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  • Russia Doubling Nuclear Warheads

    Russia Doubling Nuclear Warheads

    New multiple-warhead missiles to break arms treaty limit

    April 1, 2016
    By Bill Gertz

    Russia is doubling the number of its strategic nuclear warheads on new missiles by deploying multiple reentry vehicles that have put Moscow over the limit set by the New START arms treaty, according to Pentagon officials.

    A recent intelligence assessment of the Russian strategic warhead buildup shows that the increase is the result of the addition of multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, on recently deployed road-mobile SS-27 and submarine-launched SS-N-32 missiles, said officials familiar with reports of the buildup.

    “The Russians are doubling their warhead output,” said one official. “They will be exceeding the New START [arms treaty] levels because of MIRVing these new systems.”

    The 2010 treaty requires the United States and Russia to reduce deployed warheads to 1,550 warheads by February 2018.

    The United States has cut its warhead stockpiles significantly in recent years. Moscow, however, has increased its numbers of deployed warheads and new weapons.

    The State Department revealed in January that Russia currently has exceeded the New START warhead limit by 98 warheads, deploying a total number of 1,648 warheads. The U.S. level currently is below the treaty level at 1,538 warheads.

    Officials said that in addition to adding warheads to the new missiles, Russian officials have sought to prevent U.S. weapons inspectors from checking warheads as part of the 2010 treaty.

    The State Department, however, said it can inspect the new MIRVed missiles.

    Disclosure of the doubling of Moscow’s warhead force comes as world leaders gather in Washington this week to discus nuclear security—but without Russian President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the conclave in an apparent snub of the United States.

    The Nuclear Security Summit is the latest meeting of world leaders seeking to pursue President Obama’s 2009 declaration of a world without nuclear arms.

    Russia, however, is embarked on a major strategic nuclear forces build-up under Putin. Moscow is building new road-mobile, rail-mobile, and silo-based intercontinental-range missiles, along with new submarines equipped with modernized missiles. A new long-range bomber is also being built.

    “Russia’s modernization program and their nuclear deterrent force is of concern,” Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of nuclear forces, told Congress March 10.

    “When you look at what they’ve been modernizing, it didn’t just start,” Haney said. “They’ve been doing this quite frankly for some time with a lot of crescendo of activity over the last decade and a half.”

    By contrast, the Pentagon is scrambling to find funds to pay for modernizing aging U.S. nuclear forces after seven years of sharp defense spending cuts under Obama.

    Earlier this month, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that Russia continues to pose the greatest threat to the United States.

    “The one that has the greatest capability and poses the greatest threat to the United States is Russia because of its capabilities—its nuclear capability, its cyber capability, and clearly because of some of the things we have seen in its leadership behavior over the last couple of years,” Dunford said.

    In addition to a large-scale nuclear buildup, Russia has upgraded its nuclear doctrine and its leaders and officials have issued numerous threats to use nuclear arms against the United States in recent months, compounding fears of a renewed Russian threat.

    Blake Narendra, spokesman for the State Department’s arms control, verification, and compliance bureau, said the Russian warhead build-up is the result of normal fluctuations due to modernization prior to the compliance deadline.

    “The Treaty has no interim limits,” Narendra told the Free Beacon. “We fully expect Russia to meet the New START treaty central limits in accordance with the stipulated timeline of February 2018. The treaty provides that by that date both sides must have no more than 700 deployed treaty-limited delivery vehicles and 1,550 deployed warheads.”

    Both the United States and Russia continue to implement the treaty in “a business-like manner,” he added.

    Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon official involved in strategic nuclear forces, however, said he has warned for years that Russia is not reducing its nuclear forces under the treaty.

    Since the New START arms accord, Moscow has eliminated small numbers of older SS-25 road-mobile missiles. But the missiles were replaced with new multiple-warhead SS-27s.

    “The Russians have not claimed to have made any reductions for five years,” Schneider said

    Additionally, Russian officials deceptively sought to make it appear their nuclear forces have been reduced during a recent nuclear review conference.

    “If they could have claimed to have made any reductions under New START counting rules they would have done it there,” Schneider said.

    The Obama administration also has been deceptive about the benefits of New START.

    “The administration public affairs talking points on New START reductions border on outright lies,” Schneider said.

    “The only reductions that have been made since New START entry into force have been by the United States,” he said. “Instead, Russia has moved from below the New START limits to above the New START limits in deployed warheads and deployed delivery vehicles.”

    Deployment of new multiple-warhead SS-27s and SS-N-32s are pushing up the Russian warhead numbers. Published Russian reports have stated the missiles will be armed with 10 warheads each.

    Former Defense Secretary William Perry said Thursday that New START was “very helpful” in promoting strategic stability but that recent trends in nuclear weapons are “very, very bad.”

    “When President Obama made his speech in Prague, I thought we were really set for major progress in this field [disarmament],” Perry said in remarks at the Atlantic Council.

    However, Russian “hostility” to the United States ended the progress. “Everything came to a grinding halt and we’re moving in reverse,” Perry said.

    Other nuclear powers that are expanding their arsenals include China and Pakistan, Perry said.

    Perry urged further engagement with Russia on nuclear weapons. “We do have a common interest in preventing a nuclear catastrophe,” he said.

    Perry is advocating that the United States unilaterally eliminate all its land-based missiles and rely instead on nuclear missile submarines and bombers for deterrence.

    However, he said his advocacy of the policy “may be pursuing a mission impossible.”

    “I highly doubt the Russians would follow suit” by eliminating their land-based missiles, the former secretary said.

