New START Treaty and U.S. National Security Interests

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
April 8, 2010

Key Point: The New START Treaty makes America more secure.

The New START Treaty will enhance U.S. national security by stabilizing the strategic balance between the United States and the Russian Federation at lower levels of nuclear forces. The Treaty will establish lower limits for U.S. and Russian nuclear forces of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 700 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. It also will limit to 800 the total number of deployed and non-deployed ICBM and SLBM launchers and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

The Treaty’s lower strategic force limits were validated through rigorous analysis conducted by Department of Defense Planners in support of the Nuclear Posture Review. The New START Treaty allows the United States to determine our own force structure, giving us the flexibility to deploy and maintain our strategic nuclear forces in a way that best serves U.S. national security interests. As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and protect our allies.

The New START Treaty’s verification provisions provide visibility into Russia’s nuclear forces and thereby help to mitigate the risks of surprises, mistrust, and miscalculations that can result from excessive secrecy or decisions based on worst-case assumptions. The Treaty will give us a vital window into the Russian strategic arsenal. This goal is achieved through a verification regime that is adapted from START, but is simplified, less costly to implement, and tailored to the specific provisions of the new Treaty, as well as transparency measures such as the exchange of telemetry on flight tests.