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Top U.S. Officials Agree: We Need New START Now

SOURCE: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, pictured above; Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright; and the heads of each branch of the military and the commander of U.S. Strategic Command all support New START.

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The support for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, in the United States is broad and deep. It has overwhelming bipartisan support from a who’s who of former high-level foreign policy officials. It has the unanimous support of the top brass of the U.S. military. It has the backing of the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories. More than 80 percent of the American people support ratification of New START.

A who’s who of former high level foreign policy officials from both parties support the treaty.

  • Six former secretaries of state: Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, George Shultz, James Baker, and Henry Kissinger
  • Five former secretaries of defense: James R. Schlesinger, William J. Perry, Harold Brown, Frank Carlucci, and William Cohen
  • Five former national security advisors: Henry Kissinger, Colin L. Powell, Samuel Berger, Brent Scowcroft, and James L. Jones
  • No former secretaries of state or defense, or former national security advisors oppose the treaty.

The New START agreement boasts the unanimous backing of the top brass of the U.S. military.

  • Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Vice Chairman General James Cartwright; and the heads of each branch of the military and the commander of U.S. Strategic Command all support New START.
  • General Patrick O’Reilly, the head of the Missile Defense Agency, supports New START and says it “reduces the constraints” on U.S. missile defense.
  • Eight U.S. strategic commanders support New START: General Larry Welch, General John Chain, General Lee Butler, Admiral Henry Chiles, General Eugene Habiger, Admiral James Ellis, General Bennie Davis, and General Kevin P. Chilton.
  • No former U.S. strategic commanders oppose New START. • Retired Adm. William J. "Fox" Fallon, who was head of Central Command and Pacific Command: “this is an absolute no-brainer."
  • Retired Lt. Gen. Dirk Jameson, the former deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces: "[It is] quite puzzling to me why all of this support [for New START] … is ignored. I don’t know what that says about the trust that people have and the confidence they have in our military."

Nuclear lab directors back New START.

  • The directors of three national nuclear labs—Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia—wrote a letter on December 1, saying they were “very pleased” with the Obama administration’s plan for modernizing the nuclear complex and that they believed the United States could lower its strategic forces to 1,550 under the New START treaty.
  • Tom D’Agostino, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, wrote, “Both the New START treaty and modernization are in the national security interest. The Senate should approve both.”
  • Linton Brooks, the former head of the National Nuclear Security Administration under the Bush administration, said he would have “killed for” Obama’s nuclear budget and he urged ratification of the New START treaty.

The American people overwhelmingly support New START.

  • CBS News Poll: 82 percent of Americans said they support the New START treaty.
  • CNN Poll: 73 percent of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty.

More from CAP on New START:

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