    Additionally, Moscow is building a new heavy ICBM called Sarmat, code-named SS-X-30 by the Pentagon, that will be equipped with between 10 and 15 warheads per missile. And a new rail-based ICBM is being developed that will also carry multiple warheads.

    Another long-range missile, called the SS-X-31, is under development and will carry up to 12 warheads.

    Schneider, the former Pentagon official, said senior Russian arms officials have been quoted in press reports discussing Moscow’s withdrawal from the New START arms accord. If that takes place, Russia will have had six and a half years to prepare to violate the treaty limits, at the same time the United States will have reduced its forces to treaty limits.

    “Can they comply with New START? Yes. They can download their missile warheads and do a small number to delivery systems reductions,” Schneider said. “Will they? I doubt it. If they don’t start to do something very soon they are likely to pull the plug on the treaty. I don’t see them uploading the way they have, only to download in the next two years.”

    The White House said Moscow’s failure to take part in the nuclear summit was a sign of self-isolation based on the West’s sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for the military takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea.

    A Russian official said the snub by Putin was directed at Obama.

    “This summit is particularly important for the USA and for Obama—this is probably why Moscow has decided to go for this gesture and show its outrage with the West’s policy in this manner,” Alexei Arbatov, director of the Center for International Security at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the business newspaper Vedomosti.

    A Russian Foreign Ministry official, Mikhail Ulyanov, told RIA Novosti that the summit was not needed.

    “There is no need for it, to be honest,” he said, adding that nuclear security talks should be the work of nuclear physicists, intelligence services, and engineers.

    “The political agenda of the summits has long been exhausted,” Ulyanov said.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: President Obama seeks Russian deal to slash nuclear weapons started by vector7 View original post
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    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      Why Russia Is Rebuilding Its Nuclear Arsenal

      April 4, 2016

      Vladimir Putin skipped the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last week—one more sign that Russia isn't interested in cutting its arms.

      On Friday evening, at the end of the final nuclear security summit of his tenure, President Barack Obama took a swipe at his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for standing in the way of nuclear disarmament. Obama’s remark was pointed, calling out Putin by name, and it cast a rare bit of light on the personal clash between the two presidents on an issue that both of them see as central to their legacies.

      “Because of the vision that he’s been pursuing of emphasizing military might,” Obama told reporters at the summit, “we have not seen the type of progress that I would have hoped for with Russia.”

      This was putting it lightly. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, Russia has managed to negotiate deep cuts to the U.S. arsenal while substantially strengthening of its own. It has allegedly violated the treaty that limits the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe and, in the last few years, it has brought disarmament talks with the U.S. to a complete standstill for the first time since the 1960s. In its rhetoric, Moscow has also returned to a habit of nuclear threats, while in its military exercises, it has begun to practice for a nuclear strike, according to the NATO military alliance.

      But of all these stark reversions to the posture of the Cold War, nothing expressed Russia’s position on nuclear disarmament more clearly than Putin’s decision to skip the nuclear summit in Washington last week. Apart from North Korea, which was not invited to the talks, Russia was the only nuclear power not to send a senior delegate.

      The snub was no surprise. It was announced back on Nov. 5 in a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which offered a curious explanation. By influencing the policies of global watchdogs like the International Atomic Energy Agency, “Washington is trying to take the role of the main and the privileged ‘player’ in this sphere,” the statement said. In part because of this, “we have shared with our American colleagues our doubts about the ‘added value’ of the forum.” Russia therefore saw no need to participate, the Ministry said.

      A few days after that statement, the world got a more colorful reminder of Putin’s position on nuclear disarmament. During a meeting at the Kremlin with his top generals on Nov. 10, he accused the U.S. of trying to “neutralize” Russia’s nuclear arsenal by building a missile shield over Europe, one that could knock Russian rockets out of the sky. In response, he said, Russia would have to “strengthen the potential of its strategic nuclear forces,” including the deployment of “attack systems” capable of piercing any missile shield.

      As if on cue, a state television camera then zoomed in on a piece of paper that one of the generals was holding in his hand. It showed the plans for a nuclear device codenamed Status-6, complete with a curt definition of its purpose: “to create an extensive zone of radioactive contamination” along the enemy’s coast, rendering it uninhabitable “for a long time.”

      Asked to comment the following day, Putin’s spokesman claimed the image had appeared in the nightly news by mistake. But the Kremlin’s mouthpiece newspaper then followed up with details. The warhead inside Status-6, it said, would likely be covered in cobalt, an element which would “guarantee the destruction of all living things” once it was irradiated and scattered by a nuclear explosion.

      Vladimir Dvorkin, a retired major general of the Russian strategic rocket forces, remembers such designs from his days developing nuclear submarines for the former Soviet Union. “It’s an old Soviet brainchild,” he told me by phone from Moscow. But he never expected to see it revived. In the 1990s and during first two years of Putin’s presidency, Dvorkin headed the main nuclear research directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The emphasis throughout those years was on cooperating with the U.S. to secure nuclear stockpiles and keep them out of the hands of terrorists.

      The reemergence of Status-6—even if more as a propaganda ploy than as an actual weapon—shows just how far relations have fallen since then. “The idea is to creep up on the seaboard of the United States and set off a massive nuclear explosion,” says Dvorkin. “It’s being revived in order to spook the West.”

      Few in the West had expected to hear such spook stories again. For Americans, a nuclear arms race is the stuff of Cold War fiction. But for Russians, or at least their leaders, the world still looks much as it did in the age of the nuclear arms race.

      That became clear to many of Obama’s top advisers soon after his Administration took office. During a landmark speech in Prague in the spring of 2009, Obama described his vision for a nuclear-free world. The timing and venue were both highly symbolic. Earlier the same week, the newly-elected President had come to Europe for a summit of the NATO alliance, which had just extended membership to two more formerly communist nations, Albania and Croatia, moving the military bloc deeper into Moscow’s former zone of influence.

