START debate: 3 things nuclear arms treaty would do, 3 things it won't

Senate debates in earnest the New START agreement between US and Russia, including issues the treaty itself does not directly address.

5. DOES resume monitoring of both sides’ nuclear forces.

A key provision of the US-Russia strategic arms reduction process is inspection and verification of the other side’s compliance with treaty obligations. Ratification of New START would authorize the resumption of mutual monitoring of nuclear forces – an activity that ceased after the START treaty reached its end date over a year ago.

"Neither side’s strategic nuclear arsenal has been subject to any binding limits" since START expired on Dec. 5, 2009, "and neither side’s inspectors have laid eyes on the other’s bombers and missiles," notes Joshua Pollack, a columnist with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and a consultant on nuclear issues to the US government.

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