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Happy First Birthday, New START Treaty

December 22, 2011

On this day last year, I was glued to CSPAN’s live feed of the Senate floor. Late in the evening, they finally started to vote on ratification of the New START Treaty, and I realized that years of hard work had finally paid off. By a vote of 71 yeas to 26 nays, with 13 Republicans voting in favor, the New START Treaty had been ratified! We jumped up and down a bit, sent off our victory email to thank all of you, and I was able to head out and enjoy my early holiday present.

Rose Gottemoeller, the chief negotiator of the treaty with Russia, has a post on The Hill today celebrating the anniversary and the major victory for arms control the Senate vote represents:

This great bipartisan effort is paying big dividends now in strengthening U.S. national security. … The New START Treaty entered into force on February 5th of this year and immediately entered implementation. It is going very well.

Our experience so far demonstrates that the New START Treaty is enhancing our national security by building predictability and stability between the United States and Russia, still the world’s two largest nuclear powers. We are also setting the stage for the future, since new nuclear reductions will build on the success of New START and the innovations we are putting in place as we implement it.

Earlier this fall, the State Department released the latest totals of the deployed nuclear warheads restricted by the treaty.


This is down 178 from the 1968 strategic warheads that the US had deployed in May of 2010, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

In less than a year the process has been moving pretty quickly, with US warheads already approaching the 1700 limit of New START. This is a great sign, and reinforces our position that the State Department should start another round of negotiations with Russia ASAP to lower the limits much sooner than the treaty’s current expiration date of 2021.

So, here’s one more thank you and congratulations from me to you, for everything you did to help us flip 13 Republicans and achieve a decisive victory for arms control and nuclear disarmament. Have a Happy Birthday, New START!

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