Bacon: U.S. Has Not Violated Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

04 January 2001: Washington File

On January 4, 2001, during the first Pentagon briefing of the year, spokesman Ken Bacon turned aside a reporter's question in which he noted that Russia has allegedly accused the United States of not cooperating fully on all the terms of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Bacon said the Russians have charged repeatedly that the U.S. is not disposing of the MX Peacekeeper missile properly. The spokesman said this stems from a disagreement between the two sides about what constitutes appropriate destruction of the strategic missiles.

Bacon said the U.S. has destroyed two of the missiles and that it is sufficient when the Peacekeeper's top stage is destroyed. The Russians believe the missile is out of commission only if the entire unit is destroyed.

The United States has done nothing to the Peacekeepers that would be considered a violation of START, Bacon said.

Movement Of Russian Weapons Doesn't Change Balance

Bacon was asked about news reports that the Russian military has been moving tactical nuclear warheads into storage areas at the Kaliningrad naval base. "We do not think there has been a dramatic change in the military balance in Europe, lately," he said.

He said he could not delve into the matter in greater detail because it involves intelligence reports.

In response to a different question about overall security at Kaliningrad, the spokesman said the Russians have been diligent about securing weapons there.