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Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I wish to thank the Senator very much for his comments and his support. It is my understanding that Senator Ensign was going to speak at this point in time. He is on his way. We are happy to accommodate that.
Let me say to colleagues that we are open for business. We are ready to entertain amendments people may have. We encourage colleagues to come down here. Obviously, some people have raised the question of the press of time, but it does not seem, from both yesterday and today, that anybody is actually in a rush to bring an amendment.
We are prepared to vote on our side of the aisle. I want to make that very clear. There are 58 Democratic Senators and Senator Lugar who obviously are working to advance this treaty. We do not have any amendments. We are prepared to vote. So if colleagues want to bring an amendment, now is the time to do it, and we encourage them to do so.
Let me just say that I know Senator Barrasso just spoke with respect to missile defense. I understand the legitimate concerns that have been expressed by a number of colleagues about the question of missile defense. I wish to make it as clear as possible, from all of the record to date, that the treaty's preamble, first of all, requires nothing legally whatsoever. There is no legal, binding effect of the preamble--none whatsoever.
Secondly, Secretary Clinton said this and Secretary Henry Kissinger said this: All it is is a statement of fact about the existence of a relationship. It has no restraint whatsoever on our ability to proceed with missile defense.
Moreover, the resolution of ratification could not be more clear about that. There are pages within the resolution and several different individual references to the fact that the missile defense is not affected.
Let me read from it. This is from ``Understandings,'' and this is the missile defense understanding No. 1:
It is the understanding of the United States--
This is what we will pass when we pass this, and I am quoting from it--
that the New START Treaty does not impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses other than the requirements of paragraph 3 of Article V of the New START Treaty, which states, ``Each Party shall not convert and shall not use ICBM launchers and SLBM launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein. Each Party further shall not convert and shall not use launchers of missile defense interceptors for placement of ICBMs and SLBMs therein.''
It goes on to say that any New START treaty limitations on the deployment of missile defenses beyond those specifically contained--and I will speak to what they are in a moment--would require an amendment to the New START treaty. That would require an entire new process of ratification in order to live up to the requirements of the treaty process itself.
Now, the specific, tiny, little limitation they are talking about in there is one that the Secretary of Defense said: We don't want; that is, the conversion of a current ICBM silo. There are four of them that are grandfathered into existence here, but the military has determined it is more expensive to do that than to simply build a new silo for a ground-based missile, which is what we plan to do in the event we want to--when we deploy.
So there is, in effect, zero limitation. Every single member of the Strategic Command and the current command has said there is no limitation. Secretary Gates has said there is no limitation. And I believe we will be able to have even some further clarification of the absence of any limitation.
The fact is, if you change that preamble now, you are effectively killing the treaty because it requires the President to go back to the Russians, renegotiate the treaty, and then you have to come back and go through months and months of hearings and resubmission and so forth.
The important thing to focus on is the fact that--and let me quote Henry Kissinger about the language Senator Barrasso has referred to. He said, ``It is a truism, it is not an obligation.''
Secretary Gates also emphasized the fact that it has no impact whatsoever on the United States. Secretary Gates reminded us in May that the Russians have always reacted adversely to our plans for missile defense, so they have tried a number of times to try to interrupt that.
Secretary Gates said in his testimony:
This treaty does not accomplish any restraint for them at all.
He also said:
We have a comprehensive missile defense program, and we are going forward with all of it.
In addition to that, General Chilton reported on how he informed the Russians in full about exactly what program we were going forward with, including the recently agreed on deployment at Lisbon for the deployment of missile defense in Europe.
They understand exactly what we are doing, what our plans are, and, notwithstanding that, they signed the treaty. So I think the comfort level of all of our military, of all of those involved with the laboratories, and all of those involved with the Strategic Command ought to speak for itself.
I see Senator Ensign is here.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I ask my colleague from Nevada--he mentioned he had some amendments, and we are ready to do amendments. Is he prepared to go forward with his amendments?
Mr. ENSIGN. Let me check.
Mr. KERRY. Madam President, let me speak to a couple points the Senator from Nevada raised. He talked about the article V ban. I discussed this a few minutes ago with respect to the conversion of ICBM silo launchers. There is a one-paragraph restraint in the treaty with respect to the conversion of those missile defense interceptors. The Foreign Relations Committee, in the course of our hearings, pressed the administration on this question very extensively. There were a lot of questions asked by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. The record unequivocally counters the argument just made by the Senator from Nevada. The ban does not prevent us from deploying the most effective missile defenses possible. I will be specific.
We will soon have some 30 missile defense interceptors in silos in California and Alaska. We are going to have an additional eight extra launchers in Alaska, if we need them. If we need more interceptors, the Missile Defense Agency Director, LTG Patrick O'Reilly, who was originally appointed to that post in the administration of President Bush, told the committee: ``For many different reasons,'' they would ``never'' recommend converting either ICBM silos or SLBM launchers into missile defense interceptor launchers.
What we are hearing is a completely red herring argument, sort of throw it out there and say that somehow this is a restraint on missile defense. Why is it not a restraint? One reason is cost. It is intriguing to me to hear a lot of colleagues raise this particular missile defense issue in the treaty, when they also raise the issue of the deficit and how much we are spending and how we should not be spending on things people don't want and the military doesn't want. Here is something the military doesn't want. They don't want it because the conversion cost of the last ICBM launcher at Vandenberg into a missile defense interceptor launcher was about $55 million.
The average cost for a new hardened missile defense interceptor silo in a new missile field is $36 million. The reason for that is because the Missile Defense Agency has developed a smaller, more effective, special purpose silo to meet its needs.
The annual operating cost for a separate converted silo, which is what our colleagues are complaining about, is actually $2 million higher per silo, and it is $2 million higher than a silo which the military thinks is more effective and less expensive to maintain. As Strategic Command General Chilton noted, we also don't want to force Russia to make a split-second guess as to whether a missile that is flying out of a U.S. silo field is either a missile defense interceptor which may be aimed at a rogue missile or a nuclear-tipped missile aimed at Moscow. That confusion is impossible to distinguish unless we have a completely separate silo field. So converting an old ICBM silo in a particular field where we can't distinguish between an interceptor or an ICBM actually increases the potential of confusion and threat and possibly a dangerous mistake and decision.
With regard to putting a missile defense interceptor in a submarine launch tube, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen both said this is not a cost-effective step, and it presents very unique operational challenges. We need to take these red herrings off the table. Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen both noted it would make much more sense to put missile defense interceptors on aegis-capable surface ships, which is what they are doing, and that is not constrained by any treaty. There is no constraint whatsoever in our ability to go out and do what best meets the needs as defined by the military themselves.
