"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Author, "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement"
July 1, 2020
Next Steps in Arms Control: Transcript of Keynote Address
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Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.


DARYL KIMBALL:  Everyone, if I could have your attention, please.  Once again, I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation after this morning’s session but our keynote speaker is here.  

And, as we discussed this morning, following the midterm election, congressional leaders and the White House now are going to be trying to shift from campaign mode to governing mode, and that may be tough in many ways but it’s necessary, especially with respect to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which is of course, as we’ve heard, the next essential step toward closer U.S.-Russian cooperation on nonproliferation, deeper verifiable reductions and strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.

And a week from today the Senate will be back in session, perhaps to look at the New START Treaty and other issues during their so-called lame-duck session.  And, as I said this morning in reply to one of the comments, in my estimation, even though it’s been a tough campaign season and it’s difficult for Republicans and Democrats to get along on many, if any, domestic and foreign policy issues, New START does represent an opportunity for bipartisan action to support U.S. national security.  

And if Senate leaders can spare two or three days, we, the Arms Control Association, expect that the Senate could and would provide us advice and consent for the treaty.  And to explain why New START is important for U.S. and international security, we have the great honor to have the chief U.S. negotiator of the treaty, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller.  

Among her many accomplishments of course, as you all know from looking at the tables outside, is her authorship of the article in the September issue of Arms Control today, which outlines many of the reasons why New START is important.  

But we’re glad to have her here to tell us more about it at this very important opportunity.  So, Rose, thank you for coming.  Welcome.  (Applause.)

ROSE GOTTEMOELLER:  Thank you very much.  I was quite impressed by the decibel level coming into this room today and glad to see so many familiar faces around the room.  It seems like there’s lots to discuss in this area of arms control policy.  And I can but agree; I’m really happy to have the opportunity to speak to you this afternoon.

And I wanted to start out – before I turn to the New START treaty, I wanted to start out with just a few words about the bureau that I head, which, as Daryl has already mentioned, now has the name of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.  This is a very, very important readjustment, I would say, and one that my boss, Secretary Clinton, has been very keen to see unfold, as well as my immediate boss, Undersecretary Ellen Tauscher.

We are leading the department’s efforts with respect to arms control policy-making, negotiations and treaty implementation, so all three of those things.  And, furthermore, we’ve taken on issues to do with missile-defense policy from the State Department perspective, national security and space policy, as well as multilateral arms control and disarmament policy, including issues that are considered at the Conference on Disarmament, we hope a fissile material cutoff treaty to be considered there, and the U.N. General Assembly.  We just completed the first committee work in New York over the last month, over the month of October.  

Finally, AVC is leading the department’s efforts with respect to ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and its entry into force, to include, of course, full implementation of its verification regime.  So, we’re trying to encompass in one organization issues of arms control and national security policy-making, and I think it’s a very, very important change and one that will serve us well going forward.

The change in my bureau, however, is not just a matter of semantics.  It represents a significant streamlining also of our efforts in both nonproliferation and arms control, and it will put us in a better position, I believe, to carry forward President Obama’s priorities in this arena.  We now have a stronger and more comprehensive approach to the arms control policy agenda.

As the president stated in Prague last year, rules must be binding, violations must be punished and words must mean something.  The new organization will continue to focus squarely on verification and compliance as important goals of our overarching arms control policy, and I want to ensure that you get this vision of, you know, basically the full universe of arms control policy-making, from the formative end of it, the conceptual side, through the negotiation, to the implementation and compliance issues.  So we’re trying to take the full-spectrum approach now and I think it’s a very, very important change.

Because today’s global challenges are as complex as ever, by addressing nuclear, chemical and biological as well as conventional weapons arms control issues in a comprehensive way, we increase our ability to respond to threats and achieve the objectives of our overall policy, but we have got a lot of work to do.

And therefore, I’m very glad we have such wide-ranging communities, so many of you representing, in this room today, various organizations both in and out of government, and both here in the United States and overseas.  And I very much welcome the vibrant nature of this community and look forward to continuing to work closely with you in the coming years.

Now, let me get to the New START treaty.  As you’re all aware, one of the first steps in the president’s bold agenda, also laid out at Prague in 2009, was to move toward a world without nuclear weapons.  Step number one in President Obama’s administration was the one that I was charged with:  to negotiate a new arms treaty with Russia, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START.

