News Release

April 1, 2019

For Immediate Release
Contact: Christine LaPaille, Director of Communications, 703-824-2693

Preparing for a World Without a Nuclear Arms Control Treaty
New START expires in 2021; a new CNA report explores real-world scenarios and policy options

Arlington, Va.  If the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) expires before a replacement treaty is established, it would mark a profound change in nuclear policy between the United States and Russia. In a new report, "Nuclear Arms Control Without a Treaty?" CNA explores the impact of ending legally binding constraints on U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces and presents a portfolio of policy options to maintain deterrence.

According to the report, without New START’s cooperative transparency practices, each country will be faced with near- and long-term risks and uncertainties. For example, in the mid-to-late 2020s, both countries could increase their available warheads by hundreds, but neither would have the capacity to significantly alter the relative balance by exceeding New START limits if the other chooses to do so as well. Other risks identified in the report include the following:

  • Washington and Moscow would face heightened credibility challenges within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They would no longer have their bilateral arms control framework as a tangible example of cooperation under their Article VI obligations to work toward complete nuclear disarmament.
  • If U.S. allies perceive the United States as mismanaging its relationship with Russia and failing to put forward a serious nuclear risk reduction strategy, Washington would face greater challenges uniting NATO around a common security strategy.

The report includes a set of policy options the U.S. and Russia could implement if no treaty is in place, options for a nuclear relationship with China and another set of U.S. policy options that could be implemented while the treaty is still in effect.

"Ultimately we feel that extending New START for five years offers the United States the best alternative because it would continue to provide predictability with Russia while giving the U.S. government time to engage in a constructive dialogue to determine what comes after New START," said Research Scientist Vince Manzo, the report’s author.

The full report can be found at

CNA is a nonprofit research and analysis organization dedicated to developing actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance. With nearly 700 scientists, analysts and professional staff, CNA takes a real-world approach to gathering data. Its one-of-a-kind field program places analysts on carriers and military bases, in squad rooms and classrooms, and working side-by-side with a wide array of government decision-makers around the world. In addition to defense-related matters for the U.S. Department of the Navy, CNA’s research portfolio includes criminal justice, homeland security, energy security, water resources, enterprise systems and data analysis, and education.

Note to writers and editors: CNA is not an acronym and is correctly referenced as "CNA, a research organization in Arlington, VA."


Elizabeth Cutler
Sr Communications Specialist

John Stimpson
Communications Associate