Off to a Good New START

There were no major surprises during the United States’ first inspection of a Russian nuclear weapons facility under the terms of the New START arms reduction treaty, said James Miller, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. US inspectors on April 16 concluded a visit to a Russian SS-19 ICBM base. “I can say that the inspection went about as expected. I think in an open session, given our expectations about what’s discussed in inspections, that’s about all I should say,” Miller told lawmakers during Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel. He said the Russians are expected to conduct their first inspection of a US site soon. The two countries also have exchanged databases on their respective nuclear forces and held the first meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission that is responsible for resolving treaty-related issues that arise. The United States also exhibited a B-1B for the Russians in March, displaying the bomber’s conversion to a non-nuclear platform. The Russians exhibited their RS-24 road-mobile ICBM, also in March, and US officials exhibited the B-2A bomber in early April, according to Miller’s testimony. (Miller’s prepared statement)