Warm Silos, Cold Treaty Relations

The Obama Administration is committed to the New START nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia despite tensions heightened by Russian military activity in Ukraine. “We will continue to implement the New START treaty … because it’s in our national interest,” Elaine Bunn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, told lawmakers. “This Administration, like its predecessors, has sought a stable, strategic nuclear relationship with Russia—especially during times of turbulence elsewhere in the relationship,” she said during a House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel on April 8. The Defense Department announced the planned force structure breakdown of the 700 deployed bombers, ICBMs, and SLBMs allowed under the treaty earlier this week. In addition, Bunn detailed DOD’s plan for the 100 non-deployed launch platforms. These will include retaining the 50 Minuteman III silos emptied under the plan in “warm” status, as well as retaining six non-deployed B-52Hs in reserve, and 40 empty submarine launch tubes, states an April 9 release.