U.S. Strategic Command

 

Speeches

Senate Armed Services Subcommittee - Hearing On New START Implementation

By General Kevin P. Chilton | Washington, D.C. | July 20, 2010

LEVIN:

Let's try that over again. Good morning, everybody.

I'd like to welcome each of our witnesses. This morning we've -- we have with us three very distinguished, dedicated public servants, Dr. James Miller, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy; Mr. Tom D'Agostino, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration; and General Kevin Chilton, commander of the United States Strategic Command, and it's good to see you all today.

With the New START treaty which was signed this last April, a nuclear verifiable arms control treaty would be put back in place. Today, we're going to focus on how the New START treaty, if ratified, will be implemented by the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

There are many questions about how this treaty will be implemented. These include the following: Does the reduced force structure required by the new treaty meet the military requirements to maintain nuclear deterrence for the United States and for it's allies?

How will the force structure will be shaped? In other words, how will the requirements in the new treaty for reductions in delivery systems and launchers be implemented?

Will implementation of the New START treaty constrain the Defense Department's programs and plans for missile defense? Can the NNSA carry out its responsibility to maintain a smaller stockpile of nuclear weapons so that these weapons under the New START treaty so that these weapons again remain safe, secure and reliable?

Will the ability of the directors of the National Security labs to propose any and all options they believe are warranted to maintain the safety security reliability of the nuclear weapons be preserved?

Last week, we heard from the lab directors that they feel that they are not limited in their ability to explore all options. On the contrary, they said that they have the flexibility and indeed it is their responsibility to propose any option that they recommend.

The Nuclear Posture Review says that the full range of life extension options should be studied, but in deciding which life extension option should move to the engineering phase, the Nuclear Weapons Council should give preference for refurbishment or reuse.

What does that preference mean from an implementation perspective? And will this have any impact on the long-term ability to maintain nuclear weapons safety, security and reliability?

We heard from the intelligence community last week that the New START and the old START treaties have different approaches to verification. Today, we will hear from our witnesses as to whether this treaty can be verified through the monitoring activities of the intelligence community utilizing the verification provisions of the new treaty as well as national technical means.

Senator McCain?

MCCAIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank our distinguished witnesses for their service in joining us today. As I've stated before, I've been a supporter of previous bipartisan efforts to reduce our nuclear weapons in step with the Russian government. Many of us have concerns about the New START treaty's methods of verification, its constraints on ballistic missile defense and the accompanying plan for modernization of both the nuclear stockpile and our nuclear delivery vehicles.

It's my hope that over the course of our hearings, Congress will receive both the assurances and the funding commitments necessary to overcome these concerns. Given this treaty's significant implications for our national security, the multiple committees that have direct oversight responsibilities, the Senate needs to move thoroughly to consider this treaty and all of its critical components, and obviously we don't want to rush our deliberations to meet an arbitrary deadline.

We have yet to receive critical documents necessary for this committee in the full Senate to make an informed judgment of this treaty. Specifically, the administration has yet to provide the treaty's negotiating record, including the negotiating history dealing with the ambiguity of New START's preamble with respect to strategic defensive weapons and the contradictory statements issued by the United States and Russia on the meaning and legal force of that language.

This request for the treaty's negotiation -- negotiating history is not unprecedented. The Senate has previously sought and received access to the negotiating history for major arms control treaties between the United States and the former Soviet Union such as the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty.
To enable a Senate to fully -- to fully fulfill it's constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on New START, the Obama administration should give the Senate access to the negotiating records.

Last week, the House appropriators chose to fund coveted water project earmarks, but not to fully fund the president's fiscal year of 2011 request for modernization of the nuclear weapons complex. There are already concerns about the adequacy of the president's plan for meeting our full recapitalization and modernization needs, and this lack of commitment by House Democrats to at least meet the president's request is troubling.

I look forward to hearing from all of our witnesses if they're concerned by this cut and if they intend to recommend that the president veto any funding bills that do not meet his funding request for modernization of the weapons complex.

During this committee's hearings last week with the lab directors, it was clear that some of these professionals have significant concerns regarding the administration's decision to discourage the replacement of warheads as an option for extending the life of our nuclear stockpile.

In fact, General Chilton, I'm sure you weren't happy about the fact that I quoted you and quote you again today when you said, "We should not constrain our engineers and scientists in developing options on what it'll take to achieve the objectives of the stockpile management program and let them bring forward their best recommendations for both the president and for the Congress to assess as to what is the best way forward."

MCCAIN:

We've been told by the secretary of defense and the secretary of energy that supplement guidance for the Nuclear Policy Review has made it clear that all life extension efforts should be pursued. However, it's not clear that such guidance has been issued. It is essential for the president to state that his administration should encourage and pursue all modernization options achievable without testing or the establishment of a new military characteristic.

These issues and others need to be resolved and clarified before the Senate can, in good faith, and consistent with its responsibilities, make a considered judgment on this important matter. Today's hearing is an additional opportunity to discuss the implications of this new treaty and its supporting documents, including the Nuclear Posture Review, the 1251 report, the National Intelligence Estimate, and the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan.

The treaty will also have implications on our nuclear force structure, and I look forward to hearing additional details on the composition of our strategic forces from our witnesses this morning.

I thank all of you again for your service and for appearing here today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator McCain.

Now, Dr. Miller.

MILLER:

Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. It is a great pleasure to join my colleagues Tom D'Agostino and General Chilton in discussing the New START treaty.

I'd like to summarize my prepared statement and ask that it be entered into the record in its entirety.

LEVIN:

It will be.

MILLER:

And I'd like to make just six key points in summary. First, the New START treaty will strengthen strategic stability with Russia and reduce nuclear force levels. With 1,550 accountable nuclear warheads, the United States will be able to sustain effective nuclear deterrence with an assured devastating second strike capability.

The administration plans a robust triad of 700 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers. We plan to retain all 14 Ohio-class SSBMs, and deploy no more than 240 Trident II SLBMs at any one time.

We also plan to retain up to 420 of the current 450 Minuteman III ICBMs, each with a single warhead. And we plan to retain up to 60 nuclear-capable B-2A and B-52H heavy bombers, while converting remaining nuclear-capable B-1B bombers and some B-52 bombers as well to a convention-only capability.

As noted in the Section 1251 report to Congress, DOD plans to spend well over $100 billion over the next decade to sustain existing strategic delivery system capabilities and modernize strategic systems of the future.

Second, on verification, the New START treaty's verification provisions will increase our competence in the numbers and status of Russian nuclear forces. In fact, as Secretary Gates has noted, one of the great contributions of this treaty is its strong verification regime.

The 18 annual onsite inspections are a lynch pin of the treaty's verification framework. They will work synergistically with other elements of the treaty, including the following: Extensive data exchanges on the characteristics and locations of ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers, unique identifiers associated with each missile and heavy bomber, a requirement to report any changes in the status of strategic systems through timely notifications, and provisions for non-interference with national technical means of verification.

Without the treaty and its verification measures, the United States would have much less insight into Russian strategic forces, thereby requiring our military to plan based on worst-case assumptions. This would be an expensive and potentially destabilizing approach that this nation should not accept.

Third point, U.S. force structure plans under the treaty will further strengthen deterrence of Russian cheating or breakout. Because the United States will retain a robust triad of strategic forces, any Russian cheating or breakout under the treaty would have little effect on the assured second strike capabilities of U.S. nuclear forces. In particular, the survivability and responsiveness of strategic submarines at sea and alert heavy bombers will be unaffected by even large scale cheating.

In addition, the United States would be able to respond to Russian cheating or breakout with the ability to upload large numbers of additional nuclear warheads on both bombers and strategic missiles. The United States will therefore be well-postured under New START to be deter any Russian attempt to gain advantage by cheating or breakout.

This of course does not mean that Russian cheating or breakout is likely, or that it would be acceptable. If there are any signs of Russian cheating or preparations to break out from the treaty, the United States would first raise this matter in the Bilateral Consultative Commission, established under the treaty. And if not resolved there, at higher levels. And then would have other courses of actions following that, if necessary.

Fourth, the treaty does not constrain our ability to develop and deploy non-nuclear prompt global strike capabilities. DOD is currently conducting an in-depth analysis of non-nuclear prompt global strike. However, we have concluded at this point that any deployment of conventionally armed ICBMs or SLBMs with a traditional ballistic trajectory which would count under the New START treaty's limits should be limited to a niche capability which could easily be accounted for under the treaty, while retaining our nuclear triad.

DOD is also exploring the potential of conventionally armed long- range missile systems that fly non-ballistic trajectory. For example, so-called boost-glide systems. Such systems would have the advantage that they could steer around other countries to avoid overflight issues, and they have flight trajectories distinguishable from an ICBM or SLBM.

And as we made clear in the New START treaty negotiations, we would not consider such non-nuclear systems which do not otherwise meet the definitions of the New START treaty as ICBMs or SLBMs to be new kinds of arms for purposes of the treaty.

Fifth point, the treaty does not in any way constrain the ability of the United States to sustain our nuclear weapons stockpile and to rebuild the nuclear security enterprise that supports it. This effort, as you know, is a priority of the Secretary of Defense. Both Secretary Chilton and Administrator D'Agostino will speak to this critical issue, and I strongly endorse our efforts in this area.

Sixth, the treaty does not constrain the ability of the United States to develop and deploy effective ballistic missile defenses, including the ability to improve those defenses, both qualitatively and quantitatively, nor does it add any cost or inconvenience to this effort.

The treaty's preamble states that current strategic defensive forces do not threaten to undermine the effectiveness of the party's strategic offensive arms. Given that the united States currently has only 30 ground-based interceptors, and Russia will likely deploy well over 1,000 ICBM and SLBM warheads under the treaty, U.S. missile could increase very significantly, and the same will remain true.

It is also important to note that the treaty's preamble is not legally binding, and therefore does not require or prohibit either side from doing anything. Article V of the treaty prohibits any future conversion of ICBM silos or SLBM launchers to house or launch BMD interceptors, or vice-versa. Such a conversion would neither be cost effective nor necessary.

For example, converting 10 ICBM silos to house ground-based interceptors would cost about $550 million, compared to $360 million for building 10 ten new tailor made GBI silos. The placement of missile defense interceptors and converted SLBM launchers would be operationally impractical and very expensive. Therefore, the Article V limitation on launcher conversion does not constrain U.S. plans or programs or options.

As you know, Russia made a unilateral statement about missile defenses in connection with the treaty. This statement is not part of the treaty and is not legally binding. And as I know, the senators also know the United States made a unilateral statement in response that we will continue to improve our missile defense capabilities to provide for effective defense of our homeland against limited missile attacks. And we will do so also for our deployed forces and our allies and partners against growing regional threats.

As the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review, our budgetary plans, the U.S. unilateral statement, and extensive testimony by administration officials all made clear, the United States will continue to expand and improve our missile defenses.

In summary, the New START treaty promotes stability and transparency in our strategic relationship with Russia. It is effectively verifiable. It allows us to maintain and modernize a robust triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems. And if desired, to deploy non-nuclear prompt global strike capabilities.

