Extend to Expand: Myers Testifies to Congress on Russian Arms Treaty

By Kerry McGinley

As the clock ticks down on the expiration of the principal nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia, PAE Senior Vice President of Defense and Security Ken Myers testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on why the critical agreement must remain in effect.

“I believe the New START Treaty should be extended before it expires in 2021,” Myers said.  “Mr. Chairman, I fully support the ongoing nuclear modernization process here in the U.S.  But we must also understand that Russia and China are doing the same.  Our deterrence and defense strategies are supported not only by aggressive modernization and continued investment in missile defense, but also by reducing the number of threats facing the U.S.”

Myers is the former director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, where he focused on nonproliferation, counterproliferation and arms control verification. He was a senior staff member on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana. In the Senate, Myers was part of the team that developed the landmark the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and at DTRA, it was his responsibility to implement the program.

He was joined on the panel by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael G. Mullen; Rose Gottemoeller, former NATO deputy secretary general and former undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs; and Pranay Vaddi, a fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

The hearing revealed strong bipartisan support for extending the treaty beyond 2021. According to the U.S. Department of State, Russia is in full compliance with the treaty. Should the treaty lapse, it would be the first time since 1972 that the United States and Russia would have no constraints on their offensive nuclear weapon stockpiles. Myers testified that after the treaty is extended, the U.S. work should to broaden its focus to engage offensive delivery systems not currently included in the treaty and to engage China to capture its growing nuclear arsenal.

“It is time that the U.S. get to work to extend New START treaty in order to expand it,” Myers said. “I believe this is in the best interests of the U.S. and our allies.”

Watch the full hearing here.