President Obama isn’t giving up on the Senate ratifying the New START arms control agreement with Russia during the lame-duck session of Congress. The White House even announced that the President is willing to push his vacation back until that happens, reports the Washington Post. But as the clock ticks, Senate Republicans continue to debate the need for additional missile defenses. However, the President got a boost with the announcement by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) Dec. 10 that she now supports the treaty’s approval. She said her new position came after Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assuaged her concerns over Russian’s large inventory of tactical nuclear weapons versus the much smaller US holdings. They told her the United States remains committed to seeking reductions in Russian tactical nukes and better security of them.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.