On the Record

START Follow-on Treaty Background

Steven Pifer

U.S. and Russian negotiators are engaging in endgame negotiations to establish a new nuclear arms agreement that will replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expired on December 5. If the negotiators complete the follow-on treaty this week, Presidents Obama and Medvedev will sign the new nuclear agreement during the President’s upcoming trip to Europe the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen.

What is the background to the current treaty? What were the effects of the 1991 START agreement and 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT)? How large are U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces? And what are the key remaining issues in the follow-on negotiation? This Power Point presentation by Brookings Senior Fellow Steven Pifer lays out the answers to these questions and provides the essential background for understanding the endgame negotiations now underway.

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