WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Cheney released the following statement today after introducing the New START Treaty Improvement Act. View the full text of the bill here.

Any meaningful arms control treaty must reflect reality as it is, rather than the hopes and dreams of negotiators. In the decade since President Obama’s New START Treaty was ratified, the world has grown more dangerous and complex.

The New START Treaty does little to advance America’s national security. Since agreeing to this treaty, Russia has modernized its nuclear arsenal, and an unrestricted China has taken advantage of the opportunity to do the same and more. The changes laid out in the New START Treaty Improvement Act address Russia’s nuclear expansion and the threat emanating from China.

We must also realize that America will not be able to achieve the necessary changes to New START unless it is negotiating from a position of strength. That means Congress must invest in the modernization of our nuclear triad and the additional low-yield capabilities called for in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. These investments are critical to America’s ability to provide credible deterrence and rein in China and Russia,” said Congresswoman Liz Cheney.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping continue to expand and modernize their nuclear arsenals. Future arms-control agreements must take into account both the Russian and Chinese threats, while ensuring we don’t place one-sided nuclear restrictions on ourselves,” said Senator Tom Cotton.

As we negotiate future arms-control agreements, we should take the current threat landscape into account. This legislation would ensure we can protect our country’s national security interests as both China and Russia continue to make strategic expansions of their nuclear arsenals,” said Senator John Cornyn.

Background:

The New START Treaty will expire in 2021 unless both Russia and the U.S. agree to extend the treaty for an additional five years.

The treaty sets out the following limits on strategic arms:

  • 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;
  • 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments (each such heavy bomber is counted as one warhead toward this limit);
  • 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.

As the New START Treaty was being ratified in 2010, the Senate underscored Russia’s immense stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons and the lack of any provision within the treaty to limit the numbers of these weapons.

Today, Russia is using its arsenal of tactical weapons to employ an ‘escalate-to-deescalate’ strategy. Moscow is rapidly modernizing its strategic nuclear systems and developing state-of-the-art hypersonic weapons that fall outside the bounds of New START.  Meanwhile, China has emerged as a regional power with global ambitions, investing heavily in its military and bolstering its nuclear and hypersonic capabilities. 

These threats must be addressed.

Original cosponsors for the House bill include: Jim Banks (IN-03), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Mike Turner (OH-10), and Michael Waltz (FL-06).