It does not affect our ability or intent to revitalize our nuclear security enterprise, nor does it affect our ability or intent to improve our ballistic missile defense capabilities both qualitatively and quantitatively. In short, the New START treaty will make the United States and our allies and partners more secure.

Thank you, and I will look forward to answering your questions.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Dr. Miller.
Mr. D'Agostino?

D'AGOSTINO:

Chairman Levin, Ranking Member McCain, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the New START treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation.

First of all, I'd like to make clear that the New START treaty will not affect NNSA's ability to maintain the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. No NNSA sites will be subject to inspections, and none of our operations will be subject to limitations.

Our plans for investment in and modernization of the modern security enterprise are essential, irrespective of whether or not the START treaty is ratified. Treaty implementation will not affect our plans.

Ensuring the safety, security and effectiveness of the nuclear weapons stockpile is on the NNSA's primary missions. Maintaining the stockpile without nuclear testing has been a national policy for nearly 20 years, and we will continue to support that policy in the future.

In addition to our maintenance, surveillance, and warhead certification activities, important life extension missions milestones include completing the ongoing life extension for the W-76 warhead about the 2017 timeframe, completing the full scope life extension study for the B-61 bomb, with production beginning about the 2017 timeframe as the W-76 is coming down, and completing the study of life extension options for maintaining the W-78 ICBM warhead.

With respect to life extension options, nuclear posture review is clear that the full range of options will be considered for each warhead life extension to include replacement of nuclear components. The report on New START framework and nuclear force structure plans, or what's known as the 1251 report, explains that while the NPR expresses a preference for refurbishment and reuse, the laboratory directors will be expected to provide findings with the full range of life extension approaches.

And they will make recommendations based solely on their best technical assessment of the ability of each life extension approach to meet critical stockpile management goals. The usual goals in our weapons systems safety, weapons systems security, and of course the effectiveness and reliability.

The Nuclear Posture Review also reinforced the need to maintain the most survivable leg of the triad, a sea-based strategic deterrent. Naval reactors began reactor and propulsion plant design this year for Ohio replacement submarines. Reactor plant components will be procured in 2017 and will support the Navy's need for a reactor core that will last for more than a 40-year life of the submarine. Full funding for this program will be required.

The NPR also concluded that we need to recapitalize the aging infrastructure and renew our human capital base. The stockpile stewardship and management plan is a comprehensive 20-year plan to achieve this goal and to modernize NNSA's nuclear security enterprise. Implementation of this stockpile stewardship and management program will allow us to strengthen our science, technology and engineering base, modernize the infrastructure, and recruit, develop and to retain the next generation of nuclear security professionals responsible for the stockpile stewardship program, as well as other nuclear security missions that the nation needs.

U.S. nuclear warhead reliability has always been held to the highest standards. These standards for warhead reliability will remain exacting and extremely high, regardless of stockpile size.

But as the size of the stockpile decreases, our deterrent will rely even more on the capabilities in the strong capabilities-based infrastructure that can respond rapidly to technical and geopolitical changes. This is not just infrastructure in the form of buildings, but our people -- the infrastructure in the form of people and capability to be able to respond in the future.

We've requested a substantial increase in funding in the 2011 to 2015 time period. And the president's budget request for NNSA for the fiscal year during this period, or what we call the future-year nuclear security program, is exactly right. It reflects both what is necessary and executable. The request includes an increase of $624 million next year, and scales up by an additional $1 billion by fiscal year 2015.

The plan calls for sustained investments at these higher levels such that over the next decade the United States will have invested nearly $80 billion in stockpile stewardship program and in modernizing the infrastructure. Sustained national level commitment and support over the next decade is essential for the entire nuclear security enterprise.

The United States relies on NNSA and the national laboratories for the development of technologies, for treaty verification, and for non-proliferation initiatives. Under New START, U.S. inspectors will use equipment developed by our national laboratories that were used for the intermediate range nuclear forces in the START I treaties.

Should new radiation detection equipment be required, specialists from the Nuclear Security Enterprise will also play an essential role in developing and evaluating this equipment.

The New START treaty, if ratified and entered into force, commits the United States and the Russian Federation to further reduce our deployed strategic nuclear weapons in a predictable, transparent, and verifiable manner -- excuse me -- increasing stability with other countries, and demonstrating in a concrete way the U.S. and Russian commitment to our Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.

D'AGOSTINO:

This I believe will provide positive momentum for future U.S.-Russia collaboration and will provide further credibility for maintaining a strong leadership role for the United States in international nonproliferation initiatives. Most importantly, the New START treaty accomplishes these objectives without jeopardizing U.S. national security and specifically, will not jeopardize the ability for the United States to maintain the safety, security and effectiveness of our nuclear weapon stockpile.

For these reasons, I urge this body to favorably consider the New START treaty.

Thank you very much, and I look forward to your questions, sir.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Mr. D'Agostino.
General Chilton?

CHILTON:

Thank you, Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, members of the committee. It's a pleasure to join you again today. And I'm also pleased to be here with Dr. Miller and Mr. D'Agostino again -- two greet colleagues.

Mr. Chairman, I was fully consulted during the treaty negotiation process. And I support ratification of the New START. Today I would like to briefly discuss three reasons why our nation will be safer and more secure with this treaty than without it and to highlight current challenges that must be addressed to ensure the long-term safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. strategic deterrent.

I ask that my entire statement be entered into the record.

LEVIN:

It will be.

CHILTON:

Thank you -- thank you, Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, throughout the nuclear posture review process and New START negotiations, U.S. Strategic Command's team played important analytical and advisory roles. As the combatant command responsible for strategic deterrents planning, advocating for related capabilities and executing operations at the president's direction, no military organization has a greater interest in the treaty specifics than we do.

At the outset, our team analyzed the required nuclear weapons and delivery vehicle force structure and posture necessary to meet the current guidance. U.S. STRATCOM involvement and support to both the NPR and New START was continuous providing options and engagement with the negotiating team throughout the New START process.

The breadth and depth of our involvement gives me great confidence that the result does not constrain America's ability to continue to deter potential adversaries, assure our allies and sustain strategic stability. I believe that there are three reasons why the New START agreement represents a positive step forward.

First, New START limits the number of Russian ballistic missile warheads that can target the United States -- missiles that pose the most prompt threat to our forces and our nation.
Second, New START's flexible limits on deployed and non-deployed delivery platforms retain sufficient flexibility in managing our triad of deterrent forces to hedge against both tactical or geopolitical surprise.

Third, New START will reestablish a strategic nuclear arms control verification regime that provides access to Russian nuclear forces and a measure of predictability in Russian force deployments over the life of the treaty.

I think it's equally important to remember what New START will not do. Secretary Gates noted here last month, and I quote, "The treaty will not constrain United States from deploying the most effective missile defense possible, nor impose additional cost or barriers on those defenses," end quote. I wholeheartedly agree.

As the combatant command also responsible for synchronizing global missile defense plans, operations and advocacy, I can say with confidence that this treaty does not constrain any current or future missile defense plans.

In closing, let me say a word about the need to sustain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. As Secretary Gates has also noted in his prepared statement last month, quote, "America's nuclear arsenal remains a vital pillar of our national security. Deterring potential adversaries and reassuring allies and partners," end quote.

Today -- today the interrant -- the deterrent is indeed safe, secure and effective. But it is also in need. The nuclear posture review and administration plan to recognize needs in infrastructure, human capital, life extensions, and delivery platform developments. And they include support for improving our nuclear enterprise, sustaining today's nuclear triad of delivery platforms, and exploring future triad platforms.

In order to sustain the deterrent and implement the NPR, we must commit to long-term investments that begin with several increases outlined in the president's fiscal year 2011 budget. They include increased funding to NSA for full rate production of the W-76-1 warhead for our submarine leg of the triad, the full scope nuclear and non-nuclear life extension of the B-61 bombs to sustain its strategic deterrents and extended deterrents' roles, and initiating studies to develop life extension options for the W-78 ICBM warhead.

These investments are not only important, they are essential. Independent from the ratification of this arms control treaty.

I appreciate this committee's support for NNSA's investment in the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization Act. This funding is very important, and I'm grateful for this year's support. Thank you again for the opportunity to be here with you today. And I look forward to your questions.

LEVIN:

Thank you so much, General Chilton. Let's try a seven minute first round.

I think you've all made reference to the flexibility of the lab directors to look at all options. And I'm wondering in terms of the -- whether it's either refurbishment, or whether it's reuse, or whether it is replacement of the warhead. My understanding is that if there's a recommendation for replacement which the Nuclear Weapons Council makes, that that would require authorization by Congress by law. Is that correct?

Do you know, Dr. Miller?

MILLER:

Senator -- Mr. Chairman, that is correct. The approval by Congress would -- would be required including for the funding of that effort.

LEVIN:

All right. And so that the policy of the administration is that it -- that there not be a replacement without specific approval of the president. But that's also a requirement -- there's also a requirement in law that Congress authorize a replacement. Is that correct?

MILLER:

Yes, sir.

LEVIN:

OK. And -- and I think you've all testified that -- that those requirements in no way limit the lab directors in terms of the options that they can look at and any recommendations that they make. And as a matter of fact, they're specifically told they're to look at all options for life extension. Is that correct?

MILLER:

That is correct.

LEVIN:

Mr. D'Agostino, is that your understanding?

D'AGOSTINO:

Absolutely, sir.

LEVIN:

OK.

D'AGOSTINO:

That's correct.

LEVIN:

Now on the silo conversion issue, I believe that, Dr. Miller, you've indicated that under the treaty neither side can convert an ICBM or SLBM launcher for use as a missile defense interceptor.

And I think Mr. -- Dr. Miller, you indicated that it would not be cost effective or operationally effective to do so. That it would cost less to actually build new interceptors, I guess, rather than to convert those interceptors. Did -- did I understand your testimony correctly?

MILLER:

Mr. Chairman, the -- we have deployed five ground-based interceptors in former ICBM silos at Vandenberg Air Force Base. So we have good experience with what the costs are, including the -- the additional costs of -- of -- of modifying the structure and security associated with those -- with those silos. And we now have extensive experience also in building new silos for ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely.

So we have a -- a -- a good understanding of the -- of what the costs would be for additional silos for ground-based interceptors. And I said -- as I said, confidence in that -- that it would be about $550 million for -- for 10.

LEVIN:

For the silos?

MILLER:

For -- to -- to convert additional silos.

LEVIN:

OK.

MILLER:

And about $360 million to -- for 10 new silos. In addition, the operating cost for converted, old ICBM silos would be higher.

LEVIN:

And in addition to the cost issue -- that it would make no sense from a cost perspective, is it also true that there's -- if you have that kind of conversion, that there's greater chance for potential misunderstanding -- miscalculation?
(CROSSTALK)

LEVIN:

In other words, if you use silos of one type for another purpose, does that not create the potential for miscalculation?

MILLER:

Mr. Chairman, with -- with the -- the five former ICBM silos with ground-based interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base, we don't see that as -- as a problem. By the way, those were, as you know, grandfathered into the treaty. So those will continue to be allowed.

