Casey Urges Support for New START

Casey Urges Support for New START

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined his Senate colleagues as he took to the Senate floor in support of the New Start accord.   

“Next Sunday will mark one year since American inspectors were on the ground in Russia.  We need to vote on the resolution of ratification for this important treaty because it will make America safer,” said Senator Casey.  

Senator Casey continued, “The opportunity to examine Russian nuclear forces helps to limit the surprises, mistrust or miscalculation that could result from a lack of information. By building trust with regard to our respective nuclear arsenals, progress on other important issues like Afghanistan and Iran becomes more likely.”

Earlier this week, Senator Casey wrote an op-ed for The Hill on the importance of ratifying a new START Treaty (http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/131619-nuclear-pact-would-make-america-safer-sen-bob-casey).

Full text of Senator Casey’s floor speech follows.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey
Floor Remarks on New START
December 2, 2010

Mr. President, I am proud to join my colleagues this morning in support of the New Start accord.  Next Sunday will mark one year since American inspectors were on the ground in Russia.  We need to vote on the resolution of ratification for this important treaty because it will make America safer.  

The agreement provides for predictability, transparency and stability in the U.S.-Russian nuclear relationship. Former National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Linton Brooks put it best when he said, “Transparency leads to predictability; predictability leads to stability.” The opportunity to examine Russian nuclear forces helps to limit the surprises, mistrust or miscalculation that could result from a lack of information. By building trust with regard to our respective nuclear arsenals, progress on other important issues like Afghanistan and Iran becomes more likely.

Some have asked whether we have lost any valuable elements of the original START agreement’s inspection regime.

In June, I chaired a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee that addressed this very issue.  We examined the implementation of the treaty with respect to inspections and verification, and how the treaty would be executed in Russia and the United States.

Critics point out that under the original START Treaty, the United States was permitted 25 data update, reentry vehicles, and facility inspections a year, while under New START, the United States can only inspect 18 facilities annually.  However, in a previous hearing on New START, Admiral Mullen noted that when START entered into force there were 55 Russian facilities subject to inspection, but that now there will only be 35 Russian facilities subject to inspection.

I would assert that the inspections regime has also changed to reflect the current security environment, an enhanced relationship with the Russian Federation, and more than a decade of experience in conducting START inspections.  The inspection regime is simpler and cheaper than what was conducted under the first START treaty.  We conduct fewer inspections under this treaty because there are fewer sites to inspect. Yet, proportionally, the number of inspections concluded under this treaty has increased not decreased.

During my hearing, Dr. James Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy said, and I quote:

“Inspections will help the United States verify that Russia is reporting the status of its strategic forces accurately and complying with the provision of the New START Treaty.  Inspections will not be shots in the dark.  Using information provided by requiring data exchanges, notifications, past inspections, and national technical means (NTM), we can choose to inspect those facilities of greatest interest to us.  Then, through short-notice on-site inspections, our inspectors can verify that what the Russians are reporting accurately reflects reality.”

Mr. President, after more than 20 hearings by the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence and comprehensive deliberation, it is time to vote on New Start.  We have examined all sides of the issue.   We heard from Republicans and Democrats alike.  We heard from former Secretaries of State and experts in international relations.  The U.S. military leadership uniformly supports this treaty.  More than 900 questions were submitted from the Senate to the administration on New START.  And the administration answered every single one.

Mr. President, I would like to close on a historical note.  On October 1, 1992, the first START treaty was ratified by the Senate by a vote of 93-6.  As the debate on the treaty wrapped up in this room, Senate Majority leader George Mitchell commended President George Bush for his role in negotiating the agreement.  He read a letter from Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger which encouraged ratification.  

This expression of bi-partisanship was made remarkable by the fact that the Senators assembled would soon return home campaign for the 1992 election.  The 1992 presidential election was one month away and the Democratic led Senate ratified a bipartisan treaty which was negotiated by a Republican president.

Mr. President, we all remember the contentious nature of the 1992 presidential campaign, yet even within that environment, the Senate, Republican and Democrats were able to come together and do the right thing for U.S. national security.

I mention 1992 because I believe that we can again show leadership and work in the best interests of our country.  

The time has come for this Senate to vote on New START.  Our national security cannot afford any more unnecessary delay.

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