The Lame Duck Threat to Missile Defense

Conn Carroll /

All signs point to an effort by the Obama administration to ram their New Start agreement with Russia through the Senate in a lame duck session after the November elections. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has placed a floor vote on the treaty atop his list of lame duck priorities, and the continuing resolution passed in September included $624 million in funding for the National Nuclear Security Administrations. Analysts believe that money could secure the support of some previously skeptical Republicans. But nuclear modernization is just one of many problems with New START. The limits that New START place on missile defense, for example, are also completely unresolved.

Just this week six conservative senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asking to review documents relating to secret talks between U.S. and Russian officials on missile defense revealed earlier this month. According to The Washington Times, Sens. Jeff Sessions (R–AL), James Inhofe (R–OK), David Vitter (R–LA), John Cornyn (R–TX), Roger Wicker (R–MS), and John Thune (R–SD) asked Secretary Clinton: “We are writing to request information pertaining to press reports suggesting the imminent conclusion of a missile defense agreement between Russia and the United States.” Heritage Foundation analyst Baker Spring explains the significance of these newly revealed negotiations: (more…)