Jack Goldsmith

New START, Missile Defense, Treaty Amendments

Last week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the resolution of ratification for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (“New START), sending it to the entire Senate, where under Article II it requires approval by “two thirds of the Senators present.”  A major concern about New START was that it might limit U.S. efforts on missile defense.  The resolution of ratification (this is the Lugar draft the Committee voted on, minus a few minor amendments added before the vote) addresses these concerns extensively through “conditions” (directives that impose obligations on the President), understandings, and declarations.  One understanding states that the treaty “does not impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses” besides the small explicit provisions in the treaty.  A declaration expresses the sense of the Senate that it is U.S. policy to deploy “an effective National Missile Defense System” as soon as possible.  And a condition requires the President to certify to the Senate that the treaty does not require the U.S. to give Russia “telemetric information” concerning missile defense-related launches.

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