SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): The hearing will come to order. Thank you all for coming today.
This is a terrific lineup for any hearing but obviously, particularly for this hearing on the START treaty – our top diplomat, our top Defense official and our top military official.
It’s a lineup that underscores the Obama administration’s commitment not just to the ratification of the “new START” but to having an open and honest, thorough debate that moves beyond partisanship and sound bites.
The administration’s commitment is well-placed, because at stake is the future of over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons and our credibility in the eyes of more than 180 states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
As the panel knows, I believe – and I think Sen. Lugar shares this – that the “new START” agreement will make America safer, because the day that this treaty enters into force, the United States will strengthen its fight against nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation, gain a fuller understanding of Russia’s nuclear forces, and revitalize our relations with Moscow.
What’s more, I have no doubt that the administration’s plan to maintain and modernize our nuclear weapons infrastructure demonstrates a firm commitment to keeping our nuclear deterrent safe and effective for as long as is needed.
This committee will continue to give the “new START” treaty the full and careful consideration that it deserves. We have already heard from Secretaries Perry and Schlesinger, and in the coming days we will hear from Secretaries Baker and Kissinger as well. When our review is complete, I’m confident that we can reach a strong bipartisan consensus on advice and consent to ratification, just as we did on START I and the Moscow Treaty.
I believe the case for the treaty is powerful. Most immediately, “new START” – the “new START” significantly reduces the number of warheads, missiles and launchers that the United States and Russia can deploy, eliminating surplus Cold War armaments as we turn to face the threats of the 21st century.
It eliminates those weapons in a transparent manner. The original START treaty had verification mechanisms that enabled us to see what the Russians were doing with their missiles and bombers, but that treaty expired on December 5th of last year. Since then, we have daily been losing visibility into Russia’s nuclear activities. The “new START” treaty restores that visibility, providing valuable information about Russian weapons and allowing us to inspect Russian military facilities.
By verifiably reducing the number of U.S. and Russian weapons, we’re strengthening the stability and predictability of our nuclear relationship. More than that, we are strengthening our diplomatic relationship, making it more likely that we can secure Moscow’s cooperation and key priorities like stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
But the implications of this treaty extend far beyond U.S.-Russian relations. As we hold this hearing, diplomats from dozens of nations are meeting in New York to review implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a crucial barrier against the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states and terrorists.
Today, far more than in recent years, those nations are rallying behind the United States and its efforts to lessen the nuclear threat. New START has already helped us to isolate Iran and deflect its efforts to cast the United States as the threat to the NPT.
For all that it accomplishes, this treaty is only the first step in a far more reaching effort. In announcing the negotiation of “new START”, Presidents Obama and Medvedev said that they were trying to move beyond Cold War mentalities. By giving its advice and consent to ratification, the Senate will speed up that evolution and lay the groundwork for further arms-control efforts.
Likewise, the original START treaty provided the foundation for the Nunn-Lugar program, a signature effort led by our friend Dick Lugar which has dismantled and secured strategic nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union. New START builds on that foundation so that we may continue to cooperatively secure nuclear materials in Russia and beyond.
If we do not approve “new START”, there will be serious consequences for America’s vital nonproliferation efforts. As James Schlesinger testified to this committee, “for the United States at this juncture to fail to ratify the treaty in the course of the Senate’s deliberation would have a detrimental effect on our ability to influence others with regard to particularly the nonproliferation issue.”
We all understand that questions have been raised about “new START”, and it is this committee’s responsibility to give those concerns a fair hearing. We will.
Some have alleged that it will constrain our missile defense plan, which it will not. In fact, it allows us to proceed with all of our planned testing and deployments. Some have charged that it will narrow our conventional strike options, which it will not. We will still be able to deploy conventional warheads to promptly target enemy sites around the globe. Others have argued that we cannot eliminate surplus weapons because our nuclear infrastructure is aging. But the administration’s plan to spend $80 billion to improve that infrastructure should lay those questions properly to rest.
To explain the contours of this treaty, we are fortunate to have three very distinguished witnesses with us. As secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has worked tirelessly to leverage America’s progress on strategic arms control in our fight against nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has served presidents of both parties with great distinction in a remarkable range of roles. He is one of our nation’s most respected voices on national security.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is providing far-sighted leadership to our military at a time of great challenge and transition, as we fight two wars and face the diffuse threats of the post-9/11 world.
Both Adm. Mullen and Secretary Gates were originally appointed to their current positions by the last administration, and their support for “new START” is a sign that the treaty is consistent with our long tradition of bipartisanship on strategic arms control.
So we thank you all for being here today. We look forward to your testimony and the opportunity to discuss this important treaty.
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN): Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen to the Foreign Relations Committee once again. We are very pleased that our national-security leadership is with us to present the “new START” treaty and to answer the questions of senators.
Our witnesses have been deeply involved in the negotiation of the “new START” treaty, as well as the formation of the broader context of nuclear-weapons policy. Secretary Clinton undertook many discussions on the treaty with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Lavrov. Secretary Gates has a long association with this treaty, going back to the meetings he attended in Moscow in 2008 with Secretary of State Rice. Adm. Mullen undertook several important meetings on the treaty and related issues with Gen. Makarov, the Russian chief of the general staff, as well as other Russian officials.
Consequently, each of our leaders today comes to the treaty with unique experiences that can inform Senate consideration of the pact. Their personal involvement and commitment to this process underscores the consensus within the administration and the military leadership of our country that the “new START” treaty will benefit United States national security.
As the Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate begins to examine the “new START” treaty in greater detail, I would urge the three of you, as our witnesses today, to devote personal energies to accelerating the timetable for producing the National Intelligence Estimate and a formal verification assessment related to the treaty.
The president has declared the “new START” treaty to be a top legislative objective and has called for Senate approval this year. Failing to deliver these reviews related to the START treaty, in expedited fashion, would diminish perceptions of the priority of the treaty and complicate the Senate debate timetable.
On April 29, our committee heard from former secretaries of defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, who voiced their support for ratifying the treaty. Secretary Schlesinger stated, and I quote, “I think that it is obligatory for the United States to ratify,” end of quote.
He continued, quote, “Any treaty is going to have limitations, questionable areas. There are some in this treaty. We need to watch them for the future. But that does not mean that this treaty should be rejected,” end of quote.
Secretary Perry underscored the importance of treaty ratification to broader U.S. arms control objectives asserting, and I quote, “If we fail to ratify this treaty, the United States will have forfeited any right to provide leadership in this field throughout the world,” end of quote.
Secretary Schlesinger concurred saying, quote, “For the United States at this juncture, to fail to ratify the treaty in the due course of the Senate’s deliberation would have a detrimental effect on our ability to influence others, with regard to particularly the nonproliferation issues,” end of quote.
In my view, even as we carefully examine individual provisions of the treaty, a United States choice to deliberately forgo a strategic nuclear arms control regime with Russia would be an extremely precarious strategy.
Distancing ourselves from nuclear engagement with Russia would greatly reduce our knowledge of what is happening in Russia, hinder our ability to consult with Moscow in a timely manner, on nuclear and other national security issues, further strain our own defense resources, weaken our nonproliferation diplomacy worldwide and potentially heighten arms competition.
During the post-Cold War – Cold War era, the United States’ security has been helped immeasurably by the existence of the START treaty and related arms-control endeavors. As an author of the Nunn-Lugar program, I’ve traveled to the former Soviet Union on numerous occasions to encourage and to witness the safeguarding and destruction of weapons covered by START and other initiatives. The destruction of thousands of weapons is a monumental achievement for our countries.
But the process surrounding this joint effort is as important as the numbers of weapons eliminated. The U.S.-Russian relationship has been through numerous highs and lows in the post-Cold War era. Throughout this period, START inspections and consultations and the corresponding threat-reduction activities of the Nunn-Lugar program have been a constant that have served to reduce miscalculations and, finally, to build respect.
This has not prevented highly contentious disagreements with Moscow, but it has meant that we have not had to wonder about the makeup and the disposition of Russian nuclear forces during periods of tension. It’s also reduced, though not eliminated, the proliferation threat posed by the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union.
In my judgment, the question before us is not whether we should have a strategic nuclear-arms agreement with Russia, but rather whether the “new START” treaty’s provisions meet our objectives and how they’ll be implemented in the context of our broader national-security strategy.
Arms control is not a static enterprise governed solely by words on a treaty document. The success or failure of a treaty also depends on the determination, which is verified and enforced. It depends on the rationality of the defense programs backing up the treaty. And it depends on the international atmosphere in which it contributes.
For these reasons, senators are interested in numerous questions peripheral to the treaty, including our plans for warhead modernization and missile defense. We are eager to hear the administration’s perspectives on these elements of our defense policy, as well as the witnesses’ views on the “new START” treaty and our relationship with Russia.
I appreciate that our top national-security leadership is personally invested in the Senate ratification process. And I look forward to working with you and members of this committee to achieve a timely treaty review that will fully inform Senate consideration.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Sen. Lugar.
Madame Secretary and Mr. Secretary and Adm. Mullen, as I ask for your testimony, I would like to ask you each – if each of you wants to, but certainly at least one of you – to address a question that is much in the news this morning. The deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey with Iran is a deal that at first blush one might interpret as a swap of the 3-percent low-enriched uranium for the 20-percent medical isotope uranium. But as we know, during the course of the month since that original deal was put on the table, Iran has gone from about 1,800 kilograms to 2,300 kilograms, and so it is not the same deal.
And it is our understanding that the potential for a breakout to one nuclear weapon would exist during the time of the swap, absent – absent further ingredients of a deal – i.e., the IAEA oversight, the answering of questions, an agreement not to enrich to 20 percent, et cetera.
So we would ask you if you might at the top of your testimony address the question of the administration’s attitude towards this at this point and whether or not it is your understanding that it is indeed a swap in exchange for not going up to 20 percent enrichment or that would have to be a demand.
So Madame Secretary, we recognize you first, and then Secretary Gates, Adm. Mullen.
SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Chairman Kerry and Sen. Lugar and members of the committee, thank you for calling several hearings on the “new START” treaty and for this invitation to appear before you. We deeply appreciate your commitment to this critical issue. And I think both the chairman and the ranking member’s opening statements made very clear what is at stake and how we must proceed in the consideration of this treaty in an expeditious manner.
It’s a pleasure to testify along with Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen, because we share a strong belief that the “new START” treaty will make our country more secure.
This treaty also reflects our growing cooperation with Russia on matters of mutual interest, and it will aid us in advancing our broader nonproliferation agenda. To that end, we have been working closely with our P-5 plus one partners for several weeks on the draft of a new sanctions resolution on Iran.
And today I am pleased to announce to this committee we have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China. We plan to circulate that draft resolution to the entire Security Council today.
And let me say, Mr. Chairman, that I think this announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran, over the last few days, as any we could provide. There are a number of unanswered questions regarding the announcement coming from Tehran.
And although we acknowledge the sincere efforts of both Turkey and Brazil to find a solution regarding Iran’s standoff with the international community over its nuclear program, the P-5 plus one – which consists of course of Russia, China, the United States, the U.K., France and Germany along with the high representative of the EU – are proceeding to rally the international community on behalf of a strong sanctions resolution that will in our view send an unmistakable message about what is expected from Iran.
