMs. As a result, under the Moscow Treaty,
we can reduce the operationally deployed warheads, rather than weapon
systems, allowing us to make deep reductions in our strategic warheads
while maintaining conventional capabilities.
The U.S. also benefits from the Moscow Treaty's flexibility because it
allows the U.S. to store spare warheads rather than destroy them.
There are key benefits the U.S. gains from storing the removed nuclear
warheads. The U.S. cannot replace nuclear warheads in the near- or
mid-term as we are currently not manufacturing new nuclear warheads.
As a result, the storage of warheads will provide the U.S. a hedge
against future strategic changes. In addition, storing nuclear
warheads provides a hedge in case warhead safety or reliability
becomes a concern.
It is also important to note that the Moscow Treaty recognizes that
the START (Strategic Arms Reduction) Treaty remains in effect. The
START Treaty methodology attributes a specific number of warheads to
each type of delivery system. The START methodology "counts" warheads
even if the delivery platform is in maintenance. The START methodology
also counts warheads even if there is not a warhead deployed in the
delivery platform. Under the Moscow Treaty, the U.S. will only count
operationally deployed warheads. The U.S. may remove a warhead to
comply with the Moscow Treaty but a "notional" warhead may still be
counted under the START Treaty as we fulfill our obligations under
both treaties.
The Moscow Treaty also requires that the U.S. and Russia meet the
lowered force levels by December 31, 2012. This 10-year implementation
deadline maximizes flexibility for both parties and provides a
mid-term hedge against unforeseen events. If the strategic environment
dictated, we could temporarily raise the number of deployed warheads
to address an immediate concern while later still meeting the December
2012 deadline. Should such a temporary increase be necessary, however,
U.S. actions would remain within the START Treaty obligations.
Finally, the Moscow Treaty allows the U.S. to withdraw with three
months notification. This provision allows the U.S. to exercise its
national sovereignty and respond to a more dramatic change in the
strategic environment.
The Moscow Treaty does not, however, include a number of protocols
common to previous arms control agreements. This lack of protocols
enhances our flexibility in implementing this accord. For example, the
Moscow Treaty will not limit delivery platforms nor does it require
delivery platforms to be destroyed. As a result, the U.S. will
maintain a significant flexibility to adjust future force structure.
This approach will allow us to remove all 50 Peacekeeper missiles.
Likewise, we may modify some Trident submarines from their strategic
missions and assign them to transformational missions that are more
relevant to the asymmetric threats we now face. Finally, this approach
will allow the U.S. to retain heavy bombers for their conventional
role. Our operations in Afghanistan demonstrated the vital capability
that conventional bombers provide our Combatant Commanders.
The Moscow Treaty has no requirement for an additional inspection
regime. START's comprehensive verification regime will provide the
foundation
for confidence, transparency and predictability in further strategic
offensive reduction. And, the Moscow Treaty will not subject the U.S.
to intrusive inspections in some of our most sensitive military areas.
The Moscow Treaty allows the U.S. to make deep reductions in strategic
nuclear warheads while preserving our flexibility to meet
unpredictable strategic changes. The Treaty finally puts to rest the
Cold War legacy of superpower suspicion. It reflects the new
relationship of trust, cooperation and friendship with an important
U.S. partner.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
      



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