Defense Department reviews New START progress

The Defense Department reviewed the progress it has made towards the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty requirements on Thursday, as well as its plans to modernize ballistic missile defense capabilities.

February 2018 marks the deadline for the U.S. and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals. Both nations have made good progress towards the deadline and Madelyn R. Creedon, assistant secretary of defense for global affairs, told the House Armed Service Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the United States and Russia that the U.S. would meet its requirements with 6 months to spare.

The DoD has not yet decided what the New START disarmament will look like in 2015, but will reach a decision by the end of the year, after analyzing global threats.

"We're trying to fully analyze all the options, provide enough flexibility to make sure that we've got the right decision and still come into compliance with New START in 2018," Creedon said.

U.S. Strategic Command is keeping New START requirements in consideration with strategies for its defense measures. Currently, it is fielding a nuclear triad that has arsenal of traditional intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Stratcom commander, told the panel this technology will make it difficult for all nuclear weapons to be damaged during a first-strike attack.

"As long as nuclear weapons exist, my number one priority will be to deter nuclear attack, and assure allies and friends with a safe, secure, and effective nuclear force," Kehler said "To do this, my objective remains to field a credible New START compliant triad of survivable ballistic missile submarines, responsive intercontinental ballistic missiles and flexible nuclear capable heavy bombers that can present any would-be attacker with insurmountable problems."