With the excellent U.S. delegation that we had, I spent most of 2009 and the first half of 2010 in Geneva working on just that.  The treaty is very important to the national security of the United States because the U.S. and Russia control more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.  

When New START is fully implemented, it will result in fewer deployed nuclear weapons since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age.  And I think that that too is a very important step forward.  The treaty contains verification mechanisms that will enable us to monitor and inspect Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.  Accurate knowledge of Russian nuclear forces will prevent the risks of misunderstandings, mistrust and worst-case decision-making.

For those of you who have actually not read my article in Arms Control Today, first of all I wanted to say that was a team effort.  It was an interagency effort to put that article together.  And I actually had a little fight with Daryl here because I wanted to list, you know, more of the participants in the interagency process among the authors of the piece, but he said it’s against Arms Control Association policy.  (Laughter.)  But, first of all, I did want to underscore that it was an interagency effort, and indeed our full negotiating effort was an interagency effort with great participation from across this government.  

And, frankly, if you know something about the history of arms control policy-making and negotiating in the United States, you will remember that at past times there were often some fisticuffs and sharp elbows.  I can’t say that we had agreement, you know, perfectly in every area.  There was plenty of head-butting among the various agencies, but in general it was a terrific team effort.

So, for those of you who did not read the piece yet in Arms Control Today, I want to highlight the specific importance of its verification regime to the New START treaty.  The verification regime is based on an extensive set of measures that include a data exchange, the notifications to update that data exchange, measures that restrict where certain inspectable items may be located, onsite inspection, exhibitions and additional transparency measures.

So the regime is a comprehensive one and, very importantly, getting New START ratified and entered into force will provide for the resumption of vital onsite inspections with the Russian Federation.  With the December 2009 expiration of START, the United States is unable, for the first time in more than 20 years, to conduct nuclear arms inspections in Russia.  And today, as a matter of fact, we are tossed back to that era of the 1970s when we were entirely dependent on national technical means of verification, and I don’t think that is where we want to be.

There is no substitute for onsite inspection.  They provide for what Sen. Lugar likes to call the boots on the ground, the presence that confirms Russian data declarations that are provided to us, and through these inspections we gain further insights into Russian strategic forces.  And of course they do into our forces as well.  

It is a bilateral effort of course to maintain strategic stability in a number of ways, but the predictability that is inherent in a sound, strong and effective verification regime, that predictability is at the core of our efforts to maintain a stable and predictable strategic relationship with the Russian Federation.

As of today, it has been 338 days since we have had boots on the ground in the Russian Federation – our experts inside Russia inspecting Russian strategic nuclear forces.  Simply put, the United States is more secure and safer when our country is able to gain a better understanding of Russian strategic nuclear forces.  Now let me turn to a ratification update.  

With regard to ratification, we are optimistic.  We are very pleased that the vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 16th was a positive bipartisan step, the vote of 14 to 4 in favor of advice and consent with Sen. Kerry and Sen. Lugar of course leading that effort, and we are very much appreciative of their efforts to lead our work with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee throughout the summer.

Now is the time to finish the job.  You heard last week President Obama explaining, quote, “This is not a traditionally Democratic or Republican issue, but rather an issue of American national security” end quote.  He noted the passage of the treaty will send a strong signal to Russia that we are serious about reducing nuclear arsenals and a signal to the world that we’re serious about nonproliferation.  Sen. Kerry, furthermore, added that, “We are now ready to move forward,” and he said that passing New START is “an urgent imperative.”  

Finally, I’ll just note that my boss – again, Secretary Hillary Clinton – was down in New Zealand last week, but she spoke the same day the president did, confirming that, “We are working hard to pass the treaty and we believe we have enough votes to pass it in the Senate.  It’s just a question of when it will be brought up for the vote.”

This is the very same treaty that was there on November 1st, before the elections.  It is in the national security interest of the United States after the elections in the same way it was before the elections.  Swift approval is the right and necessary thing to do.  

There is broad bipartisan support for this treaty, as has traditionally been the case for arms control treaties.  Leaders from across the political spectrum from both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle have spoken out in favor of the treaty, including former secretaries of state and defense.  They recognize that is in our national security interest.  

Again, it is almost a year since START’s verification measures expired.  The U.S. intelligence community and military leadership say that we need New START so we can get the boots back on the ground in Russia to monitor and inspect their strategic forces.  

The administration has worked hard with the Senate over the course of the last six months, and I can personally attest to that.  We’ve carried out 18 hearings in which I testified four times, and four briefings.  I participated in two of those four briefings.  We have also responded to over 900 questions for the record.

Just a little point of history, for those of you who are interested:  The START Treaty – which, I didn’t bring the treaties today.  New START is about that fat; START is about that fat if you’re looking at the green book. The START Treaty had around about 400 questions, so it just gives you an idea for the hard work that we have undertaken over the past summer to help the Senate do their important responsibility of due diligence before moving forward to give their advice and consent to a treaty.

I just wanted to – in closing, I’d just like to underscore two points about what we have really tried to convey over the past summer in working on the treaty.  First and foremost, the nuclear stockpile will continue to be safe, secure and effective under the New START treaty.  Our current and most recent NNSA directors agree that the administration’s budget plans for the nuclear complex are excellent and represent a strong commitment to the safety and security of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Second, the treaty does not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defense as possible.  The head of the Missile Defense Agency, Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, testified that, “Relative to the START Treaty, the New START treaty actually reduces constraints on the development of the missile-defense program.”

In conclusion, the New START treaty is a continuation of the international arms control and nonproliferation framework that the United States has worked hard to foster and strengthen for the last 50 years.  It will provide ongoing transparency and predictability regarding the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.  At the same time, it will preserve our flexibility to maintain the strong nuclear deterrent that remains an essential element of U.S. national security and the security of our partners and allies.

This treaty is not just about Washington and Moscow.  It is about the entire world community.  We understand the world looks to us for leadership in securing nuclear materials globally and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and the New START treaty and its successful implementation will be one factor in our continuing success in that regard.

The bottom line is that the New START treaty was a good treaty before the election and it’s a good treaty after the elections.  It’s time to enjoy its national security benefits by getting it ratified and entered into force.  Thank you very much for you attention and I look forward to answering your questions.  (Applause.)  

I will be calling on people from up here.  We have a question over there.  Please wait for the microphone, and please identify yourself.

Q:  Thank you.  Hi.  Elaine Grossman with Global Security Newswire at the National Journal Group.  Secretary Gottemoeller, Vice President Biden told Capitol Hill a couple of months ago that the administration had identified some funding deficiencies in the nuclear weapons complex, and understanding that those deficiencies are apparently of great interest to some of the Republicans who are considering how to vote on New START.

Have you, or will you, be going up to the Hill to brief the key committees on these deficiencies – what they total up to, what they involve – and if so, when?  And could you elaborate on what they are?  Thank you.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  I spoke about this being a true team effort, a true interagency effort, and it’s not directly my responsibility to be briefing on the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Energy’s entity.  I will say that, again, it has been a terrific team effort, and Tom D’Agostino, the administrator, has been absolutely great in working with the White House and also with the Department of Defense on the NNSA budget.

And, yes, that is one step that is going forward in this period now as the Senate is beginning to come back.  It’s to get up to Capitol Hill and brief on the budget.  I do believe, based on everything I’ve seen, that the answers will be positive, will be the right answers in terms of filling in the gaps that the Hill, as well as others, have been concerned about.

So, I don’t want to get into any further details about numbers and specific programs and so forth.  It’s simply not my responsibility, but Tom D’Agostino will be briefing and continuing to work closely with leaders on the Hill over the next couple of weeks in order to provide all that information.  Our core concern at the present time is to provide all the additional information that we feel will lead, you know, to our final work on the floor in getting the treaty ratified.

Mary Beth Sheridan?

Q:  Thank you very much.  Lindsey Graham, who is a key moderate on many of these national security issues in the Senate, said to reporters in Canada this weekend that he thought that there were some things in START that needed to be changed to make it a better treaty.  To what extent can changes be made without going back into a full-blown, you know, renegotiation?  And are you concerned at all that his comments suggest that this is – you know, there’s going to be at least – you know, this is going to be a while before this gets to a floor vote?  Thank you.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  I think, first of all, I’ve been hearing, you know, some comments from time to time, particularly about the verification regime, that it’s not the same as the START verification regime.  Perhaps some changes need to be made.

I’ve been really urging people to dig down deeper and to look a the verification regime and the way it is, first of all, uniquely suited to the particular central obligations of this treaty, and furthermore, drives us down the road further in a more positive direction, accomplishing things we were never able to accomplish in START.

Some of you know, for example, about the change in the accounting approach where we went from an attribution rule in START to counting the exact number of reentry vehicles on missiles under the New START treaty.  That has driven, in fact, more intrusive on-site inspection for reentry vehicles than we had during START.

And so there are some core, I think, differences.  And in fact, as I said, I don’t say one treaty is better and the other treaty is worse.  They are simply different.  They were designed in different ways.  We had an attribution rule.  That was the way we counted under START.  We’re being more precise under this treaty in terms of how we’re counting because we’re trying to deal with some significant problems that arose in the counting of the START Treaty.

As you may know, the attribution rule did not really account for downloading.  Over time, as we downloaded the D5 missile, fewer warheads than the eight for which it was attributed, the central limits of the START Treaty became skewed in terms of the United States.  We were over-counting the D5.  That was an issue we wanted to resolve in the new treaty.

So we’ve driven down the road.  We’ve made some improvements in terms of how we’ve handled this overall approach to strategic nuclear arms reduction, and I think we just need to, you know, dig down deeper and examine some of the rationales here for what we were doing.

I’ll tell you the other thing I’m really interested in, in terms of moving forward, and that is to rapidly get into the next negotiation.  The president spoke in April when we signed – when he signed the New START treaty with President Medvedev that it’s time to move forward to nonstrategic nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons and nondeployed nuclear weapons.  I know for a fact that tactical nukes are a huge concern to the Senate.  I heard about it repeatedly as I went up to Capitol Hill to testify.

I think we need to drive – again, I’m talking – it’s almost like a car, you know – we need to drive forward to the next negotiation.  We need to get this treaty into force, begin to implement it, and drive forward to the next negotiation where we can begin to get the reductions in tactical nuclear weapons and in nondeployed nuclear weapons that are of such concern.

So, I think, Mary Beth, that would be how I would look at it, that understanding the New START treaty is a first important step.  Sometimes that involves diving down a little bit deeper than people have up to this point.  And then, second, we need to be ready to move forward and get into the next negotiation where we can really wrestle with some of those problems that have been such a significant concern, particularly as I’ve heard it on Capitol Hill.

Let’s go here to Bruce.  We have two questions right here, Bruce and Paul.  I’ll take those.  Do you guys mind giving your questions one after the other and then I’ll answer them both together?  It would be handy that way.

Q:  For old friends, of course.  I’m Bruce MacDonald with the U.S. Institute for Peace.  I’ve heard it said that there were a number of Republicans in the Senate who said that they wanted this to be nonpartisan, that they would not agree to a vote or they would vote against it if it were held before the election but that ratification after the election – they might be more inclined to do so, which, you know, one can understand.

You sound very positive, but have you heard of that or are you worried about the possibility of the Senate – being the Senate with its rules – the possibility of delay tactics or filibusters or holds or things like that?  Could you share with us some insights you may have?

Q:  Thanks for coming, Rose.  It’s good to see you.  I’m delighted to see the phrase “arms control” back in the description of the bureau since the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was limiting it not too long ago.  I would like to see the word “disarmament” used too this year.  (Laughter.)

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Maybe next year.  

Q:  Two quick questions.  One – you prefaced this just earlier – future negotiations following on, say, for a New START II treaty, when might those begin?  And if the New START is not ratified in the lame-duck session, or never ratified, could that in fact impact our follow-on negotiations?  And my second question is, what percentage –

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Hey, I took you two together so that would have been two questions, but go ahead, quickly.  (Laughter.)

Q:  You better write all these down.  The second question is really, to what extent of the bureau is reorganized now?  I mean, is it complete?  Are the offices moved?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Yes, that’s an easy one to answer.  I mean, physically we still have a few people to move around, but in terms of the – you know, the lines of command, I guess, command and control, yes, those changes have taken place.

Okay, let me take Bruce’s question first.  I mentioned already that we have some very intense discussions going on now and they will continue to go on.  I can’t predict what the outcome is.  Clearly I believe we have a good case to make.  And also, I think we have a very, very sound national security argument to make.  That is that we need to get this treaty into force because we are already approaching the one-year mark with no inspectors on the ground in the Russian Federation.

And if we kick the ratification process forward into the next Congress, I cannot predict when the treaty will enter into force.  So I think – and I hear from my, you know, interagency partners across the government, that we have a good view now as to what’s going on in the Russian strategic forces, but of necessity, the longer we go without inspectors on the ground there, the more uncertain our knowledge becomes.  In other words, our certainty begins to dissipate.

So, I think we have a strong impetus to move now to ensure that we have a treaty entered into force, that we have an inspection regime that is underway, that we try out some of these more intrusive verification measures and hone them in the course of inspection.  You get your guys on the ground and [see] what you’re finding out and what you perhaps need to hone a bit.

And going forward, then, you can think about the next negotiation and what will be required because if we’re looking at tactical nuclear weapons, if we’re looking at weapons in storage facilities, those are going to be much more – much more straining verification tasks, will require much more intrusive inspections.

So, I’m eager to get started now so that we have an opportunity to build up some experience and think about what we need for the future.  I will say – and I’ve testified to this effect; many of you will have heard me – I believe there is zero chance that we can get to the negotiating table anytime soon on tactical nuclear weapons unless we get this treaty ratified and entered into force.  It will be a profound blow to the U.S.-Russian relationship and will cause some difficulties in terms of advancing our national security agenda with the Russian Federation.

I’m not saying that it will shut down that relationship.  By no means.  We have a solid basis for our relationship now that is very much tied to our overall reset policy that President Obama and Secretary Clinton launched at the beginning of this administration.  So, there’s lots in train and lots of opportunities there, but I am worried about the delays that would be inherent if we did not move forward with this treaty.

Yes, please.

Q:  Hi.  Emily Cadei with Congressional Quarterly.  It’s good to see you, and thank you for taking our questions.  I noticed in your remarks you reiterated the fact that the treaty is the same now as it was before the election.  I was wondering if that implies a certain amount of concern about changing calculations post-election, how you see the landscape after the mid-term elections, and sort of why you felt the need to reiterate that point.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, I think – you know, it’s interesting because I think it was Bruce who pointed to the fact that many of our colleagues on Capitol Hill in the run-up to the elections were saying, yes, we need time.  We need time to absorb the 900 questions; we need time to study and to think about it a bit more.  

And all I’m saying is that that body of information, the hard work that we’ve done – and, believe you me, I’ve been very impressed with the due diligence on Capitol Hill.  There has been a very, very strong effort to understand this treaty.  It’s been many years since we’ve had a big strategic nuclear arms control treaty of this type before the Senate.  There has been a very serious effort to study, to understand, to analyze – many good questions coming, not only in terms of the questions for the record but during the hearing process and the briefing process.

So, there’s been a strong due diligence.  What I’m saying is that body of information is there.  Nothing has changed over the ensuing period while folks have been out for the election process.  It’s time to take that body of material, make the decisions that are necessary and move forward to a vote on the floor.

Yes, in the back there?

Q:  John Liang with Inside Missile Defense.  One of the things that was mentioned earlier this morning at this same forum was the possibility that Sen. Kyl might try to add to – try to get some more additional concessions out of the administration in the form of additional funding for the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile sort of in exchange for his vote to pass the treaty – to ratify the treaty.  Is there any – do you believe that there is completely enough funding for that stockpile or do you see any possible wiggle room that may allow you to give him something?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  That was the point I was making a bit earlier when we were talking about the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration.  As I mentioned, it has been a topic of much discussion and careful study over the last several months.  

As my colleague and predecessor at the NNSA – I guess I was actually his predecessor at the NNSA – Ambassador Linton Brooks said when he was administrator of the NNSA, he would have killed for the kind of budget that’s being considered now for the Stockpile Stewardship program as well as for the nuclear weapons infrastructure requirements.

So, I think that there has been work that was done during the summer.  There’s work done during the ensuing period.  And, as I said, Tom D’Agostino will be working closely with folks on Capitol Hill in the coming days and a couple of weeks to make that clear.  So that process is definitely going on.  It’s just, as I said, I didn’t want to comment on any specifics because it’s not in my bailiwick, really.


