By Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson

Bob Corker has defied typecasting for a freshman senator, emerging in his first few years in the U.S. Capitol as a go-to leader for getting work done across party lines. Tennesseans should urge him to continue in this vein by leading his fellow Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

New START, which was signed by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev this April, is presently under review by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and could be sent to the Senate floor as soon as late July. The Treaty is a conservative and modest reduction in both nations’ strategic nuclear forces. It limits each side’s deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, a reduction of approximately 30 percent from the 2002 Moscow Treaty, and restricts deployed delivery vehicles—ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers—to 800.

Perhaps most significantly, New START will continue the verification regime that has given us intelligence on Russian forces for the past two decades. START I, which was proposed by President Reagan and signed by President George H.W. Bush, expired last December. Though both nations have agreed to continue abiding by its provisions in the interim, the need to formalize these trust-building mechanisms has led Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to urge the Senate to ratify New START “as soon as possible.”

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