      Prague, too, had been a key Cold War battleground, and as Obama pointed out at the beginning of his speech, few people could have imagined in those years that the Czech Republic would eventually become a NATO member in 2004, standing as proof that Russian dominance of Eastern Europe was receding. “The Cold War has disappeared,” Obama told the city square packed with his Czech admirers. Yet the existence of nuclear weapons, he said, was its “most dangerous legacy.” He promised to work towards abolishing them.

      The previous week, the White House had begun talks with the Kremlin on an arms reduction treaty it called New Start. But the two sides came to the table with very different ambitions. “We wanted to get rid of as many nuclear weapons as we could,” says Michael McFaul, who was then serving as Obama’s top adviser on Russian affairs. The Kremlin did not seem to share that dream. During one round of talks at the Defense Ministry in Moscow early in 2010, Obama’s Prague speech came up in some idle conversation, McFaul says, and the Russians started laughing. “They said, ‘Yeah, of course you guys want a nuclear-free world, because then you would dominate the world with your conventional weapons. Why would we ever want to do that?’”

      For Russia, the Cold War had never simply disappeared. It had resulted in defeat and the loss of empire, leaving Russia’s rival of more than 40 years to dictate the terms of peace in Europe. By the time Putin took power in 2000, the only vestige of his country’s superpower status was its nuclear arsenal, which was still the biggest in the world. So he began to use it as a crutch.

      “Even in the darkest days of the Russian military, when they weren’t able to afford to pay their soldiers and fly their airplanes, they paid close attention to the readiness and modernization of their nuclear forces,” says David Ochmanek, who served as a U.S. Air Force officer during the Cold War and, between 2009 and 2014, was the Pentagon’s top official for force development. “Their doctrine reflected this,” he says.

      In one of his first acts as President, Putin adopted a new military doctrine in the spring of 2000, one that rejected the Soviet pledge never to launch a nuclear weapon first. His reasoning was simple: only Russia’s nukes could counter the vastly superior strength of U.S. conventional weapons. So he lowered the bar for using nuclear weapons in situations “critical to national security.” This meant that if Russia ever felt badly outgunned in a military conflict, it could launch a nuclear missile to even the score and make the enemy back off. That doctrine was still in place when the U.S. and Russia began negotiating the New Start treaty.

      But Putin’s position in Russia had changed. In 2008, the constitution prevented him from seeking a third consecutive term as President. So he moved over to the nominally less powerful role of Prime Minister and ceded the presidency to his protégé, Dmitri Medvedev.

      Obama saw this as an opportunity. He and Medvedev had taken office within a year of each other, and Obama had made it one of his foreign policy priorities to improve—or “reset”—troubled relations with Russia. Nuclear arms reduction was at the core of this agenda, and the two leaders pursued the talks with notable warmth and enthusiasm. From behind the scenes, however, Putin and his generals set rigid parameters for Medvedev. Even with a new president, the balance of power in Russia had never really changed.

      “I always called Medvedev Putin’s lawyer,” says Gary Samore, who was then the White House coordinator for arms control and a lead negotiator of the treaty. “It was very clear who was calling the shots.”

      As the negotiations moved ahead, Samore saw the Russians advancing two core priorities. Most of their nuclear warheads were still deployed in static, Soviet-era silos dug into the ground, and these could easily get taken out if the U.S. were ever to launch a surprise attack against Russia. “They were very vulnerable to a pre-emptive first strike,” says Samore. What Russia needed most from the New Start treaty was a chance to get rid of this vulnerability and regain nuclear parity with the U.S. “Their priority first and foremost was to limit our capabilities,” he says, “and to buy time for the Russians to go through their strategic modernization program.”

      Obama was prepared to allow that. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. security concerns had shifted away from the threat of nuclear war with Russia. The bigger American fear was the possibility that Moscow would let some of its nukes fall into the hands of terrorists, says Ivo Daalder, who served as U.S. ambassador to NATO during negotiations on the New Start treaty. “Russia as a military security concern wasn’t really on the agenda,” Daalder says. “The focus was really on cooperation.”

      In particular, Obama needed Russia’s help on Iran, whose nuclear program the West did see as a major security threat. “So to me there was a very clear quid pro quo,” Samore says. “We very consciously and deliberately were prepared to give the Russians strategic parity in exchange for cooperation on other key issues, Iran being the most important.”

      Both sides got what they wanted. In the spring of 2011, Obama returned to Prague to sign the New Start treaty with Medvedev, and that same day, Russia agreed to support another round of Western sanctions against Iran. The pain of these sanctions proved instrumental in getting Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program four year later, perhaps Obama’s most notable foreign policy achievement.

      On paper at least, the New Start treaty also looked impressive. Both sides agreed to cut their arsenals of long-range nuclear missiles in half and to reduce the number of warheads by around three-quarters. But in practice, the New Start treaty allowed Russia to scrap many of its old silo-based missile systems while pushing ahead with a wholesale upgrade of its broader arsenal. “The treaty does not prevent you from modernizing,” says McFaul, who went on to become the U.S. ambassador in Moscow from 2011 to 2013. “In terms of parity, they felt like they needed to modernize, whereas we didn’t feel that way.”

      It will still take Russia at least until the end of this decade to complete its nuclear modernization program. But it is off to an impressive start. Moscow is building a new generation of long-range nuclear bombers, truck-mounted ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed submarines. In the past two years, Russian officials and state-run media have routinely boasted about the fruits these efforts, often under giddy headlines like this gem from the Sputnik news agency: “Rail Phantom: Russia developing invisible death trains with nukes.”