We can certainly go into more detail about that during the Q&A. But let me turn to the matter at hand, because I think as – as convincingly as I can make the case, for the many reasons why this “new START” treaty is in the interests of the national security of the United States of America, the relationship with Russia is a key part of that kind of security.
And as Sen. Lugar said in his opening remarks, during all the ups and downs, during the heights and the depths of the Cold War, one constant was our continuing effort to work toward the elimination of and the curtailment of strategic arms in a way that built confidence and avoided miscalculation.
Now, some may argue that we don’t need a “new START” treaty. But the choice before us is between this treaty and no treaty governing our nuclear-security relationship with Russia, between this treaty and no agreed verification mechanism on Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, between this treaty and no legal obligation for Russia to maintain its strategic nuclear forces below an agreed level.
And as Secretary Gates has pointed out, every previous president who faced this choice has found that the United States is better off with a treaty than without one. And the United States Senate has always agreed. The 2002 Moscow treaty was approved by a vote of 95 to nothing. The 1991 START treaty was approved by 93 to 6.
More than two years ago, President Bush began the process that has led to the “new START” treaty that we are discussing today. Now, it too has already received bipartisan support in testimony before this committee. And as the chairman and the ranking member acknowledged, former Secretary James Schlesinger, secretary of Defense for Presidents Nixon and Ford, secretary of Energy for President Carter, declared that it is obligatory for the United States to ratify it.
Today I’d like to discuss what the “new START” treaty is and what it isn’t.
It is a treaty that, if ratified, will provide stability, transparency and predictability for the two countries with more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
It is a treaty that will reduce the permissible number of Russian and U.S. deployed strategic warheads to 1,550. This is a level we have not reached since the 1950s.
In addition, each country will be limited to 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles and 800 deployed and non-deployed strategic missile launchers and heavy bombers. These targets will help the United States and Russia bring our deployed strategic arsenals, which were sized for the Cold War, to levels that are appropriate for today’s threats. This is a treaty that will help us track remaining weapons with an extensive verification regime. This regime draws upon our experience over the last 15 years in implementing the original START treaty, which expired in December.
The verification measures reflect today’s realities, including the fewer number of facilities in Russia compared with the former Soviet Union. And for the first time ever, we will be monitoring the actual numbers of warheads on deployed strategic missiles.
Moreover, by bringing the “new START” treaty into force, we will strengthen our national security more broadly, including by creating greater leverage to tackle a core national security challenge, nuclear proliferation.
Now I am not suggesting that this treaty alone will convince Iran or North Korea to change their behavior.
But it does demonstrate our leadership and strengthens our hand as we seek to hold these and other governments accountable, whether that means further isolating Iran and enforcing the rules against violators or convincing other countries to get a better handle on their own nuclear materials. And it conveys to other nations that we are committed to real reductions and to holding up our end of the bargain under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In my discussions with many foreign leaders, including earlier this month in New York at the beginning of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, I have already seen how this “new START” treaty and the fact that the United States and Russia could agree has made it more difficult for other countries to shift the conversation back to the United States. We are seeing an increasing willingness both to be held accountable and to hold others accountable.
A ratified “new START” treaty would also continue our progress to a broader U.S.-Russia cooperation. We believe this is critical to other foreign policy priorities, including dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, cooperating on Afghanistan and pursuing trade and investment. Already the negotiations over this treaty have advanced our efforts to reset the U.S.-Russian relationship. There is renewed vigor in our discussion on every level, including those between our presidents, our military leaders and between me and my counterpart, Foreign Minister Lavrov.
Now, our approach to this relationship is pragmatic and clear-eyed. And our efforts, including this treaty, are producing tangible benefits for U.S. national security.
At the same time, we are deepening and broadening our partnerships with allies. In my recent meetings in Tallinn, Estonia, with our other NATO allies, they expressed an overwhelmingly positive and supportive view of the “new START” treaty.
Now, there are also things that this new treaty will not do. As both Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen will discuss more fully, the “new START” treaty does not compromise the nuclear-force levels we need to protect ourselves and our allies. The treaty does not infringe upon the flexibility we need to maintain our forces, including the bombers, submarines and missiles, in a way that best serve (sic) our national-security interests.
The treaty does not constrain our plans for missile-defense efforts. Those of you who worked with me in the Senate know I take a back seat to no one in my strong support of missile defense, so I want to make this point very clearly. Nothing in the “new START” treaty constrains our missile-defense efforts. Russia has issued a unilateral statement on missile defense expressing its views. We have not agreed to this view, and we are not bound by this unilateral statement. In fact, we’ve issued our own unilateral statement making it clear that the United States intends to continue improving and deploying our missile-defense systems, and nothing in this treaty prevents us from doing so.
The treaty’s preamble does include language acknowledging the relationship between strategic offensive and defensive forces, but this is simply a statement of fact. It does not constrain our missile-defense programs in any way. In fact, a similar provision was part of the original START treaty, and did not prevent us from developing our missile defenses.
The treaty does contain language prohibiting the conversion or use of offensive missile launchers from missile-defense interceptors, and vice-versa. But we never planned to do that, anyway. As Gen. O’Reilly, our missile-defense director, has said, it is actually cheaper to build smaller, tailor-made missile-defense silos than to convert offensive launchers. And the treaty does not restrict us from building new missile-defense launchers, 14 of which we are currently constructing in Alaska.
This administration has requested 9.9 billion (dollars) for missile defense in FY 2011, almost 700 million (dollars) more than Congress provided in FY 2010.
This request reflects our commitment to missile defense and our conviction that we have done nothing. And there is no interpretation to the contrary that undermines that commitment.
Finally the “new START” treaty does not restrict our ability to modernize our nuclear weapons complex to sustain a safe, secure and effective deterrent.
This administration has called for a 10 percent increase in the FY 2011 budget for overall weapons and infrastructure activities and a 25 percent increase in direct stockpile work. This was not in previous budgets. And during the next 10 years, this administration proposes investing $80 billion into our nuclear weapons complex.
So let’s take a step back and put the “new START” treaty into a larger context. This treaty is only one part of our country’s broader efforts to reduce the threat posed by the deadliest weapons the world has ever known. And we owe special gratitude to Sen. Lugar for his leadership and commitment through all the years on this issue.
This administration is facing head-on the problems of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. We have several coordinated efforts including the Nuclear Posture Review, the recently concluded Nuclear Security Summit and the ongoing Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.
While a ratified “new START” treaty stands on its own terms, in the reflection of the benefits in national security for our country, it is also a part of our broader efforts.
So Mr. Chairman, Sen. Lugar, members of this committee, thank you for having us here and for all of your past and future attention to this “new START” treaty.
We stand ready to work with you as you undertake your constitutional responsibilities and to answer all your questions today and in the coming weeks. And we are confident that, at the end of this process, you will come to the conclusion that so many of your predecessors have shared over so many years on both sides of the aisle: that this treaty makes our country more secure and merits the Senate’s advice and consent to ratification.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. We appreciate it.
May I say also that Secretary Gottemoeller and Ellen Tauscher and the whole team did a terrific job of keeping the – through you of keeping the committee apprised and briefed. And we had a number of sessions and even colleagues that went to Geneva. So we thank you for the cooperation in that. It was very, very helpful in getting us here.
SECRETARY ROBERT GATES: Mr. Chairman, Sen. Lugar, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak today regarding the agreement between the United States and Russia on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
This treaty reduces the strategic nuclear forces of our two nations in a manner that strengthens the strategic stability of our relationship and protects the security of the American people and our allies. America’s nuclear arsenal remains a vital pillar of our national security, deterring potential adversaries and reassuring allies and partners.
As such, the first step of the year-long Nuclear Posture Review was an extensive analysis which, among other things, determined how many nuclear delivery vehicles and deployed warheads were needed. This in turn provided the basis for our negotiations of START.
The results of those studies give me confidence that the Department of Defense will be able to maintain a strong and effective nuclear deterrent while modernizing our weapons to ensure that they are safe, secure and reliable, all within the limits of the new treaty.
The U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent will continue to be based on the triad of delivery systems – intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers – within the boundaries negotiated in the “new START” treaty. Those are an upper boundary of 1,550 deployed warheads; up to 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and nuclear-capable heavy bombers; and up to 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
Under this treaty, we retain the power to determine the composition of our force structure, allowing the United States complete flexibility to deploy, maintain and modernize our strategic nuclear forces in a manner that best protects our national-security interests.
The Defense Department has established a baseline force structure to guide our planning, one that does not require changes to current or planned basing arrangements. The department will retain 240 deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles, distributed among 14 submarines, each of which will have 20 launch tubes. This is the most survivable leg of the triad. And reducing the number of missiles carried on each submarine from 24 to 20 will facilitate Navy planning for the Ohio-class submarine replacement.
Recognizing the flexibility of the bomber leg of the triad, we will retain up to 60 deployed heavy bombers, including all 18 operational B-2s. At the same time, we will – we have to consider the Air Force is planning for a long-range strike replacement and plan to convert a number of B-52Hs to a conventional-only role. Finally, the U.S. will retain up to 420 deployed single-warhead Minuteman 3 ICBMs at our current three missiles bases.
Let me also address some of the things that the “new START” treaty will not affect, echoing Secretary Clinton. First, the treaty will not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defenses possible, nor impose additional costs or barriers on those defenses. And I’m speaking of stories in the news this morning and the last couple of days. I’ll be happy to discuss the article in The New York Times this morning about the SM-3 missile.
As the administration’s Ballistic Missile Defense Review and budget plans make clear, the United States will continue to improve our capability to defend ourselves, our deployed forces and our allies and partners against ballistic missile threats. We made this clear to the Russians in a unilateral statement made in connection with the treaty.
Furthermore, the “new START” does not restrict our ability to develop and deploy prompt global strike/prompt conventional strike capabilities that could attack targets anywhere on the globe in an hour or less. The treaty’s limit of 700 deployed delivery vehicles, combined with the associated ceiling of 1,550 deployed warheads, accommodates the limited number of conventional warheads we may need for this capability. We are also currently examining potential future long-range weapons systems for prompt global strike that would not be limited by the treaty.
In my view, a key contribution of this treaty is its provision for a strong verification regime. While the intelligence community will provide a detailed classified assessment, I would like to emphasize some of the key elements of this regime, which provides a firm basis for monitoring Russia’s compliance with its treaty obligations while also providing important insights into the size and composition of Russian strategic forces.
The treaty allows each party to conduct up to 18 on-site inspections each year at operating bases for ICBMs, SSBNs and nuclear-capable heavy bombers, as well as storage facilities, test ranges and conversion and elimination facilities.
The agreement establishes a database which will be initially populated 45 days after the treaty enters into force and updated every six months thereafter that will help provide the United States with a rolling overall picture of Russia’s strategic offensive forces.
This picture is further supplemented by the large number of notifications required which will track the movement and changes in status of the strategic offensive arms covered by the treaty. Unique identifiers for the first time will be assigned to each ICBM, SLBM and nuclear-capable heavy bomber, allowing us to track the disposition and patterns of operation of accountable systems throughout their life cycles.
