Although the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Russia doesn’t expire until 2021, a senior State Department official said she already is “urging” her Russian counterparts to think about “what comes next.” The treaty, known as New START, limits both countries to 1,550 nuclear warheads deployed on 700 ICBMs, sea-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear-capable bombers. “The value of the New START treaty, especially during this period of bilateral crisis with the Russian federation, is that it lends a considerable level of mutual predictability,” said Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of State for arms control and security. Gottemoeller was the US’ chief negotiator on the treaty, under which Russia must notify the US when it takes an ICBM out of deployed status for maintenance, and the US must notify Russia when one of its nuclear-capable bombers deploys from its home base for more than 24 hours. “We’ve continued to say to the Russians, ‘We need to think about the future,’” she said.
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.