Extending New START for five years would give the Biden administration and Russian officials time to work out what might come next. One approach would essentially build on New START and include new kinds of long-range weapons that essentially replicate the capabilities of current strategic forces but are not now captured by New START. Such an agreement would offer a structure familiar to both sides and prove easier to negotiate.
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Clock is Ticking on New START Extension
President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will have until Feb 5, 2021, just 16 days after Inauguration Day, to strike a deal with Russia to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. It appeared a deal was on the horizon in October, with the Trump administration proposing to extend the treaty for one year, plus a yearlong freeze on the number of nuclear warheads each country has deployed. Russia agreed to the extension and the freeze but rejected any type of verification, sidelining negotiations until after the U.S. elections on Nov. 3. Russia has since said it plans to table further discussions until the Biden administration comes in next month.
Read the rest of the story at Air Force Magazine
New START Deal to Wait for Biden
New START caps the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals at 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed missiles and heavy bombers each. The major stumbling blocks include how to define a nuclear warhead under a freeze and the U.S. demand that a freeze be verified. The Trump administration continues to aggressively call on China to join arms control talks with the United States and Russia.
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Restoring U.S. Arms Control Expertise
The incoming Biden administration’s damage assessments are now underway. All agencies of the executive branch have taken serious hits over the last four years. The extent of the exodus of talent and experience over the past four years is coming to light at the State Department, marking a compelling need to boost expertise to address regional, functional and technical arms control and nonproliferation challenges.
Read the rest of the story at Arms Control Wonk