New START: Don’t Salt Before Tasting

The Obama Administration is likely to try circumventing Congress to cut the US nuclear arsenal below the levels stipulated by the New START agreement with Russia, said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) on Wednesday. “There are a number of reasons to be concerned about the future of our strategic deterrent,” stressed Hoeven, speaking at a congressional seminar in Washington, D.C. AFA sponsored the Feb. 6 event, along with the National Defense Industrial Association and Reserve Officers Association. President Obama is “purportedly reviewing proposals that could unilaterally reduce our strategic weapons by several hundred warheads” below the 1,550 warhead limit of New START, he noted. The Administration also “appears poised to negotiate new arms control agreements” with Russia that would bypass the Constitutional requirement for Senate ratification of formal treaties, he added. New START implementation will not be completed until February 2018 and its “strategic effects remain unclear, so there’s no strategic case for making additional nuclear reductions,” asserted Hoeven. As a result, “The Obama Administration should not reengage Russia on nuclear issues while New START is being implemented,” he concluded.