The New START Treaty's Categories of Data Pertaining to Strategic Offensive Arms

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
August 13, 2010

Key Point: The New START Treaty obligates the Parties to exchange a large amount and variety of data on their respective strategic nuclear forces. This extensive database, which will be comprehensively updated every six months throughout the life of the Treaty, will give each side substantial insight into what is going on with the other’s strategic forces.

  • Part Two of the Protocol to the New START Treaty sets out the categories of data that each Party will be obligated to provide pertaining to its strategic offensive arms.

o The database will be initially populated with data no later than 45 days after the Treaty enters into force and will be updated via periodic data declarations every six months thereafter.

o Until the Treaty is ratified and enters into force, we will not receive any new data. The last time we received data on the Russian strategic forces was under the START Treaty in July 2009.

  • Examples of the specific information required to be provided includes data on:

o Numbers, locations, and unique identifiers for deployed and non-deployed ICBMs, deployed and non-deployed SLBMs, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers;

o Numbers of warheads, aggregated by operating base, emplaced on deployed ICBMs and on deployed SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers;

o Numbers and locations of deployed and non-deployed launchers of ICBMs, and deployed and non-deployed launchers of SLBMs;

o Operating bases; production, storage, repair, elimination, and space launch facilities; and test ranges where strategic offensive arms may be located; and

o Categories for technical characteristics for ballistic missiles systems as well as categories for distinguishing features for heavy bombers.

  • The semiannual data declarations will contain certain information that was not provided under the START Treaty. Specifically, the Parties will be obligated to provide the total number of warheads emplaced on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs based at each ICBM base and submarine base, respectively, as well as the total number of nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers at each air base.
  • The Parties must also notify the change in status between deployed and non-deployed status for ICBMs and SLBMs (when missiles are placed in or removed from launchers) and nuclear-capable heavy bombers as well as the specific location or geographic region for heavy bombers away from their bases inside or outside national territory, respectively.
  • An important innovation is the inclusion for each ICBM, SLBM, and heavy bomber of an alpha-numeric unique identifier (UID) in the applicable notifications, periodic data declarations, and briefings presented prior to inspections.

o Inspectors will have the right to confirm UIDs during inspections.

o Under the previous START Treaty, only mobile ICBMs had such UIDs.

  • Due to the presence of UIDs on each ICBM, SLBM, and heavy bomber, data declarations, and on-site inspections, combined with the New START Treaty’s extensive notifications regime of 43 notifications that are exchanged electronically through each Party’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, the United States will have a “cradle to grave” track of the location and status of Russian strategic offensive arms. The life cycles include when they arrive at their operating base, movement between facilities, changes in deployment status, maintenance or storage, and eventual conversion or elimination.

o For example, 48 hours in advance of a solid-fueled ICBM leaving its production facility, the United States will receive a notification of the planned movement, including the missile’s UID. Such a notification was not required under the START Treaty. We will also receive a notification of the date of arrival and location of the missile within five days of its arrival at a declared facility. Any subsequent movements, e.g., to a storage, repair, or elimination facility, will require similar notifications.

  • The Treaty also requires each Party to exchange information about facilities, known as site diagrams. These site diagrams were exchanged in May 2010, as required by the Treaty. The list of inspectable and non-inspectable facilities will be provided as part of the initial data exchange after the Treaty enters into force.
  • Information provided through the periodic data exchanges and notifications will be validated not only by on-site inspections but also by U.S. national technical means, such as observation satellites, and other means of verification.
  • Under the New START Treaty, an ICBM or SLBM is considered deployed only if it is placed in or on a launcher. If it is removed from its launcher, it becomes non-deployed.