The bottom line is, article V, paragraph 3 does not constrain us one iota.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. KERRY. I wish to ask the Senator, if I can--I don't want to interrupt him, but I wanted to inquire, get a sense here--I appreciate a lot of the comments he has made. First of all, let me say that I have appreciated working very closely with Senator Kyl on this for months now. We have had an enormous amount of dialog; we have had a lot of meetings; we have gone back and forth. I think he would agree that we have tried very hard and in good faith to address many of the concerns he has raised, notwithstanding the ones he just raised in his speech, many of which I will speak to as we go along.
But I would like to sort of get a sense from him. He mentioned amendments, others have, but we are now almost at lunchtime, and we don't have an amendment. I would like to get a sense of when we might anticipate really being able to do the business on the treaty.
Mr. KYL. I will be happy to respond. Part of the business of the Senate on the treaty is to expose its flaws and to have a robust debate about those flaws, which can provide the foundation for amendments which we intend to offer.
I was struck by the seriousness and importance, at least in my mind, of the two-page list of amendments my staff acquired from colleagues. As my colleague knows, we actually shared a list of 10 or 12 amendments that I had thought about, and actually some of my colleagues--in fact, we had a couple-of-hour conversation about that one morning to see if we could reach agreement on any of them, which we were not able to do. But there are some very
serious amendments, most of which go to the resolution of ratification, and a few go to the treaty or the preamble itself.
I note that yesterday my colleague said--I think I am quoting him correctly--``Make no mistake, we will not allow an amendment to the treaty or the preamble.'' Maybe there are the votes to not allow that. But I do think it is important for us, in this discussion, before offering such an amendment, to appreciate why we believe such an amendment would be important.
As my colleague well knows, there is a great deal that can be said about this. I am trying to say it in as succinct a form as I can.
Mr. KERRY. I appreciate it.
Mr. KYL. But there is a great deal of discussion that needs to occur for a predicate for the amendments we intend to offer.
Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I completely respect what the Senator from Arizona has just said, and we obviously want to give him time to lay any predicate to whatever he may perceive to be a flaw. For instance, as he raises the question about the MIRVing, as he just did--and later, I will go through each of these points--but the fact is, the reason the Russians are MIRVing--which we all understand, and there are plenty of letters from the Strategic Command and elsewhere that will articulate the way in which they do not see that as a threat--the reason they MIRV is because they cannot afford to do some of the other things with respect to the numbers of missiles, so they put more warheads on one missile.
We have preserved a very significant breakout capacity here. As General Chilton and others will point out, it is not a flaw at all. It is actually an advantage which is maintained in this treaty for the American strategic posture. I will go into that later. What the Senator describes as a flaw from his point of view I think the record will well state is sort of a preserved American advantage.
That said, I respect, obviously--we want to get this joined. I think what the Senator has just laid out is very helpful. It will help us join the debate. But I do want to impress that the sooner we can get to some of these amendments, the more we can really discover whether something is, in fact, a flaw or is not a flaw and has been adequately answered.
Mr. KYL. I appreciate my colleague's comment. I note that I think the reason the Russians are going to MIRVing is--at least the primary reason is exactly as Senator Kerry has stated. They have financial limitations on what they can do here, but I don't think one can deny that the result of it is strategic instability compared to moving toward a single warhead missile, such as the United States has been doing and will continue to do.
What I wanted to do in this segment of my remarks before I conclude--and I will advise my colleagues that the next thing I intend to be talking about is the administration's commitment to the nuclear triad, but I don't think I am going to have time to get to that. I would like to conclude now with some comments about modernization.
It has been well known that I have been involved in negotiations with the administration regarding modernization. My colleague and friend, Senator Kerry, has been very helpful, I might say, in occasionally restarting those conversations when they got bogged down a little bit and was helpful--and I specifically have complimented him before and will do it again--in ensuring that the President's increase in the budget for our nuclear modernization program that was in his budget this year will actually be carried out in the funding the Congress does. We had to do a continuing resolution back in September, and I think it was largely due to Senator Kerry's efforts that that funding was included.
I just note that we have had a lot of concern back and forth about whether there is a real commitment to get that done over the years. Obviously, both of us appreciate the fact that no one can guarantee anything, but there is a certain amount of good will and commitment involved here, and certainly the administration needs to be very actively involved in ensuring that the funding required for its modernization program actually comes to pass.
I note that the continuing resolution as passed by the House of Representatives unfortunately conditioned this funding Senator Kerry and I were responsible for--conditioned it on the ratification of the START treaty, saying: If you don't ratify the treaty, you are not going to get the money. Thankfully, a couple of administration officials relatively quickly pushed back on that and said: No, that is not right. The treaty stands on its own, and the modernization program stands on its own, and this funding is necessary.
That is the kind of pushback on what might otherwise be rather petty politics that is going to be required by all of us who understand that modernization is critical in the future.
With that belief predicate, let me state what the problem has been and generally how we went about trying to correct or solve the problem.
The United States, believe it or not--and this is the fault of Republican and Democratic administrations and Republican and Democratic Members of Congress--it is a negligence, I would say a gross negligence on all of our parts. I take some of the blame for not having yelled about this more than I have. But at the same time that every other nuclear power is modernizing its forces, both its facilities and its capability to maintain its weapons, its weapons, and, in the case of the Russians and the Chinese, their delivery systems as well--while every one of them has a capacity to do that, to actually produce a warhead to put back into production when one comes out of production, the United States does not. The country that literally invented these weapons with the Manhattan Project is still using Manhattan Project--that is 1942, in case you have forgotten--era buildings to take care of these most sophisticated weapons. If you were to liken it to a car, it would be like a Ferrari race car or Formula 1 race car, highly technical--I don't think you would want to refurbish those in somebody's old backyard garage.
The bottom line is that these facilities have to be brought up to modern standards to be able to modernize our weapons over time. Why do the weapons have to be modernized? Generally speaking, these are weapons that were designed in the 1970s, built in the 1980s, and built to last 10 years. Do the math. We are still relying on those weapons.
What we found, even though we have cut way back on the funding for what we call surveillance--that is to say, taking a look at several of these weapons every year, taking the skin off, looking down inside, seeing what is rusty and what is loose and so on, to use an analogy to a car maybe--what we found is that there are significant issues with these weapons that need to be addressed if our commanders and labs are to continue to be able to secure them as safe, secure, and reliable, as they must.
