Statement of William J. Perry regarding submission of the New START for consent and ratification
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
April 29, 2010
Chairman Kerry and Ranking Member Lugar,
thank you for this opportunity to appear before you and other members
of this distinguished Committee to discuss ratification for the New
I would like to start my testimony by offering you five judgments about the New START Treaty.
- The reduction of deployed warheads entailed by the treaty is
modest, but the treaty is a clear signal that the United States is
serious about carrying out our responsibilities under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, and will be welcomed as a positive step by
the other members of that Treaty.
- The treaty imposes no meaningful restraints on our ability to
develop and deploy ballistic missile defense systems, or our ability to
modernize our nuclear deterrence forces.
- The treaty does not affect our ability to maintain an effective
nuclear deterrent, as specified by DOD planners in the 2010 Nuclear
- The treaty is a valuable confidence-building measure in that it
provides for a vitally important continuing dialog between the US and
Russia on strategic nuclear weapons.
- The treaty improves strategic stability between the United States
and Russia by requiring both nations to provide transparency and
accountability in the management of their strategic nuclear forces.
Based on these judgments, I recommend that the Senate consent to the ratification of this treaty.
I would like to add further comments concerning some details of the treaty.
New START treaty limits deployed, strategic systems to an aggregate of
1550 warheads. These include warheads on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs.
Heavy bombers count as a single warhead toward these limits. Further,
the treaty creates ceilings on the number of deployed and non-deployed
strategic delivery platforms. Each nation
retains the ability to
determine the composition of their forces within these numbers. While
the actual number of nuclear weapons available for upload on deployed
bombers are not counted, this unusual "counting rule" is essentially
equivalent between the United States and Russia. In my opinion, this
aspect of the treaty would not put the United States at any
The focus of this treaty is on deployed
warheads and it does not attempt to count or control non-deployed
warheads. This continues in the tradition of prior arms control
treaties. I would hope to see non-deployed and tactical systems
included in future negotiations, but the absence of these systems
should not detract from the merits of this treaty and the further
advances in arms control which it represents.
The transparency and verification regime
in this treaty builds upon the successful procedures and methods from
the prior START treaty. Declarations of the number and locale of
deployed missiles will be made upon entry into force, and an inspection
regime allows short-notice access to ensure compliance. Technical
aspects of the treaty include establishment of unique identifiers for
each missile and heavy bomber and their locations, an important
advance, which further enhances inspection and verification. Missile
tests continue to be monitored, and the exchange of telemetry data is
provided. While telemetry is not necessary for verification of this
treaty or for our security interests, the continued exchange of
telemetry is in our joint interest as a further confidence-building
Two important questions arise in the
evaluation of this treaty. They are whether the treaty constrains the
United States' ability to modernize its nuclear deterrent and
infrastructure and whether the treaty constrains ballistic missile
defenses. The treaty directly addresses this first question. Article V
of the treaty states "modernization and replacement of strategic
offensive arms may be carried out". The Congressional Commission on
Nuclear Forces noted that our nuclear weapons complex was in need of
improvement. The President's FY11 budget submission proposes
substantial increases to the nuclear weapons program for just this
purpose. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review elaborates upon this need in
detail. The administration has been consistent in its statements and
proposals on this point, all of which support upgrade and improvement
of the nuclear weapons complex, including the replacement of key
facilities for handling of nuclear materials. The New START Treaty does
not inhibit any of these plans or programs.
The development of Ballistic Missile
Defense is similarly unconstrained by this treaty. The preamble notes
an interrelation between strategic offensive and defensive arms and the
importance of a balance between them, but imposes no limits on further
development of missile defenses. Indeed, this treaty modestly enhances
the ability to develop missile defenses, in that retired strategic
missiles required for development of BMD are no longer constrained
under the terms of New START. Further, ballistic missile interceptors
are specifically excluded from the definition of ballistic missiles
under this treaty. The treaty does prohibit the conversion of ICBM
launchers for missile defense purposes. We do not, in fact, plan to do
so, so this limitation will have no practical impact on our BMD systems.
Mr. Chairman, the New START Treaty is a
positive step in U.S.-Russia arms negotiations. This treaty establishes
a ceiling on strategic arms while allowing the United States to
maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. This treaty
does not limit America's ability to structure its offensive arsenal to
meet current or future threats, nor does it prevent the future
modernization of the American nuclear arsenal. Additionally, the treaty
puts no meaningful limits our Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense program,
and in fact it reduces restrictions that existed under the previous
START treaty. I recommend ratification.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I welcome your questions regarding the New START Treaty.