Because those interceptors are at a different location from the -- the three remaining ICBM fields that we have in the United States, there would be a -- a -- obviously a concern about locating ballistic missile defense interceptors at -- at locations very nearby our ICBM fields. And the concern would be that there might be confusion between the launch of an interceptor and a launch of an ICBM.

Not confusion on our part, but possible confusion by the...

LEVIN:

Of course.

MILLER:

... by the Russians.

LEVIN:

Now for all those reasons, it is our policy not to make those conversions. Is that correct?

MILLER:

That is correct.

LEVIN:

And so the prohibition in the treaty against conversion is a reflection of our policy. That's not just a concession. That's our policy?

MILLER:

Mr. Chairman, it's a reflection of our policy and of the -- of the cost assessments completed that we've previously discussed.

LEVIN:

All right.

General Chilton, you've indicated in your statement that the New START will -- the New START will reestablish a strategic nuclear arms control verification regime that provides intrusive access to Russian nuclear forces. We don't have any verification at the moment. Is that correct?

CHILTON:

That's correct, Senator.

LEVIN:

And did the verification provisions in the new treaty give you -- give you confidence to allow the Strategic Command to have confidence in planning for U.S. forces and modernization?

CHILTON:

Chairman, it does. Without that, then we would have to just go on intel estimates, and not have the insight that will be provided for -- through the verification and inspection process to allow us to assess what we need to be doing more accurately with our forces.

LEVIN:

And the -- the -- in other words do the verification provisions give you confidence that Russia cannot achieve a militarily significant advantage undetected?

CHILTON:

Yes. That's correct, Chairman.

LEVIN:

Now you also said in your statement that we would -- without the verification provisions in the new treaty, we would, quote, "unfortunately be left to use the worst case analysis regarding our own force requirements."

Let me see if I understand that. Are you saying that if under the previous verification provision with the number of warheads attributed to missiles and bombers instead of actual numbers of warheads as in the new treaty, that we would have to retain a larger number of deployed systems and warheads than we would otherwise need?

CHILTON:

The -- the uncertainty would be in the counting of the warheads as you -- as you suggest, Chairman. And with uncertainty -- without any verification or insight in -- into what the Russians were doing with their force structure with regard to -- force structure and warhead deployment that is allowed for with the verification protocols of the treaty. Then as a commander, without any knowledge I would assume worst case. And...

LEVIN:

Which would be a larger number than...

CHILTON:

Which would be...

LEVIN:

... we might...

CHILTON:

Right.

LEVIN:

... otherwise be needing?

CHILTON:

Correct.

LEVIN:

And there's a cost to that -- maintenance of a larger number?

CHILTON:

Well, that -- that decision would have to be taken. Exactly how -- what investments we might make for that uncertainty. But -- but having the verification would remove that -- even that concern.

LEVIN:

Does a larger number than needed result in a larger cost if you -- if you...

(CROSSTALK)

CHILTON:

Well, certainly. If -- if we were to determine we needed more warheads deployed and more warheads in the inventory that -- that would be more expensive.

LEVIN:

Thank you.

Senator McCain?

MCCAIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Dr. Miller, last month General Chilton stated that it was not only important, but essential the president committed to ensuring the NNSA receive the full $624 million increase as proposed in his Fiscal Year '11 Budget. Last week the House Appropriations Energy and committee -- subcommittee marked up its spending bill and didn't fully fund the president's request for the weapons complex.

Is that of concern to you?

MILLER:

Senator McCain, we -- the administration continues to support its request and will continue to do so as the -- as the process moves forward. We believe that the $624 million increase that you referenced is -- is critical to moving forward with our nuclear weapons modernization effort, and our -- and our work on infrastructure.

MCCAIN:

Well then, if it's that essential, if it -- the cut remains in the final appropriations bill, would you recommend a veto by the president?

MILLER:

Senator McCain, at this point I think you've asked me a question that, frankly, is perhaps above my pay grade. What I would do is provide our best assessment of the implications and specific consequences and do everything possible to support continuing to get to the administration's request on this -- on this funding memo.

MCCAIN:

General Chilton, do you agree with the unclassified statement in the State Department Verification Assessment that, quote, "Any cheating by the Russians would have," quote, "Little, if any, effect"?

CHILTON:

Senator, I do agree with that in my...

MCCAIN:

You do agree with it?

CHILTON:

... in my lane from the perspective of we have to preserve -- what I'm asked to do is preserve affected deterrent, and I believe we can with our assured response capabilities with our submarine force and with our ICBM force. I believe that we're in a good position vis-a-vis the Russians in this regard.

MCCAIN:

Well, what this explains to the casual observer's mind, General, is if doesn't have any consequences, if they do any cheating, what's the point in having a treaty?

CHILTON:

There are consequences.

MCCAIN:

If we don't care whether they cheat or not has very little effect, why have a treaty?

CHILTON:

Senator, I'm sorry. Let me restate that. I do care if they treat or not -- if they cheat or not.

MCCAIN:

If it has little effect. You just agreed it has little, if any, effect.

CHILTON:

Senator, let me correct myself and on our ability to deter the Russians with an assured response.

MCCAIN:

So it would have little, if any, effect, and we have a crisis. So -- and they triple their two or three times as many nuclear weapons as we have. That doesn't have any effect?

CHILTON:

Senator, I believe if they were to proceed in a -- in a fashion as you described, to triple their or even double their amount of weapons, I believe that would be detectable under the verification regime, and I believe that we would -- we would -- in that case, they would have walked away from the treaty. Hopefully, we would've had dialogue with them before that to understand what they were doing and why.

MCCAIN:

But minor cheating they wouldn't have walked away from the treaty because that would have little effect? There's no logic to your statements and to -- that if cheating has very little, if any, effect of why we are -- I always believed in all the treaties that I'd been involved in in the past 28 years, General, that cheating does matter.

CHILTON:

I agree.

MCCAIN:

And it does have an effect and to say that it has little, if any, effect, then we've been wasting a lot of time and money on negotiations.

CHILTON:

Senator, I would agree with you. It does have an effect.

MCCAIN:

But -- so then you don't agree with the State Department's statement?

CHILTON:

In the narrow area of what my responsibilities are to assure the deterrent and overwhelming ability respond, which is the baseline of the deterrent, that -- in that narrow area, I think we're in good position with the treaty.

I also believe that we would be able to detect through the verification protocols any cheating, significant cheating, by the Russians.

MCCAIN:

I take it that you...

CHILTON:

And it is (inaudible)...

MCCAIN:

... I take it that you've read the NIE?

CHILTON:

I have, Senator.

MCCAIN:

Dr. Miller, what continues to trouble a lot of us is not so many of the details, and they are very complex and understandably so, but what bothers a great deal of us is I have two documents in front of me I think both of you have seen. One of them is the statement of the Russian Federation concerning missile defense. The other is a statement by the United States of America concerning missile defense.

They're obviously at odds with each other because the Russians say that the treaty may be effective and viable only in conditions where there is no qualitative or quantitative buildup in the United States missile defense system capabilities of the United States of America.

And yet, our statement was the United States' missile defense system would be deployed to defend the United States against limited missile launches and defend its deployed forces. The United States intends to continue improving and deploying its missile defense system in order to defend itself against limited attack.

Now, the Russian statement doesn't say that the treaty would be effective and viable only in conditions. There's no qualitative or quantitative buildup in the United States' limited capability. It's just fundamentally -- there's a fundamental disagreement in both signing statements to any objective observer.

So I still don't know how you -- how you reconcile those two statements at some point that there isn't -- if we continue to -- as is stated by the United States -- continue to improve and deploy our missile defense systems in order to defend ourselves. Maybe you can help us out here, Doctor.

MILLER:

Senator McCain, let me first very briefly just add onto General Chilton's response. His response focuses appropriately on the military aspects of any cheating and because we have -- will have a diverse force structure under New START with highly survivable systems and because we'll retain the ability to upload, from a military perspective, the -- we think will be postured well to first deter cheating, but then to minimize the significance should it occur.

That said, any cheating by Russia on this treaty we would consider to be significant politically because it...

MCCAIN:

Well, I'm glad you would because the State Department doesn't seem to, but go ahead. Let's get back to the...

MILLER:

OK. So on the -- and I'll stop there and say an absolute another point on that issue.

MCCAIN:

And, by the way, if you'd like to elaborate on that response, I don't mean to cut you off. I'd be glad to have additional comments for the record. I...

MILLER:

Thank you, sir.

MCCAIN:

... hope I didn't short-circuit you there. Please go ahead.

MILLER:

Thank you. Thank you. With respect to the -- to the Russian perspective on missile defense, I believe its been clear since about March 23, 1983, when Ronald Reagan provided his so-called Star Wars speech that the Russians would like to constrain the United States activities and missile defense.

MCCAIN:

And I'm sure you remember that the -- that was the Russian demand which the president of the United States turned down at (inaudible). That's a matter of record -- of historical record and a turning point in the Cold War.

MILLER:

It is...

MCCAIN:

He would not have agreed in my view to two conflicting statements being a result of an agreement.

MILLER:

Senator McCain, the -- our missile defenses are not constrained by this treaty with the exception of Article V that I talked about before and it's -- and it -- it's on the -- it's prohibition on the conversion from ICBM (inaudible) launches or vice versa.

The ability of the United States to provide effective missile defense for the nation, for our forces overseas and in partnership with our -- with our allies is unaffected by this treaty. There are no additional costs. There are no additional inhibitions on our ability to do that.

I think it's worth just reading just very briefly the second part of the Russian statement on missile defense understanding that it is not binding and it is not a part of the treaty, but a unilateral statement. They note that -- the statement notes that the extraordinary events referred to in the treaty that could prompt a Russian withdrawal would involve a buildup such that would give rise to a threat to the strategic nuclear force potential of the Russian Federation.

That is their perspective, but as I noticed -- as I noted before, when we have 30 ground-based interceptors, we have a long way to go before we're -- we have an capability that's close to effecting the strategic stability of the balance when they will have over a thousand warheads under New START.

I would also just very briefly, President Medvedev was interviewed on April 9th on ABC, and it's a long quote which I'd like to provide for the record, but just the last sentence of it says, quote, "I would not want to create the impression that any changes would be construed as grounds for suspending the treaty that we've only just signed."

So they have -- I have the sense that there will -- could be continued statements in this regard. We are unsurprised that the Russians have desired to constrain our missile defenses. We continue to encourage them to cooperate on missile defenses to deal with the common threats that we face and we will continue both to qualitative and quantitatively improve our missile defenses and to seek their cooperation to move forward together to deal effectively with this -- with this threat.

MCCAIN:

Well, my time is expired.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman, but I'm reminded though -- I guess it was a Groucho Marx line, "You can believe him or your own eyes." I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I thank the witnesses.

LEVIN:

Thanks, Senator McCain.

Senator Lieberman?

LIEBERMAN:

Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I was looking to the ceiling to see whether Groucho's duck was going to come down.