Q:  Thanks.  My name is Andrei Sitov.  I’m with TASS, the Russian news agency.  And this is a sort of a follow up to the previous question, even though it’s not your bailiwick, but it’s a very hard fiscal environment.  

So, I wanted to ask you if you have any idea – assuming that the treaty is ratified, how expensive will it be to carry out?  In other words, does it make economic sense?  If you could speak for both the U.S. and Russia please also.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  The treaty itself?

Q:  Yes.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Oh, well, the treaty itself, certainly in our country it’s been budgeted for.  Our Defense Threat Reduction Agency has, you know, been thinking ahead to – assuming that the Senate does give its advice and consent to the treaty.  

Just a technical aspect some of you may not know about, but what will happen once we exchange instruments of ratification with the Russian Federation, that starts a 60-day clock ticking, essentially.  So we cannot have inspectors zoom as soon as we exchange instruments of ratification on the ground in either country.  

There’s a 60-day preparatory period.  During that period, we will exchange – do the first official data exchange and we will prepare for the first inspections.  But in the meantime, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency has been thinking ahead about what would be required, and also they’ve clearly been thinking ahead in terms of the budget requirements for implementing the treaty because our fiscal year, as you know, begins on October 1st, so they have to think ahead into FY fiscal year ’11 and fiscal year ’12.  

Already that planning is going on.  They’re part of the Defense Department so they even have a longer planning horizon for their budget than some other agencies do.  So it’s been a thoroughgoing process so far and I don’t see any problem there, really.

Q:  So is it an expensive treaty?  Will it save money?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, one of the basic – actually that’s a very good question because one of the basic approaches was – and this was inherent in the joint understanding that President Obama and President Medvedev signed in July of 2009.  It was some of our basic instructions for conducting the New START treaty negotiations.  This was at the Moscow summit in July of 2009.  

They signed a joint understanding, and one of the points in the joint understanding was that there should be provisions for verification of the treaty that would be effective and yet perhaps streamlined by comparison with the START Treaty.  And, as I said, that was one of the points that we considered very carefully.  

And, based on the fact that we had terrific inspectors and weapons system operators on both sides of the table, the inspectors had brought their 15 years of experience implementing the START Treaty to the table and were able to think about ways – you know, some procedures maybe were not needed; others could be streamlined.

One of the things that we have done is lengthen out the length of the inspections, for example, so that certain inspection tasks will be covered in a single inspection event.  This is very, very helpful to the strategic forces operators because when you have an inspection at a strategic forces base, it shuts down the normal operations of the base.

So the START Treaty was starting to be an unnecessary drag on the operations of our strategic forces, and both Russia and the United States felt that, so that was one of the basic, again, rationales we were looking at.  Are there ways to streamline the inspection process, still ensuring that we’ve got a strong and effective verification regime?

So, by putting a number of inspection events in a single – in a single inspection, we ensured that we got the same effect that we needed but we weren’t shutting down our strategic forces operating bases in that way.  

So, that’s just an example but, yes, it was very much part of the negotiations and was a core part of the joint understanding that was signed in Moscow in July 2009.


Q:  Jan Lodal.


Q:  Hi, Rose.  I remain a bit confused about the bomber counting rules.  Maybe you could elaborate a little bit.  I understand that they reflect more or less current reality on the ground, but we have these very tight inspection rules for missiles, and then on the bomber side we’ve got this counting rule which, in principle, you could, if you filled everything up to its capacity you could deploy probably more total weapons than were permitted under the SORT Treaties.  

Nobody intends to do that or maintains the capability of doing that, but how does the verification and understanding aspects of things deal with that between the U.S. and Russia to make sure that something doesn’t go wrong there and that turn out to be an issue?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  It’s a very good question, Jan, and I think it’s another case in which people maybe haven’t dug down deep enough into the verification regime in the treaty.  You mentioned the intrusiveness of the verification for reentry vehicle onsite inspection – reentry vehicles on missiles, and I did speak about that at length.

But what people have lost sight of is that the intrusiveness of the bomber inspections is also – is also considerable, and it is actually more intrusive in some ways than START because we, for example, have allowed for the use of radiation detection equipment during inspections of bombers so that – you know, on a day-to-day basis – you pointed it out – neither side loads nuclear weapons on bombers.  We have not had our bombers on strip alert for many years.