      This seems far from the spirit of Medvedev’s term as president, which ended in 2012 with Putin’s return to the Kremlin’s top post. The New Start treaty, Medvedev told me in mid-February, “was a great achievement in Russian-U.S. relations, and it was good for the international situation.” Later in our interview, he added: “It’s a shame that things began to take a different path after that.”

      In the the foreseeable future, Medvedev said, Russia would have no choice but to develop weapons like Status-6 to balance against the enormous advantage the U.S. enjoys in conventional arms. (Washington spends more than seven times as much on defense as Russia, which will have to cut its military spending this year, thanks largely to a shrinking economy.) “Isn’t that scary? Yes, it is very scary,” Medvedev told me, referring to these weapons. “If hundreds or thousands of such missiles are used in an attack, the consequences will be just as devastating” as a nuclear strike.

      This point came back to the essential paradox of Russia’s position on nuclear weapons. It is the very real feeling of weakness and vulnerability that makes Russia cling to its most destructive and dangerous arms. And until Russia’s leaders are made to believe that the U.S. does not wish them any harm, Obama’s vision of a nuclear free world will never be realized.

      Obama admitted as much at the nuclear security summit in Washington. “It is very difficult,” he said at the closing news conference, “to see huge reductions in our nuclear arsenal unless the United States and Russia, as the two largest possessors of nuclear weapons, are prepared to lead the way.” From the start of his tenure, Obama tried to take that lead, likely believing that the Cold War had, as he put it, “disappeared.”

      But his most important partners in this effort saw things differently, says Samore, his former adviser. “To some extent Obama didn’t appreciate how the level of Russian paranoia and fear of the United States continued to permeate their defense and security establishment,” he says. “For them it was so old school. He just didn’t see it.” By now, as he prepares to leave office, Obama most certainly does.
    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      Russians Violating New START Arms Treaty

      Moscow tried to deceive inspectors on missile cuts, U.S. says

      June 9, 2016
      By Bill Gertz

      U.S. nuclear arms inspectors recently discovered that Russia is violating the New START arms treaty by improperly eliminating SS-25 mobile missiles, American defense officials said.

      The violations were discovered during an on-site inspection carried out in Russia in April, said officials familiar with details of the inspection.

      During the recent visit to a Russian missile base, U.S. technicians found critical components of SS-25s—road-mobile, intercontinental ballistic missiles—had been unbolted instead of cut to permanently disable the components.

      Additionally, American inspectors were unable to verify missiles slated for elimination had been destroyed. Instead, only missile launch canisters were inspected.

      As a result, inspectors were unable to determine if the missiles were properly eliminated as required by the 2010 arms treaty, the officials said.

      Additionally, the inspectors found that Russian missile forces had improperly displayed missile components slated for destruction by failing to leave them in the open for monitoring by so-called national technical means of verification, a euphemism for spy satellites and other sensors used in monitoring arms accords.

      On-site inspectors also reported they were unable to verify that Russia had completed all New START treaty cuts to launchers declared eliminated by Russia between 2011 and 2015.

      “Russia will meet their treaty elimination goals by using empty launchers from retired and retiring missile systems,” said one official. “They’re basically cutting up launchers that don’t carry missiles anyway.”

      Disclosure of the New START treaty violations is a further setback for the Obama administration’s arms control agenda. The administration has made arms agreements with Russian aimed at cutting nuclear forces a priority. Arms talks have been suspended since Moscow militarily annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.

      Asked about the April verification problems, State Department arms verification bureau spokesman Blake Narenda declined to discuss the matter, citing treaty secrecy rules.

      “The New START treaty forbids releasing to the public data and information obtained during implementation of the treaty,” Narenda said in a statement.

      “This would include any discussion of the results of inspection activities undertaken by the United States or the Russian Federation,” he said. “However, both sides continue to implement the treaty in a businesslike manner.”

      On Capitol Hill, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said the potential New START verification problem highlights the larger issue of the Obama administration’s poor record in pressing Russia to abide by its treaty obligations.

      “Whether it’s Russian violations of the Open Skies Treaty, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, or multiple violations of the INF treaty, this administration has proven singularly unconcerned with arms control compliance,” Thornberry told the Free Beacon.

      “Never having been made to pay a price, why wouldn’t Putin conclude that violations of the New START treaty would go unpunished as well?” he said.

      John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former State Department undersecretary for arms control, said the latest Russian treaty issue raises questions about whether Moscow may have helped Iran to circumvent treaties.

      “Russian denials, obstructionism, and outright deception are nothing new in their efforts to prevent effective verification of arms control treaties,” Bolton said. “And just imagine what Moscow has taught Tehran.”

      Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic nuclear policymaker, said the New START arms accord has serious verification shortcomings.

      “The New START treaty is a verification disaster area and Russia has a long history of violating substantive and verification provisions of strategic arms control agreements,” said Schneider, a senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy.

      Schneider, former Pentagon director for strategic arms control policy, said Russia has avoided complying with its treaty commitments. “They have violated all of the major arms control treaties and will continue to do so because we impose no penalties,” he said.

      New START provisions for eliminating solid-fuel missiles like the SS-25 call for crushing the first stage rocket motor or cutting it in two equal parts.

      “If Russia has not done this, the missiles would not have been removed from accountability,” Schneider said. “The requirement for cutting, crushing, or flattening is intended to prevent the reuse of the rocket motor casings to produce new missiles. There is no other reason to violate this provision of New START, except perhaps to sell them to rogue states.”

