The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is an agreement between the United States and Russia to limit the strategic offensive arms, signed in 2010. The focus of future developments will be on superior tactics and technologies, in order to maintain our power of deterrence.
The treaty places limits on strategic arms but has no constraints on missile defense or long-range conventional strike capabilities. The START “verification regime” has 18 on-site inspections per year, and “an annual exchange of telemetry on an agreed number of ICBM and SLBM launches.”
The New York Times admits that the move by the administration is to counter the Russian attempts to modernize their forces, within the treaty’s limits. But their report warns that the plans for new low-yield nuclear weapons will be the stopping place for the decade-long reductions.
Russia has been criticized before for developing weapons technology that is designed specifically for strategic defense, but that could also easily be retrofitted for offensive use.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “The United States looks forward to continuing implementation of the Treaty with the Russian Federation.” She went on to say that there will be an exchange of data next month, as has been the case for twice a year for the last seven years.
Both countries agreed to reduce their arsenal by February 5, 2018. According to reports, “The limits include the decrease of the number of weapons by the parties to 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments, 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers and heavy bombers.”
Top Pentagon officials have expressed concern over the expanding threats from space and cyberspace to the United States’ nuclear control systems. Following China and Russia’s system updates in recent years, the United States is committed to maintaining its safety from foreign attacks.
With the increasing nuclear threat from North Korea, the United States should continue its traditions of pioneering and leading the world in peaceful negations. The Trump administration seems to recognize this modern threat as it evolves.
Nuclear proliferation remains a serious problem, particularly in the unstable and developing nations. The effects of exposed radioactive materials on the environment are devastating. Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to test positive for lethal radiation, 7 years after the meltdown. Independent energy analysts believe the plant’s operators have no idea what they are doing.
The latest estimates, from the Congressional Budget Office and reports from the media, is somewhere between .5 and 1.2 trillion. This seems like a reasonable number for maintaining one of the most important metrics of the country’s power and influence in the world. As Secretary of Defense Mattis stated, “America can afford survival.”
In the New York Times article, the President was referred to as “Mr. Trump” when suggesting that he had a “persistently friendly stance” towards the Russian president. This is grammatically incorrect, and a thinly veiled ad hominem fallacy. The liberal media continues to undermine America’s interests, even in the most important of international issues.
A friendly stance towards those with a superior nuclear arsenal is probably a good idea. So is our ability to be a nuclear deterrent, to remain “credible and effective.”
The new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) recognizes the shifting landscape that requires deterrence to be dynamic. Defense secretary Jim Mattis announced that the “great power competition” is the biggest threat to our national security. It is the reality that the U.S. must prepare for.
For Secretary Mattis, our power to deter a nuclear strike relies greatly on our nuclear command, control, and communications system. Along with personnel and infrastructure, our nuclear program needs attention and the resources required to be ready for the future.
In a response to Russia’s “escalate-to-deescalate” plan, the NPR suggests that low-yield ballistic missile warheads on our submarines will discourage the use of nuclear weapons.
The new policy of the Trump administration will greatly increase America’s readiness to respond to nuclear threats from foreign powers. The SMART treaty will be maintained by our reduction of weapons, while we continue to prepare for the future.
We must remain an authority on the issue of nuclear weapons. In order to do so, we must innovate and improve our military capabilities in a rapidly changing technological environment.