I thank Dr. Miller, Mr. D'Agostino, General Chilton for returning. You have become a recidivist before this committee to our benefit and we appreciate your service and your testimony.

I would guess that I'm in the same position as most if not all members of the Senate which is that I hope to be able to vote, excuse me, to ratify the New START treaty, but for me, and I think for a lot of members of the Senate, there are two lines of questions that we need to have answered to give us that level of comfort.

The first has to do with the health, if I can put it that way, of our nuclear stockpile. That is that as we reduce the number of deployed nuclear warheads, obviously we want to have a satisfactory level of confidence to put it as simplistically as I can that they work. And the second is verification, and Senator McCain has touched on both of these.

This series of hearings that Chairman Levin has been -- and Senator McCain have been conducting have been an -- a sense, refresher course, at least for me, on the -- on this whole subject area.

One of the things that I've come to understand again, and I ask for (inaudible) to you, Mr. D'Agostino, is that nuclear weapons age, and as they age, they become less effective; is that correct?

D'AGOSTINO:

As they age, aging effects can make them less effective. It really depends on the specifics of the material itself, and that's why we go through a very in-depth annual process of taking apart nuclear weapons, looking inside, ruining (ph) any anomalies and taking it from there. It's part of our stockpile stewardship programs.

LIEBERMAN:

Right. And am I right as someone said before the committee that today the average age of our American nuclear weapon stockpile is greater than it's been -- ever been before. Does that sound right?

D'AGOSTINO:

That's correct, Senator.

LIEBERMAN:

Yes. So this is why we're focused on making sure that -- and the fact is, and this is not a partisan fact that it -- both parties were part of this that we have -- we have put the nuclear weapons program of the U.S., the NNSA, which you direct, under budgetary pressure over the last years, and it's why so many of us as part of our consideration of the New START treaty are focused on making sure that we increase our investment in our nuclear stockpile to make sure that it works.

Senator McCain talked about the cut that the House Senators and the Water Subcommittee made and this is significant to me and a lot of others and I hope in the process that Congress will at least fund to the level that the administration has requested for fiscal year 2011. Obviously, it's very hard to bind a future of Congress, but we certainly can bind the administration and ourselves for this coming year.

I do have a question to ask just to try to stretch our capacity to bind here a bit which is the F.Y. '12 number in the future years nuclear security program is $7 billion which is essentially a no- growth figure. It's about what the administration -- it's exactly what the administration has requested for fiscal year 2011.

And considering inflation, that means that there will be in fact a drop in fiscal year 2012 and funding for the nuclear program.

And why is that, Mr. D'Agostino? And why should we accept that as an adequate figure?

D'AGOSTINO:

The -- in the totality of -- I'll talk the specifics of the question. I like to add a little bit with respect to the overall budget picture.

The -- in essence, we have a very significant increase from F.Y. '10 to F.Y. '11 that reflects the ability to execute the program and shows a commitment on the part of ourselves and the United States. This important to maintain. The F.Y. '12 numbers '13, '14, '15 and '16, particularly in the F.Y.'s '13, '14, '15, increase dramatically.

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

D'AGOSTINO:

What we say in our 1251 report and in our 3113 report, which is the 20-year look ahead, is that there's an expectations for some numbers to change as we get the project baselines well understood for the large budget drivers in that particular program, specifically the B-61 life extension, as General Chilton referenced earlier, specifically the Iranian processing facility and the chemistry and metal (inaudible) replacement facility.

The report clearly states that if baselines are established, and what we're going to spend is a lot of time in the first two years getting those baselines down and then locking in those numbers into the out years, we do believe -- I mean, the important thing for us and for me particularly as a program manager and someone who's been involved with this program for over a decade and a half, is the demonstrated ability to execute those funds well and in the areas that need to go.

D'AGOSTINO:

And it was my assessment that this approach, the (inaudible) that we have in our future five-year plan, is the right approach that we have put together. It's not just mine. It's the secretary's.

LIEBERMAN:

OK, I hear you. And I'd say that there are a group of us in both parties who probably would like to continue this discussion with you in the hope that F.Y. '12 is the next year, obviously, we can't quite control it legislatively, but we can reach toward it. And let's see if we can bring some of that money that you've got in your future plan forward to F.Y. '12. But we'll talk more about that.

But I want to get to one question on verification. The New START treaty does cut back in some significant ways I think from the verification mechanisms in the START I treaty. The one that concerns me most was with regard to telemetry. Parties are obligated under the START I treaty to exchange telemetry tapes, interpreted data, and acceleration profiles for every missile test flight, with the emphasis on "every."

Under the New START treaty, the telemetry exchange required -- is required -- on, at most, five tests per year. And the country -- each country -- can determine which five they'll agree to exchange telemetry. Russia's expected to test between 12 and -- 10 and 12 -- ICBMs per year, and will likely.

Therefore, we assume, because of its general concern about transparency its strategic programs share with us, data only on its older systems. So I think we're -- we make the -- I understand the difference, so we make our -- we make it harder for our intelligence community to gauge exactly what the Russians are developing.

And I understand that may be different from exact verification here. But my bottom line here is that we're losing a capacity in the proposed New START treaty verification capacity that we had in START I. And I wanted to ask Dr. Miller or General Chilton both why we agreed to this, and whether you're concerned about it?

CHILTON (?):

Senator Lieberman, the START treaty had a couple of provisions for which telemetry was important for verifying. The first was that it limited throwaway, and so when a missile was tested and its tested, the telemetry, the information coming out from that test was important to understand the throwaway to that missile how much it could carry.

LIEBERMAN:

So they actually give us tapes, if you will, from inside the missile?

CHILTON (?):

There were provisions for exchange of tapes and for open broadcasts as well. And typically, both of those would (inaudible) and for non-encryption of those tapes and broadcasts.

The second provision in the previous START treaty that -- for which telemetry was relevant was that it had an attribution role for warheads for each missile. So the SS-18 was counted as 10 warheads under the START treaty. If we then saw the Russians testing with 11 warheads, that would be a violation of the treaty. And the telemetry broadcasts warhead tapes associated with those tests would therefore be directly relevant to the verification of START.

The New START treaty doesn't have limitations on throwaway and uses a different rule for counting them for warheads. It actually counts the warheads on each missile and delivery system, each -- I'm sorry, on each missile -- ICBM and SLBM -- so that we don't have that attribution role. Therefore, telemetry does not play a role in verifying the provisions of the New START treaty as it did in the START treaty.

Now, we were able to negotiate in exchange of telemetry, as you noted, for up to five exchanges per year, irrespective of the fact that it in fact was not needed for verification of the treaty.

LIEBERMAN:

OK. My time's up.

And General Chilton, I'd like to hear from you as this goes on. I'm concerned about this. I understand what you're saying about verification requirements, but it seems like an odd compromise to make. If the telemetry is not required for verification of the Russians' compliance with the treaty, then why even have five?

But to me, it was quite valuable to us -- and this gets into your area, General Chilton -- in terms of assessing the capacity of the Russian missiles, which is important for our national security. So I'm puzzled why we didn't either fight for the same unlimited access to telemetry that was in START I, or if it didn't matter, then why even have five, because they'll give us data on their oldest missiles, and it won't help us very much.

CHILTON:

Could I answer very briefly?

LIEBERMAN:

Yes.

CHILTON:

And that is that, Senator, that we think that telemetry is a useful provision for improving transparency, and for helping us understand each other's systems. And that we would intend to work to build on the provisions in the New START treaty to try to get the most useful exchanges possible.

LIEBERMAN:

Time's up.

Thank you.

LEVIN:

Senator LeMiuex?

Thank you, Senator Lieberman.

LEMIEUX:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Dr. Miller, Mr. D'Agostino and General Chilton for your service and for being here today.

I want to speak with you today about tactical nuclear weapons and why they're not addressed in the treaty, as I understand it. In May, Henry Kissinger testified in front of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate that the large Russian stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons unmatched by a comparable American deployment could threaten the ability to undertake extended deterrents.

And according to the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, Russia has 3,800 tactical nuclear weapons with a 10-to-1 advantage over us. And some are concerned that if you factor in those tactical weapons, this New START treaty will put us in a position where they have more total nuclear weapons. So the question I have to start off with is why were tacticals not contemplated and addressed in the treaty?

MILLER (?):

Senator, when this administration came in there was a recognition that the START treaty was going to expire on December 5th of last year. And that it therefore -- we would be without any verification provisions or verifications at that time.

And consistent with the recommendations of the Strategic Posture Commission, the Perry-Schlesinger Commission, the administration therefore made a decision to work with Russia to try to achieve a New START treaty as soon as reasonably possible.

Didn't make it obviously by December 5th, but came in came several months later, so that we would have those verification provisions and data exchanges and other elements of the treaty in place. And again, consistent with the recommendations of the Strategic Posture Commission.

We also noted in the Nuclear Posture Review that this was intended to be the next step, not the last step. And we have suggested follow-on negotiations after ratification and entry into force if that is provided by the Senate and the Duma, that would look at both tactical and strategic, and both deployed and non-deployed nuclear weapons. And we continue to intend to pursue that path today.

LEMIEUX:

General Chilton, you want to address this?

CHILTON:

Senator, there's not much I can add with regard to why we went -- negotiated and sat down and talked about this. It was a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, so it focused on strategic weapons. I think maybe the only thing I would add is that the imbalance in the tactical area is -- kind of puts an exclamation point on why we have to continue to pay attention to the assurance aspect of our force structure, because our allies look at the tactical nuclear weapons through a different set of lenses than we would with regard to how they may threaten their nation.

LEMIEUX:

Well, it occurs to me that the tactical in a lot of ways is more disconcerting than the strategic, just because it's harder to monitor where they are, they're portable, and they can be employed, you know, in ways that can be very disconcerting to our allies as well as to us. I mean, strategic is what we can think about the intercontinental ballistic missile, and that's something we have to keep track of.

But these -- in a world where we're concerned about nuclear proliferation and about rogue terrorist countries getting nuclear weapons, the fact that they're movable seems to be something -- I know the president has articulated that he's concerned about that. I mean, do you anticipate that we're going to be entering into another round of treaty negotiations soon? Is there anything planned to discuss tactical?

CHILTON:

Senator, first, we have encouraged and continue to encourage Russia to move its tactical nuclear weapons back into the interior of the country and to further improve the security of the storage of those weapons. They've made significant progress since the end of the Cold War.

We believe there's important progress yet to be made. The president has asked us to consider what the next round of negotiations should address. And as I said, has given direction that this should include tactical as well as strategic deployed and non-deployed.

In terms of aggregate numbers, just -- I'll give only unclassified, obviously, in this setting -- we have 5,113 nuclear weapons in the stockpile that was declassified just a couple of months ago. And in addition to that, have several thousand nuclear weapons awaiting dismantlement.

I can't -- in this open setting -- can't speak to the number of Russian weapons, but when people think about the U.S. nuclear arsenal, I think it's important to understand that there's more than the 1,550 that are referenced in the limits New START treaty.

LEMIEUX:

And do we believe that in entering into this agreement that Russia is already at the levels that the treaty requires? Or are they going to have to make reductions?

