Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Joint Chiefs vice chairman Gen. James Cartwright on Thursday reiterated their unequivocal support for prompt Senate ratification of the New START arms control accord. “[W]e need START and we need it badly,” said Cartwright during their White House briefing. Clinton said the treaty not only enhances US security, but also helps create a better relationship with Russia. Gates acknowledged that there were some “legitimate concerns” among Senators about US nuclear modernization and New START’s impact on US missile defenses, but those concerns “[have] been addressed.” The Senate began debating the treaty on Thursday after passing a procedural measure the previous day to allow for that. Supporters like Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) are pushing for a prompt vote, while those still in opposition, like Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), want ample time for discussion. (White House blog post) (Cartwright-Clinton-Gates-Gibbs transcript) (See also Washington Post report and Washington Times report)
Feb. 20, 2024
A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper was shot down off the coast of Yemen by Houthi fighters, defense officials said Feb. 20. “Initial indications are that it was shot down by a Houthi surface-to-air missile,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters.