The extension of the New START Treaty is in the national security interest of the US, Secretary of Defense nominee for the Biden administration Lloyd Austin said in answers to the Senate Armed Services Committee Advance Policy Questions.
"Yes, I do and so does President-elect Biden," he said when asked whether he believed it would be in the national security interest of the US to extend the treaty. "Nuclear arms control is in the US national security interest," the Pentagon nominee stressed.
However, Lloyd Austin said that he believed "is in the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners to pursue formal, verifiable arms control agreements that reduce the nuclear threats from Russia and China".
"Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons through arms control is a very important strategic objective," he noted. "I know that this perspective is shared by the Senate as reflected in the resolution of ratification to the New START Treaty that includes a condition to negotiate an agreement with Russia to address the disparity in U.S. and Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons," the nominee said, TASS reports.
The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) was signed in 2010 and entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers.
The New START Treaty remains in force for 10 years, until 2021, unless it is replaced before that date by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It can also be extended for no longer than 5 years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay prolongation of the treaty it describes as the gold standards in the area of disarmament.
During his election campaign, US President-elect Joe Biden came out in favor of extending the treaty.