Statement by John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary, on New START

January 21, 2021

President Biden’s decision to seek a five-year extension of New START advances the nation’s defense. Russia’s compliance with the treaty has served our national security interests well, and Americans are much safer with New START intact and extended.  We cannot afford to lose New START’s intrusive inspection and notification tools. Failing to swiftly extend New START would weaken America’s understanding of Russia’s long-range nuclear forces.

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.  And the Department stands ready to support our colleagues in the State Department as they effect this extension and explore those new arrangements.

Just as we engage Russia in ways that advance American interests, we in the Department will remain clear-eyed about the challenges Russia poses and committed to defending the nation against their reckless and adversarial actions.