MINOT AIR FORCE BASE The new commander of Air Force Global Strike Command says the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty recognizes the nuclear triad and gives the U.S. and Russia the chance to work on the issues.
"It gives us the opportunity to continue to stay engaged with the Russians as we work these, not only the issues related to the strategic weapons but the larger issues," said Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski Monday while on a visit to Minot Air Force Base.
Minot AFB, the only dual wing nuclear-capable base, has two legs of the nuclear triad. The 5th Bomb Wing has the airborne B-52 bombers and the 91st Missile Wing has the land-based Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. The third leg of the triad is the submarine-based missiles.
The Senate ratified the treaty, known as New START, between the United States and Russia in December. Earlier in April 2010 President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty.
Under the new treaty, Russia and the United States agree to limit the number of nuclear weapons from 2,200 to 1,550 each. The treaty also reestablishes a system in which the U.S. and Russia monitor each other's nuclear arsenal.
Kowalski said there's been some discussions in Washington about where the U.S. and Russia go next as they go down this road.
"I think all those are positive developments. The forces that we have, frankly, are consistent right now with the START treaty. The adjustments we had to make are relatively small," he said.
"It is a good thing for our nation, it is a good thing for our relations with the Russians and it's a good thing in the kind of signal it sends to the rest of the world that more weapons are not necessarily better," Kowalski said.