      Schneider said the elimination procedures for New START are less stringent than under the earlier START accord that allowed inspectors to witness the elimination of all mobile ICBMs.

      “This is not the case under New START,” he said. “For solid-fuel ICBMs, including mobile ICBMs, inspectors do not have the opportunity to observe eliminations. Instead, they are allowed to view a portion of the remains from eliminations.”

      Mobile launchers under New START also are eliminated by cutting erector-launchers, leveling supports, and mountings from the mobile chassis and removing launch support equipment, including instruments.

      Also, Russia is required under the treaty to display old mobile launchers for spy satellites to verify their elimination and to permit U.S. inspectors to verify the missile destruction within 30 days.

      The Obama administration’s record for responding to arms cheating by Russia is weak. The State Department, which is in charge of monitoring treaty compliance, hid Moscow’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty for several years to avoid upsetting its arms control agenda.

      The INF violation was finally made public in 2014 after prodding from Congress in a State Department report that said the violation involved Russia’s development of illegal ground-launched cruise missiles.

      According to the State Department web site, there have been four “Type 2” on-site inspections since February under New START. Type 2 inspections are those used for confirming missile eliminations like those used for the SS-25.

      The location of the April treaty inspection could not be learned.

      Known locations where Russia has deployed SS-25s at bases include Yoshkar-Ola, Vypolzovo, Irkutsk, and Barnaul, according to the Russian strategic nuclear forces blog.

      In February, Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the fifth anniversary of the New START treaty as a “landmark” arms control accord.

      “New START is more important now than when it went into effect. It gives us the confidence and level of oversight we need— and could not otherwise have— by allowing U.S. inspectors unprecedented access to Russian nuclear facilities,” Kerry said.

      However, Russia has voiced less enthusiasm for the treaty. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in April that New START will be an “end document” for U.S.-Russian arms control relations.

      Asked if New START is a final accord, Ryabkov told Interfax, “Saying ‘final’ is not fashionable today. I would say that this document will obviously become an end document because, indeed, it has an end position on this scale of coordinates, where the time scale goes to the right and the quantity scale goes upwards, in other words, it is the quantity of weapons slated for limitation.”

      The treaty calls for both Washington and Moscow to pare their nuclear arsenals to 700 deployed land-based and sea-based missiles and heavy bombers, 1,550 deployed warheads, and 800 non-deployed launchers and bombers.

      Last Saturday, Anita Friedt, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for arms control verification and compliance, gave a speech that gave no suggestion there are problems with New START verification.

      “Buttressed by this robust verification architecture, New START treaty implementation is proceeding well and both the United States and Russia are expected to meet the treaty’s central limits when they take effect in February 2018,” she said.

      However, Friedt said New START verification measures, despite their intrusiveness, “may not be sufficient for effective verification in the future.”

      The House fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill contains a provision that if passed would prohibit the Pentagon from spending any funds to implement New START until Pentagon officials reported to Congress about the treaty’s impact on critical defense capabilities.

      The provision would block funding until the defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff assessed the treaty’s impact on U.S. rapid reload of ballistic missiles and the impact of the treaty on U.S. deterrent strategy.

      The bill also would require an assessment of the threat posed by non-treaty-limited nuclear or strategic conventional systems to the United States and American allies and of the risk posed by Russian arms violations. It would require an explanation of why continued treaty implementation is in U.S. national security interests.
    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -
      A long but very detailed read.

      Russia's Growing Strategic Nuclear Forces and New START Treaty Compliance

      June 22, 2016

      Russia’s 2016 New START data, released by the Department of State, indicate that since New START’s entry into force (EIF) in 2011, Russia has increased its deployed warheads. Russia has reached 1,735 deployed warheads, an increase of 198 warheads since New START’s EIF when Russia had 1,537 deployed warheads.[i] Russia is now 185 warheads above the New START Treaty limit. U.S. data for the same period indicate the U.S. cut its warheads from 1,800 to 1,481, 69 below the New START limit of 1,550.[ii] The Russian increase is even more impressive when it is compared with their level of 1,400 warheads in October 2013.[iii] From this baseline, the increase is 325 warheads or about 24%.

      According to Bill Gertz, an Obama administration official told him, “The Russians are doubling their [nuclear] warhead output,” and, “They will be exceeding the New START [arms treaty] levels because of MIRVing these new systems.”[iv] Gertz also reported Russia had added over 150 more warheads during the past year.[v] This appears consistent with what Russian leaders say they are doing with regard to nuclear force modernization. We are now five years into the New START Treaty’s seven-year reduction period (2011-2018) and all we have seen is increases in Russian nuclear warheads. The only reductions being made are unilaterally by the U.S. It is likely the U.S. will be down to all the New START limits in the near future.

      Russian Compliance Issues

      The Department of State is required by the New START Treaty’s Resolution of Ratification to submit an annual report on New START implementation including a section on Russian reductions. Significantly, it has never mentioned the inconvenient fact that Russia has increased, not decreased, its strategic nuclear warheads.[vi] These annual reports say the U.S. has “raised implementation-related questions with the Russian Federation” but the reports have not revealed what these issues are or their significance.[vii] In 2014, Brian McKeon (then a senior NSC official and now Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy) stated that in September 2010 the Senate had been informed of a compliance issue that “implicated possibly New START, possibly INF.”[viii] Also, in December 2014, Russian ICBM force Commander Colonel-General Sergey Karakayev said, “There are currently around 400 missiles [ICBMs] with warheads on combat duty.”[ix] Yet, Russia’s declared strategic force numbers make it impossible for Russia to have more than about 300 ICBMs legally “with warheads on combat duty.”[x]

      Another possible compliance issue could concern heavy-bomber counting rules. In 2012, the Commander of the Russian Air Force stated that the Su-34 long-range strike fighter would be given “long-range missiles…Such work is under way and I think that it is the platform that can solve the problem of increasing nuclear deterrence forces within the Air Force strategic aviation.”[xi] This cannot be done legally without declaring the Su-34 to be a heavy bomber which has not been done.