The treaty provides for noninterference with national technical means of verification such as reconnaissance satellites, ground stations and ships. This provides us with an independent method of gathering information that can assist in validating data declarations. While telemetry is not needed to verify the provisions of this treaty, the terms nonetheless call for the exchange of telemetry on up to five launches per year, per side.
I am confident that the “new START” treaty will in no way compromise America’s nuclear deterrent. In many ways, the primary threat to the effectiveness and credibility of the American deterrent is one that we control ourselves, and that is failing to invest adequately in our nation’s nuclear weapons infrastructure, a point I have made a number of times in recent years.
Maintaining an adequate stockpile of safe, secure and reliable nuclear warheads requires a reinvigoration of our nuclear weapons complex, that is, our infrastructure and our science, technology and engineering base. To this end, the Department of Defense is transferring $4.6 billion to the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration through fiscal year 2015. This transfer will assist in funding critical nuclear weapons life-extension programs and efforts to modernize the nuclear weapons infrastructure.
The initial applications of this funding along with an additional $1.1 billion being transferred for naval nuclear reactors are reflected in the Defense and Energy Departments’ FY ’11 budget request, which I urge the Congress to approve.
These investments and the Nuclear Posture Review strategy for warhead life extension represent a credible modernization plan to sustain the nuclear infrastructure and support our nation’s deterrent.
I would close with a final observation. I first began working on strategic arms control with the Russians in 1970, 40 years ago, a U.S. effort that led to the first strategic arms limitation agreement with Moscow two years later. The key question then and in the decades since has always been the same: is the United States better off with a strategic arms agreement with the Russians, or without it? The answer for successive presidents of both parties has always been, with an agreement. The U.S. Senate has always agreed, approving each treaty by lopsided bipartisan margins.
The same answer holds true for “new START”. The U.S. is better off with this treaty than without it, and I am confident that it is the right agreement for today and for the future. It increases stability and predictability, allows us to sustain a strong nuclear triad, and preserves our flexibility to deploy the nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities needed for effective deterrence and defense.
In light of all these factors, I urge the Senate to give its advice and consent to ratification on the new treaty.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Secretary Gates.
ADM. MICHAEL MULLEN: Mr. Chairman, Sen. Lugar, distinguished members of the committee, I am pleased to add my voice in support for ratification of the “new START” treaty, and to do so as soon as possible, as we are in our sixth month without a treaty with Russia.
This treaty has the full support of your uniformed military.
Throughout its negotiation, Secretaries Clinton and Gates ensured that professional military perspectives were thoroughly considered. During the development of the “new START” treaty, I was personally involved, to include two face-to-face negotiating sessions and several telephone conversations with my counterpart, the chief of the Russian general staff, Gen. Makarov, regarding key aspects of the treaty.
The joint chiefs and I also had time to review the analytic work done in the Nuclear Posture Review regarding the shape of future U.S. strategic nuclear forces. Its recommendations were transmitted as guidance to the negotiating team in Geneva regarding the three central limits on strategic systems and the warheads associated with them that are contained in the treaty.
In short, the conclusion and implementation of the “new START” treaty is the right thing for us to do. And we took the time to do it right. The chiefs and I believe the “new START” treaty achieves important and necessary balance between three critical items – aims. It allows us to retain a strong and flexible American nuclear deterrent. It helps – strengthens openness and transparency in our relationship with Russia. It also demonstrates our national commitment to reducing the worldwide risk of nuclear incidents resulting from the continuing proliferation of nuclear weapons.
You should know that I firmly believe that the central limits establishing this treaty and the provision that allows each side the freedom to determine its own force mix provides us with the necessary flexibility to field the right force structure to meet the nation’s needs. We plan to retain our triad of bombers, ballistic-missile submarines and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles in sufficient diversity and numbers to assure strategic stability between ourselves and the Russian Federation. We will also maintain sufficient capability to deter other nuclear states.
In addition, the agreement provides for an array of important verification measures that are critical to both sides in monitoring compliance with the new treaty.
This treaty is also a critical element in the president’s agenda for reducing nuclear risks to the United States, our allies and partners and the wider international community.
Our recently concluded NPR acknowledges the continuing role for nuclear weapons in the defense of America, while placing additional emphasis on positive steps to prevent nuclear terrorism and the risks from nuclear proliferation.
In summary, this “new START” agreement is important in itself and should also be viewed in wider context. It makes meaningful reductions in the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals while strengthening strategic stability and U.S. national security.
Coupled with the administration’s clear commitment to prudently invest in our aging nuclear infrastructure and in nuclear-warhead life extension programs, this treaty is a very meaningful step forward.
I encourage the Senate to fully study the treaty. And I believe you will see the wisdom of ratifying it. And I sit before you today recommending that you do so.
Thank you, sir.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Adm. Mullen.
Secretary Gates, you wrote last week about the unanimous support of the nation’s military for this treaty. And Adm. Mullen, you personally engaged with your counterpart, Gen. Makarov, at a couple of points in the course of these negotiations.
You just testified in a list, both of you, of the things that – I was quite impressed by the sequence of benefits that you articulated. I’d like to ask each of you if you’d kind of summarize for us, in a layperson’s language for a moment, just why the military has such confidence that this in fact strengthens and does not present any of the challenges that some of the critics have raised.
SEC. GATES: Well, I think that, first of all, this treaty, like its predecessors, has – brings four benefits that we would not otherwise have. The first is transparency. Knowing what the Russians are doing; being able to track their systems; being able to count them; being able to observe them for the first time, actually look at the warheads themselves; having the unique tagging that we’ve talked about – none of this kind of transparency would be possible without this treaty.
Second, predictability. This has been an important feature of strategic-arms agreements with Russia since the very first one in 1972, to have some idea, for both sides to know the limits on the other, and therefore the – avoiding the need to hedge against the unknown; and having sufficient verification in place to be able to have confidence in that judgment.
The third benefit is strategic stability. And the way this treaty is structured adds to that strategic stability. For example, as the number of warheads comes – the number of delivery vehicles comes down, putting just a single one of our warheads on an ICBM requires the Russians to use a one-for-one or two-for-one attack mode if they were to come after our ICBMs. So they would use up a significant portion of their strategic nuclear-delivery vehicles trying to take out our ICBMs. All of this contributes to strategic stability.
And finally, this treaty for the first time gives us actual access to Russian weapons and Russian facilities. We’ve had access to facilities, but not the weapons themselves, before.
So I think in each of these four areas, the treaty brings benefits to the United States and, frankly, enhances our security in ways that would not happen in the absence of such a treaty.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Secretary.
ADM. MULLEN: Chairman, throughout the negotiations – and the ones I participated in certainly focused from the military perspective and our ability to maintain a very strong, strategic deterrent. And it’s my belief and the beliefs of the chiefs, including – in addition to the strategic commander, Gen. Chilton, that in fact the treaty does that.
Particularly important was the preservation, at this point in time, of the – of the triad, and the strength of that triad, which has been such a critical part of our arsenal historically, and also in my interaction with our service chiefs, particularly the chief of staff of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the – or the chief of naval operations, in order to be able to continue to invest and sustain the infrastructure and the people, the training, the kinds of things that we need to sustain this over time. So the strength of that triad is – which has proven itself in the past is still very much there, even though some of the numbers – the numbers are down.
Secondly – and to a limited degree I can speak to this – but what we typically need those weapons for, the ability to execute military operations, should that at some point – at some point in time absolutely have to – you know, have to occur, is that we are in very good shape with respect to any contingencies which are out there. And that was a substantial underpinning for this treaty from the military perspective: Can we carry out the mission that the president of the United States has given us? And I just want to assure you that we can.
In the negotiations with the Russians specifically to look at the wide array of initiatives, including verification, the size of the arsenal, what we would look to the future – and to reemphasize what Secretary Clinton said, we’ve done this in way that has put us – or continues to put us in a great position of strength while, at the same time, in a – from my perspective, a better position in terms of cooperation with Russia – you know, keeping our eyes wide open, but certainly cooperating with them in ways which has been a strength of this treaty – not just this – is a strength of this treaty but historically as well.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you. I thought those were terrific summaries.
Secretary Clinton, in the context of your efforts with respect to a number of global issues – challenges we face, and particularly nonproliferation, can you similarly sort of reduce to the nub what the implications would be of not ratifying this agreement?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Mr. Chairman, we would obviously lose all of the benefits that both Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen discussed. And although they are benefits with respect to this treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation, they have many ancillary implications for our larger efforts against nonproliferation.
So I would basically make five points. Number one, the intense efforts that we’ve engaged in the last year to reach this treaty have built a level of understanding between the key decision-makers in the United States and Russia that has been very helpful in other arenas, most notably with respect to Iran. I started my morning talking with Sergey Lavrov about, you know, finalizing the resolution and the agreement, that it will be discussed later today.
Secondly, the impact of our resetting of a relationship that resulted in the treaty has had a very salutary effect on many of our allies and our adversaries.
Our allies, particularly in NATO, as I said, welcomed this agreement because they have been historically on the front lines. And even our Central and Eastern Europe – European friends were very pleased to see this level of cooperation between the United States and Russia. And that has laid the groundwork for us to work on the strategic concept that will be introduced with respect to NATO’s future, to reestablish the NATO-Russia council, and to do some other confidence-building measures after the very unfortunate events concerning Georgia that build the feeling of alliance among our NATO members. But again, with a very clear view they expect to – for us to continue to provide their defense.
Thirdly, with respect to adversaries or potential adversaries, the fact that the United States and Russia are working together is not good news. You know, they are not happy to see this level of cooperation. They’re not happy that China and Russia have signed off on this resolution that we plan to introduce later. This is a real setback for them. And it has a very positive effect on our dealings with our international, you know, friends about all of these other issues.
Number four, having gone this far to achieve the benefits that are in this treaty, to lose them would not only undermine our strategic stability, the predictability, the transparency, the other points that both the secretary and the Adm. made, but it would severely impact our potential to lead on the important issue of nonproliferation.
Countries would wonder, well, if we can’t get across the finish line on this treaty, can we get across the finish line on other matters as well?
And finally I can only speak from personal experience, in the many endless meetings that I go to around the world, that the fact that we’ve reached this treaty and have fulfilled our continuing obligations, as an NPT member, on the three pillars, which include disarmament, nonproliferation, peaceful use of nuclear weapons, gives us so much more credibility on the nonproliferation agenda.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
As you have already zeroed in on specific objections that have been raised, I want to mention just again how important it will be to answer all the questions of senators with regard to missile defense. I – each one of you have categorically indicated there is no way – no way – in which our missile defense will be inhibited in any way, at any time.
But that point still doesn’t quite get through. We have people that – worried about something in this treaty that’s going to inhibit missile defense. So I ask for your continued guidance as to how we make that point.
A second point is that on the stockpile stewardship or the making certain that the warheads that we now have work; that in the event we were called upon, by ourselves, our allies, in any way, we have in fact the background in terms of our laboratories, our continuing research, the personnel – some of whom have grown old; we need some young ones – all of these things, so that those things we now have that are guaranteed by our treaties and that we’ve verified everybody else in the world in fact are there, for their confidence as well as our own.
