Cartwright: ‘We need START, and we need it badly’

December 16, 2010

The Hill

By Sam Youngman - 12/16/10 01:40 PM ET

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright said Thursday that the Pentagon believes the U.S. needs the Senate to ratify the New START Treaty.

Cartwright, accompanied by Defense Secretary Robert Gates at a White House briefing on the annual Afghanistan review, joined a laundry list of current and former military officials who have endorsed the treaty President Obama is now trying desperately to pass.

“All the joint chiefs are very much behind the treaty,” Cartwright said. He added: “We need START, and we need it badly.”

Republicans have consistently voiced concerns with, and in some cases opposition to, the treaty, and it is in jeopardy of not being ratified before Congress leaves town.

Gates said he thought Republicans who were concerned about missile defense and the maintenance of the U.S. nuclear stockpile had legitimate concerns. But, Gates said, they were needlessly worried.

“I think there were some legitimate concerns, but frankly I think they’ve been addressed,” Gates said.