      It is clear that Russia desires to increase its strategic nuclear forces quantitatively and qualitatively. Russia has modernization programs underway that would circumvent the New START Treaty including two bomber types, a rail-mobile ICBM, a nuclear-powered nuclear-armed drone submarine and reportedly an air-launched ICBM which either do not count under New START or count at a severely discounted level.[xii] These circumvention programs are more expensive than ignoring the limits and producing more existing systems indicating Russia’s strong interest in the programs. Thus, Russia may withdraw from New START by mid-2017 or it may illegally suspend its obligations under New START as it has done with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. This would allow Moscow to pocket the U.S. reductions while making little to none of their own. Indeed, a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official has suggested that Russia could withdraw from the Treaty.[xiii] If it does so, no penalty will likely be imposed on Russia—just as there has seemingly been none for its INF Treaty or CFE Treaty violations.

      The Odds of Compliance

      It is still possible that Russia will comply with New START in 2018. However, the probability is declining because reductions take time. Compliance with New START is being made more difficult by the Russian strategic nuclear modernization program which will probably increase the number of warheads Russia must remove from accountability in 2016 and 2017 by 147-177.[xiv] Added to the 185 warheads they already have above the Treaty mandated 1,550 limit, they would have to remove from accountability 332-362 warheads, presumably by warhead removal (down-loading). The just announced improved version of the SS-27 ICBM (to be tested in 2016) and the improved Bulava-30 SLBM (to be tested in two to three years)[xv] could result in an increased number of warheads accountable under New START when they are deployed. There are many Russian press reports that suggest that the number of warheads on the SS-27 ICBM and the Bulava-30 SLBM will be increased to 10 from the currently reported 4-6 warheads.[xvi] This is exactly the opposite of what Russia should be doing if it intends to live under New START. The new Russian Sarmat heavy ICBM, which reportedly will carry up to 15 warheads,[xvii] is another program that is exactly the opposite of what the Russians should be doing to comply with New START in terms of possible warhead numbers.

      In addition to the increased number of warheads, the deployment of new mobile ICBMs in 2016-2017 will increase on a one-for-one basis the number of existing launchers the Russians will have to eliminate in what is now less than two years, the remainder of the New START reduction period.

      The only evidence of a Russian intent to comply with New START is a March 2016 story in state-run RT which reports that Russia is disarming a Typhoon missile submarine. According to the shipyard undertaking the procedures, “We will remove the covers of the submarine’s missile launchers and seal them, thus making it impossible to use the vessel’s missile weapons…..We are not talking yet about dismantling the submarine itself. The tender for this procedure has not yet been announced.”[xviii] This would reduce the number of Russian launchers by 20 but not the number of warheads because the Typhoon submarines reportedly have not been operational for a long time.[xix] Moreover, if this is all they are doing there is a potential compliance problem with the New START Treaty provision which requires, “The elimination of SLBM launchers shall be carried out by removing all missile launch tube hatches, their associated superstructure fairings, and, if applicable, gas generators.”[xx] To comply with New START Russia will probably have to remove the launchers from three submarines, eliminate several dozen mobile ICBM launchers and download several hundred warheads.

      Even if Russia were to comply with New START, the actual number of deployed Russian warheads will far exceed the stated New START ceiling of 1,550 in part because of the bomber counting rule. State-run Sputnik News says Russia will have 2,100 actual deployed strategic nuclear warheads under New START.[xxi] Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, of the Federation of American Scientists, write that Russia has approximately 2,500 strategic nuclear weapons currently.[xxii] That claim was made before Russia announced a program to build at least 50 new Tu-160 bombers,[xxiii] which could push this number to over 3,000 deployed warheads when the bombers are completed. It could go even higher.

      Future Arms Control

      Since the signing of the New START Treaty in 2010, Russia has refused to negotiate deeper cuts in strategic nuclear weapons or limitations on tactical nuclear weapons. In 2013, then-Deputy Prime Minister (now Kremlin Chief of Staff) Sergei Ivanov explained why: “When I hear our American partners say: ‘let’s reduce something else’, I would like to say to them: ‘excuse me, but what we have is relatively new’. They [the U.S.] have not conducted any upgrades for a long time. They still use Trident [missiles].”[xxiv] Indeed, the notional replacement date for the already decades-old Trident missile is 2042.


      Why should we be concerned about this? Russian cheating on a treaty should always be a serious concern. Perhaps more importantly, however, Russian behavior illustrates an aggressive nuclear buildup. Additionally, Russia seemingly has the lowest nuclear first use threshold in the world. In 2016, U.K. General Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy NATO military commander in Europe between 2011 and 2014, observed, “…Russian use of nuclear weapons is hardwired into Moscow’s military strategy.”[xxv] Its military doctrine calls for using nuclear weapons first in local and regional wars, according to Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.[xxvi] It reportedly practices nuclear first use in its military exercises and makes repeated nuclear attack threats against members of NATO.