CHILTON:

Our estimate -- and defer the details to a classified setting -- our estimate is that in terms of warheads and delivery systems, they are moving or have moved into the range of the treaty.

LEMIEUX:

I'm a newcomer to this process, but in trying to evaluate whether I would support this, it's a big concern to me that we're not dealing with tacticals, it's a big concern to me that they probably are already at the levels that we were asking for, so we're not gaining a concession.

I'm -- It really comes down to verification, and that's obviously important in being able to have an open process with them to know what they're doing with their weapons.

But then, we get to I think a point that was very articulately made by Senator Lieberman that the verification component seems to be weaker than in the previous START treaty. So you wonder what we're gaining in this agreement? Then there's the issues that Senator McCain raised about the missile defense system.

Let me pose this question to you. Are you aware that the Russians are developing new delivery systems, new weapon delivery systems to overcome any missile defense system that we would employ?

CHILTON:

Senator, I would prefer to answer that question in a classified setting.

LEMIEUX:

In terms of our triad, it was made -- the comment was made earlier by Mr. D'Agostino that we are working on a follow-on to the submarine system and a new class of submarines. What about the rest of the triad? The ICBMs, the B-52s, the nuclear launch Cruise missiles? Are there plans in place to update our triad?

I understand that there are expiration dates in the longevity of those aspects of the triad. They're not right on our doorstep, but they're coming quick. Are we going to -- do we have plans in place for the next phase of those weapons systems?

CHILTON:

Senator, I'll take that one on. Of course, the work is underway on the studies required for the Ohio class Trident submarine replacement. With regard to the Minuteman III, Congress has directed that we sustain that until 2030. And I believe adequate investments are in place for the issues that we're aware of today. And as they continue their study, they'll be able to -- the Air Force will be able to do that, effectively extend the Minuteman III.

Along those lines, though, in a couple of years we'll be the lead time away from thinking about what would be the follow-on to the land- based deterrent. And so, they'll begin AOAs or analysis of alternatives here and begin the initial studies for follow-on to the land-based deterrent, appropriately here in the near term.

And then of course as you're aware, the long range strike question is what would be the follow-on to the bomber is being discussed in the department right now, and is an issue that the Air Force is taking on in this cycle.

Lastly, with regard to the air launch Cruise Missile, we believe with the modest investments in both the platform and the weapon, that can be easily extended until 2030, which I think is appropriate to do. And then allow us to begin studies in about the 2015 time period to see what would be the follow-on replacement to that. So all of these are in play now and they're absolutely important.

LEMIEUX:

Thank you, General.

My time's up.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator LeMieux.

Senator Reed?

REED:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you gentlemen.

Mr. D'Agostino, the inspection schedule and the verification is as essential to the treaty as it was in START I. But I just -- I think it's important to note that, as I understand it, in the START I treaty there were 70 sites in four different countries that had to be monitored, versus 35 sites in just Russia.
So from the degree of sort of simplicity of streamlining the challenge, it's not as -- I'll let you characterize it. How does that change the inspection schedule?

REED:

Or Mr. Miller? Either one.

MILLER (?):

Senator Reed, you're exactly correct. Under START there were 70 sites in four different countries, including Ukraine, Belarus Kazakhstan, in addition to Russia. And the Russians have declared 35 sites under the New START treaty. Now, we have 18 inspections -- 18 on site. And it's been allowed under New START per year. There were 28 allowed under the START treaty. So proportionately in fact we're doing some of -- (inaudible) some of the type one inspections that we have under the New START treaty, of which there were 10 of the 18 type one.

Those have an additional element that -- that -- that you can -- you can debate how to score it. But it provides something -- something more than just sort of a 1.0 in terms of when we conduct that inspection be -- being able to do additional look (ph) for non- deployed items as well.

REED:

So in effect -- I mean, on first blush when you see 28, and then you see 10 plus 18, that might give the impression that, well, we're -- we're -- we're -- we're missing something. But you do have to factor in the -- the fact that we're looking at half the sites we did in START I.

MILLER (?):

That's correct, sir.

REED:

One of the issues, General Chilton, here is that if we fail to ratify the New START treaty, what will it do to the whole issue of predictability, stability, transparency. Things that -- that at least we have the START I which is not legally in effect, but -- but out there as a format.

Can you comment on that?

CHILTON:

Well, Senator, today we have no verification or inspection rights with Russia, because START I has expired. And so what we're balancing is zero inspections in the future, or the promises of -- of the treaty before you for consideration.

But I would also add it's not -- it's just not the -- the insights you would be -- no longer have, but the constraints of the treaty actually do constrain Russia and with regard to deployed launchers and -- and deployed strategic weapons. And that's an important element as well. Without that, they are unconstrained.

REED:

So your judgment in terms -- from your perspective is that ratification of the treaty would enhance stability and the transparency into their operations?

CHILTON:

The term stability I always hesitate on because I think of strategic stability with regard to the force structure. But -- and I think it would certainly do both of what you described, Senator. And that's -- that is why I support ratification.

REED:

Thank you, General.

My colleague, Senator Lemieux, brought up the issue of tactical weapons. And I -- I thought it was interesting the comments that Senator Lugar (ph) made in -- in an op-ed he wrote that -- and I'll quote them and see if you associate yourself with them:

"In fact, most of Russia's tactical nuclear weapons either had very short ranges, are used for -- only (ph) in defense, are devoted to the Chinese border, or in storage. An agreement with Russia that reduced, accounted for, and improved security around tactical nuclear arsenals is in the interest of both nations. But these weapons do not compromise our strategic deterrent."

Is that accurate, General Chilton?

CHILTON:

Well, Senator, clearly the most proximate threat to us are the ICBM and the SLBM weapons because they can and are able to target U.S. homeland and deliver a devastating effect on this country. And so we are appropriately focused in -- in those areas in this particular treaty for strategic reasons.

The tactical nuclear weapons -- the comments that you just read are -- are valid that, you know, as -- with regard to their ranges, et cetera. But -- but reality -- you know, weapons can be put on -- on platforms and moved at intercontinental ranges, but they don't provide the proximate threat that the I.C. and S.L.s do.

And from a better (ph) perspective, as we look toward reduction of total weapons, you -- you do have to take -- in follow on negotiations I strongly support that we look at the entire inventory of -- of Russia in -- in future discussions with them. Because the -- they are nuclear weapons. And they do affect our allies in the region. And that's important to us.

REED:

My sense is if -- and I'll ask you for your sense, General -- is that if this treaty is not ratified, the prospect of follow on serious discussions about nuclear reductions are probably close to zero. Is that your sense?

CHILTON:

Senator, I -- I -- I couldn't speculate on that.

REED:

OK.

(CROSSTALK)

REED:

Maybe Dr. Miller can speculate on that.

Dr. Miller?

MILLER:

Thank you for that opportunity, Senator Reed. I -- I agree with your assessment.

REED:

Finally, Mr. D'Agostino, you know, we here sort of are looking very carefully at the -- our nuclear enterprise. The -- the -- the laboratories, and everything else. We all understand that there are budget issues, organization issues attracting the scientific talent that we need in a -- in much different environment than 30 or 40 years ago.

But I think we sit and sometimes have the tenancy to sort of think that the other folks -- the Russians have this superb, you know, highly polished and, you know, running at max sufficiency as institutional endeavor. Can -- can you comment on -- particularly since we both mercifully abstained from testing for -- for -- for decades now.

Can you comment on what their establishment looks like?

D'AGOSTINO:

Yes. I'll -- I'll do so, of course keep it unclassified.

REED:

Yes, sir.

D'AGOSTINO:

The -- you know, the -- the Russian approach is -- is a bit different than ours. The Russian approach is focused more on the production side of just keep -- keep building and keeping taking things apart. And so there's a fair amount of exercising of the infrastructure.

Our approach had been to focus on a deep understanding of what's happening inside the warheads themselves using experiments, simulation, and tying all these things together. They're -- they're just two different approaches.

That's not to say the Russians are not doing the science piece. They are. That's not to say we aren't doing some production work. We are. They're just two different approaches to address the -- the item.

With respect to the United States though, I think what's -- what I've observed in this program over the -- over many years is that the thing that it's so important to the -- to running a -- a program like this -- of this size and complexity -- is some certainty about how the future -- what the future is. What is -- what the country really wants, and what's been great about what we've -- what we've seen particularly over the last two years or so -- is a gathering of ideas and a certain amount of consensus that's developing.

A bipartisan consensus if you will that says it's important to have certainty in this program. And it's important to -- that the workforce understand that the nation really cares about this program, because these are smart people that can get jobs elsewhere.

And so from my standpoint, and -- and that will maybe go to answer one of the questions you asked General Chilton. The ratification of the START treaty is another piece of that certainty and predictability. It's the view that the workforce sees that there's a general consensus on the need to maintain the stockpile, the need to support science, and the need to modernize the infrastructure.

And the ratification of this treaty is a -- is another nail into that walking in the national consensus on this approach. It provides the stability for the workforce. They know the country cares about it. It allows the program managers to adequately plan so we know what size stockpile we're taking care of. And it allows us to drive some efficiencies in our program. And that's what we've shown in our 1251 report and our 3113 report, Sir.

REED:

Thank you very much, gentleman.

Thank the Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Reed.
Senator Brown?

BROWN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator Lemieux and -- and others have commented -- and this is to Dr. Miller -- about the tactical -- tactical nuclear weapons. In START I they were punted to the next treaty. START II which was -- wasn't ratified, they were punted once again -- Moscow same thing.

Now we're in this potential treating signing, and seems to be being punted again. Now I'm having difficulty. And I -- I am, like Senator Lemieux, am -- am one of the new guys.
But I -- I am in the military for 30 years. I -- I do understand tactics and a lot of the good training I've received from the people of the United States. And I'm trying to get my hands around, you know, the -- the trust issue. And -- and the -- the strategic versus tactical -- ICBMs. You know, just seeing how it affects -- yes I agree. The -- the -- the long range weapons obviously affect us.

But we have troops throughout the world that can be dramatically affected by our -- our failure to address the strategic or the tactical nuclear weapons as well. And -- and I'm just wondering, you know, whether we're missing an opportunity, if we're just trying to get a -- get a victory here -- a political victory versus actually getting a -- a solid treaty that we can rely on.

Any thoughts on that?

MILLER:

Senator Brown, the -- the tactical nuclear weapons are a concern of this administration. We have, as I think -- as I think Senator Reed noted, have emphasized the importance of -- of their security. And the president has made it clear that we should look to future arms control negotiations where we aim to reduce those along with other -- with all other types of -- of nuclear weapons.

The reason for focusing first on strategic nuclear weapons was not because of a lack of importance of tactical nuclear weapons. But because the START treaty was expiring. And with it the verification provisions and limits under the -- under the treaty that we believe are -- are essential to -- to reducing uncertainty associated with the -- with -- with Russian strategic forces also provided basis for follow on negotiations.

