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Gates Reassures Senators on New START: Defense Secretary Robert Gates has sent a letter to Sen. John Kerry. (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reassuring Senators on the panel that US national security would not be placed at great risk if Russia did not abide by its obligations under the New START arms control agreement when that treaty takes effect. The US nuclear arsenal will "help deter any future Russian leaders from cheating or breakout from the treaty," wrote Gates, the Associated Press reports (via Boston.com). Further, the US could, if necessary, put its fleet of nuclear-armed bombers and missiles on high alert "arming them with extra nuclear weapons," added Gates. Kerry's committee is expected to meet this week to decide if the treaty will advance to the Senate floor for a ratification vote. President Obama submitted it in May to the Senate.