06 February 2011

New START Treaty in Effect

BBC News - US-Russia New Start nuclear treaty comes into effect

The New Start nuclear arms treaty limiting the number of atomic warheads the US and Russia are allowed to possess, has come into effect.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged ratification documents at a conference in Munich.

The treaty replaces the 1991 Start treaty which expired in December 2009.

It was approved by the US Senate in December and by the Russian parliament last month.

The papers exchanged in Munich had been signed by US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev following an agreement made last April.

Before the ceremony at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, Mrs Clinton said the treaty was "another example of the kind of clear-eyed co-operation that is in everyone's interests".

What's actually in the treaty? The State Department has a press release that details some of the key milestones.

Entry into Force (EIF)

No later than (NLT) 5 days after EIF: Exchange Inspection Airplane Information

Parties will exchange lists of the types of airplanes they intend to use for transportation of inspectors to the points of entry.

NLT 25 days after EIF: Exchange Lists of Inspectors and Aircrew Members

Parties will exchange their initial lists of inspectors and aircrew members.

NLT 45 days after EIF: Exchange Databases

The databases will include information as of the date of entry into force of the Treaty on numbers, locations, and technical characteristics of weapons systems and facilities that are subject to the Treaty.

NLT 60 days after EIF: Exhibition: Strategic Offensive Arms

If a Party declares a type, variant, or version of a strategic offensive arm (SOA) that was not exhibited in connection with the START Treaty, that Party will conduct an exhibition of that SOA. These exhibitions will demonstrate and confirm the features and technical characteristics of these new SOAs. Examples of SOAs that must be exhibited are the B-2A heavy bomber for the United States and the RS-24 ICBM for Russia.

60 days after EIF: Right to Conduct Inspection Activities Begins

The Treaty provides for 18 on-site inspections per year. There are two basic types of inspections. Type One inspections focus on sites with deployed and non-deployed strategic offensive arms. Permitted inspection activities include confirming the accuracy of declared data on deployed and non-deployed strategic offensive arms, the number of warheads located on designated deployed ICBMs and deployed SLBMs, and confirming the number of nuclear armaments declared to be on designated deployed heavy bombers. Type Two inspections focus on sites with non-deployed strategic offensive arms. Type Two inspections can also involve confirming the conversion or elimination of strategic offensive arms, and confirming that certain facilities have been eliminated. Each side is allowed to conduct ten Type One inspections and eight Type Two inspections annually.

NLT 120 days after EIF: Exhibition: Heavy Bombers at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

The United States will conduct a one-time exhibition of each type of environmentally-sealed deployed heavy bombers located at the storage facility at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

NLT 180 days after EIF: Initial Demonstration of Telemetry Playback Equipment

Each Party will conduct an initial demonstration of recording media and playback equipment for telemetric information from such media. Telemetric information is information that originates on a missile during its initial motion and subsequent flight that is broadcast.

NLT 225 days after EIF: Exchange Updated Databases

Parties will exchange updated databases. Parties will then exchange updated databases every six months for the duration of the Treaty.

NLT 1 year after EIF: Exhibition: B-1B Heavy Bomber

The United States will conduct a one-time exhibition of a B-1B heavy bomber equipped with non-nuclear armaments to demonstrate that the B-1B heavy bomber is no longer capable of employing nuclear armaments.

NLT 3 years after EIF: Exhibition: Previously Converted Missile Launchers

The United States will conduct a one-time exhibition of four submarines known as “SSGNs,” which are equipped with launchers of cruise missiles and converted from nuclear ballistic missile submarines, in order to provide assurances that these SSGNs are incapable of launching SLBMs.

By: Brant

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