And I mention that because we’ve written letters – sometimes bipartisan letters, sometimes all the Republicans, others. Secretary Gates has been a regular recipient of correspondence. And yet, at the same time, his response today that $4.6 billion has been transferred over to try to meet this is a significant commitment. So but I mention that once again, and will not belabor the point.
Then, the verification procedure – very important. Even senators who are not enthusiastic about arms-control treaties approached, I’m sure, the chairman and me last December the 5th, said: What happens now? There are no American boots on the ground. We’re out of there. What about that? We’ve counted on this for years, that we had American boots on the ground, that our verification worked.
I’ll make – I’ll make just one personal point about this. On the wall of my conference room, we have a chart in which the Department of Defense has contributed data each month for the last 15 years. At the start, 13,300 nuclear warheads on missiles, aimed at the United States – 13,300 – and testimony that any one of those would have obliterated my entire city of Indianapolis – leveled it, gone, everybody dead. That’s impressive to Hoosiers – and I hope it’s impressive to the other 49 states. (Laughter.)
And by and large, they have supported anything that I could do to make certain that, one by one, those missiles left – or rather, the warheads left the missiles. We worked with the Russians to destroy the missiles; destroyed the silos in which the missiles were located. Every vestige of this – even the roots and branches, and finally planted daisies, or whatever else it is in many fields in Siberia or wherever we had them – is critically important.
Now, there may be Americans, who have not gone to the arms control talks, who don’t realize what a nuclear – one nuclear weapon can do. And there were 13,300 of them, and there are still, by some counts, as many as 5,000, not all deployed, but we have some distance to go. Now, December 5 comes, no boots on the ground, no treaty.
And some have always said, “Well, you can’t trust the Russians, we don’t want to deal with the Russians.” We even have some members who have said we shouldn’t knock out the very first or our weapons; we need every one of them; we ought to be building more. I don’t agree with that philosophy. I understand that’s a possible way of going about this world.
But I would say that, as a counter-argument, during one trip that I was privileged to have with Russians, they’d become especially friendly and decided that they would like for me to go up to a base where they had the so-called Typhoon submarines. Now, the Typhoons were popularized by Tom Clancy in “The Hunt for Red October.”
They were remarkable submarines that went up and down our eastern coast, whether we knew about it or not, for the better part of a generation. Each one of them had, reportedly, 200 nuclear missiles, a chip shot into New York, Philadelphia, any other place they wanted to shoot, all that time. We may not have known about it. Well, we do now. We did then. I have a picture in the office that Russians took of me standing in front of a Typhoon, which was the first time our intelligence had seen a Typhoon at that stage.
And yet their agreement was that they wanted us to help them destroy the Typhoons. It’s taken 10 years to get through three of the six.
They are very complex situations. But to leave three in the six still out there is unthinkable. So if I become dogmatic or emotional about it, it’s from some experience of seeing what could hit us and the need to have boots on the ground in terms of verification. So we want to make sure we all know what the verification is and why it’s at this particular level. And you’ve done your best thus far.
But without being tedious, I wanted to submit more questions that our staff has formulated in detail so that there can be as complete a record of every nuance of this that we have.
Now, finally, I would just say that our own experience of these treaties has been that, even after the treaties come and we have implementing legislation, whether it be cooperative threat reduction or something of this variety, there have been senators perennially who put all sorts of restrictions on all sorts of reports that were needed before any money could be spent. You were leveled in the State Department or the Defense Department with obligations to show 15 different things before a dollar could go. In fact, one year, no money at all was spent with regard to disarmament in Russia because of so many letters that never got written, and the appropriators took the money off the table.
So whether we’re doing a treaty or not, we have arguments every year among skeptics who somehow believe that arms control is not exactly their cup of tea. I would just say that this is so important that I ask your indulgence in sending over more and more questions and then publishing all of the results of those questions so that anyone who is slightly interested in this academically will have every conceivable answer and finally, then, has to come to a gut reaction, is this something that’s good for our country? Now, you have all affirmed that you believe that it is. And we appreciate that very direct testimony today.
And I think you for indulging me an essay rather than a set of questions. But they will be coming in large numbers.
SEN. KERRY: Senator, that’s the kind of question period the panel really appreciates. (Laughter.)
So let me just say from our point of view, we are enormously grateful to have your expertise in this effort. And I think the questions that you’re going to pose are going to help the committee to put together precisely the kind of record that’s needed here. So I know the panel as well as the committee appreciates that approach.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And let me thank our witnesses as well for your presence here today. And let me just say as far as the chairman goes, this has been a long-standing issue of Sen. Kerry’s. And he’s done a remarkable job on it. But also a word about Dick Lugar, who I’ve had the privilege of serving on this committee with for 30 years.
And I have a feeling when the last nuclear weapon is gone, and we all hope that day will come in our world, and the story of how mankind put its common good above its baser instincts, the names of Dick Lugar and Sam Nunn will figure prominently in that history.
And having had the privilege of serving with both of them for many years here, I want to thank Dick Lugar personally, in his presence here today, but also Sam Nunn for their work and the three of you as well, for your tremendous efforts in this regard.
This is very difficult work, and I think you’ve done a remarkable job getting it done. Let me – I have two quick questions for you. One relates to the Nunn-Lugar proposals. And I just wonder if any analysis has been done, to determine whether or not we need to update Nunn-Lugar in light of this “new START” accord.
Obviously that has been a very valuable tool over the years, as Sen. Lugar has just affirmed. And the question would be, do we need to do something else regarding Nunn-Lugar, in light of this treaty? And we’ll go to Secretary Clinton, or Adm. Mullen.
ADM. MULLEN: Actually, Senator, I’m not really sure. I’m – it’s a great question and I think it’s something we have – from my perspective, we should look at it.
SEN. DODD: Well, I’d ask if that could be done. That’s part of the – part of the questions we have.
And then secondly, in a sense, you’ve answered this, Secretary – Madame Secretary Clinton. But I wonder if you might just reach a little further. First of all, congratulations, at least on the news we’re hearing about the Chinese and the Russians being supportive of the – of the international sanctions regime regarding Iran. That’s extremely important information.
As you know, we’re in the midst here in a conference between the House and the Senate on the Iran sanctions bill. And my other hat that I wear as chairman of the Banking Committee, in which Bob Corker serves and others, we voted unanimously on an Iran sanctions bill; the House has done so, as well. And so we need to proceed with that issue. But we’re very interested in seeing what happens internationally. Every member of the conference committee has expressed the view that international sanctions makes a lot more sense than unilateral, and I think we all agree with that, although we’re not going to reduce or retreat from that unilateral sanctions effort here. But certainly, an effort on the multilateral effort will be a tremendous step forward. And so we commend you for that.
But I wonder if you might comment on the counter – or reduction and counterproliferation efforts more generally that this agreement might have an effect on. I think, specifically, of India and Pakistan, for instance. To what extent might this agreement have the positive impact on causing other nations to begin to move in this direction?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Sen. Dodd, thank you. And thank you for all of your work on these and so many other important issues.
We believe that the treaty history between the United States and Russia is the bedrock of disarmament. And as Sen. Lugar just eloquently outlined, it has certainly been in our interests over all of these years. We believe that in the current environment, in which we are putting forth this treaty for your consideration for ratification, it strengthens our hand in talking with other countries that have nuclear weapons. Now, the fact is that as far as we know in the world, and I think we’ve got a pretty good handle on it, the United States and Russia have more than 90 percent of all nuclear weapons in the world. And we want to, as we said in the non – in the NPR, the Nuclear Posture Review, we want to explore beginning conversations with other nuclear nations, starting with China, and see what kind of opportunity for discussion could exist.
The United States and Russia have now a 30-year history of these discussions, but we need to begin similar discussions with others. We go into those with the credibility that this treaty gives us. Right now, as both the chairman and the ranking member have said, there is no treaty. We have no so-called boots on the ground. We’re not inspecting anything, we’re not acquiring the kind of information that we think is in our national security interest. So this treaty is not only on its own merits in our interest, but the fact of it gives us the credibility to go and talk with other nuclear armed countries. It also gives us the credibility to reach agreement, as we now have on a resolution in the United Nations, with countries that are, you know, concerned about the proliferation represented by Iran.
So on this broad basis of how we can be more effective in making our case about what we see as the principal threat to the United States and the world – the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their use by rogue regimes or by networks of terrorists – this treaty gives us a lot of credibility going forward.
SEN. DODD: All right, thank you. Thank you very much.
And Mr. Chairman, I have some brief comments, and let me just – we have questions to be asked, obviously, and answered, but I want to express my strong support for this treaty. And I think we need to move on this, and my fervent hope is that we’ll get this done now in the next month or so, clearly before we adjourn. I can’t imagine adjourning from this Congress and not having completed this work. So I appreciate very much your work.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Sen. Dodd.
SEN. ROBERT CORKER (R-TN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank each of you for your service and what you do on behalf of our country.
Madame Secretary, what recourse do each of the countries have against each other if there’s violations in the treaty?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator there are several – several approaches. One, there is a bilateral commission that exists to iron out differences, solve problems, to which each country make seek recourse if there is some kind of violation or perceived violation.
SEN. CORKER: What kind of recourse?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, you know we’ve had this – we have a long history with these treaties, where presenting information that we believe might violate the spirit or the letter of the treaty leads to changes. I mean, this treaty is not a static document. It goes into effect, like the previous START treaty and others, and then it begins to be implemented.
So if we believe that under the treaty we’re not getting access to what we have signed up for under the treaty, we raise that and we get the access. So it’s a constant effort to make sure that both sides are complying with their agreements as set forth in the treaty. And I – you know, Sen. Lugar is the expert in the room, probably along with Secretary Gates. But the history of these treaties has been – I would characterize as positive in the enforcement and implementation. The final recourse we have is to withdraw from the treaty. You know, we have the right to withdraw if we believe that this treaty is no longer in our security interest.
SEN. CORKER: So basically it’s an understanding between two countries, and they act in good faith to live up to those. Shouldn’t it trouble us that, before we ever get started, that each of the countries has a very different opinion of what we’ve negotiated as it relates to missile defense? And should not – should all of us not want a joint statement from both countries as to that before we begin? Because it’s sort of troubling that we begin with two divergent views on what we’ve agreed to as it relates to missile defense.
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator again, there’s a history here. There were similar divergent views with the first START treaty, and it didn’t stop us from doing anything we did and intended to do on missile defense. You know, it’s a little bit like a political statement, I might suggest, that, you know, you can make – you can make an agreement and then you –
SEN. CORKER: (Duplicitous ?) – like – is that – is that what you’re saying?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, no, I think that it is – you make an agreement. The agreement on the face of it and its terms set forth the obligations. But for various reasons each side might want to characterize it a little bit differently. But if you look at the statement, the unilateral statements that were made by the Russians, they basically said they would have a right to withdraw if, you know, we continued on missile defense. They have a right to withdraw anyway. And with the original START treaty, they said similar things about missile defense, and here we are billions of dollars later.
And it just is not a – it’s not a part of the treaty agreement itself.
SEN. CORKER: As it relates to their ability to launch, it’s my understanding they’re already below the levels that the treaty stipulates and that we’re above it. And so as it relates to the ability to deliver, did we really get anything in this treaty at all?
