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JMU intelligence expert outlines implications of Russia withdrawal from New START

U.S. risks losing insight on Russian nuclear arsenal

by Eric Gorton


Harrisonburg, Virginia — Russia’s withdrawal from the U.S.-Russia arms control treaty this week signals the end of the last remaining peace dividend of the Cold War and the last remaining area of agreement and collaboration between the U.S. and Russia, said Philip Baxter, a professor of intelligence analysis at James Madison University.

Baxter, who is available for interview, said that while the death of New START is worrisome, its near-term ramifications are limited. While an immediate concern is the potential for renewed arms racing, by which both countries rapidly build up their arsenals, the greater concern for the U.S. is the loss of insights about Russia’s arsenal that come from inspections and information sharing. 

Further, the end of New START puts the U.S. at a slight disadvantage if Russia does decide to deploy significantly more strategic nuclear weapons. Russia has maintained a robust production capability as it has lacked the ability to ensure the longevity of its weapons. At the same time, the U.S. has scaled back production capabilities and invested in stockpile stewardship. 

Finally, this likely marks the end to the era of bilateral nuclear weapons limitation agreements, ushering in a much more difficult era of both trilateral arrangements that require the participation of China and agreements that cover different technologies and concepts of security and stability, making it significantly more difficult. 

Baxter is the editor of book on Nuclear Modernization in the 21st Century and author of “Russian Nuclear Modernization” in that volume.


Contact: Eric Gorton,, 540-908-1760

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Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2023

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