In fact, our heavy bombers are largely devoted to long-range conventional missions.  That’s another reason that we felt confident that the bomber counting rule was an adequate representation of the continuing nuclear mission that has tasked the bombers, but on a day-to-day basis they don’t really carry nuclear weapons at all, so we count the bombers as carrying one nuclear weapon.

So it conveys that they have a nuclear mission but it does not over-burden them.  Again, in the counting process you don’t want the central limits of the New START treaty to be over-counting bomber weapons.  That would not serve our interests as well, but the verification regime for bombers is very intrusive and allows for objects inside the bomb bay to be checked with radiation detection equipment so we can basically confirm on bomber inspections that they are not – the Russian bombers are not carrying nuclear objects.

And it’s the same, of course, for the Russian Federation.  They will be – at our bomber bases they can use that same radiation detection equipment and check our bombers as well.  But it’s gotten lost in the noise a bit that the bomber inspections are very intrusive as well as the reentry vehicle onsite inspections.


Q:  Hi, Rose.  Miles Pomper from the Monterey Institute.  You touched a little bit on the tactical nuclear weapons issue but Dr. Miasnikov, when he was here earlier, said, for instance, what the U.S. trade that seems to be out there or talked about a lot is the idea of us trading our stored warheads for the Russian nonstrategic weapons.  And he seemed to dismiss that as that Russia wasn’t particularly interested in that idea.  I wanted to first say if that sort of the U.S. concept of how the trade-off might occur and if you do sense an interest in the Russians on that part.  

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, the concept is currently under discussion and development, so I would not want to point to any particular concept of how we are planning to proceed in that regard, but I do think that, you know, there was no question that the Russians did not – you know, there has been a longstanding Russian concern, which I hear from former colleagues of mine from my days of directing the Carnegie Moscow Center, that we have a lot of weapons in storage facilities.  So that is clearly articulated as a concern on the Russian side.  

So, we’ll just have to figure out what the trade space is going to be.  I’m not ready to talk about it today, again because it’s under discussion and development in the government at the present time.  I’ll also just stress, though, a point that I touched on earlier, and that is that we have an intrusive verification regime in the New START treaty but the inspection and verification regime for the next treaty is going to have to be even more intrusive, and we have got a lot of work to do.  

Many of you are aware that in the late 1990s we proposed a warhead protocol to the Russian Federation at that time.  That was for a possible START III negotiation.  And, you know, there were some efforts at that time to really understand what it would take to verify warheads in more precise ways – warheads in storage facilities, nonstrategic nuclear warheads.

And I can say that there’s a lot of good work that’s been done but there’s more good work that has to be done, and I see some homework having to go forward, including homework in cooperation with the Russian Federation.

Yes?  Oops.

Q:  Thank you.  Jay Marx with the Proposition One Committee.  So, clearly any more expansive disarmament prospects are on hold pending ratification of New START, a bilateral treaty, but hopefully assuming that ratification, what would next steps be toward any more multilateral disarmament negotiations?

And, on a related point, it was suggested in the earlier presentation that a fissile materials cutoff treaty, being by nature multilateral, might be a step towards multi-party negotiations.  Can you tell us anything about initiatives or developments towards an FMCT?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  I basically would like to begin by posing a question about your going-in assumption; that is, that multilateral measures have to be on hold pending ratification entry into force of the New START treaty.  

I think that you need only look to the NPT review conference in May, and first of all the fact that we came out with a consensus conclusion, which was extraordinarily important, given the fact that the previous review conference did not reach a consensus.  And the second point; the consensus was built around a significant action plan, and that significant action plan touched on any number of multilateral activities, some of them in the realm of the P-5; that is, the nuclear weapons states under the Nonproliferation Treaty.

And I wanted to draw your attention to a very interesting initiative that’s going on.  That is, in September France announced that we would be holding a P-5 conference on verification and transparency in the first half of 2011, in the spring of 2011.  And this is a continuation of an effort that was begun with a conference in London in September of 2009.

So, it’s bringing the P-5 to the table and beginning to talk about some of the very important requirements there would be for verification and transparency as we move forward in the disarmament realm.  So I do think that – again, I’d just raise the question about your going-in assumption.