ADM. MULLEN: Senator, I think the significant reduction in overall nuclear weapons was very clearly a benefit.
SEN. CORKER: But aren’t they already below the level just specifically as it relates to strategic launch ability? Aren’t they – because of the age of their system, aren’t they already below levels that we’ve agreed to?
ADM. MULLEN: In terms of launching – launching vehicles themselves, they are, yeah.
SEN. CORKER: That’s right, that’s right.
Okay, so let me ask you a question.
ADM. MULLEN: But –
SEN. CORKER: We – it seems to me their neighbors are pretty concerned about their tactical abilities. And did we miss an opportunity, since they’re already below on their strategic ability to deliver? They’re already below that. We’re the ones that are actually making cuts, not them.
Did we miss an opportunity? I know we always Monday-morning quarterback. And whenever we negotiate on behalf of our caucus, other senators say, well, why didn’t you get this? And I know that’s what I’m doing now.
But I guess that’s the purpose of this hearing. Did we miss an opportunity to get them to do some things tactically that would have made their neighbors feel slightly more safe?
ADM. MULLEN: From my perspective, Senator we seized an opportunity to come together and get to this treaty. It isn’t everything that everybody could have wanted. Certainly we’re very aware of the tactical nuclear weapons that Russia has. That has been discussed with them in terms of the future.
And in a broader context, I think the leadership position that we’re both in right now as a result of this from the perspective of overall nuclear weapons inventory, it is certainly something that will be addressed in the future, but it just was not a part of this negotiation.
SEC. GATES: I would also add two things, Senator. First of all, what is important to our allies, and particularly those on Russia’s periphery, is our reaffirmation of Article 5 of the NATO treaty and the fact that NATO continues to believe and attest to the fact that it has – must have a nuclear capability. The F-35s that we’re going to deploy will have a dual capability. So we have protected our right with respect to tactical nuclear weapons.
There’s no question that they’re concerned in Eastern Europe, particularly about Russian tactical nuclear weapons. That was not a part of this negotiation. But we have protected our own ability to do more.
And just for the record, I would point out that while their strategic nuclear delivery vehicles are under the current levels of the treaty, the number of warheads is actually above the level. So they will be reducing the number of warheads.
SEN. CORKER: So I’m going to move on to something that you can address. I know these other things are look-backs and the treaty is what it is from y’all’s standpoint.
I think the modernization issue is the issue that probably concerns all of us. And I know my time’s limited now, but – I know there’s a 23-page report that talks a little bit about sort of where we are, and I know it’s a secure document, but, you know, it focuses mainly on our sub delivery system and not the others.
Our labs are telling us that, you know, they don’t think there’s any way that the amount of dollars that have been set aside adds – y’all talk about $80 billion in investment, but many of us look at it and it looks like it’s double-counting.
In other words, much of it is money that was already going to be spent.
And all I would say is, as we move ahead – and I know I’m 13 seconds over now – I think that’s an area where we’re going to want a lot of clarification as to what the real commitment is modernization-wise. I think that’s really important to all of us. I think all of us know we have an aged system, and we know that, for us to really be where we need to be, a real investment in modernization needs to take place. And I don’t know if you want to make a quick closing comment.
I will say to all of you, thank you again for your service and for your willingness to be here to testify.
SEC. GATES: Two quick comments. First of all, I’ve been trying for three-and-a-half years to get money for modernization of nuclear infrastructure. This is the first time I think I have a chance of actually getting some. And ironically, it’s in connection with an arms-control agreement. But the previous efforts have completely failed.
Second, I would just quote – and we will get you all the budgetary details and everything with respect to this – but I would just quote the director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Tom D’Agostino, who said in testimony that the resources we have in the president’s budget are exactly what we feel is needed in order to satisfy the requirements. And he said separately what is – it is what is required to get the job done. But we’ll give you all the details.
SEN. CORKER: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Sen. Corker.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D-WI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding the hearing. This treaty stands to reduce the size of our arsenal and the Russian arsenal, making the world a safer place without constraining the ability to defend our nation. Its ratification would also offer proof to the international community of the commitment of the United States to fulfilling our obligations under the nonproliferation treaty, which will, of course, help foster the cooperation needed to stop the spread of nuclear-weapons materials. However, this treaty makes significant changes to the verification and inspection regime that was in place for nearly two decades under the original START treaty. We have to ensure that this treaty is verifiable and guarantees our ability to adequately monitor Russian nuclear weapons.
So as a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, I’ll – in the process of reviewing that, but let me go to Secretary Gates and just follow on Sen. Corker’s questions that have to do with modernization.
I understand you were talking about funding issues. But let’s get at least one clarification that I think you could provide. Some of my colleagues in the Senate are concerned that this treaty would jeopardize our ability to modernize our arsenal. It’s my understanding that nothing in this treaty prohibits us from building new warheads if needed.
Is that – is that correct, Secretary?
SEC. GATES: That is correct.
SEN. FEINGOLD: And then let’s turn to Adm. Mullen on the issue of verification.
This treaty’s verification regime differs in several ways from the one that was in place for nearly two decades, as I just mentioned. On one hand, we would no longer maintain an on-site inspection facility at Votkinsk. On the other hand, due to the change in counting rules, I understand that the new treaty would permit more vigorous on-site inspections.
So Admiral, on balance would you say that this would increase or decrease our overall understanding of the Russian arsenal?
ADM. MULLEN: I think on balance, it would increase it.
And specifically with respect to Votkinsk, one of the provisions of this treaty calls for notification of every weapon that gets made there now, notification to us, 48 hours before it comes out of the factory specifically.
I think the verification procedures in this treaty are easier. Secretary Gates has spoken earlier about the number of inspections, about the specifics of the inspections, for the first time to be able to look into and see the number of weapons which are on top of any particular missile.
We haven’t been able to do that before. We will be able to count weapons on bombers, which we haven’t been able to do before. We’ll be able to in fact confirm facility elimination. There are very robust national technical means provisions in this treaty and a specific provision which does not permit interference with that. The unique identifier, which will be on every single weapon, is a brand-new provision for verification. And as was mentioned earlier, the number of tests or launches each year, which will have telemetry – but the telemetry needs of this treaty are different from the telemetry needs we had in the past, and we really don’t need telemetry for the kind of verification that we need for this treaty that we had before, to include the ability to understand the weight of a missile when we didn’t know what was actually inside it.
So I think the verification procedures for this treaty are very robust and meet the standards that we have today in the 21st century and not the ones that we needed back in previous treaties.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Admiral, I’m concerned that calls for maintaining a large arsenal are based on a misunderstanding of the potential impact of any use of nuclear weapons. Independent studies indicate that even a so-called limited nuclear exchange of 100 warheads would have devastating consequences. Has the United States government evaluated the impact of so-called limited exchange? And is it true that such an exchange could have a devastating global impact?
ADM. MULLEN: Yes, sir. I think the – a limited exchange would have a devastating global impact. Sen. Lugar spoke to that earlier. A single – you know, a single weapon would have a devastating impact.
And yet we find ourselves, I think, over time, reducing the size of our arsenal, but also sustaining it at a size that preserves the deterrence aspect of it – we don’t do this alone – and in a treaty with another country that’s got an enormous number of nuclear weapons as well.
So clearly, the devastation which would occur with any release of a nuclear weapon – and we were speaking earlier about the merging of terrorists with nuclear weapons, which is another big concern and has been put at the top of the list in the – in the NPR here – all those things would be devastating. And from a – but from the standpoint of the overall treaty, it’s taken us in the right direction. And I think it’s a very, very positive step, while preserving what we need in terms of our overall strength and deterrence capability in our country.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you, Admiral.
And Secretary Gates, I understand that the verification regime under the treaty will supplement the information we gather using other intelligence-gathering capabilities, such as satellites. To the extent that the new treaty scales back certain inspection activities, are we able to compensate for that loss of access through other intelligence activities?
SEC. GATES: That certainly is the judgment of the intelligence community. Representatives of the DNI and CIA were involved in these negotiations throughout, and consulted in terms of both the terms of the treaty and the verification terms. And I think what you are likely to hear from them is that they have high confidence in their ability to monitor this treaty, until toward the end of the 10-year term, when their confidence level will go to moderate. I would tell you that’s what they do on all long-term evaluations of their intelligence capability. The further into the future you go, the confidence level begins to decline. But there’s no question in terms of the ability to verify this treaty.
And in fact, when Sen. Lugar was talking about having his picture taken in front of a Typhoon submarine, and the fact that that was the first time we’d seen one, I would only qualify that by saying that’s the only time we’ve seen one from dry land. (Laughter.)
SEN. FEINGOLD: Adm. Mullen, the director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. O’Reilly, recently testified that this treaty would actually reduce the constraints on the development of our missile defense program. Could you just finally say a bit about that?
ADM. MULLEN: Well, – and the issue of missile defense has been one that obviously is very much in focus as a result of this. I mean, throughout the negotiations, there was – while we talked about it, it was by and large disconnected. And the purpose of this treaty was to not get at missile defense. I see no restrictions in this treaty in terms of our development of missile defense, which is a very important system as well.
And I would actually hope that in the long term, given the relationship with Russia, that we would be able to see our way through to more cooperative efforts with them in terms of missile defense, and very well possibly in the future have the kind of impact that Gen. O’Reilly was talking about.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you all.
SEN. LUGAR: (Off mike.)
SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA): Thank you very much, Sen. Lugar.
All of you have bragged about the – or have talked about the verification improvements or the ability to verify on this. I wanted to ask a couple questions.
Adm. Mullen, you talk about the identification system on each weapon. Is that going to be like a transponder from an airplane? Is it going to be a technological – how are we going to do that? Or do we know yet?
ADM. MULLEN: I think some may know. I don’t. I mean, it was very clear that it was going to be visible and verifiable and every single weapon would have it. And there were specific criteria that were laid on for each weapon, because the weapons, in fact, are different as well.
SEN. ISAKSON: But would it be a technological verification versus a visible one, where they’d have some ability –
ADM. MULLEN: I think – I’d have to get back. I think it is visible, but it could possibly be technologically verified as well.
SEN. ISAKSON: Well, that is – if you would, I’d like to have that information –
ADM. MULLEN: Sure.
SEN. ISAKSON: – because that is – that is impressive.
Secretary Gates, thank you for being here. You talked about the submarine-launched missiles, and you talked about the number of inspections we’ll now have, which is 18. Is that correct?
SEC. GATES: Yes, sir.
SEN. ISAKSON: How many inspections do we have under – well, our current START is expired by six months. How many did we have under START II?
SEC. GATES: I honestly don’t remember. (Off mike.) There was a quota of 28 –
SEN. ISAKSON: There were 28 inspections.
SEC. GATES: – under START II.
SEN. ISAKSON: And now they have 18?
SEC. GATES: Yes, sir.
SEN. ISAKSON: Well, that’s less.
SEC. GATES: Yes, sir.
SEN. ISAKSON: So that’s not really an improvement.
ADM. MULLEN: Two things. I was just informed that actually the UIDs (ph) are mechanical. They’re not – they’re not technically detectable.
SEN. ISAKSON: (Inaudible.)