So we need the facilities in which to bring these sophisticated weapons in, take them apart, make sure they are put back together properly with all the requisite either new parts or reused parts or whatever is necessary to continue to allow them to work and get them back into production.
The timeline on this is more than critical. Suffice it to say in this open session of Congress that we dare not waste any more time at all. I think that is one of the reasons why the President's advisers from the laboratories and the Department of Defense and Energy presented this to the President and his nuclear posture review. In the modernization plan he developed, there is a very firm commitment on his part to move forward with this, because no time can be wasted.
To give you one illustration, when we left one of the facilities we had examined--we have been to each of these facilities and we have talked to the people there, and we were given a little souvenir from one of them. It is encased in plastic, a little vacuum tube. It is a vacuum tube such as those that came out of our black-and-white TVs back in the 1960s, I guess. It is still being used in a component of one of our weapons, and they are replacing it with circuit boards, of course.
That is the kind of thing that needs to be modernized in these weapons. So what is it going to take to do it? Well, the Congress, understanding that we had to get about this, in the last Defense bill put in a requirement that the President prepare a plan. It is named after the section of the bill, which was 1251. That section of the bill now is the nomenclature for the plan, the 1251 plan for modernizing our forces.
This followed a speech Secretary Gates made. Let me quote from the speech and then get into a little bit of the detail here. He said:
To be blunt, there is absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without either resorting to testing our stockpile or pursuing a modernization program.
That was pretty much the genesis, that and the so-called Perry-Schlesinger Commission, which ran the red flag up the flagpole to get this program moving. So in fiscal year 2010, the Obama administration devoted $6.4 billion to nuclear weapon activities, but it has acknowledged that that is a loss of purchasing power of about 20 percent, from 2005--this is by the administration's own calculations. So we knew from the very beginning there was not enough money in the plan to get the job done.
In December, a year ago, 41 Senators--this is before Scott Brown, I might add, joined us--wrote a letter to the President stating:
Funding for such a modernization program beginning in earnest in your FY 11 budget is needed as the U.S. considers the further nuclear weapon reductions proposed in the START follow-on negotiations.
To make a long story short, the administration had a 10-year plan in place that was becoming pretty apparent would not be adequate. That 10-year plan called for about $7 billion a year over 10 years, to basically operate the facilities. I have said, it is like the money to keep the lights on, but not money for this new modernization of our nuclear warheads or most of it would not have gone to that.
They realized they needed about $10 billion, at least according to their initial calculations. They got about half of that from the Defense Department, the other half they figured they would get from savings from recalculating interest costs in the latter years of the budget. So they added a $10 billion slug onto the $70 billion that was already budgeted for general operation of the system, and said that is our $80 billion modernization program. But based upon work that had done by laboratories earlier, by other study groups and so on, a lot of experts agreed, including all of the former lab directors, that that slug of $10 billion would never be adequate for the costly items that needed to be performed over the next decade. Most of us estimated it to be about double that cost or about $20 billion. I think that is essentially where we are going to end up, by the way.
In any event, the two biggest drivers are two new buildings, facilities that have to be built, one for plutonium work at Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico, the other for uranium work at the so-called Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge, TN. Those two buildings alone could end up costing over $10 billion. As a result, as I said, we went to the administration and said, we appreciate this modernization plan, but you need to update the plan and incorporate a lot of new costs.
We showed them a lot of areas in which there were deficiencies, including deferred maintenance that had to be performed. We even pointed out there was a billion-dollar unfunded pension liability that would have to be dealt with in order for the scientists to continue to work. I will not go into the quotations here. Vice President Biden acknowledged the same thing in a statement he made. I appreciate the fact that, by the way, they complimented our work and our staff for pointing out a lot of these things, which were the bases then for the administration coming back and doing an update to the 1251 plan, which at least incorporated funding for some of the items we had talked about.
There has been some talk about an additional $4.1 billion, and I know Senator Kerry will confirm this. It grates on me, and I am sure it does on him as well, to hear people referring to this in negotiation terms: Well, they gave Kyl another $4.1 billion. That should be enough.
That is not the point here. This is an ongoing, evolving process. The administration has also identified about another $2 billion likely to have to be spent within 6 years, but they were only looking at a 5-year process, so that $4 billion pertains to 5 years. My guess is, there will be another $6 billion over the last 5 years, and we will ultimately look at about $20 billion, more or less.
The point is, I did not believe the administration had been sufficiently careful in defining the requirements and identifying the amount of money that would be needed. I have said to many people, including my colleague Senator Kerry, we better not underestimate this for the appropriations Members of Congress. We better let them know upfront, this is going to be pretty costly, and get that out on the table.
To their credit, the administration has now put out new figures. As I will discuss in more detail later, but to summarize here, while that is a big step forward and very welcome, and I will support it all, there are other things that need to be done. One of the biggest concerns I have is that it achieves this objective in part by simply extending the date to complete these two big facilities I mentioned by another 2 years. They would not be complete until 2023 for one and 2024 for the other one.
That has the advantage of getting them outside the 10-year budget window, so you do not count any new money, but it extends the time by which these facilities can be done. And every year we were told it is about a $200 million expense to keep the existing facilities operating.
So we are losing a lot of money every year that we do not get these two new buildings constructed so we can move into them and get the modernization done. That is the biggest concern I have. I will talk about some others later.
But let me conclude here with a couple of quotations that I think illustrate the importance of doing what we need to do here.
Tom D'Agostino, who is the Deputy NNSA Administrator said:
Our plans for investment in and modernization of the modern security enterprise are essential, irrespective of whether or not the START treaty is ratified.
He and I think all of us agree, it is even more important if we go down to the lower numbers in the START treaty. But this is important either way. I note that former Energy Secretary Spence Abraham wrote a column in Weekly Standard recently that made the same point, that regardless of what is done on the START treaty, this modernization needs to move forward.
I made the point earlier about how the House Democrats conditioned the funding on ratification of START. I hope in the comments that are made on the floor here, it may be the subject of an--in fact, it probably will be the subject of at least one amendment to the resolution of ratification. But this is a place where the debate we have, the comments we make, may be as important as an amendment, because it is a statement of our intention as Senators. I
think you will find that republican Senators who support the START treaty, and I am sure Democratic Senators who support the START treaty, will all say, one of the things that has to happen is the modernization of our facilities, along the lines of this updated 1251 plan, and the statements that the administration, as well as we, have made.
Mr. KERRY. Madam President, would the Senator yield?
Mr. KYL. I will yield.
Mr. KERRY. I want to compliment the Senator, and confirm on the record that Senator Kyl indeed brought to the attention of the administration and to all of us several points which the laboratory chiefs agreed were in deficiency. And he is absolutely correct, that while it is not directly within the four corners of the treaty, the modernization, per se, obviously if you contemplate reductions, you have to also be able to understand you are maintaining the capacity of your existing force. Senator Kyl has been diligent in pursuing that.
I also applaud the administration for responding, and I think he would too, and acknowledging that. So he is correct, that I think this part of the record is an important one. We have met separately with Senator Inouye, with Senator Feinstein, and they have agreed with Senator Kyl, that they accept the need to continue down to the levels that the administration has put on the table, and they are committed to doing that.
That said, let me also place in the Record a letter from our three laboratory leaders, Dr. George Miller at Lawrence Livermore, Dr. Michael Anastasio, who was just referred to at Los Alamos, and Dr. Paul Hommert at Sandia. I will read the relevant portion. I will put the whole thing in the Record. But here is what they say:
We are very pleased by the update to the Section 1251 Report, as it would enable the laboratories to execute our requirements for ensuring a safe, secure, reliable and effective stockpile under the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan. In particular, we are pleased because it clearly responds to many of the concerns that we and others have voiced in the past about potential future-year funding shortfalls, and it substantially reduces risks to the overall program. We believe that, if enacted, the added funding outlined in the Section 1251 Report update--for enhanced surveillance, pensions, facility construction and Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities among other programs--would establish a workable funding level for a balanced program that sustains the science, technology and engineering base. In summary, we believe the proposed budgets provided adequate support to sustain the safety, security, reliability and effectiveness of America's nuclear deterrent within the limit of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads established by the new START Treaty with adequate confidence and acceptable risk.
I think it is very important to sort of do that. I would think we have adequately addressed it, because there is also language in the resolution of ratification that embraces the modernization component. So I thank the Senator from Arizona. I think that has been a constructive component to helping us to be in a position to be able to ratify the treaty.
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Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Arizona. I look forward with anticipation to when he returns to the floor with an amendment. We look forward to moving on that. I also regret that he will not be here, because I would like to be able to answer some of the concerns he raised, because I think there are answers to them. I think it is important obviously for that part of the record.
Some of the questions that were raised were questions about verification. I will not take a long time, because I know the Senator from Nebraska and the Senator from Georgia are waiting to speak. In a letter from the Secretary of Defense to us regarding this issue of verification--and we may well have a closed session where we will discuss that to some degree. But in the letter, Secretary Gates writes to me, and, through me, to the Senate, saying:
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs, the Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, and I assess that Russia will not be able to achieve militarily significant cheating or breakout under New START, due to both the New START verification regime and the inherent survivability and flexibility of the planned U.S. Strategic force structure.
They have confidence in this verification regime. We need to have confidence in the leadership of our military, national security agencies, the intelligence agencies, and the strategic command, all of whom are confident we have the capacity to verify under this treaty.
I ask unanimous consent to have that printed in the Record.
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Mr. KERRY. One last quick comment. Senator Kyl knows these materials very well. He is an effective advocate for a point of view. But that does not mean that by saying those things, all of them have a factual underpinning or that they are, in fact, the best judgment as to what our military thinks or the national intelligence community thinks about the components of this treaty. Let me give an example. Senator Kyl has raised concerns about the conventional prompt global strike capacity. What he didn't say is, Russia very much wanted to ban strategic range conventional weapons systems altogether. We rejected that approach. The Obama administration said: No; we are not going to ban all conventional capacity. In effect, they decided to proceed along the same approach we used in START I.
Ted Warner, the representative of the Secretary of Defense to the negotiation, testified in the Foreign Relations Committee, saying we agreed to a regime whereby conventionally armed ICBMs or SLBMs--for the folks who don't follow this, those are the intercontinental ballistic missiles or submarine-launched ballistic missiles--would be permitted. But, yes, they did agree to count them under the strategic delivery vehicle and strategic warhead ceilings. Senator Kyl sees that as a problem. All of our folks who negotiated this treaty and our military and our strategic thinkers see that as an advantage for the United States. That protects us. We are better off that way. Why? Because it would be extraordinarily difficult to verify compliance with a treaty that limited nuclear-tipped ICBMs and SLBMs but didn't count and, therefore, didn't inspect identical conventionally armed ICBMs and SLBMs. We couldn't tell the difference between them. We would be absolutely foolish on our part to allow the Russians to deploy additional ICBMs and SLBMs based exclusively on their assurance that they are not nuclear armed. How would we know? It is only by putting them under the counting that we, in fact, protect the interests of our country rather than creating a whole sidebar arms race which would make everybody less safe. Not counting those missiles would, in fact, create a new risk--the risk of breakout, that we allow the other side, Russia, the opportunity, even if there were no cheating, to simply leave the treaty and arm those missiles with nuclear warheads on very short notice, and we would all be worse off.
In fact, what Senator Kyl was complaining about is something that makes us more stable. If we did what he is sort of hinting he might like to do, we could actually create greater instability, and it would be clearly much more likely to kill the treaty altogether.
Some of these things get raised and they sound like there is reasonableness to them. But when we put them in the overall context of strategic analysis and thinking and the balance, the sort of threat analysis that attaches to any treaty of this sort, what we are trying to work through is sort of reaching an equilibrium between both sides' perceptions of the other side's capacity and of what kind of threat that exposes each side to. That is how we sort of arrive at that equilibrium. That is what has driven every arms control agreement since their inception. The Pentagon has made very clear that the global prompt strike is going to be developed, but it is going to be developed as a niche capacity. They think it is too expensive to do in huge numbers. It is
also very clear that under the best circumstances, it is going to be a long time before that is ready to deploy.
We have boost-glide vehicles still in the proof-of-concept test stage. Nobody has any imagination as to whether they will be ready in 10 or 15 years. The life of this treaty is 10 years. So we are looking beyond the life of the treaty for when they might or might not be ready. There are a host of other concepts out there about this. We are going to get a report from the Pentagon next year on what technologies they think are most promising. It is going to be exceedingly difficult to imagine bringing them online within the 10-year life of this treaty. Any concept of sort of revising things that make this treaty subject to some component of that is, in effect, a guise to try to kill the treaty. I say that about this one component of it. There are many others, many other similar kinds of arguments raised in the last hour. As we go forward, if an amendment arises, we will deal with each of them.
I want colleagues to be aware there is more underneath some of these red herrings than may appear to the eye at first blush.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. KERRY. I wanted to ask the Senator before he leaves, it is now 1:30 in the afternoon, and we have yet to have one amendment presented to us. I recognize there is a value to having some of these comments help frame it, but it also can be done in the context of a specific amendment.
I would ask the Senator if he has an amendment he is prepared to offer that could help us move forward?
Mr. SESSIONS. Well, it is difficult to amend a treaty, as the Senator knows, once it has been signed. There are things that can be done. I think, first and foremost, we need to ask ourselves, is this a good thing for the country? Will it advance our interests? I believe we need a pretty big discussion about that and where we stand.
I know Senator Kerry has been supportive of modernization--I believe you have--at least as this treaty has moved forward, if not in the past. And we need to do that. But I am a bit uneasy that the President is basically saying, if you do not pass my treaty, we are not going to modernize, when I think modernization is critical to the security of our country. I also want to know how it fits into our overall strategic policy.
So that is kind of my biggest concern, I say to Senator Kerry. I do not know that the numbers that the treaty takes us to, the reduced numbers themselves are dangerous. Some people say they think it is a bit dangerous, but most experts do not think so. I am not inclined to oppose a treaty on whether it is 1,550 or 1,700 or 1,800. But I think if it is part of a trend to take our numbers down further--perhaps you saw Mr. Hogan's article saying it ought to be 500 or lower. That would make me very concerned and I think would cause serious ramifications internationally. Would you agree? If this treaty would be, say, for 500, it would definitely create some concern and angst around the world?
Mr. KERRY. Well, let me say to my friend--and I appreciate his desire to try to be thoughtful about what the numbers are and about the treaty as a whole. I appreciate that. A couple of comments I want to make. No. 1, the administration is not linking modernization to the treaty. I think it is clear now to Senator Kyl. I read a letter before the Senator started speaking from the directors of the three laboratories expressing their satisfaction and gratitude with the levels of funding that have been put in there.
I acknowledge that Senator Kyl was correct in finding some inadequacies in the original funding levels, and the administration, in good faith, has made up for those. What happened over in the House, happened over in the House. It was not instigated by the administration. In fact, the administration has countered that and made it clear that modernization is necessary as a matter of modernizing, in order to keep our arsenal viable.
The second point I wish to make to the Senator, I hope the Senator does not vote against this treaty because he thinks somehow this is a step to some irresponsible slippery slide that takes us to ``zero'' nuclear weapons without all of the other things that very intelligent, thoughtful statesmen have talked about in the context of less nuclear weapons.
But I should point out to the Senator, Dr. Henry Kissinger, who is an advocate for this concept, not as something we are going to do tomorrow or in the next, you know, 10 years perhaps, 20 years, 30 years, but as an organizing principle, as a way of beginning to think differently about how we resolve conflicts--because whatever you do that moves you toward a world of less nuclear weapons, because we have to get 67 votes here, clearly would build the kind of consensus that says we are doing things that make us safer. So it would have to be accompanied by the other country's transparency, by other countries taking part.
It would also, I would say to the Senator, almost necessarily have to be accompanied by something that today is way out of reach, which is a kind of restraint on conventional weapon growth and involvement and the way in which we try to resolve conflicts between countries.
It is no accident that George Shultz, Bill Perry, and Sam Nunn, as well as both of the 2008 Presidential nominees, Senator McCain and President Obama, have all agreed this is a principle worth trying to move toward. One thing is for certain: The road to a reduced number of nuclear weapons in the world, which would reduce the amount of fissionable material potentially available to terrorists, certainly doesn't pass through a nuclear Tehran. So if we are going to have our bona fides to be able to leverage North Korea and Iran, we need to at least prove we can put together a bilateral agreement between the two countries that have 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
I would hope my colleague would not view this--given all of the signoffs that have accompanied it, from our national security establishment, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from military leaders, from the national intelligence community, from our laboratory directors, our strategic commanders--all of them have agreed 1,550, the current number of launchers we have, the 800--this is going to permit the United States to maintain the advantages we feel we have today.
I hope my colleague would look hard at sort of how Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and Bill Perry have framed this concept of moving in that direction as an organizing principle. I don't expect it in my lifetime. I doubt the Senator does. But I wouldn't vote against this treaty that provides a window into what the Russians are doing, provides verification, reduces the threat, and creates stability. I wouldn't link the two, and I would hope the Senator would not.
I see the Senator from Arizona has arrived.
Mr. SESSIONS. May I ask, I believe earlier today the Senator made the point:
Make no mistake, we are not going to amend the treaty itself. We are willing to accept resolutions that don't kill the treaty.
I think I understand that. But I do assert that, as we both know, amending a treaty is not something that is easily done. So we have to deal with whether we think the treaty is helpful. We can do some things through the amendment process to make it more palatable and acceptable to people who have concerns. I do not dispute that. But I do believe that, fundamentally, this day ought to be about discussing the overall strategic impact of the treaty.
I thank the Senator from Massachusetts.
Mr. KERRY. I thank the Senator. We have incorporated into the resolution of ratification some 13 different declarations, understandings, and conditions. We certainly would welcome more if they are constructive and are not duplicitous. We have already addressed the missile defense issue, the rail-mobile issue, the verification issue. All of those have been addressed. But I welcome and look forward to working with the Senator in the next days to see if we can do that.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I want to thank and congratulate the Senator from Arizona for his important and impassioned comments about the situation in Russia regarding the rights of Mr. Khordokovsky, and I would associate myself with those comments.
I would say to him, though, one thing. He asked the question, how do you trust Russia? That is precisely why this treaty is so important. A treaty is not built on trust. No one taught us that more than in those famous words of President Reagan: Trust, but verify. We do not have verification today. We are sitting here with no verification. We are in a forced position of ``trust,'' where we do not necessarily. So the sooner we get this treaty ratified, the sooner we provide a foundation underneath the important questions Senator McCain asked; which is, if you cannot trust them, you have to have verification. The whole point is, you build a relationship even in the worst of times so your country--our country--is more stable and more protected.
During the worst of the Soviet Union, during the worst years of confrontation, we still built up a series of treaties of arms agreements and various other kinds of agreements in order to try to tamp down the potential for hostility. Our hope is, obviously, that we can do that as soon as possible here.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I wish to address a couple of points raised by Senator Kyl earlier, and I will address a good number more as the debate goes forward. Let me be very clear for the record ahead of time, because he opened his floor remarks this morning by asserting we don't have time to be able to consider this treaty before the end of the year. Then he said that even though the START I treaty--which I referred to yesterday and he specifically referred to my comments--he said even though it was completed in 4 days--maybe 4 plus, slightly--he said it wasn't done under the same circumstances. It didn't have to compete with other legislation and so forth. Well, that is incorrect. So let's set the record straight.
On the same day the Senate held a cloture vote on the START I treaty and votes on two amendments related to the treaty, on that same day, it voted on the final passage of a tax bill. The following day, when the Senate voted on another amendment related to the treaty, it also agreed to the conference report on Interior appropriations, passed the DC appropriations bill, and debated and held two rollcall votes on the Foreign Operations appropriations bill. The following day, it completed the final passage vote on the START treaty. So if our predecessor Senate had the ability to do START I while it passed three or four other bills and held four or five separate votes on those other items, I think it is very clear we have the ability here to be able to do this treaty in the next days.
More importantly, the Senate has been considering this treaty not just for the day and a half we have now been on it. We went on this treaty yesterday and some people chose to not even come to the floor and talk about it. Now we are back here waiting for amendments and no one has yet chosen on the other side to come and bring an amendment. We are ready to vote on the treaty. Fifty-eight Democratic Senators are ready to vote on the treaty. The only thing we are waiting for is the people who say we don't have time, who haven't brought an amendment to the floor. I clearly smell a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy strategy going on here. But they have to know that when flights are disrupted next week or people can't get home, we are here to do business, and I think it will be clear why we are not able to. So we are going to stay here. We have made that clear. The majority leader has made it clear, and the President and the Vice President made it clear. We are prepared to proceed forward on any amendment with respect to understandings, declarations, or conditions they wish to bring, and certainly to have a robust debate.
I will also reiterate that starting in June of last year, the Foreign Relations Committee was briefed at least five times during the talks with the Russians. That is while the talks were going on. So we have a group of Senators almost 60 strong who at one time or another over a year and a half have been following these negotiations very closely. They have been briefed down in the secure facilities. They have been briefed by the negotiators, by the military, by the intelligence community. The Intelligence Committee has weighed in. The Armed Services Committee has weighed in. The National Security Group has had an opportunity to work on this. Since the treaty was submitted, there have been 12 open and classified hearings with more than 20 witnesses. The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, the Commander of the Strategic Command, and the Director of the Missile Defense Agency have all urged us to pass this treaty.
The question is beginning to be asked not why should we do it now; the question is why aren't we doing it now. I hope we can get some amendments and begin to proceed.
At this point I might share a couple of other thoughts while we are waiting for a couple of other colleagues who requested time to speak. Senator Kyl asked the question: What do we get out of this treaty? He juxtaposed what he said the Russians get versus what we get and seemed to imply we are not getting very much. Well, I can assure the Senator from Arizona that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, the leaders of our Strategic Command, and others don't come before the Congress willy-nilly just to say, Hey, do this, because we don't get anything out of it. Every single one of them has articulated very clearly how they believe this treaty strengthens America's national security, advantages our leadership in the world, and positions us to be able to deal more effectively with Iran and North Korea.
I have to say to my colleagues, you cede the right to come to the floor of the Senate and talk seriously about Iran and North Korea if you can't talk seriously about the ways in which this treaty enhances our ability to be able to put leverage on those countries. Before we pushed the so-called reset button with Russia, we didn't have their cooperation with respect to Iran. In fact, the Russians were very skeptical about the intelligence we were offering and putting on the table. It wasn't until we sat down with them face to face and went through that that they became alarmed and they began to see, indeed, this question of how we respond to Iran is deadly serious. As a consequence of that, Russia joined with the United States.
I agree with my colleagues, the mere fact they are joining us is not a reason to embrace a treaty if the treaty doesn't do all the other things you need to provide stability and enhance your security. But when it does all those other things and you know the consequences of turning your back on all of those achievements is going to create a negative relationship, you ought to try to weigh that a little bit. It seems to me when someone's point of view comes specifically from the economic engagement, business world, somebody such as Steve Forbes writes that this is important to the economic component of our relationship and to that component of the reset button, I think we can see the breadth of impact a treaty such as this can have.
Let me say a few more words about what we do get out of this. First of all--and this is as significant as any reason there is to be considering this--we get nuclear stability. The fact is that nuclear stability enhances the relationship between the countries so we can do a lot of other things that assist in stabilizing this important relationship in a time of crisis. The fact is, as I mentioned earlier--we all know this--the United States and Russia possess 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. Any single one of those weapons accidentally released, stolen, or the materials in them, has the ability to be able to destroy any American city. That is a reality today. So both countries have decided it is in both countries' interests to reduce the dangers that arise when you have misunderstandings or mistrust without the verification that builds the trust, and it is important to establish limits on those weapons in order to achieve that.
Predictability is what comes with this treaty. Transparency is what comes with this treaty. Accountability comes with this treaty. Without this treaty, we don't have the right to count their warheads. With this treaty, we have a specific counting and identifying mechanism which will provide for greater accountability and greater stability.
Secretary Gates said very clearly: ``Russia is currently above the treaty limits in terms of its numbers.'' So they are going to have to take down warheads. How could it not be in the interests of the United States to have Russia reduce the number of warheads it has today?
There are many other reasons. I see my colleague from North Dakota has arrived. I will go through a number of these others as the opportunity presents itself later. But I think there are a host of reasons that are very clear, and they are part of the record already and we will highlight them as we go forward, as to what we get out of this treaty and why this is directly in the interests of our country, and that is the only reason the President of the United States is submitting this treaty to the Senate. We need to pay close attention to the rationale our military and intelligence community has laid out to us of why they would like this treaty--as Jim Clapper, the head of the intelligence community has said, the sooner the better, the quicker, the sooner, the better.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I have said a couple times, during the course of our opening comments and subsequently, what a privilege it is to be working with Senator Lugar on this treaty. I listened to him talk, as I have heard before, about his experiences of traveling over to Russia and going through the process of establishing this extraordinary program. But the country and the world owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his leadership on this issue. His vision, together with Senator Nunn, has made a global difference, and he is properly recognized on a global basis for that.
So I thank him for his comments calling every colleague to focus on this linkage of the threat reduction program to the START agreement and to the relationship that comes out of it. I know Senator Inhofe is here. I want to give him a chance. But I would like to say a few words before he does about the verification.
I think it is important, as we go forward, to be very clear about the verification components of this treaty. A number of colleagues have requested the verification regime, and we may yet have further discussion on it. So let me make as clear as I can, this treaty has fully satisfied our intelligence community and our military community and our stockpile verification folks as to the verifiability of the treaty.
Is it slightly different from what we had before with START I? The answer is yes. But, importantly, I wish to underscore why that difference exists because one colleague sort of raised the issue a little while ago. I think it was
Senator Kyl who talked about why it was we might not have gotten them to do an extension of the START I treaty. Well, the reality is, it takes all parties to be party to that extension.
The fact is, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus all dropped out of the nuclear game, and all those weapons were deposited into Russia. They were all party to that original agreement. But Russia made clear to the Bush administration, long before President Obama came to power, that they were not going to proceed with that same system anymore, and the reason was, they saw it as a one-sided structure. They felt they did not get anything out of it. We were the only ones who got something out of it. As long as they were not getting something, they made us--put us on notice, we are not continuing that one.
That said, the new START succeeds in streamlining verification and tracking procedures, and it creates a new system, a state-of-the-art inspection system, and very strict reporting guidelines. The compliance and verification measures that are in the New START build on 20 years of verification experience, and they appropriately reflect the technological advances that have been made since 1991, as well as the difference of relationships between the United States and Russia because of the end of the Cold War.
So colleagues need to look at those changes and measure it against the original benchmark, if you will. The fact is, New START's enhanced verification measures have a five-pronged approach, five different components.
One, invasive, onsite inspections.
Two, national technical means. We have always had that, but our national technical means have improved significantly. Without discussing them on the floor, I think colleagues are aware of the capacity of our national technical means.
Three, unique identifiers that will be placed on each weapon. We did not have that before. Now we are going to have the ability to track each individual weapon, warhead, and count them. That is new. That is increased.
Regular data exchange. We gain a great deal. They gain a great deal. It is a mutual process of exchanging data, which provides stability and assurances for both sides.
Finally, prompt notifications of the movement of any weapons.
The New START permits up to 18 short-notice, onsite inspections each year, in order to determine the accuracy of Russia's data and to verify the compliance. The fact is, this new system is every bit as rigorous as the system that existed previously.
In fact, because of the change I described earlier, the Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan change--we had about 70 inspection sites previously, and those were the nuclear facilities in each of those different countries. But since three of them have now denuclearized, the result is, all the former Soviet Union's remaining nuclear weapons are centralized in Russia, and they are divided between 35 nuclear facilities.
So we go from 70 facilities that we used to have to inspect down to 35. Thus, the decreasing number of annual inspections from 28 in START I to 18 in the New START is almost exactly the equivalent in terms of those allowed under START I because we are inspecting fewer places, and the inspectors are now allowed to gather more types of data during those inspections. The United States is also allowed to use national technical means, which would be reconnaissance satellites, ground stations, ships, all of them, to verify compliance. The treaty expressly prohibits tampering with the other party's national technical means.
Third, Russia has to assign and inform the United States of the specific unique alphanumeric identifiers that are designating the deployed and nondeployed ICBMs and SLBMs and nuclear-capable heavy bombers. This information gives us a great deal more inside look with respect to the tracking patterns on Russian equipment throughout the full life cycle of any of those specific systems.
Fourth, the treaty requires Russia to regularly provide to the United States the aggregate data on strategic offensive forces, including numbers, locations, and technical characteristics of deployed and nondeployed strategic offensive arms.
Fifth, the New START establishes a comprehensive notification regime allowing us to track the movement of Russia's strategic forces and any changes in the status of their strategic weapons.
The fact is, this agreement employs an enormously aggressive, forward-leaning, and effective verification system, and it has been predicated on decades of our doing this very thing with the same people. This is not new ground we are breaking. We know how to do this. We have built up a certain understanding of each other's capabilities, each other's idiosyncracies and resistances. We know how to do this. The verification system designed for this treaty is specifically designed to be less complicated, less costly, and more effective than the one in the original START treaty.
I have a series of quotes, but I want our colleague to have an opportunity to speak. I will wait and later share with colleagues the number of different distinguished, respected, long-serving personalities within the intelligence community--former LTG Jim Clapper of the Air Force and others--all of whom have affirmed the ability of this verification system to do the job and protect the interests of the country.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I thank the Senator from New Jersey. He is a valuable member of our committee, diligent and articulate on these issues. I appreciate the comments he made, particularly reinforcing the comments about the delay.
I remind colleagues that earlier the Senator from Arizona mentioned it is sort of unfair to be doing this at the same time we are doing something else. I remind colleagues that he said START I was completed sort of on its own, freestanding. I wish to correct the record. START I did not, in fact, go through freestanding. On the same day the Senate held the cloture vote on the treaty on START I, it voted on two amendments related to the treaty, and it also voted on the final passage of a tax bill. They managed to do two things at the same time.
The following day, the Senate voted on another amendment related to the treaty. It also agreed on that day to the conference report on Interior appropriations. It passed the DC appropriations bill. Those are two separate items. And it debated and held two rollcall votes on the Foreign Operations bill. Those are four separate bills and items dealt with at the same time they were dealing with START I. The following day, it had the final passage on the START treaty, in about 4 days-plus-and-a-half, I think.
Also, I remind my colleagues, as I should have reminded the Senator from Texas, 13 times colleagues came on the other side of the aisle to Senator Lugar and asked him to slow down the process of the legislation piece of the treaty because of the need to work on modernization. We did that. Again, colleagues came to us. Way back last summer, we were prepared to move the treaty out of committee so we wouldn't wind up in this situation. Guess who came to us and said: No, it would be better if we had a little more time. Our friends on the other side of the aisle said: Please don't do that vote. I think it would be better for the treaty if we took our time. So we provided another 6 weeks to file questions, get answers, work on modernization, pull people together. Frankly, it was a constructive process. I am not suggesting it didn't provide some benefits. But we accommodated a request to slow it down to meet the needs of our friends on the other side of the aisle. Then, subsequently, when there were potential complaints that it would be politicizing the Senate and this treaty to have the vote and this debate before the election--we could have done that, but we didn't want the treaty to get caught up in the election process--we voluntarily delayed the process to meet and accommodate some of the concerns of colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Then, when we come back after the election, all of a sudden, we can't do it in a lameduck. We have to do it down the road.
One colleague came to the floor defending the rights of people who are not even sworn in as Senators to somehow weigh in on this treaty. They are not Senators. They may have been elected in this election, but they haven't taken part in the year-and-a-half-long effort of preparing to deal with this treaty. Every Senator here has. All 100 of us walked up to the well, raised our hands, swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. That Constitution gives us the specific responsibility of advice and consent on a treaty. That is why we are here at this moment. If I had had my druthers, we would have been here weeks ago, but there was always a filibuster, always a delay, always some longer period that some other piece of legislation was taking.
It is important for colleagues to be honest about that. We have had 125 cloture motions since January of 2009. That is as many cloture motions as had been filed between 1919 and 1974, between World War I and the Vietnam war. That is how many cloture motions we had filed since last year alone. In addition, the Republicans came back to the minority in 2007, and we have had to file 264 cloture motions to end a filibuster since 2007. That averages out to 66 per year. In the first 44 years of the existence of this filibuster rule, it was only used about once a year. For 44 years, it was used once a year. In the last few years, it has been used 66 times a year. That is why we are here. That is why we were delayed.
I, personally, look forward, when we return next year, to seeing us adjust that rule. I respect the rights of the minority because I know that is what the Founding Fathers intended. But nobody intended that we have to vote twice to get to a bill, filibuster on the motion to proceed, filibuster on the substance. It simply doesn't make sense, and the American people do not support it. It negates the fundamental concept of majority rule. I am willing to take my lumps, but I think there is a way to not necessarily undo it completely and still create responsible action in the Senate.
Since President Obama took office last year, the Senate has had rollcall votes on 62 nominations. Of those 62, 27 were confirmed with 90 votes or more; 23 were confirmed with 70 votes or more. That means that of the 62 nominations, fully 60 of them were confirmed with more than 70 votes. Over 80 percent of the nominations we have taken votes on have passed with overwhelming support, and almost all of those votes, many of them anyway, took place only after an extraordinarily lengthy delay. Many of these nominations sat on the calendar for over 100 days while people waited for the Senate to act.
On average, the Senate has taken more than five times longer to confirm a circuit court nomination after it was favorably reported by the Judiciary and so forth.
I don't want to chew up all our time going through that, but the record should be fundamentally clear that nobody is rushing anything here. The START treaty debate, the original START treaty began on September 28, 1992, and amendments were proposed. As early as the first day of the debate, they were debating amendments. There were two votes on amendments on the second day of debate. On the third day, there were three amendments, and they ratified the treaty. We ought to be able to move here.
I wish to add a couple thoughts quickly on the subject of the tactical nukes. A number of Senators have expressed concern about why this treaty doesn't deal with tactical nuclear weapons. All of us would agree, you have to acknowledge upfront there is an asymmetry, an imbalance between the numbers of tactical weapons that the Russians have and have deployed and what we have. Remember, first, we needed to replace the original START agreement in order to get verification measures back into place in order to take the steps then necessary to go to sort of the next tier. Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates explained for the record:
A more ambitious treaty that addressed tactical nuclear weapons would have taken a lot longer to complete, adding significantly to the time before a successor agreement, including the verification measures, could enter into force following START'S expiration in December 2009.
Their fundamental judgment was, yes, we want to get there, but START itself helps you get there. If we sit without those verification measures in place that come with START, we make it much harder to actually reach the agreement we are trying to get to on the tactical. The logic said: Get this agreement back into place. Revitalize the cooperation on arms control. That will empower you subsequently to be able to achieve your goal.
That is not something the Obama administration dreamed up. I emphasize that to our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. The very respected former Secretaries of Defense, Secretary Bill Perry and Secretary Jim Schlesinger, were part of a bipartisan commission. They reported that the first step they thought necessary was to deal with this. They knew nuclear tactical weapons were an issue. But they also knew our military leaders made it clear they didn't need actual parity on those weapons. Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen both stated, in response to a question:
Because of the limited range of the tactical weapons and very different roles from those played by strategic nuclear forces, the vast majority of Russian tactical nuclear weapons could not directly influence the strategic nuclear balance between the United States and Russia.
Donald Rumsfeld told the Foreign Relations Committee in 2002:
I don't know that we would ever want to have symmetry between the United States and Russia. Their circumstance is different and their geography's different.
What he is referring to is the vast gulf of the Atlantic Ocean and then Western Europe that is in between Russia and us and the whole original tactical decision of Russia in terms of the Warsaw Pact versus NATO that existed for so many years in the course of the Cold War.
I don't want to be mistaken by my colleagues on the other side. Yes, we want to limit Russia's nuclear tactical weapons. But a desire to limit those tactical weapons is not a reason to reject the START treaty. Frank Miller, who was a senior NSC staffer in the Bush administration, testified to the Arms Services Committee on July 22:
I believe this Treaty is properly focused on the strategic forces of both sides. ..... The tactical forces are clearly a political and military threat to our allies. ..... But I think throwing this treaty away because we haven't gotten our hands on the tacticals is not the way to approach this. I think we have to go after the tacticals separately.
That is exactly what President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Clinton, and the rest of our military establishment want to do, but they want the START treaty as the foundation on which to build that effort to try to secure something in terms of tactical weapons.
We should pursue a treaty on tactical nuclear weapons, one that can give us adequate transparency about how many Russia has and that ultimately reduces that number.
Let me say to my colleagues on the other side, that is precisely why we put into the resolution of ratification declaration 11, which says:
The Senate calls upon the President to pursue, following consultation with allies, an agreement with the Russian Federation that would address the disparity between the tactical nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and of the United States and would secure and reduce tactical nuclear weapons in a verifiable manner.
We address the issues of tactical nuclear weapons, and it was not an oversight. It was a calculated, tactical decision to lay the foundation, renew the relationship with Russia, renew our arms control understandings, and lay the foundation to be able to reach an agreement. That is what Secretary Gates said when he testified before the Armed Services Committee on June 17. He said:
We will never get to that step [of reductions] with the Russians on tactical nukes if this treaty on strategic nuclear weapons is not ratified.
Secretary Gates, appointed by President Bush, said clearly: If we do not ratify this treaty, we do not get to the treaty on tactical nuclear weapons.
So I think the imperative could not be more clear.
The Eastern European leaders see this the same way. And they, after all, are the ones more directly threatened by those weapons. Poland's foreign minister wrote, on November 20, our NATO allies see ``New START is a necessary stepping-stone to future negotiations with Russia about reductions in tactical nuclear arsenals, and a prerequisite for the successful revival of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe.'' The Secretary-General of NATO said the same thing. He said that we need ``transparency and reductions of short-range, tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. ..... This is a key concern for allies. ..... But we cannot address this disparity until the New Start treaty is ratified.''
I hope our colleagues will stand with our allies and stand with common sense and ratify this treaty so we can get to the issue of tactical nuclear weapons.
I yield the floor.
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