New START Treaty Fifth Anniversary

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance
February 5, 2016

Since its entry into force (EIF) on February 5, 2011, the New START Treaty has provided for the safety and security of the United States and our Allies, while advancing mutual cooperation, transparency, and stability with the Russian Federation on strategic nuclear arms. New START enables the United States to verify information about Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal through on-site inspections at nuclear weapons facilities and by providing both sides access to each other’s strategic nuclear delivery systems, warheads, and facilities. This builds confidence that obligations are being fulfilled, including meeting the Treaty’s central limits, when they take effect in 2018.

Key Facts

Thirty years ago, U.S. and Soviet arsenals totaled more than 20,000 deployed strategic nuclear weapons. The United States and the Russian Federation undertook to each meet New START’s central limits of 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed strategic launchers and heavy bombers, and 800 deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers and heavy bombers by February 5, 2018.

Since EIF, the United States and Russia have:

  • Sent and received through the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers more than 10,300 notifications regarding the location, movement, and status of their strategic nuclear forces;
  • Performed 10 data exchanges with a full accounting of exactly where weapons systems are located, whether they are out of their deployment or operational bases and gone to maintenance, or have been retired, giving us a comprehensive look into each other’s strategic nuclear forces every six months;
  • Conducted 180 on-site inspections (each party has an annual quota of 18 inspections); and,
  • Completed 13 exhibitions to demonstrate distinguishing features and technical characteristics of new types of strategic offensive arms or demonstrate the results of a conversion of a strategic offensive arm subject to New START.

Further, the United States and Russia continue to meet twice each treaty year within the Treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) to discuss issues related to treaty implementation, with no interruption of work due to other global crises causing friction in the bilateral relationship. Several statements and agreements have been concluded in the BCC to continue the successful implementation of this Treaty. When the New START Treaty limits take effect in February 2018, U.S. and Russian forces will be capped at their lowest level since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age.

The Treaty also allows us the flexibility to modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent and ensure its safety, security, and effectiveness without constraining U.S. missile defenses or long-range conventional strike development. For the duration of New START, the U.S. triad of ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers will be maintained, keeping all Ohio-class strategic submarines in the force for the near term and “de-MIRVing” all Minuteman III ICBMs to a single warhead each to increase stability in a crisis. The Administration will continue to request funds to sustain and modernize the triad, including: continuing the Minuteman III life extension program; developing new technologies to replace the current fleet of Ohio-class SSBNs; investing to support upgrades to the B-2 stealth bomber; and, funding a new air-launched, long-range cruise missile and long-range bomber.

The successful implementation of New START continues to preserve stability and transparency between the two countries, and serves as a concrete step by both countries in their strategic relationship toward an eventual world without nuclear weapons. We look forward to continuing this important cooperation with the Russian Federation and commemorate our work to this point, while acknowledging the work yet to be done.