ADM. MULLEN: And secondly, I think it’s important – under this treaty there – under the previous treaty, there’s 73 facilities that we inspected. Under this one there – Russian facilities. Under this treaty, there are only 27. And in fact, based on the number of inspections – 18 – there are almost twice as many inspections per facility, per year than under the previous treaty. And that speaks to moving this to where we are right now, as (appears ?) to – as opposed to where we’ve been in the past.
SEC. CLINTON: Senator that’s a really important position for us to underscore, because we spent a lot of time on the inspection issue. And I have to confess, at first I wasn’t quite sure, you know, what the numbers were, because you go to 28 to 18. But then one of our very able negotiators showed me a map of all the sites in the former Soviet Union that we were inspecting.
And then, thanks to Sen. Lugar and other efforts, those sites have been closed, they’ve been shrunk, they’ve been dismantled, because it wasn’t just in Russia; it was in Kazakhstan and Belarus and other places.
So as Adm. Mullen says, in effect, we actually have twice as many inspections, because we have so many fewer sites to inspect.
SEN. ISAKSON: I think it would be great for a eighth-grade level memo on how less is more, because somebody’ll take – I mean, that could be taken either way, and I think it would be helpful to all of us –
SEC. GATES: Senator if I could just elaborate on the answer that I gave you before on the number of inspections, the 18 versus 28, the 18 are divided into two categories. The first 10 are both at deployed and non-deployed sites. Eight are at non-deployed sites. But in that first category of 10, we actually carry out inspections that were – that were – that were – that required two inspections under START II.
There was a separate inspection on data updates and a separate inspection on RVs under START II. Under this treaty, we do both in the same inspection. So for all practical purposes, the number of inspections is about the same as it was under START II.
SEN. ISAKSON: Thank you.
Secretary Clinton, again, thank you for being here. I seem to remember from Dr. Schlesinger’s testimony in our previous hearing that on this issue of short-range tactical weapons, they’re not included in this START agreement. And it was an issue for the – for the Russians because – of missile defense, because their old Eastern Bloc satellite states are so close to them. Is that correct?
SEC. CLINTON: Senator they were not willing to negotiate on tactical nukes, and the history of these arms control agreements were always on strategic weapons.
But we have said that we want to go back and begin to talk to them about tactical nukes. We would like to as soon as we can get this ratified, with all hope that the Senate will so advise and consent. We want to do that.
And I had a very frank and useful discussion with our NATO allies, because you may – you may know that there is a move on, or there was a move on by a number of European countries to begin to put pressure on the United States to withdraw our tactical nukes from Europe. And we have said very clearly, number one, that has to be a NATO decision; it’s not a unilateral decision. And number two, we are not going to withdraw our tactical nukes unless there is an agreement for Russia to similarly discuss with us withdrawal of their tactical nukes.
So this is an issue that was very well vetted by our NATO allies, our Central and our Eastern European allies. They know that, you know, Russia has their tactical nukes, you know, close to their borders with our NATO allies. It’s one of the reasons – and this is something that either Secretary Gates or Adm. Mullen can address. It’s one of the reasons why we altered our missile-defense approach in Europe to the phased adaptive approach, because, you know, very frankly, we were looking at, you know, what kind of medium-range missiles Iran had – you know, not the intercontinental. So this whole question of shorter-range missiles and the tactical nukes is one that we’re going to address.
SEN. ISAKSON: So we maintain both the leverage of our existing tactical weapons that are in Europe, as well as proceeding with missile defense?
SEC. CLINTON: Yes, we do.
SEN. ISAKSON: And the – our NATO partners have – I think you used the word “welcomed” this treaty?
Is that correct?
SEC. CLINTON: Yes, it is.
SEN. ISAKSON: Thank you very much.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Sen. Isakson.
SEN. BENJAMIN L. CARDIN (D-MD): Well, first, Mr. Chairman, thank you for this hearing, and appreciate it very much. I want to express my appreciation to our three witnesses for their – for their service to this nation. And I concur in the comments made by our chairman, by Sen. Dodd, by Sen. Lugar, of the importance of moving forward on our efforts in world leadership on nonproliferation.
And I see this treaty as a critical part in the relationship between Russia and the United States in providing world leadership on nuclear-safety issues, on nonproliferation issues and on responsible reductions of our nuclear stockpile. So I’m pleased that we’re moving forward on this, and I hope that we will be able to act prior to the end of this Congress.
Madame Secretary, I want to follow up on a statement you made earlier. I see Russia and the United States having some common interest here, particularly against the threat of nuclear arms in other countries. And you mentioned Iran. Well, put me down in the category as being very concerned about what happened with Brazil and Turkey with Iran. I’m certain those two countries – or – these two countries may have acted in good faith, but Iran has not.
We’ve been down this road before. We know that Iran can change its mind at any time in regards to the nuclear material. We also know that there – under this arrangement, they would continue on their – on their refinement and capacity to develop a nuclear weapon. So I was pleased to hear your status that we are moving forward with the Security Council resolutions and that we have at least some cooperation from Russia and China. That to me is good news. And it seems to me it’s one of the byproducts of your negotiations on the START treaty. So I think this all comes together.
I – if there’s further more that you could elaborate on that now, I would appreciate it. If not, we certainly understand the timing that you’re going through.
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator thank you.
And I think there’s no doubt that our cooperation and the intensive efforts – that so many of us, along with our Russian counterparts, put into the START negotiations over the last year – is part of the reason why we plan to circulate a draft resolution to the entire Security Council today that includes Russia and China and their agreement on the wording of the text.
With respect to the efforts that were undertaken by Turkey and Brazil, you know, we have acknowledged the sincerity of the undertakings by both Turkey and Brazil. They have attempted to find a solution to Iran’s standoff with the international community. And they made an announcement in Tehran that included certain commitments by Iran.
But as we in the international community have made consistently clear over the last many months, it is not sufficient for Iran to stand at a press conference and make a declaration.
Iran has to clearly and authoritatively convey to the International Atomic Energy Agency what its position is and what it is prepared to do, before any offer by Iran can be legitimately considered by the international community.
That has not happened. And while the removal of a significant portion of low-enriched uranium from the territory of Iran would be a positive step, we are seriously concerned by a number of issues that were missing from the declaration announced. And the chairman began today by listing some of those.
Chief among them is Iran’s refusal to suspend its enrichment of uranium to near 20 percent levels. That is in clear violation of its international obligations. It is continually amassing newly enriched uranium, regardless of whether it comes to agreements on the Tehran research reactor concerns. And, as President Medvedev said publicly yesterday, Russia shares our concerns about this continuing enrichment by Iran.
You know, we had further concerns, which I conveyed to both my Brazilian and Turkish counterparts, about the amorphous timeline for the removal of the LEU. The way that it was presented in this declaration, that could take months of further negotiation. And that is just not acceptable to us and to our partners.
And finally, we’re troubled by the continued failure of the Iranian side in this declaration to commit to engage with the P-5 plus one on its nuclear program, despite a request to do so since last October. And we don’t believe it was any accident that Iran agreed to this declaration as we were preparing to move forward in New York. With all due respect to my Turkish and Brazilian friends, the fact that we had Russia on board, we had China on board and that we were moving early this week, namely today, to share the text of that resolution put pressure on Iran, which they were trying to somehow dissipate.
So Senator given our very serious concerns about Iran’s continued violation concerning its nuclear activities, we remain committed to moving forward with the process in the United Nations, and we are very committed to working with our counterparts at the U.N. and – in order to get as strong a possible resolution as soon as we can.
SEN. CARDIN: Well, thank you very much for that response. I share Sen. Lugar’s concerns that a single missile could cause havoc with world stability. And I know that on the START treaty you’re trying to get the right balance between deterrence and nonproliferation, but it goes beyond Russia and the United States. And that’s why I think these numbers are significant.
And the efforts of Russia and the United States to work together on these issues are important for the international community, including what is happening in Iran and what’s happening in North Korea. And as pointed out, the India-Pakistan issues are also ones of major concern to all of us. So I think it’s extremely important that we keep focused on the overall objectives, as we look at the Senate’s ratification of the START treaty, because it clearly has implications beyond just Russia and the United States.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Sen. Cardin.
We’re going to have a vote here in a few minutes. I want to not interrupt the hearing at all. So I would ask whichever senator is sort of next in line on questioning if they would leave. I will also leave immediately when the vote goes off, and then turn around and come back, so we can continue the hearing without interruption.
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R-ID): Mr. Chairman, thanks very much.
First of all, let me tell you where I come from on this, and I suspect everybody’s in the same position. And that is, the first responsibility of a government is the protection of its citizens and the defense of the American people.
Secretary Gates, I think, probably put this in about as good and simple and understandable terms as you can, in saying: Are we better off with this, or are we better off without it? I mean, that’s probably as good a way of looking at this as possible.
Secretary Gates, commenting on your prior testimony, you know, the modernization that you’ve been pursuing is absolutely critical.
I mean, it’s not only the number of weapons, but it’s the technology, it’s everything else. So keep up the good work there. And we’ll – from this senator’s standpoint, we’ll help you every way we can. That absolutely needs to be done.
Secretary Clinton, your discussion about pursuing discussion or a treaty on tactical weapons, nuclear weapons, is certainly important. And I do hope when this is over that that will be pursued.
Secretary Gates, you talked about 40 years ago when you started this. Certainly that was a marvelous job that was done 40 years ago. It was a huge step forward for mankind in getting a START treaty. But we’ve had 40 years of experience with this now, and I kind of view it as a marriage. Things have changed dramatically over the last 40 years, and we seem to have developed irreconcilable differences on the – on the defensive missile situation.
And that’s where – and I don’t think this is a secret, Secretary Clinton and I have discussed this – I have real difficulties with this. And I would have hoped that we would have taken advantage of this opportunity to try to smooth this over.
You know, 40 years ago when this started, the – you had the new treaty. We – the two parties have now dealt with it for 40 years. Both parties have recognized what they have in their hands and how it would affect the world. This nonsense about a limited exchange, I mean, all somebody has to do is pull the trigger once. I mean, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a hundred, whether it’s one; it would have profound changes on the culture of the world. So.
But at any rate, 40 years ago we didn’t have Iran pursuing nuclear ambitions, we didn’t have North Korea, we didn’t have the Chinese situation, we didn’t have India and Pakistan nuclear armed, and today we do.
And to me, that is the – is even a more pressing need than this particular – than this particular treaty.
Now, it’s a good thing to have this treaty, and the details of it – we can all spar about how many inspections there should be and that sort of thing. But to me, we need to be looking, kind of like a sports analogy, the second shot we’re going to take. And that is, we ought to be looking at, what about these other situations? And the other situations are such that we can’t sit down at a table with Iran; we can’t sit down at a table with North Korea and talk to them using common sense and using reasonableness and reaching a treaty like we have with the Russians, that has really been successful over the last 40 years. And I don’t think anyone can argue that it hasn’t been successful. These others don’t fall in the same category.
So in order to protect the American people, it is absolutely critical that we develop, and we develop with the best technology and the best ability that we have, a defensive missile system. That’s the only way we’re going to protect ourselves from these other countries.