I think it will be extraordinarily difficult to take that next step if we don't first have START ratified and entered into force. We -- the -- this administration will continue to work on the security issues. And we continue to encourage Russia to move the weapons back to improve their security.

But at the same time, those follow on negotiations will be much more likely to proceed if we have a basis in the -- in a -- in a New START treaty.

BROWN:

And as you know, Mr. Chairman, we've -- we've had other hearings. And -- and we've actually had private opportunities to speak to -- up the food chain a little bit. And so a lot of my questions have been asked, and -- and a lot of them are sensitive in nature.

But I keep going back to, you know, why don't we try to go and renegotiate, or -- or -- or incorporate a lot of these -- these issues. That issue for me I think is -- is one of the more important issues.

And I understand why we need to this before we do that. But it's been -- it's been, you know, START I, START II, Moscow, Vista (ph). I mean, at what point do we stop beating around the bush and actually get serious. And -- and saying, "Oh, if we don't have this, we're going to do that." Because I -- this is just something gnawing at me that -- that I have to kind of get my hands around.

I've been trying to do the appropriate research and speak to the appropriate people. But you know, the trust element for me is -- is something that I don't really see here. And -- and evidenced by your -- your conversation with Senator McCain, what if they don't do it? What's the -- what are the ramifications? What are the enforcement? I mean, what do we do?

We say, "Oh, you're bad." You can't -- I mean, where's -- where are the teeth? Are there any? Am I missing something?

MILLER:

Senator Brown, if -- if your question is about what if the Russians agree to -- that -- that -- that they ratify New START, and that we ratify. And then they -- they either cheat or break out.

The -- the -- at a -- at a -- at a small level where we're having to debate over whether an activity such as the type of (inaudible) vehicle covers that are used in inspections is appropriate or not. We first would go take it to the Bilateral Consultative Commission. Have the conversation if necessary. Then elevate it to more senior political levels.

If you're talking about significant changes in their posture that would -- that would -- that we judge to be cheating or breakout, we would have a range of options starting with political. But including -- including steps to increase the alert levels of our strategic forces if appropriate. And to increase the capabilities by uploading additional warheads on our -- on our missiles and bombers.

So we would have that response. And we believe that that capacity to respond in that way will contribute to giving them disincentives or the -- but definitely deterring Russia from cheating should it -- should -- if any future leader have that inclination.

BROWN:

Well, that's helpful.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm all set.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Senator Brown.

Senator -- Senator Udall -- Senator Hagan is next.

HAGAN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, gentlemen, for being here today and discussing this very important issue with us.

Senator Lieberman asked a question concerning the aging of the stockpiles of nuclear weapons. And my question is one step further in talking about the recruitment and the retention of the nuclear scientists and engineers that will be overseeing that.

Last month during our committee's hearing, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu indicated that he was concerned about the ability to recruit and retain the best and the brightest nuclear scientists and engineers for the stockpile stewardship and life extension program.

He emphasized that a primary obstacle is the perceived lack of financial stability importance in this program. And he underscored that nuclear scientists and engineers need to believe that the U.S. government cares about the nuclear life extension.

Compounding our recruitment problems is the fact that a significant portion of our nuclear scientists and engineers in our national laboratories will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. And without an infusion of younger talent before those retirement dates, we are at risk of -- to lose the invaluable institutional knowledge with regards to addressing the challenges in maintaining our nuclear stockpile.

And this is a concern to me, because stewardship is becoming technically more challenging as our weapons continue to age beyond their intended lifetimes.

Two questions primarily to you, Mr. D'Agostino, is do the national laboratories have a recruiting strategy and set of agreed upon goals and objectives to recruit new talent? What kind of university partnerships do the national laboratories have in order to bring in a stream of new talent? And additionally, how do the national labs envision sustaining this recruitment of personnel with specialized technical skill sets, and more importantly, institutionalizing the mentoring with the older employees to retain the decades long institutional memory?

D'AGOSTINO:

Thank you very much, Senator, for the question.

Secretary Chu is exactly right. When he came into this position over a year ago, I had an opportunity to describe the program to him as I carried forward from my previous role in the previous administration.

And he took a look just at the budget and then he ended up talking to the lab directors personally. And when you look at the science budget, he saw -- over a period of time, he saw a dramatic decrease in that, and that clearly was the morale -- was suspecting the morale at the laboratories themselves.

More -- just as important as the morale though was this lack of consensus that we as a nation had a understanding of where we were going with these nuclear programs and what we've got right now is that understanding. Now, that understanding has actually motivated the work force recently. They under -- they understand that it's important that the nation cares about wanting to maintain the stockpile.

So the laboratories as a result of that -- in fact, previously we did have a recruiting strategy. We've updated that strategy because of this infusion, the request for additional resources. This strategy is based on a very systematic assessment of critical skills that are needed to maintain the stockpile and do all of the other nuclear security work that we have.

Particularly in radio analytical chemistry, that's a skill that we need to maintain to do nuclear forensics work. It's skills associated with being able to design radiation detection devices and not only that, the skills associated with running large experiments -- not underground tests, but large experiments and using the computers to pull these things together.

We have joint programs with a set of universities -- a wide set of universities around the country. We have a program called the Academic Strategic Alliances program which is strategically to align our laboratories and universities, and this provides the laboratories a foot in the door to that recruiting -- that talent pool that's out there.

And finally, as our senior scientists retire, we take those, in many cases, sign them for a mentoring role to come back and to follow through because they have clearances typically and obviously they're experienced, and they typically are wanting to continue to engage and work the country cares about. So we have a mentoring role.

The last critical piece to all of this is what I would call real work. It's important for our scientists and engineers and production technicians at the nuclear security enterprise to do real work on the stockpile itself and that the three main pieces that General Chilton referred to, which is working, finishing the W76 life extension, working on the B-61 life extension to include the nuclear and the non- nuclear components and starting to think about concepts for the W78 warhead which we know is aging.

All that is real work and are frankly quite energized about that. And that last piece is very important and that's what we've laid out in our 10-year plan, our 1251 report.

HAGAN:

Thank you. During this committee's June 17th hearing on the New START, Secretary Clinton indicated that it appears as though the Russians have postponed the sale of the S300 long-range surface to air missile system to Iran. And during the hearing, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates indicated that Russia did not deliver the system because of improved U.S.-Russian relationship-building.

Some experts indicate that not ratifying the New START would send a negative signal to Russia that may cause them to not support U.S. objectives with respect to dealing with Iranian nuclear programs or implementing the new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran.

Dr. Miller, what strategic impacts will ratifying the treaty have on U.S.-Russian talks with respects to Iran's ambiguous nuclear program and how it would not ratifying the treatment effect our cooperation with Russia in dealing with the Iranian nuclear program or implementing the new round of U.N. sanctions?

MILLER:

Senator, you're right that Russia postponed the delivery of the S300 to Iran and we hope that that postponement continues indefinitely. The state of the U.S.-Russian relationship is obviously an important element in thinking about what the -- what the future -- it's not just of that issue of the S300, but also as you suggest of the -- of our ability to convince Iran to give of its -- give up its efforts to move forward with its nuclear -- with its nuclear programs.

The improvement in U.S.-Russian relations is difficult to quantify, but is -- but is real. And our ability to work together on the issues associated with Iran, the Russian response, also with respect to working to denuclearize North Korea and continued efforts there and in response to the Cheonan sinking, are somewhat the signs that we see that this is having -- that we're headed in a productive direction.

It does not mean we won't have our differences. It does not mean we may not even face setbacks, but it's clear that the New START treaty has been a very important part of moving the relationship forward.

HAGAN:

Thank you. My time has expired.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Senator Hagan.

Senator Collins?

COLLINS:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Dr. Miller, I want to follow-up with you on the discussion that you had with Senator Lieberman about telemetry. You've stated that the second reason telemetry was important under the original START treaty was to ensure that ICBMs were not armed with a number of warheads in excess in the number of warheads attributed to each ICBM under the START counting rules.
The original START counting rules as I understand them attributed to each ICBM, the maximum number of warheads that it was believed to be able to carry. If telemetry can be used to verify the actual number of warheads as you seem to be saying in response to Senator Lieberman, why wouldn't that information under the counting rules of the New START treaty which counts the number of deployed warheads missile by missile be even more important?

It's obviously more difficult for us to verify the number of warheads that we're trying to count missile by missile than if we're assuming the maximum and can use telemetry to verify that or to see that there is a way to carry additional warheads.

So it seems to me that your answer to Senator Lieberman doesn't add up because it seems to me that it's more important that we have telemetry in order to verify the number of warheads under the new counting role. So explain this to me.

MILLER:

Senator Collins, under the previous START treaty, you are correct that the -- for ICBMs and SLBMs, there was an attribution rule. We wanted it to be as close as possible to the maximum, but, in fact, believed that, for example, the SS-18 team could've carried more than 10 warheads should Russia so -- had so decided.

So if we did seem -- if we had seen them testing with 11 or 12 or 13, that would've been an indication of a violation of the treaty under START. Now, in the -- in the New START treaty, each side would have the freedom to mix. In other words, to have the number of warheads on a given delivery system that they -- that they decided and declare. That number would be subject to onsite verification.

So if we saw -- as an example, if we saw the Russians testing an SS-18 missile with five or six or seven or eight, we would then expect that they declared some with that number, but the real issue would be what do they -- not what they test, but what have they deployed.

And the telemetry doesn't provide any insight into what's deployed. For that, we need accommodation of declarations, national technical means and then reinforced critically by onsite inspections where we go and actually look under the -- under the hood and see what the numbers are.

COLLINS:

But the number of onsite inspections is also limited under New START and is less extensive than under the old START. It worries me because it seems that you're limiting the number of onsite inspections, you're allowing the Russians to chose the site, we're no longer going to be monitoring 24 hours a day of what's coming out. Instead, there's this notice provision. Plus, we're limiting telemetry.

Doesn't the combination of that make verification and would change the counting roles? So it worries me that the combination of those factors more limited onsite inspections, more limited telemetry and a change in the counting roles makes it more difficult for us to verify compliance.

MILLER:

Senator, let me respond to each of those as succinctly as I can.

First, with respect to the numbers of inspections, the New START treaty has 18. The old START treaty had 28. The New START treaty has to deal with 35 facilities. The old START treaty had to deal with 70. That means that on a proportional basis, the New START treaty has by a number of inspection -- sorry -- by number of facilities has greater proportionally.

Second, with respect to onsite inspections, the inspecting side chooses a side and gives advance notice, relatively short notice as well. When they get to the site for their inspection, they then will have an opportunity to select which system to focus on.

And therefore which -- for example, which missile to pull the cover off and to look at the number of reentry vehicles so that anything that didn't look right with respect to previous data declarations that we gathered from our national technical means or that looks like wasn't correct in the database, which is constantly updated, we would then be able to go test with an onsite inspection where we choose -- where the inspecting party chooses the timing and which its systems are inspected.

COLLINS:

Let me switch to a different issue that has been brought up several times by my colleagues, and that is the impact of New START on our ability to pursue advances in missile defense. Former Under Secretary of State, Ambassador John Bolton, has written that the president had essentially given Russia a de facto veto over U.S. missile defense plans, and he says as a result, advances in missile defense are now effectively impossible if this treaty is entered into and remains in force.

