* Negotiations could address tactical, strategic arms
* New treaty talks unlikely soon due to elections
By David Alexander
WASHINGTON, Feb 10 The next round of
U.S.-Russian nuclear arms talks is likely to focus on the
delicate task of reducing a much broader range of atomic
weapons, U.S. negotiators said on Friday as they discussed the
first anniversary of the New START treaty.
Ted Warner, senior adviser to the undersecretary of defense
for arms control, said the United States and Russia had reached
a point where negotiations needed to include strategic and
tactical weapons, regardless of whether they are in storage or
mounted on delivery vehicles.
New START, which went into force in February last year,
commits the two sides to reducing their strategic, or
longer-range, deployed nuclear weapons to 1,550 per side, down
from the previous ceiling of 2,200.
The treaty did not address tactical, or shorter-range,
nuclear weapons, or even stockpiles of strategic warheads held
at storage facilities apart from their delivery vehicles.
The United States said in 2010 that its total nuclear
stockpile, including deployed and non-deployed, tactical and
strategic nuclear weapons was 5,113.
Russia has not made public its total arsenal, but is believe
to have a stockpile "in shouting distance of that," Warner told
a forum at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.
Warner said President Barack Obama made it clear when he
signed New START that he hoped to move ahead with another round
of nuclear arms talks that would look at the full range of
"What the president said is ... the next time we look at
this, we really ought to look at the total operational
inventory, the nuclear stockpile of operational weapons," he
said. "And that would be strategic and nonstrategic, and both
deployed and non-deployed."
Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of State for arms
control, said work on New START over the past year had helped
lay the groundwork for a new round of arms control talks but
"the next treaty will be one that I think takes us in some more
A treaty dealing with non-deployed weapons would require
opening sensitive storage facilities to inspection and
verification, she said.
A treaty incorporating tactical nuclear arms would require
greater openness and transparency about conventional systems
like missile defense or U.S. plans for "Prompt Global Strike," a
conventional weapon that could hit any target on Earth in about
With Russia and the United States in the process of holding
presidential elections, neither side is in a position to move
ahead with a new round of nuclear arms talks right away.
For now, the sides are carrying out what Warner described as
"homework" as they attempt to set the stage for a renewal of
arms control discussions once elections are over.
The United States is conducting a Nuclear Posture Review
implementation study, which will allow Obama to issue guidance
to the Pentagon about the future size and scope of the country's
The implementation study informed the Pentagon's strategic
review issued in early January, which said the administration
believes it can maintain an effective nuclear deterrent with
NATO is conducting a similar review looking at the nuclear,
conventional and missile defense forces it believes will be
needed to protect the Western alliance over the next decade.
The aim is to have NATO leaders formally approve the
Deterrence and Defense Posture Review at their summit in Chicago
Meanwhile, U.S. and Russian negotiators are holding regular
Strategic Stability Talks this year on a range of issues in an
effort to lay the groundwork for new arms control talks.
"The Russians have made clear if we're going to move on to
further nuclear reductions, there are a set of issues that need
to be addressed at least in parallel as this goes along," Warner
Those issues include the Prompt Global Strike weapon and the
European missile defense system being assembled by the United
States and its NATO allies. Russia views both as a threat to its
(Reporting By David Alexander; Editing by Xavier Briand)