So that’s why I am concerned when, at the end of the day, after all the discussions, we have irreconcilable differences with the Russians. We say this doesn’t impede our abilities. The Russians say, yes, it does. And I – with – I have the greatest respect for the ranking member here who says we need to say over and over again that this doesn’t affect our ability to do that, but yet, when you read the preamble, when you read some of the language in it, and most importantly when you read the unilateral statements, we have irreconcilable differences.
This treaty means something different to the Russians than it means to us, when it comes to protecting our people using a defensive missile structure.
So having said all that, I’m going to give you a couple minutes here to again reassure me. I’ve listened – I’ve listened to all of you reassure me before. And I understand the bottom-line answer as well. If we don’t like it, we can always get out of the treaty. Well, that isn’t a legitimate answer because, if that’s the case, then why have the treaty at all?
So that’s where I come from on this. That’s the problem I have with this. I think that it’s a really, really good thing to have this treaty. But anything we do to convince the world or to suggest to the world that we aren’t going to do everything we possibly can to affect a legitimate defensive position really, really troubles me.
SEC. GATES: Senator the Russians have hated missile defense ever since the strategic arms talks began in 1969. In fact, those talks started with the Russians’ primary interest being in negotiating the anti-ballistic missile treaty. And it was under the insistence of the United States that we accompanied it with an interim agreement on strategic offensive weapons.
So from the very beginning of this process more than 40 years ago, the Russians have hated missile defense. They hated it even more in 1983 when Ronald Reagan – when President Reagan made his speech saying we were going to do strategic missile defense.
And so the notion that this treaty has somehow focused this antagonism on the part of the Russians, toward missile defense, all I would say is it’s the latest chapter in a long line of Russian objections to our proceeding with missile defense.
And frankly, I think it’s because – particularly in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and probably equally now – it’s because we can afford it and they can’t. And we’re going to be able to build a good one, and are building a good one, and they probably aren’t. And they don’t want to devote the resources to it, so they try and stop us from doing it through political means.
This treaty doesn’t accomplish that for them. There are no limits on us. We have made these unilateral statements on other issues relating to virtually every other strategic arms agreements we – agreement we’ve had with the Russians on one subject or another. Neither has ever considered them binding.
And I will tell you, we are putting our – our money where our beliefs are. As Secretary Clinton pointed out, our FY ’11 budget will add about 700 million more dollars on missile defense. We are going forward with the second missile field at Fort Greely. We are – we’ve put – we’re putting more than a billion dollars into the second – into the two-and three-stage ground-based interceptor programs. We’re buying THAADs. We’re buying Patriot 3s. We’re buying SM-3s. We’re buying X-band radars. We are – we have a comprehensive missile-defense program, and we are going forward with all of it. And our plan is to add even more money to it in FY ’12.
So you know, the Russians can say what they want. But as Secretary Clinton said, these unilateral statements are totally outside the treaty. They have no standing. They’re not binding. Never have had (sic).
SEN. RISCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. (Inaudible.)
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Sen. Risch.
I – as our – as Secretary Clinton knows well, the best laid plans of mice and men around here don’t always work, and the Senate has delayed the vote to 12:05. So we will continue in normal fashion.
SEN. ROBERT CASEY (D-PA): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And we want to thank our three witnesses for being here with us again.
We recently had a briefing which was very helpful, in another setting, and this is a continuation of the work that’s been done by each of you and those that work with you.
First of all, I think we still have a lot of debating and discussion about this treaty, and that will continue. And that’s important, to have questions raised over the next several weeks or months, depending on how quickly we get – this treaty gets to the floor. But I think it’s apparent from the testimony that you’ve provided – and others, people outside of government who worked in other administrations of both parties, all being committed to a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal. But also, in – just in summary fashion, highlighting Secretary Gates’ four points on transparency, predictability, strategic stability and then access to both Russian facilities and weapons, all under the umbrella of a safe, secure and effective arsenal, but also under, I guess, a more – a broader umbrella of this treaty enhancing our security. I think it’s critically important to make that point.
And just by way of review – because the three of you know better than I that in Washington we need to review often, and reemphasize – Secretary Gates, I just wanted to review some of your testimony, just by way of emphasis and repetition. But on page 3 of your testimony, you say the following: “First, the treaty will not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defense as possible, nor impose additional costs or barriers on these defenses.” That’s one statement.
The next paragraph: “The “new START” agreement” – and again I’m quoting – “The “new START” agreement does not restrict our ability to develop and deploy prompt conventional strike capabilities that could attack targets anywhere on the globe in an hour or less.” Further along in that paragraph you say, and I quote, “We are currently examining potential future long-range weapon systems for prompt global strike that would not be limited by the treaty.”
All three of those statements, I think, meet – or rebut, I should say, some of the arguments that have been made over the last couple of weeks on missile defense. And I think it’s amplified by what Secretary Clinton said on page two, that the treaty, quote, “does not compromise the nuclear force levels. We need to protect ourselves and our allies. Second, the treaty does not infringe on the flexibility we need to maintain our forces, including bombers, submarines and missiles, in a way that best serves our national security interests. And thirdly, and finally, the treaty does not constrain our missile defense efforts.”
And then, of course, Secretary Clinton adds more to that assertion. And Adm. Mullen, your statements as well.
So I think that it’s important that we – that we confront that argument, but I think it’s also important that we are very clear and unambiguous, as I think all three of you have been.
The one issue that was raised in addition to missile defense, one of several, and it was raised in the context of a Foreign Relations Committee hearing that we had a number of weeks ago – it’s been raised by others, but I know former Secretary Schlesinger raised it, and it’s this question of tactical weapons. And it keeps arising.
And I wanted to have you speak to that, because one sense that I have is that prior to and during, but especially prior to, the START treaty discussions and negotiations, I think it was very clear that we entered into negotiations with the Russians with an understanding that tactical nuclear weapons would not be discussed, that that would, in fact, take place later and that, in particular – I know Secretary Perry made this point – that concluding the “new START” treaty was a necessary prerequisite to having discussions about tactical weapons.
Wanted to have each of you, if – in the – in the two minutes we have – I know I haven’t left too much time – but speak to that question about the tactical weapons and deal with the argument that’s been presented.
SEC. GATES: Well, I think you’ve put your finger on it. I mean, there was agreement not to – that these were not a part of the negotiation from the very beginning. But in the context of their number of tactical nuclear weapons, let me just emphasize one other aspect that hasn’t been mentioned in terms of where I think this treaty is of benefit to the United States.
I believe the Russians are in the process of changing the – fundamentally their approach to their own security. In the mid-1950s, President Eisenhower decided that, because of the vast number of Soviet soldiers, that the United States would not try and match the Russians tank for tank and soldier for soldier in Europe, but rather rely on massive retaliation, massive nuclear retaliation. And so we invested very heavily in our nuclear – in our nuclear capability.
In 2010, the Russians, facing both financial constraints but especially demographic constraints, are reducing the size of their conventional forces.
And everything we see indicates they’re increasing the importance and the role of their nuclear weapons in the defense of Russia and leaving their conventional force more for handling problems on the borders and internal problems.
So this treaty constrains them in an area where I believe they are turning their attention as their population prevents them from having the kind of huge land army that has always characterized Russia.
So keeping a cap on that and bringing those numbers down in the strategic area and then perhaps, hopefully, turning to the tactical nuclear weapons, where they – their tactical nuclear weapons outnumber ours thousands to one, basically. in Eastern Europe and – I mean in the western – U.S. and western Russia – I think, gives us a real advantage.
SEN. CASEY: Secretary Clinton?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator the Nuclear Posture Review makes clear – and the president reiterated this commitment on April 8th at the signing of the treaty with President Medvedev in Prague – that the United States intends to pursue, with Russia, additional and broader reductions in our strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed weapons.
Now we can’t get to a discussion about tactical weapons until we get the “new START” treaty ratified, because obviously, as Secretary Gates said, that really provides the base from which we start. And addressing tactical nuclear weapons requires close coordination with NATO, and we’re in the process, as I said earlier, of working out the NATO alliance approach to tactical nuclear weapons through the strategic concept.
So all these things are moving together. The first order of business, of course, is the “new START” treaty, because, you know, that precedes our ability to get into these additional discussions with the Russians.
SEN. CASEY: Thank you.
I know we’re out of time, but Adm. Mullen?
ADM. MULLEN: Just two brief thoughts. One is, throughout the negotiations and the time I spent on this, it was – it was a known that, one, we weren’t dealing with this but we needed to. And so that’s not a message that’s lost on them. And then secondly, my experience both in my last job with the head of their Navy as well as in this job, with now two separate chiefs of defense, what Secretary Gates said, their investment – they are clearly changing, and they are not going to be able to invest in the kind of ground forces that they’ve had in the past. They are investing in strategic – in their strategic forces, which to me just strengthens the importance of having this kind of treaty with them as we both move forward.
SEN. CASEY: Thank you very much.
SEN. KERRY: Sen. DeMint.
SEN. JAMES DEMINT (R-SC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Sen. Lugar. And I want to thank all three of you for your service to the country, as well.
We got the copy of the treaty on Friday. I look forward to getting into a lot of details. But I’d like to express concerns maybe in more of a conceptual way today just to get some quick response from you and to make one request.
The details are important, obviously, but it appears from what you said already that, aside from the treaty with Russia, that the signal to the rest of the world, our credibility, the appearances of what it shows as far as our good faith, is important, and certainly making the world safer, reducing proliferation is key. And I appreciate that goal and I think we all share it.
The concerns I have are that some of the assumptions in the treaty appear to suggest a different role for America in the future.
And I’ll express a few of these concerns.
America does have a different role. As you all know, over 30 countries count on us for their protection. And so, as far as military and defense, we play a much different role than Russia. Russia is a threat to many, but a protector of none.
America also has the largest economic role in the world, as far as our trade with other countries, and we use it to help other countries. Russia uses their energy, their oil as a threat.
And I think we know, as we look at nuclear weapons, that the Russians don’t like missile defense, because they don’t see it as a deterrent. They want to use it as a threat. And I think that’s why this treaty and what it says about missile defense is very important.
But the first underlying assumption, which I’m afraid is absurd and dangerous, is that America should seek parity with Russia when it comes to nuclear weapons. Russia doesn’t have 30 countries counting on them for protection. And the reduction of our ability to – not just to deliver but to protect from nuclear weapons is more likely to result in proliferation than this arms treaty with Russia.
My biggest concern, though, is related to missile defense, because it’s unrealistic to believe that our treaty with Russia is going to reduce proliferation with countries like Iran and Syria and other rogue nations that are intent on developing nuclear weapons.
The Russians don’t appear to misunderstand what’s in this treaty. And I don’t have to read the preamble to you, but it’s very clear that we can develop defensive missile defense as long as it does not threaten their offensive capabilities. I mean, that’s exactly what it says here. That’s what they’ve said in their statement. There is a clear disconnect between what you are telling us and what it says in this treaty and what the Russians are saying.
We have complete flexibility with missile defense until it gets to the point where it threatens their ability to deliver weapons. And once that happens – not just for Russia, but all over the world – we render nuclear missiles irrelevant, if we can shoot them down.
