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START II, or the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty, was drafted as an expansion of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I). The treaties between Russia and the United States prescribed the reduction of national nuclear warheads, delivery systems, and ballistic missiles. START II proposed to reduce the arsenals of the United States and Russia to a third of their pre-treaty strength.

The second strategic arms reduction treaty was signed in Moscow on January 3, 1993. The treaty was not ratified by the U.S. Senate until three years later. In March 1997, at the Helsinki Summit, an addendum known as the Helsinki Protocol was added to START II and later ratified by both nations. The Helsinki Protocol allowed for an extended amount of time to achieve treaty objectives, giving both nations time to implement new programs for deactivation, storage, and destruction.

START II, with the Helsinki Protocol addendum, called for two phases of reduction. The first phase included a sizable reduction of warheads and demanded the complete deactivation of nuclear warhead delivery systems banned by the treaty by the end of 2004. The second phase proposed a further reduction of warheads and the destruction of deactivated missiles and delivery systems by December 31, 2007.

START II especially addressed post-Cold War relations between Russia and the United States, seeking to reduce the Cold War era build up of arms and forge new Russian-American cooperative strategies in regard to international nuclear policy. The treaty called for both nations to reduce their arsenals to approximately 3, 500 warheads. In addition to prescribing further deactivation of warheads, START II expanded limitations on delivery systems such as submarines, bombers, and ballistic missiles. A main American objective of START II negotiations was a ban on all Russian SS-18 missiles. The final treaty banned all current Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs) missiles, or heavy ballistic missiles with multiple warheads, in both nations' deployed forces. This provision was mainly targeted at encouraging strategic disarmament in former Soviet satellite nations in Europe and Asia, and the dismantling of Russian and American "first strike capability" weapons.

START II prescribed the same rigid guidelines for weapons counting and destruction as START I. It further utilized the same policing, reporting, and confirmation committees as established by the former treaty.

START II was once again brought into the spotlight in 2002. Earlier moves by the U.S. government to amend, or even dissolve, a separate treaty with Russia regarding ballistic missiles, to allow possible construction of a missile defense system, prompted Russia to reevaluate their interest in continuing with START II arms reductions. In May 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new weapons management treaty, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT).



United States Department of Energy, Atomic Century <> (20 December 2002).

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