I think that there are several directions where there will be initiatives going on.  We continue to stress – and we stressed very hard at the first committee meeting in New York over the month of October, that we must start the FMCT negotiations on the basis of the consensus decision that was reached at the CD in April of 2009.  Basically we have a sound foundation upon which to launch those negotiations.  We need to get on with it.  And U.S. patience in this regard I have to say is drawing a bit thin.

So, we are talking to our partners and colleagues and discussing ways to develop at least some bilateral consultations and discussions on the FMCT and on its particular technical requirements.  We’re keen to get moving on it.  So, again, just to give you a sense that I don’t think we’re going to be standing still by any means with regard to multilateral efforts.

But frankly, one thing I’ve noticed very, very clearly since we signed the treaty – we completed the negotiations, signed the treaty and moved forward starting with our so-called nuclear April last spring when we had the NPR come out, the Nuclear Posture Review, signature of the treaty. We had the Nuclear Security Summit at the end of the month.

That gave us a tremendous boost going into the NPT Review Conference, the authority and the force of, you know, the U.S. presence at the NPT Review Conference, working very closely in partnership with Russia and the other P-5 countries.  It really gave a tremendous boost to our Nonproliferation Treaty efforts.  

So, for those who say, oh, there’s no link, I can give you empirical evidence that in fact one of the reasons we were so successful in New York in May I think was because of the very strong actions that we were able to successfully bring to a close in April.

There was one more question over here?  Yes, please.  Last question.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Allan Krass, retired recently from the State Department Non-Proliferation Bureau.  A long time ago I studied verification and I ran across something called a Weisner curve, which you’ve probably heard of, that basically says that in inverse proportion, as the number of nuclear weapons on both sides – on all sides, if we talk about multilateral – goes down, the degree and intrusiveness of verification must go up –


Q:  – essentially in inverse proportion.  And that’s always troubled me.  What I hear in what you’ve been saying is that, in a sense, we are still locked into that – for example, we’ve gone now historically from speaking in orders of magnitude from 10,000 to 1,000.  The degree and intensity of verification has gone up quite dramatically from SALT to START.

You’re saying that if we go now to stockpiled warheads, to tactical nuclear weapons, it’s going to have to become even more intrusive.  It sounds like we’re continuing to follow that curve.  But if you follow the logic of the Weisner curve all the way down to another order of magnitude – say, down to a hundred, and then beyond that down to 10 because, you know, most of the people in this room are thinking of arms control as a progression toward zero – the degree and extent of verification and monitoring becomes almost astronomically high to become convincing and credible to people who worry about cheating by one or two or 10 or 15 nuclear weapons.

Do you see, and does the U.S. side see, as they negotiate each new step in this process, as way around that paradox, a way around that dilemma, or are we just going to have to deal with it when it comes or if it comes?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, you know, the President, in stating his commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons, said that it is going to be a long process.  He has said clearly, maybe not in my lifetime.  In fact he’s said, not in my lifetime, and President Obama is a fairly young man.  So we all recognize that this is a step-by-step approach, that it will take time to work through these various steps.  

And, furthermore, we all recognize that there are very important regional security issues that will have to be addressed before we can move down that curve to the very bottom, down to zero.  There are many issues that have to be addressed.  It’s not only a question of verification; it’s a question of the, you know, level of cooperation and the solution of significant problems that will go on, on a regional basis so that we can get there eventually.

And so, I’d really just like to emphasize that we have to consider this a step-by-step process and we have to start somewhere.  I am both satisfied and very pleased and excited that the intrusive verification regime in the New START treaty takes us a further step from where we were in START, and I think it really does help us to begin to understand the challenges of going after nondeployed warheads and nonstrategic or tactical nuclear warheads, and what will be required in that regard.

So, I think let’s just take it step by step, but I do grant the premise of your comments and I think we all understand that as numbers go lower, we have to have more confidence – more confidence in the verification of the measures for constraining those stockpiles.  So, it’s a very important question and one that we take very seriously.

So, thank you all very, very much.  It’s great to see you all.  And good luck with the rest of your meeting today.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Rose, for that.  We are going to move straight into our next panel on issues relating to missile defense, so if you do need to take a personal break, please do so quietly.  Cut back in as quickly as you can.  And to take over at this point, Tom Collina, our research director.