Do you believe that the phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe represents a qualitative or quantitative improvement in our missile defense systems?

MILLER:

Yes, Senator, I do believe there's adaptive approach in Europe and the application of that approach in other regions would -- will constitute a qualitative and quantitative improvement of our missile defenses and we have briefed the Russians on the phased adaptive approach.

I've done so several times including the first time today that the announcement was made I briefed Ambassador (inaudible), the Russian Ambassador to the United States.

We have made it clear that each of the phases will involved improved capabilities and that going through phase four of the -- of the -- of the phase adaptive approach for Europe we will have additional numbers of interceptors with increasing capabilities deployed.

COLLINS:

I agree with your assessment that it represents both a quantitative and qualitative improvement, but then I have a difficult time reconciling the Russian's assertion that they would withdraw from the treaty if we increase either the quantity or the quality of our missile defense. It seems inconsistent to me.

MILLER:

Senator, they understand both the capabilities of the system and the fact that it will not pose a threat to the -- to the strategic capabilities of the -- of the Russian Federation. The deployments in Europe are not -- are not going to have the ability to intercept ICBMs launched from the -- from Russia into the United States and Russia understands that.

At the same time, the -- it is very clear that we are committed not only improvement of our system for the phased adaptive approach in Europe and also around the globe, we've also made very clear that we are committed to improving our capabilities for homeland defense. As you know, we currently have 30 ground-base interceptors, and we will improve their capability as necessary to deal with the strut to which they're aimed which is the North Korea and Iranian challenge.

And Secretary of Defense, as you also know, proved moving forward with eight additional silos so that (inaudible) so that in an event we see the (inaudible) grow faster than expected, we would have the ability to add additional capability. The Russian -- the Russian statement is non-binding. It's not a part of the treaty. It concludes by noting that the issue is in each set of capabilities that would give a rise to a threat to the strategic nuclear force, potentially the Russian Federation.

We don't believe that that is going to occur, but irrespective of that, we have made clear in every possible way through public statements, testimony, our budget, our ballistic missile defense review and indeed discussions -- diplomatic discussions with the Russians, we intend to continue to improve of our missile defenses to deal with the threats that we face.

COLLINS:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

We ought to -- if it's all right with Senator Collins put both the unilateral statements in the record at this time.

COLLINS:

Yes, thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much.

Senator Nelson?

BILL NELSON (?):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, gentleman.

General Chilton, at the Nuclear Posture Review hearing this last April, you stated you fully supported, and I think you did as well today again, the New START treaty and its associated reduction to our nuclear force. You stated that you are fully involved.

Could you describe your role and your responsibilities that are involved in maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent?

CHILTON:

Senator, thank you. Our -- my role is in a couple of areas. One, I'm an advocate. And so based on the guidance given to me by the president and the Secretary of Defense, we at the command assess what is militarily required to meet that guidance.

And it falls in a -- into three fundamental areas. One includes the weapons themselves. And so I come and support Mr. D'Agostino's programs and work closely with them to make sure that their requirements are understood and for our needs for the weapons, but also his requirements are understood and advocated for to support those.

Secondly would be along the line of delivery systems that are required to support the strategy and the guidance, and we do that through the Department of Defense in supporting the three legs of the triad. There's another element of that as well that probably doesn't get as much visibility and that is the nuclear command and control portion which is also fundamentally essential to the deterrence.

So you need all three of those parts, and our job is not only to advocate for them, but as they are fielded to ensure their readiness to be able to respond to any direction we might get from the president of the United States.

BILL NELSON (?):

In your opinion, would the new treaty adversely impact the -- your ability to carry out your duties?

CHILTON:

No, sir, it would not.

BILL NELSON (?):

What are the ramifications of not putting a treaty into place?

CHILTON:

Senator, two ones that would give me concerns: One, is we would lose the transparency provided by the verification and inspection protocols that are in the treaty which have lapsed since START I ended in December of last year, and I think that's very important.

Secondly, there would be no constraints placed upon the Russian Federation as to the number of the strategic delivery vehicles or warheads they could deploy, and I think that's important to the United States that there be limits there -- limits that we would also be bound by obviously.

BILL NELSON (?):

Thank you.

Dr. Miller, what level of verification do we have at the moment? I assume the answer is zero.

MILLER:

Senator Nelson, today we would rely solely on national technical means.

BILL NELSON (?):

That's not -- that's not justification for entering into a treaty that is inadequate. We understand that, but one of the questions I would have is you mentioned the ability to look under the hood to see what the other side is doing.

Does this potentially -- this treaty potentially give us the ability to look under at least the same number of hoods that we looked under the initial START treaty?

MILLER:

Senator, the -- proportionally the answer is yes.

BILL NELSON (?):

Proportionally yes?

MILLER:

Proportionally, because they're allowed 18 inspections per year. There were 28 in START. But as we talked about before, there are half as many facilities under New START as there were at the -- at the change of force in the START treaty.

With the combination of onsite inspections with the other verification provisions including non-interference with national technical means, but also data exchange, notification requirements, the maintenance of a -- of a -- of an up-to-date database of the disposition of all Russian forces and unique identifiers, which are an important extension from START, all contribute to giving us an effective verification regime.

BILL NELSON (?):

Dr. Miller, I think it would be fair to class -- or to categorize your comments about tactical versus strategic review as a two-step process, step one being START -- this New START treaty, step two being starting the process of looking at tactical warheads.

Now, there's a suggestion that somehow since we didn't do steps one and two together in START -- in the New START, that there's something that's defective about what we've done.

What would the reasons that you didn't have the two-step process in START I or is the criticism that is being leveled today against the New START a criticism that could've been just as easily leveled against the first START treaty?

MILLER:

Senator, I -- in principle, that could have been. Let me just say that it -- if we don't move forward with the New START treaty and gratification entering the force, it will be much more challenging to try to move forward to something beyond it.

In fact, it's difficult to see how we would do so, how we would then move forward with an effort to reduce strategic (inaudible) in both deployed and non-deployed.

The -- we have -- this administration and previous administrations have paid attention to the potential dangers associated with tactical nuclear weapons, the Nunn-Lugar effort for cooperative fed reductions made good progress there in terms of -- in terms of improving security. We believe we have a long ways to go.

We would intend to do that to continue to press on improving security for tactical nuclear weapons in parallel with negotiations on reducing tactical nuclear weapons, and we understand that given the relative numbers at this point that the New START treaty is -- well, it's essential for establishing the verification regime and the basis for further negotiations that from this point forward it will -- it will make sense to broaden the (inaudible) and deal with all nuclear weapons.

BILL NELSON (?):

Well, it was a matter of prioritization with the first START treaty just as it is a matter of prioritization with this treaty, but secondly, because they work were both accomplished in the first START treaty strategic and tactical, it is now -- has now become a two-step process to accomplish it at this point in time.

Are you satisfied that we've made every effort to -- that every effort that we're making now to enter into new discussions about tactical is -- are those discussions ongoing at the present time? Recognizing you've got to -- the first one done before you do a second one, but are discussions under way right now?

MILLER:

Senator Nelson, we have made clear this administration's interest in those -- for the discussions with the Russian Federation. Also understand that the prospect for those discussions going forward prior to START ratification and entering into force are minimal. It really well needs to be, as you said, sir, a two-step process.

We are engaged in our own analysis in planning at this point. We've indicated an interest, but we have not gotten at this point a positive response from the Russian Federation and frankly would not expect to until we're on the other side of the New START ratification discussion.

BILL NELSON (?):

Well, if START -- if the New START treaty is not ratified, what are the opportunities to go back and now start and try to talk about the tactical weapons in another treaty?

MILLER:

Senator, that's an area (inaudible)...

BILL NELSON (?):

You know what? I would -- I'm asking you to speculate, but...

MILLER:

That -- I would speculate that that would make things much more difficult.

BILL NELSON (?):

Thank you very much.

And thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

More difficult meaning less likely we would succeed in negotiating such reductions?

MILLER:

Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Nelson.

The -- these unilateral statements that we've referred to are similar, are they not, to unilateral statements which were made for the first START treaty in June of 1991 when then the Soviet negotiator in his unilateral statement said, "This treaty may be effective and viable only under conditions of compliance with the ABM treaty," is that correct?

MILLER:

Mr. Chairman, they are analogous in that regard and as you know...

LEVIN:

Our response to that statement was unilaterally, "Soviet statements at a future hypothetical U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty could create such conditions are without legal or military foundation." That was our unilateral response; is that correct?

MILLER:

Yes, sir.

LEVIN:

And I'll make these part of the record. Why when answer -- answering questions about unilateral statements and saying they're not legally binding don't you refer to the almost perfect example of what happened in 1991 when the Soviets said something was going to happen if something else happened and, by the way, something else did happen, we withdrew from the ABM treaty? And there was no effect on the implementation of START I?

Why is it that your -- in your answer?

MILLER:

Senator, thank you for that recommendation. We'll...

LEVIN:

I'm just curious. I mean, am I missing something?

(CROSSTALK)

LEVIN:

It seems to me that hey, we've been there, done that. (Inaudible) have no effect whatsoever.

MILLER:

Senator, I believe we put that on the record at some points in -- over the -- over the last couple of months, but we also want to note that it is in fact the case that the unilateral statements are just that.

LEVIN:

Yes -- no, I know it had been made part of the record in other hearings, but it's not always part of -- it's not always part of the answer.

It seems to me that's the most effective answer if it's -- if it proved it's ineffective, non-binding impact before when we pulled out of a treaty and the Russians -- the Soviets and then in '91 said, "What would happen if we did?" It seems to me that's proved positive that this is not binding now. If it wasn't binding in '91, these kind of unilateral statements aren't binding now.

I would think that's kind of the clearest answer to me, but in any event, I would urge you to include that in your answers.

And we will make part of the record at this time these two unilateral statements before START I.

The -- on the question that you were asked, General, about detecting cheating and what the effect would be, if -- from a military perspective if there were cheating, there's an unclassified portion of classified Department of State Verification report of July 12, 2010.

And the first one that I'm going to make part of the record, the first unclassified paragraph relative to this subject, and I want to ask you whether you concurred in each of these paragraphs, "Deterrence of cheating is a key part of assessment of verifiability and is strongest when the probability of detecting significant violations is high. The benefits to cheating are low and the potential costs are high. We assess that this is the case for Russian cheating under the New START treaty."

Is that familiar to you that paragraph?

CHILTON:

It is, and I agree with that, Senator.

LEVIN:

All right. Now, the next unclassified paragraph on that page is the following: "Given the terms of the New START treaty, the potential benefits to be derived by Russia from cheating or breakout from the treaty would appear to be questionable because the United States will retain a diverse triad of strategic forces including single warhead ICBMs, nuclear capable heavy bombers and a significant fraction of total deployed warheads on strategic submarines.

