Defense Threat Reduction Agency inspectors have conducted a mock inspection at Barksdale AFB, La., to help prepare airmen there for future Russian on-site inspections as part of the New START arms reduction agreement. President Obama submitted the treaty to the Senate in May for ratification; it is not yet in force. “It is vital for Barksdale to fully comply with [New] START because it is in the best interest of both nations to strengthen strategic stability,” said Col. Tom Hesterman, vice commander of Barksdale’s 2nd Bomb Wing, one of the nation’s two nuclear-capable B-52 bomb wings. During the visit, the DTRA personnel examined three B-52s, their weapons, and several empty hangars on the flightline in accordance with the inspection guidelines laid out in the new treaty. (Barksdale release) (See below for more on the New START inspection regime.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.