What’s Next for New START

Nuclear inspectors should be on the ground in Russia and the United States about 60 days after both countries have ratified the New START arms reduction treaty, says Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for arms control. The Senate ratified the pact on Dec. 22. Gottemoeller, who acted as chief US negotiator for New START, said she expects Russia to approve the treaty by February. She said details on the first inspection are still being worked out. The first data share, including the current status and deployment of each country’s strategic nuclear forces, will be made within 45 days of the treaty entering force, she said. Both President Obama and the Senate have made it clear that the next step with Russia after New START will be to work towards reducing tactical nuclear weapons. Russia has far more tactical nukes than the US—a repeated point of contention during the Senate debate on New START. However, Gottemoeller cautioned that any reductions on that front will not happen overnight. “We have some homework to do . . . and I’m sure the Russians do as well,” she said during her Dec. 23 media teleconference. (Gottemoeller transcript)