Contingency Planning Underway for New START Compliance

The Air Force is hard at work on contingency planning should the Senate ratify the New START arms reduction agreement with Russia this year, according to Maj. Gen. William Chambers, who oversees nuclear matters on the Air Staff. Speaking Wednesday at an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Series presentation in Arlington, Va., Chambers said Air Force officials are currently preparing the logistical and budgetary framework needed to comply with the pact, should it enter into force. While New START’s limits on nuclear force levels will have little effect on either the active nuclear-capable bomber fleet or personnel levels within Air Force Global Strike Command, they will require many stored assets to be “completely de-fanged,” he said. Most likely to face the axe would be mothballed B-52s and a number of Peacekeeper ICBM silos presently maintained in renewable condition. A Pentagon compliance review group would define whether, and in what manner, to scrap aircraft and silos, he said.