      Simulated Russian first use of nuclear weapons reportedly began in the Zapad-1999 theater war exercise. Then-Defense Minister Marshall Igor Sergeyev announced, “Our Army was forced to launch nuclear strikes first which enabled it to achieve a breakthrough in the theater situation.”[xxvii] Simon Saradzhyan of the Harvard Belfer Center has observed, “…the Russian military has repeatedly gamed out use of strategic bombers to carry out such a demonstration nuclear strike during a number of wargames, including the Zapad (West) exercise, which is held annually to simulate a war with NATO.”[xxviii] In January 2016, NATO released its annual report which noted, “Russia has conducted at least 18 large-scale snap exercises, some of which have involved more than 100,000 troops. These exercises include simulated nuclear attacks on NATO Allies (eg, ZAPAD) and on partners (eg, March 7 2013 simulated attacks on Sweden)…”[xxix]

      Senior Russian officials also make nuclear threats beyond the implied threats of simulated nuclear strikes during military exercises. In 2008, Yuri Baluyevsky, then-Chief of the General Staff, stated that “for the protection of Russia and its allies, if necessary, the Armed Forces will be used, including preventively and with the use of nuclear weapons.”[xxx] President Putin has personally made several threats to target Russia’s missiles at U.S. friends and allies.[xxxi] For example, in 2008, Putin stated that in response to U.S. missile defense deployment, Russia would “probably be forced to retarget some of our missile systems at these systems, which threaten us.”[xxxii] In 2009, Nikolai Patrushev said that Russian nuclear doctrine “does not rule out a nuclear strike targeting a potential aggressor, including a preemptive strike, in situations critical to national security.”[xxxiii] In December 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin said if Russia is subject to a conventional attack, “we will certainly resort to using nuclear weapons in certain situations to defend our territory and state interests.”[xxxiv] In September 2014, General Baluyevskiy stated “…conditions for pre-emptive nuclear strikes…is contained in classified policy documents.”[xxxv]

      In March 2015, Russia’s Ambassador to Denmark Mikhail Vanin made, perhaps, the most explicit of the nuclear targeting threats: “I don’t think that Danes fully understand the consequence if Denmark joins the American-led missile defence shield. If they do, then Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles.”[xxxvi] In 2016, Dr. Keith Payne observed, “Russian leaders, for example, have said that Romania could be turned into “smoking ruins,” and that Poland will be in its “cross hairs.”[xxxvii]

      Russian nuclear strategy appears to call for nuclear first use for “de-escalation” of a conflict. In June 2015, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and then-Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld observed, “Russian military doctrine includes what some have called an ‘escalate to de-escalate’ strategy—a strategy that purportedly seeks to deescalate a conventional conflict through coercive threats, including limited nuclear use,” a policy they categorized as “playing with fire.”[xxxviii] In March 2016, Robert Scher, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities, testified before the Congress that Russia has “adopted a pattern of reckless nuclear posturing and coercive threats. Russia remains in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and remains unreceptive to the President’s offer to negotiate further reductions in strategic nuclear weapons below the limits of the New START Treaty.” He continued, “Russia’s purported doctrine of nuclear escalation to deescalate a conventional conflict amounts to a reckless gamble for which the odds are incalculable and the outcome could prove catastrophic.”[xxxix]

      Summing up the NATO security environment, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said recently, “Russia’s rhetoric, posture and exercises of its nuclear forces are aimed at intimidating its neighbours,” adding that this was, “Undermining trust and stability in Europe.”[xl]

      While the U.S. Department of Defense now recognizes the threat posed by Russia, seemingly little has been done to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty and there is no apparent concern about prospective Russian noncompliance with New START. U.S. nuclear modernization programs are the same as they were in 2010-2011 when the Obama administration was in apparent denial that Russia represented a nuclear threat to the U.S. Indeed, in the FY 2017 budget request, two important nuclear modernization programs have been slowed.[xli] Perhaps, this is also playing with fire.

      Dr. Mark B. Schneider is a senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy and a former senior official in the Defense Department.


