Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in urging the administration to immediately extend the New START arms control agreement with Russia for another five years. The treaty is set to expire in February 2021, but can be extended for up to five years.
“Allowing New START to expire in February would have a dangerous and destabilizing effect. Losing New START’s extensive and effective verification regime would create greater uncertainties about Russia’s current and future nuclear plans, intentions, and capabilities,” the Senators wrote. “As transparency between our mutual nuclear force structures decreases, it could undermine fundamental prerequisites of mutual deterrence and increase the risks of nuclear crises similar to those we experienced during the Cold War, like the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
“The best course of action would be for the United States to extend the current treaty, allowing time to negotiate with Russia, as well as China, on the contours of a new agreement. Some other justifiable concerns, such as the application of New START to new types of Russian strategic weapons, could be discussed through the treaty’s existing Bilateral Consultative Commission,” the Senators continued. “Therefore, Mr. President, we urge you to use your authority to extend New START for five years and prevent us from returning to an era of destabilizing nuclear competition.”
The New START Treaty, initially ratified by the Senate in 2010, entered into force on February 5, 2011. The treaty limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads and deployed missiles and bombers that the United States and Russia can maintain, as well as provides a monitoring and verification regime.
Click HERE to read the full letter.