While the current New START treaty has many shortcomings, it was argued that, at a minimum, the treaty should be extended to buy time for new negotiations. Staffers asked whether China’s absence from New Start is a valid reason for letting the treaty lapse and whether a return to testing is inevitable. They also asked about what can be learned from Russia’s Skyfall missile accident and the prospects for a build-down in the present era. The conversation also touched on how to promote arms control in the absence of treaties, including norms (such as no-first-use, the nuclear testing moratorium, non-proliferation, and codes of conduct), as well as politically-binding agreements (unilateral and multilateral) and cooperative threat reduction programs. Three experts supported this discussion: Michael Krepon, Co-Founder and Senior Fellow at the Stimson Center, Susan J. Koch, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of WMD at the National Defense University, and Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service.
New START and the Future of Arms Control
With the last remaining arms control treaty, New START, due to expire in February 2021, Stimson organized a discussion for House and Senate staff on the Future of Arms Control.