WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced their intent to finalize an agreement to extend the bilateral New START arms reduction treaty by five years, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“There are still key details that have to be worked out, but this is a positive step in the right direction that makes America safer.  Nuclear non-proliferation has to be a joint effort.  Donald Trump’s erratic stance on Russia made America less secure as he all but abandoned the concept of arms control and strategic stability.  The Russian dialogue has already shifted, with both countries -- not just Russia -- providing readouts of the call.  I am pleased the Biden Administration has signaled it will take a much smarter approach to dealing with Putin and ensure accountability for any malign activities against the United States.

“It is refreshing to have a President who listens to U.S. Intelligence.  President Biden was able to accomplish something the Trump Administration was unable to achieve.  Reducing the total number of nuclear weapons that can be verified through mutual inspection make us all safer.

“This will not be a simple or easy process, but America is back on the right track and once again working toward nonproliferation with an eye toward holding Russia accountable.”

Under the New START Treaty, which was first signed by the U.S. and Russia in 2010, each party may deploy no more than 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers, verifiable through mutual inspections by both parties which provides important constraints and insight on the arsenals of both countries to help avoid mistakes and miscalculations regarding these strategic systems.  Prior commanders of U.S. Strategic Command have all stated the importance of this treaty in helping ensure they have stability in these strategic systems.