Any Russian cheating under the treaty would have little, if any, effect on the assured second strike capabilities of U.S. strategic forces, in particular, the survivability and response capabilities of strategic submarines and heavy bombers would be unaffected by even large-scale cheating." Are you familiar with that paragraph?

CHILTON:

I am, Senator, and I agree with it.

LEVIN:

You agree with that.

Next, on classified paragraph. The cost and risks of Russian cheating or breakout, on the other hand, would likely be very significant. In addition to the financial and international political costs of such an action, any Russian leader considering cheating or breakout from the New START treat would have to consider that the United States will retain the ability to upload large numbers of additional nuclear warheads on both bombers and missiles under the New START, which would provide the ability for a timely and very significant U.S. response.

Are you familiar with that one?

CHILTON:

I am, Senator

LEVIN:

Do you agree with that?

CHILTON:

I do, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

And finally, on this page, the combination of improved U.S. understanding of Russian strategic forces resulting from the implementation of the START treaty, USNTM, which -- National Technical Means capabilities, the New START treaty's verification provisions and a favorable posture for deterring cheating or breakout, results in a New START treaty that is effectively verifiable.

Do you agree with that? Are you familiar with that?

CHILTON:

I'm not sure I'm familiar with that precise quote, Chairman.

LEVIN:

All right.

CHILTON:

But hearing it, I do agree with it.

LEVIN:

All right. Now, we - the question of the telemetry. Senator Lieberman asked a question about well, why are we - did we agree to obtain the telemetry or exchange telemetry on five launches per year, as I understand or remember the language. If telemetry is not important, why did we negotiate for five?

I don't think the answer was very persuasive on that. I didn't understand it, and I either - I think in terms of the time, I think you'd better give us an answer for that one, Dr. Miller. There is sort of an apparent inconsistency. We get less telemetry, but we don't need it. And as Senator Lieberman points out, if we don't need it, why did we negotiate for five? And I think that it's - the answer needs to be amplified, because it was either not particularly clear, or it wasn't particularly persuasive. Or maybe there is no persuasive answer, but if there is one, we would appreciate your giving it a go on the record, if you would.
Will you do that?

MILLER:

Yes, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

OK. Now, on the negotiating record, there's apparently a history on getting negotiating records which we're also going to need for the record. And this is a matter for the Foreign Relations committee, but apparently during the -- I think it was the IMF treaty, there was some back-and-forth between the State Department on whether or not in the future the negotiating record itself would be made available.

And I think for the record we better get hold of that history, because it would seem just off the top of my head, why not? Why don't we get the negotiating record? And apparently there's some history as to why not, and why there's been refusal before. There's apparently been precedent for doing it, for giving Congress or the Senate the negotiating record, as Senator McCain said.

Apparently in '72 we got the record and I think he said in '87 we got the record. But then, there was some resistance to getting future negotiating records and some if not an understanding, some clear delineation as to the reasons why the State Department was not in the future going to do it, which applied to subsequent treaties after 1987, I believe. So we would need a very - even though you're not the State Department - we would need you to get from us either the State Department position on this, or the administration position on why don't we get this negotiating record?

Finally...

MILLER:

Senator, let me say that that request is pending and the administration will have a response and we will provide for the record on the history...

LEVIN:

All right.

MILLER:

... because it would have a chilling effect. Their concern about a chilling effect is a key consideration.

LEVIN:

On negotiations?

MILLER:

On future negotiations.

LEVIN:

Is the - If you would - I don't think we made that request. I think it came from Foreign Relations, is that correct? So if you could just make sure that we get a copy of that.

Now, just one additional question before I call on Senator Nelson, if he will yield for another minute, even though his turn has arrived?

This has to do with a cut in the budget that the House committee I believe -- Appropriations committee - made in your budget, Mr. D'Agostino. Can you tell us -- I guess it was by the Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee - they reduced the budget by I believe $99 million, and they offset it in part by using $80 million in prior year balances. What - first of all, does NNSA have the $80 million available in prior year balances? And secondly, what is the amount of the budget? And third, what is the amount of the increase in the budget over last year?

Will you get us those three numbers for the record. If you have them on the top of your head, or give them for the record.

D'AGOSTINO:

Be glad to do either one, sir. I would just very quickly, I think just a point, and then we'll take it for the record as well. The details are important. I haven't yet seen the details of that. We do have some prior year balances. The key on prior year balances, and this is where resources were authorized and appropriated, but because a project wasn't fully ready, they're being held until the project is ready. And there are a few projects. I don't know if they add up to $80 million, and that's why we need to see the details.

LEVIN:

All right.

D'AGOSTINO:

I'll take the rest of it for the record.

LEVIN:

And the -- So do you know the total size of your budget request?

D'AGOSTINO:

Oh, yes, sir. It's over $7 billion, and so therefore, this $99 million number that keeps floating around at this point is a fairly small percentage. But at this point we did we scrub pretty hard to come up with this number and support the president's budget.

LEVIN:

Yes.

D'AGOSTINO:

So we'll need to look at the detail.

LEVIN:

No, I expect that you would and should. As a matter of fact, I just want to get the proportion as to what that cut is, so what was the dollar increase over last year?

D'AGOSTINO:

Oh, $624 million, sir, in this particular account.

LEVIN:

Good. Thank you, sir.

Senator Nelson?

BEN NELSON (?):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Gentlemen, thank you for your service.

In the Nuclear Posture Review, a whole bunch of warheads I the Q4 dismantlement - and that number will increase under the START reductions - what are the most significant challenges to managing this drawdown?

MILLER (?):

I'll take that. The difficult challenges associated with dismantling warheads is in many cases we're talking about warhead systems - I'll call them systems - that have been together for many years. In many cases, multiple decades. So what we have to deal with is making sure that we have the safety rule down clearly understood, so that these warheads can be taken apart safely.

Now, we've done a lot of work at the laboratories and the Pantex (ph) plant to get the rules, the procedures, and the tooling and the training all together at the same time so that we can take apart these warheads. Our current commitment on the size of the dismantlement queue that we have right now is to get that work done by the year 2022, which is a significant amount of work.

We recognize that we'll be adding potentially more over the next few years to that queue, and we're going to try to keep - hold that date - and look for efficiencies, because the Pantex (ph) plant tends to do better than we had originally expected to getting all that dismantlement work done.

BEN NELSON (?):

So you feel reasonably confident that you have the facilities and the skills in order to handle this reduction?

MILLER (?):

Yes, sir, I do feel confident. I would be remiss if I didn't mention an event that happened not too long ago, frankly, that we're working on right now. There was a significant amount of rain in the state of Texas. We had some fairly significant flooding at our Pantex (ph). We're currently in the process of assessing what it will take to recover from that flooding event.
And we'll be notifying the appropriate committee staff as we get that information together and work with the Department of Defense. So our goal of course is to not have it impact the work that the Department of Defense needs, but we're in the middle of that assessment, sir.

BEN NELSON (?):

General Chilton, as you demerve (ph) the launchers where they're carrying only one warhead, how will this enhance - how does this START treaty enhance the stability of the nuclear balance?

CHILTON:

Senator, first there's an advantage of demerving (ph) the Minuteman system, because we can then disperse those warheads, which are limited under the treaty, to other more survivable platforms, for example. Yet at the same time, a potential adversary would, if they were thinking about a preemptive strike, would have to expend a large number of warheads to address the Minuteman threat, which would still stay in large single warhead numbers.

Strategic stability, when we talk about that, it's having a posture on both sides that in the worst crisis case, the highest levels of tension, that neither side would be tempted to conduct a first strike as their least best option. And so, demerving (ph), if it only - if you have but 10 warheads in the extreme, or even 100 warheads on the extreme on one missile, then you could envision an opportunity, well, maybe if I strike and eliminate 100 with just two, that's to my great advantage for a disarming strike.

At the other extreme, there's just one there, there's more stability. There's less temptation in time of crisis to attempt a first strike - disarming strike - of the adversary. So this provides, by demerving (ph), we make it still a very difficult target to attack, and one that doesn't make sense to attack.

BEN NELSON (?):

You describe the stability, then as you go about doing this, what are the challenges in bringing about this change from several warheads down to one?

CHILTON:

Senator, we're well-practiced at this in our missile fields, and I don't see any difficulty in this. It would just be a matter of the work that we would need to accomplish over a scheduled time period. But our crews are trained and able to both conduct uploads and downloads of the configuration of our warheads in the fields today.

BEN NELSON (?):

Mr. Secretary, tell me about how long do you think it's going to take to implement this drawdown?

D'AGOSTINO:

Senator Nelson, the treaty has a seven year implementation period, following the entry into force. And our intention would be to undertake those reductions spread out over that period.

BEN NELSON (?):

It's a 10 year treaty. In seven years you're going to be doing the drawdown?

D'AGOSTINO:

Technically it doesn't' require that much time, but we would expect to spread the work out over a substantial part of that period. And we are currently developing the detailed plans associated with each leg of the triad, the changes that we would be looking for.

BEN NELSON (?):

Do you see any problem in implementing that?

D'AGOSTINO:

Sir, there's no expected in implementing the treaty within the seven years, if -- decidedly it could be done in less time.

BEN NELSON (?):

Do we think the Russians will do likewise over seven years?

D'AGOSTINO:

Sir, I don't have an assessment of that. We believe they'll be able to reach it within the seven year period, certainly. We don't have an assessment of what their plans are in terms of timing.

BEN NELSON (?):

But they have to under the terms of the treaty? They have to accomplish it by year '07?

D'AGOSTINO (?):

Within seven years after entering the force of the treaty they would need to meet their limits.

BEN NELSON (?):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Senator Nelson.

I have no further questions, and the hearing is adjourned.

Thank you very, very much for your testimony.

(UNKNOWN)

Thank you.

CQ Transcriptions, July 20, 2010

________________________________________

List of Panel Members and Witnesses

PANEL MEMBERS:

SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MICH. CHAIRMAN

SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I.

SEN. DANIEL K. AKAKA, D-HAWAII

SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.

SEN. BEN NELSON, D-NEB.

SEN. EVAN BAYH, D-IND.

SEN. JIM WEBB, D-VA.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.

SEN. KAY HAGAN, D-N.C.

SEN. MARK UDALL, D-COLO.

SEN. MARK BEGICH, D-ALASKA

SEN. ROLAND BURRIS, D-ILL.

SEN. EDWARD E. "TED" KAUFMAN, D-DEL.

SEN. JEFF BINGAMAN, D-N.M.

SEN. JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ. RANKING MEMBER

SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE, R-OKLA.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALA.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-GA.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.

SEN. JOHN THUNE, R-S.D.

SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.

SEN. RICHARD M. BURR, R-N.C.

SEN. DAVID VITTER, R-LA.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE

SEN. SCOTT BROWN, R-MASS.

SEN. GEORGE LEMIEUX, R-FLA.

WITNESSES:

JIM MILLER, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY FOR POLICY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

THOMAS PAUL D'AGOSTINO, UNDERSECRETARY FOR NUCLEAR SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ADMINISTRATOR FOR NUCLEAR SECURITY, NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

GENERAL KEVIN P. CHILTON (USAF), COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND