Mullen Calls Treaty Ratification ‘Right Thing to Do’
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2010 The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia is “the right thing for us to do,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, who spoke for all of the service chiefs during his testimony, urged the senators to vote to ratify the agreement.
Mullen said the conclusions and recommendations that grew from the Nuclear Posture Review informed the negotiations with Russia.
“The chiefs and I believe the new START treaty achieves important and necessary balance between three critical aims,” Mullen said. “It allows us to retain a strong and flexible American nuclear deterrent. It … strengthens openness and transparency in our relationship with Russia. It also demonstrates our national commitment to reducing the worldwide risk of nuclear incidents resulting from the continuing proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
The chairman stressed that the treaty’s central limits allows each side the freedom to determine its own force mix. The treaty also provides the United States with the flexibility to field the right force structure to meet the nation’s needs.
“We plan to retain our triad of bombers, ballistic-missile submarines and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles in sufficient diversity and numbers to assure strategic stability between ourselves and the Russian Federation,” Mullen said. “We will also maintain sufficient capability to deter other nuclear states.”
Mullen said the treaty provides an array of verification measures to ensure compliance.
“This treaty is also a critical element in the president’s agenda for reducing nuclear risks to the United States, our allies and partners and the wider international community,” the chairman said.
START is important by itself, and should also be viewed in wider context, Mullen told the senators.
“It makes meaningful reductions in the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals while strengthening strategic stability and U.S. national security,” he said. “Coupled with the administration’s clear commitment to prudently invest in our aging nuclear infrastructure and in nuclear-warhead life extension programs, this treaty is a very meaningful step forward.”