Gates to Brief Senate on New START Treaty
By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 6, 2010 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is slated to go to Capitol Hill today to brief the full Senate on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed last month, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters today.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also are slated to attend the briefing, he said.
“As demonstrated by that briefing team, this treaty has broad interagency support,” Morrell said.
Obama and Medvedev signed the so-called “New START” treaty April 8, with both countries pledging to reduce their deployed, strategic nuclear weapons stockpiles. The treaty sets new limits on ready-to-use, long-range nuclear weapons and establishes comprehensive verification procedures for both countries to verify which weapons the other possesses.
The goal of today’s briefing is to provide senators with an overview of the treaty and to answer questions, Morrell said, noting the briefing is closed to the media.
In a podcast recorded earlier this week, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the treaty “significant.”
Should the treaty be ratified by the United States and Russia, “it will result in a reduction of nuclear weapons,” the chairman noted.
From a military standpoint, the United States will retain a strong nuclear capability based on the triad of bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and ballistic missile submarines, Mullen said. “That is sustained,” he added.
“We’re still able to deter; we’re able to sustain a very strong nuclear triad,” the chairman said. “I’m very supportive of how the treaty came out.”
The proposed treaty is a step toward Obama’s long-term goal to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, Mullen added.