President Biden’s decision to seek a five-year extension of the New START arms reduction treaty with Russia serves the nation’s security interests because it allows for intrusive inspection of Moscow’s nuclear stockpile, Defense Department officials said Thursday.
John Kirby, chief Pentagon spokesman, said Americans are safer with New START intact and extended. The 10-year treaty is set to expire in about two weeks.
“Failing to swiftly extend New START would weaken America’s understanding of Russia‘s long-range nuclear forces,” Mr. Kirby said. “Extending the treaty’s limitations on stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons until 2026 allows time and space for our two nations to explore new verifiable arms-control arrangements that could further reduce risks to Americans.”
The Pentagon “stands ready” to support the State Department as the nation’s diplomats explore the new arrangements and seek the extension, he said.
“We in the (Department of Defense) will remain clear-eyed about the challenges Russia poses and committed to defending the nation against their reckless and adversarial actions,” Mr. Kirby said.