Trident missile being fired from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1977. Image: U.S Air Force/Wikimedia
This article was originally published by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) on 28 April, 2015.
In a speech to the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York earlier today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disclosed new information about the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.
Updated Stockpile Numbers
First, Kerry updated the DOD nuclear stockpile history by declaring that the stockpile as of September 2014 included 4,717 nuclear warheads. That is a reduction of 87 warheads since September 2013, when the DOD stockpile included 4,804 warheads, or a reduction of about 500 warheads retired since President Obama took office in January 2009.
The September 2014 number of 4,717 warheads is 43 warheads off the estimate we made in our latest FAS Nuclear Notebook in March this year. » More
On 12th June 1982, an estimated one million people converged in Central Park, Manhattan, to rally in support of nuclear disarmament. It marked the peak of a wave of public engagement that began over nuclear power, but had morphed into a push against the nuclear arms race that had come to epitomize the Cold War era. In Europe, a number of similar protests in 1983 drew an estimated total of 3 million people. » More
Chemical Nuclear Warheads. Photo: jenspie3/flickr
Today, Russia and the US possess approximately 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons, and bilateral nuclear relations between these two countries still constitute one of the main issues in global nuclear disarmament.
In spite of recent Russia-US agreements to reduce their respective nuclear stockpiles, however, Russia still maintains an active and robust nuclear policy, one that is now no longer solely dependent on the issue of balancing against the United States, but which must also take into account a number of nuclear states – both lesser, traditional nuclear threats such as China, France and the United Kingdom as well as newer potential threats such as Pakistan and North Korea. Russia’s nuclear strategy is encapsulated in an unpublished but widely-acknowledged document called “Foundations of State Policy in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence” (Russian: Основы государственной политики в области ядерного сдерживания). The Russian Ministry of Defence acknowledges that all nuclear states have their own particular nuclear strategies, which account for their own respective national security needs as well as nuclear reduction and non-proliferation. » More
Barack Obama. Photo: Matt Ortega/flickr.
On 19 June, President Obama announced his intention to reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapons by up to a third. Speaking in Berlin, he said ‘So long as nuclear weapons exist we are not truly safe’, while also announcing that the US will work with NATO allies to seek ‘bold reductions’ in both US and Russian tactical weapons in Europe.
He pledged to pursue US ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and to begin negotiations to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons – neither of which has made any headway in the last fourteen years. He also announced that the US will host a Nuclear Security Summit in 2016, following previous successful summits in Washington, DC and Seoul, and the forthcoming 2014 summit in the Netherlands. » More