On October 26, 2009, USIP held a panel discussion with Amb. Linton Brooks, Joseph Cirincione, and Thomas Scheber on next steps for the START process and the START Follow-on Treaty.

In its final report the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States urged that the United States, "[make] the first step on U.S.-Russian arms control modest and straight-forward in order to rejuvenate the process and ensure that there is a successor to the START I agreement before it expires at the end of 2009.  The United States and Russia should not over-reach for innovative approaches."

In July, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev signed a Joint Understanding for the START Follow-on Treaty, which "commits the United States and Russia to reduce their strategic warheads to a range of 1,500-1,675, and their strategic delivery vehicles to a range of 500-1,000."  This is a reduction from the limits set by the 2002 Moscow Treaty, which mandates that each party have no more than 2,200 strategic warheads operationally deployed by 2012.

The Joint Understanding was an important preliminary step in a series of ongoing negotiations aimed at establishing a successor to START I, which is set to expire on December 5, 2009.  The Joint Understanding has raised concerns in some quarters about the directions the START process is taking. Some are calling for still deeper reductions in the number of strategic warheads, while others warn against making any cuts at all before the release of the Pentagon's upcoming Nuclear Posture Review. Other issues affecting the START process include missile defense, strategic modernization, numbers of delivery vehicles, and many more. Beyond these issues, the United States and Russia face the challenge of either reaching an agreement before START I expires in December, extending START I while continuing to negotiate a START Follow-on, or allowing START I to lapse.

On October 26, 2009, USIP held a panel discussion with Amb. Linton Brooks, Joseph Cirincione, and Thomas Scheber on next steps for the START process and the START Follow-on Treaty.

Speakers

  • Ambassador Linton F. Brooks
    Former Undersecretary of Energy for National Security/Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
    Former Chief Strategic Arms Reductions (START) Negotiator
  • Joseph Cirincione
    President, Ploughshares Fund
  • Thomas Scheber
    Vice President, National Institute for Public Policy
  • Paul D. Hughes, Moderator
    Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
    Executive Director, Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States

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