A New START Model for Transparency in Nuclear Disarmament

Transparency and accountability are important elements of nuclear disarmament. The action plan adopted at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference encouraged the nuclear-weapon states to agree on a reporting standard that would help demonstrate progress in their commitment to pursue reductions of nuclear arsenals. This study presents a model for such reporting, based on the approach developed by the Russian Federation and the United States in the New START treaty. The table below contains an example New START-type aggregate data for five nuclear weapon states that reflect the status of their strategic nuclear forces as of 1 September 2012.

 Category of data China France Russian Federation United
Deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers 60 48 491 24 806
Warheads on deployed ICBMs, on deployed SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers 0 288 1,499 88 1,722
Deployed and non-deployed launchers of ICBMs, deployed and non-deployed launchers of SLBMs, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers 109 64 884 64 1,034

Data for the United States and the Russian Federation come from the biannual exchange required by New START, which contained data declared current as of 1 September 2012. Data for China, France, and the United Kingdom are estimates based on open-source information.

As this study demonstrates, the framework of the US–Russian nuclear disarmament process could serve as the foundation for a multilateral transparency and accountability regime, and provide a basis for closer cooperation and confidence-building measures among all NPT member states to help advance the goal of nuclear disarmament. This study also presents data exchange documents for all Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty nuclear-weapon states, which are modelled after the reports submitted by the Russian Federation and the United States as part of their New START obligations. These model reports demonstrate the feasibility of applying the New START-type data exchange mechanism to nuclear arsenals of other states and illustrate the advantages of this kind of reporting.