Expired START Means No Inspections

An article in the Washington Post today focuses one aspect of the expired START treaty that has been often overlooked in the media: For the first time in 15 years, the US is not able to carry out inspections of Russia’s nuclear missiles, following the treaty’s expiration last December. Some experts say the inspections that would resume once the New START treaty is ratified are even more important than the proposed reduction of nuclear warheads. Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post piece: 

“The problem of the breakdown of our verification, which lapsed December 5, is very serious and impacts our national security,” Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), one of the chamber’s top nuclear experts, said in a recent hearing.

In months of debate over New START, there has been little focus on the implications of the lapse in nuclear checks. Instead, hearings have centered on such issues as whether the pact would inhibit U.S. missile defense.

“I thought we were just going to continue doing business as usual” asthe replacement treaty was debated, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said when areporter noted the inspection cutoff…

…”Without the [new] treaty and its verification measures, the UnitedStates would have much less insight into Russian strategic forces,thereby requiring our military to plan based on worst-caseassumptions,” Jim Miller, a senior nuclear policy official in thePentagon, testified last month. “This would be an expensive andpotentially destabilizing approach.”