And for us to even include in the treaty the idea that these things are interrelated is – is somewhat frightening to me. And I don’t – after the first START treaty was presented, members of the committee were given copies of the full negotiating record, so that we can see the understandings that were discussed during the negotiations and that we can determine if missile defense is in fact interrelated. And if this parity issue is one, Secretary Clinton, will you allow members of the committee to see the full negotiating record?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, first, Senator let me say that the language you’re referring to, similar language was included in the START treaty. And, you know, I hope we will be able to persuade you by the end of this process – and we will certainly make every effort to do so – that nothing in any previous treaty, nor any unilateral statement or any preamble to a treaty, has in any way constrained our development of missile defense up to this date, and nothing in the current new treaty does either.
I think that the facts really refute any concerns that you and others might have, because we have proceeded apace over the last 40 years with the development of missile defense despite, as Secretary Gates said, the 40 years of opposition from the Russians.
Now, with respect to the information around the treaty, you know, we are submitting a detailed article-by-article analysis of the treaty. The analysis is nearly 200 pages long. It provides information on every provision of the treaty, the protocol and the annexes, including how the United States will interpret the various provisions.
These materials were prepared by the treaty negotiators and therefore are drawn from the negotiating history. They’re intended to provide a comprehensive picture of U.S. obligations under the treaty. And I do not believe – I will double-check this, Sen. – I do not believe that the negotiating record was provided with the original START treaty, because negotiating records going back to, I think, President Washington, Bob told me the other day, have not been provided.
But we will provide extensive and comprehensive information, and I hope in the process we will be able to persuade you that, just as in the past, despite the Russian dislike of our missile-defense efforts, we are going forward. And I voted for missile defense when I was here, when the START treaty that expired in December was in effect. And I can assure you that you and other members will be able to continue to vote for missile defense in the future.
SEN. DEMINT: Thank you, Madame Secretary. And I just have to take what’s in the treaty and what the Russians have said. It’s clear that at any point that our missile defense threatens their ability to deliver offensive weapons, that they feel completely free to walk away from this treaty – which means we effectively have no treaty, unless it is our intent to dabble with missile defense and not create a global umbrella that could protect us.
But it seems to make only common sense at this point, as we see what’s happening in Iran, around the country. Our ability to stop the development of nuclear weapons is very limited, but our ability to develop a defense system that could make those irrelevant would be the best disincentive we could provide the world, if they can’t deliver them anywhere.
So it’s obvious there is a real concern here. The Russians apparently have gotten the clear statement from this is that at any point if our missile defense systems threatens their delivery system, they’re going to walk away from this treaty.
And I hope you can convince me by what – the negotiating records that that is not what was discussed, but I do know in previous negotiations of treaties that some members of committees have had the opportunity to see full negotiating records, and I hope this is something that you’ll consider.
And I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
SEN. KERRY: Well, thank you, Senator.
Just so the record is as complete as all of us want it to be here, let me just state that we did not get the negotiating record under the START I process. We did get it with the INF treaty.
But subsequent to that, the Foreign Relations Committee decided, and I will read from the report, that – with the INF treaty (negotiations ?) having been provided, under these circumstances “both the administration and the Senate now face the task of ensuring the Senate review of negotiating records does not become an institutionalized procedure. The overall effect of fully exposed negotiations, followed by a far more complicated Senate review, would be to weaken the treaty-making process and thereby damage American diplomacy.”
“A systemic expectation of Senate perusal of every key treaty’s negotiating record could be expected to inhibit candor during future negotiations and induce posturing on the part of U.S. negotiators and their counterparts during sensitive discussions.”
I would suggest to the senator, I think that we are going to be given a very frank – and we will have a classified session with the negotiators. You’ll be able to ask a lot of tough questions, and a lot of answers I think will be forthcoming. But I think – personally, I think that the rationale that the Senate committee came to previously is a good rationale. And I think it stands today.
SEN. DEMINT: Well, Senator I appreciate that clarification. And I would be happy at this point, or even if it’s redacted, to have some record of the discussion related to our missile defense and the linkage that was included in the preamble, so that we can determine what both sides understood.
SEN. KERRY: Let me suggest this, Senator and I’m not saying – I think we all want you to be satisfied, and we want you to – we want you to vote for this. But I think that the better way to proceed would be that let’s meet – let’s meet with the team, let’s meet in classified session. Let’s see to what degree those answers can satisfy you.
I’d just share with the senator, this is a preamble. And the preamble merely says, “Recognizing the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms” – it’s something we all recognize, there is a relationship – “that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced.” That stands to reason.
If you reduce nuclear arms and you build up your missile defense, you can, in fact, completely obliterate one party’s sense of deterrence – the existence of deterrence. If their offense is totally obliterated by your defense, they no longer have an offense, what happens? They build. That’s where we spent 40 years. And we decided, when we had 50,000 warheads, to move in the opposite direction.
SEN. DEMINT: Well, Senator you’re making my point. Obviously we’re agreeing to keep our missile defense to the point where it does not render their weapons useless.
SEN. KERRY: No. All that’s been said here is there’s a relationship. There’s no agreement not to do anything. And it simply says that the current level doesn’t do that. It’s just recognizing a status quo. It does nothing to prevent us unilaterally from doing whatever we want.
Is that correct, Secretary Gates? That is correct?
SEN. DEMINT: But you just told me –
SEN. KERRY: It simply acknowledges –
SEN. DEMINT: – that if our missile defense can render theirs useless –
SEN. KERRY: I’m speaking about the common sense of the – of the theory, but I’m not – I’m not suggesting that this in any way restrains us. I said in my opening comments it does not restrain us.
SEN. DEMINT: But is it not desirable for us to have a missile defense system that renders their threat useless?
SEN. KERRY: I don’t personally think so, no. Because what what will happen is, if you get near that, they will do exactly what we both did over the course of 50 years. We will just – they will build to the point that they feel they can overwhelm your defense, and then you go back right into the entire scenario we had throughout the Cold War which took us up to 50,000 warheads each or more.
SEN. DEMINT: We’re still at the point of mutually assured destruction. I mean, that’s the – that’s the –
SEN. KERRY: Yes. We certainly are. That is accurate.
SEN. DEMINT: (Inaudible.)
SEC. GATES: And I think it needs – I think it needs – one point needs to be clarified here. Under the last administration, as well as under this one, it has been the United States policy not to build a missile defense that would render useless Russia’s nuclear capabilities.
It has been a missile defense intended to protect against rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran, or countries that have very limited capabilities. The systems that we have, the systems that originated and have been funded in the Bush administration, as well as in this administration, are not focused on trying to render useless Russia’s nuclear capability. That, in our view, as in theirs, would be enormously destabilizing, not to mention unbelievably expensive.
SEN. DEMINT: So our ability to protect other countries is a pipe dream, and we don’t even intend to do that. Is that true?
SEC. GATES: Our ability to protect other countries is going to be focused on countries like Iran and North Korea, the countries that are rogue states, that are not participants in the NPT, countries that have shown aggressive intent. And so we are able to – we are putting in defenses in Europe that will be able to defend them. We have defenses in Asia. We’re building defenses in the Middle East. So we have missile defense capabilities going up all around the world, but not intended to eliminate the viability of the Russian nuclear capability.
SEN. KERRY: Senator let me do this, because we need to recognize Sen. Shaheen –
SEN. DEMINT: Yep. Yep.
SEN. KERRY: – it’s a good discussion. It’s a very important one and needs to be clarified in the context. I’m going to leave the record open for two weeks, so that we may submit additional questions in writing. The record from this particular hearing will remain open. The record for the entire process will still be built.
And with that, I recognize Sen. Shaheen to close out the hearing.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Thank you.
SEN. KERRY: We have about five minutes left in the vote, but there’s a grace period –
SEN. SHAHEEN (D-NH): Okay.
SEN. KERRY: – so you’ll get your full questioning period.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you all for being here.
I want to follow up a little bit to make sure that I’m clear on some of what I think I heard in your response to Sen. DeMint. First of all, am I correct that the Russians had a unilateral statement similar to what is on the current START treaty, on the first START treaty?
SEC. CLINTON: There was also perambular (sic) language, but these unilateral statements are very much a pattern. We make them. They make them. But they are not binding because they’re not part of the treaty.
SEN. SHAHEEN: And is it correct that, even as we developed our missile defense plans and pulled out of the ABM Treaty, that the Russians did not pull out of the START treaty?
SEC. CLINTON: Yes, that is correct.
SEN. SHAHEEN: And would you expect a similar reaction as we continue to develop missile defense plans with this “new START” treaty from the Russians?
SEC. CLINTON: Senator we would, and furthermore, we continue to offer to work with the Russians on missile defense. We have a standing offer, and we hope that eventually they will because we think we now have common enemies.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Well, and just to one more time to get it on the record, I think you answered this for Sen. Risch, but, Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen, are you concerned that this treaty constricts in any meaningful way our ability to carry out our current missile-defense plans?
SEC. GATES: No, I have no concerns whatsoever. And I would just add that the Russians signed this treaty knowing full well we intend to proceed with missile defense.
ADM. MULLEN: I have no concerns, ma’am.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
Secretary Clinton, you recently spoke at the NPT Review Conference and called upon all countries to help strengthen the NPT, and mentioned that 40 years ago, after the treaty came into force, President Kennedy warned that, by the year 1975, we could have up to 20 countries with nuclear weapons; fortunately, that hasn’t happened. But can you talk a little bit about how we ensure that the number of nuclear weapons states doesn’t continue to rise and how ratification of the START treaty can help with that?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator I think it begins with the cooperative relationship between the United States and Russia because there are three aspects to the NPT. One is nonproliferation, one is disarmament and one is the peaceful use of nuclear energy. And the Non-Aligned Movement states have historically come to their NPT obligations with some criticism that the United States is not doing its part on the disarmament front.
There was none of that at this conference in New York because of the fact that we had reached this agreement with Russia. So it does provide a stronger platform, on which we stand to make the case against proliferation.
The cooperation that we have obtained with Russia on both North Korea and Iran in our efforts to constrain and eliminate their nuclear programs has been very notable and I think it is fair to say that when this administration started, our relationship with Russia was not very productive, but through many efforts, and most particularly the intensive efforts around the “new START” treaty, that has changed.
I remember well the quote that you repeated because the fears were that, once the genie was out of the bottle, we would have a multitude of countries with nuclear weapons. That hasn’t happened, we’re determined to prevent it from happening, and we’re determined to continue our efforts to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. And as I said at the beginning of the hearing, Russia has joined with us and is part of the agreed statement that is being discussed at the United Nations now.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
And just a final question, I know in the earlier questioning someone brought up the tactical nuclear weapons question. And I wonder if any of you could speak to what you think our ability to negotiate an agreement on tactical nuclear weapons might be if we fail to ratify this treaty?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, if we fail to ratify this treaty, I think it’s zero. (Chuckles.) Once we ratify this treaty, which we are hopeful the Senate will do, it will still be hard, but it at least is possible in the context of our NATO obligation.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Would either of you like to add to that?
SEC. GATES: I think that’s exactly right.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Okay. Thank you all very much.
SEN. KERRY: Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, Adm. Mullen, thank you very, very much. Very helpful.
As I said, the record is open. I know some senators want to submit some questions in writing. We’re very grateful to you. Thank you for your work on this. Thanks for being here today.
We stand adjourned.