Chairman’s Corner: Solidly Behind New START Treaty
By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2010 As I stated during a March 26 news conference, the vice chairman, the Joint Chiefs, our combatant commanders around the world, and I stand solidly behind this new START treaty. We greatly appreciate the trust and confidence placed in us by the president and by Secretary Gates throughout this process. We are also satisfied with our opportunity to provide counsel, make recommendations, and to help shape the final agreements.
We also recognize the trust and confidence this treaty helps foster in our relationship with Russia's military, a trust complementary to that which the President has sought to achieve between our two countries. Indeed, I met with my Russian counterpart, General Makarov, no fewer than three times during the negotiation process. Each time we met, we grew closer not only toward our portion of the final result, but also toward a better understanding of the common challenges and opportunities our troops face every day.
The new START deals directly with some of the most lethal of those common challenges -- our stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons. By dramatically reducing these stockpiles, this treaty achieves a proper balance more in keeping with today's security environment, reducing tensions even as it bolsters nonproliferation efforts.
It features a much more effective, transparent verification method that demands quicker data exchanges and notifications. It protects our ability to develop a conventional global strike capability, should that be required. Perhaps more critically, it allows us to deploy and maintain our proven strategic nuclear triad -- bombers, submarines and missiles -- in ways best suited to meeting our security commitments.
In other words, through the trust it engenders, the cuts it requires, and the flexibility it preserves, this treaty enhances our ability to do that which we have been charged to do: protect and defend the citizens of the United States.
I am as confident in its success as I am in its safeguards.