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Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty

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Congressional rept.

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On May 24, 2002, President Bush and Russias President Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty known as the Moscow Treaty. It mandated that the United States and Russia reduce their strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012. The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on March 6, 2003 the Russian Duma did the same on May 14, 2003. The Treaty entered into force on June 1, 2003. Russia entered the negotiations seeking a legally binding document that would contain limits, definitions, counting rules and elimination rules that resembled those in the START Treaties. Russia also wanted the new Treaty to contain a statement noting U.S. missile defenses would not undermine the effectiveness of Russias offensive forces. The United States preferred a less formal process in which the two nations would state their intentions to reduce their nuclear forces, possibly accompanied by a document outlining added monitoring and transparency measures. Furthermore, the United States had no intention of including restrictions on missile defenses in an agreement outlining reductions in strategic offensive nuclear weapons. Russia convinced the United States to sign a legally binding treaty, but the United States rejected any limits and counting rules that would require the elimination of delivery vehicles and warheads removed from service. It wanted the flexibility to reduce its forces at its own pace, and to restore warheads to deployed forces if conditions warranted. The Treaty contains four substantive Articles. The first limits each side to 1,700-2,200 strategic nuclear warheads, but states that the parties can determine the structure of their forces themselves. The second states that START I remains in force the parties can use that Treatys verification regime to monitor reductions under the new Treaty.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Nuclear Weapons

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