      [i]. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Russian and US Strategic Offensive Arms (Fact Sheet),” RussianMinistry of Foreign Affairs, June 27, 2011, available at http://www.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/55016EBF86 9728C1C32578BD0058B349.; U.S. Department of State, “New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms,” U.S. Department of State, April 1, 2016, available at http://www.state.gov/t/avc/rls/2016/255377.htm.
      [ii]. Ibid.
      [iii]. U.S. Department of State, “New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms,” U.S. Department of State, October 1, 2013, available at http://www.state.gov/t/avc/rls/215000.htm.
      [iv]. Bill Gertz, “Russia Doubling Nuclear Warheads, The Washington Free Beacon, April 1, 2016, available at http://freebeacon.com/national-secur...lear-warheads/.
      [v]. Bill Gertz, “Russia Deployed Over 150 New Warheads in Past Year,” The Washington Free Beacon, April 6, 2016, available at http://freebeacon.com/national-secur...ads-past-year/.
      [vi]. U.S. Department of State, Annual Report On Implementation Of The New Start Treaty (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, January 2016), available at http://www.state.gov/t/avc/rls/rpt/2016/255558.htm.
      [vii]. Ibid.
      [viii]. “Hearing to consider the nominations of: Hon. Robert O. Work to be Deputy Secretary of Defense; Hon. Michael J. McCord to be Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller); Christine E. Wormuth to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Brian P. McKeon to be Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Hon. David B. Shear to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs; and Eric Rosenbach to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense,” Senate Armed Services Committee, 114th U.S. Congress, February 25, 2014, p. 28, available at http://www.armed-services.senate.gov...%202-25-14.pdf.
      [ix]. “Some 400 ICBMs are on combat duty in Russia – RVSN commander,” Interfax, December 16, 2014, available at http://search.proquest.com/professional/login.
      [x]. Pavel Podvig estimated 311 ICBMs were deployed in January 2014. See Pavel Podvig, “Russian strategic forces in January 2014,” RussianForces.org, January 15, 2015, available at http://russianforces.org/blog/2014/01/russian_ strategic_forces _in_20.shtml.
      [xi]. “Russian strategic aviation to be reinforced with Su-34 frontline bombers,” Interfax-AVN, March 19, 2012, available at http://search.proquest.com/professional/login.
      [xii]. Mark B. Schneider, “Nuclear Deterrence in the Context of the European Security Crisis and Beyond,” The Heritage Foundation, December 21, 2015, pp. 4-5, available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/ 12/nuclear-deterrence-in-the-context-of-the-european-security-crisis-and-beyond.; Piotr Butowski, “Russia’s Air Force 2025,” Air International, January 2014, pp. 98-99.
      [xiii]. “Russia threatens to quit START as US deploys Aegis destroyer to Spain,” RT, February 2, 2014, available at http://www.rt.com/news/destroyer-us-...rt-treaty-530/; “Diplomat Says Russia May Review START, Awaits Details of Alleged INF Violations,” RIA Novosti, January 13, 2015, available at http://search.proquest.com/professional/login.
      [xiv]. The assumption here is that Russia will continue in 2016-2017 to deploy new SS-27 Mod 2/RS-24 Yars ICBMs at about the current rate and that Russia will also deploy the first regiment of RS-26 in 2017 as has been reported in the Russian press.
      [xv]. “Upgraded ICBM for Yars systems to be tested in coming months – designer,” Interfax, May 16, 2016, available at http://search.proquest.com/professional/login.;“Upgraded strategic missiles Bulava to significantly increase efficacy of Borei submarines – designer Solomonov (Part 2),” Interfax, May 16, 2016, available at http://search.proquest.com/professional/login.
      [xvi]. U.S. Department of State, “Russian Federation MOU Data,” U.S. Department of State, January 1, 2007, available at http://2001-2009.state.gov/documents...tion/83235.pdf.; Charles P. Vick, “A Highly Modified Topol-M/SS-27,” Globalsecurity.org, October 10,2013, available at http://www.global security.org/wmd/world/russia/rs-24.htm.; “‘Nuke trains’ with up to 30 Yars missiles rolling out from 2018 – Russian defense source,”RT, December 26, 2014, available at https://www.rt.com/news/217795-russi...issile-trains/.; “New START: Potemkin Village Verification,” The New START Working Group, The Heritage Foundation, June 24, 2010, p. 7, available at http://www.heritage.org/research/rep...e-verification.
      [xvii]. “New Heavy ICBM to Be Put Into Service in 2018 – Expert (Part 2),” Interfax, May 5, 2011, http://www.interfax. co.uk/russia-cis-military-news-bulletins-in-english/new-heavy-icbm-to-be-put-into-servicein-2018-expert-part-2-2/.; “Russia to build RS-20 ‘Voyevoda’ successor,” Interfax-AVN, July 21, 2011, available at http://www.interfax. co.uk/russia-cis-military-news-bulletins-in-english/russia-to-build-rs-20-voyevoda-successor/.
      [xviii]. “Russia to disarm world’s largest nuclear ballistic missile submarine, RT, March 11, 2016, available at https:// www.rt.com/news/335300-russia-disarms-nuclear-sub/.
      [xix]. “Inside of Class Typhoon Atomic Submarine,” Englishrussia.com, May 3, 2014, available at http://english russia.com/2014/05/03/inside-of-class-typhoon-atomic-submarine/.
      [xx]. U.S. Department of State, New START Treaty, Protocol, Section 4, paragraph 1, available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/140047.pdf.
      [xxi]. “New START Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty Between Russia, US in Details,” Sputnik News, April 8, 2015, available at http://sputniknews.com/politics/2015...020602118.html.
      [xxii]. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Russian Nuclear Forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 71, No. 3 (April, 2015), p. 85, available at http://bos.sagepub.com/content/71/3/84.full.pdf+html.
      [xxiii]. “Russia to Renew Production of Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ Strategic Bomber,” Sputnik News, April 29, 2015, available at http://sputniknews.com/military/2015...021514706.html.
      [xxiv]. “Russia today is not interested in U.S.-proposed arms reduction – Sergei Ivanov,” Interfax, March 5, 2013, available at http://search.proquest.com/professional/login.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      While the U.S. Department of Defense now recognizes the threat posed by Russia, seemingly little has been done to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty and there is no apparent concern about prospective Russian noncompliance with New START. U.S. nuclear modernization programs are the same as they were in 2010-2011 when the Obama administration was in apparent denial that Russia represented a nuclear threat to the U.S. Indeed, in the FY 2017 budget request, two important nuclear modernization programs have been slowed.[xli] Perhaps, this is also playing with fire.
      Ummm... "duh"

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Putin Suspends Russia-U.S. Plutonium Disposition Agreement

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has suspended a cooperative program that commits Russia and the United States to eliminating parts of their weapons-grade plutonium stocks.

      A presidential decree made public on October 3 says the implementation of the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) must be put on hold, "due to Washington's unfriendly actions toward Russia."

      The agreement, signed in 2000 after years of negotiations, has been considered a flagship of bilateral cooperation.

      According to the deal, the two countries committed themselves to turn parts of their weapons-grade plutonium stockpiles into fuel for nuclear power plants and other non-weapon forms.

      An amending protocol to the agreement, which called on each side to dispose of 34 tons of plutonium, came into force in 2011.

      The two countries own the world's largest stockpiles of plutonium that can be used for nuclear weapons.

      U.S.-Russian ties have plunged to levels of acrimony unseen since the end of the Cold War following Russia's military seizure of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and an ensuing war between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists that has killed more than 9,500 people.

      Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax