US officials were aware while negotiating the New START agreement that Russia may have been simultaneously violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement, a senior Pentagon official testified on Wednesday. “We had concerns that they were in violation; we know now that they were,” Unders?ecretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth told the House Armed Services Committee. Wormuth also admitted that the numbers agreed upon actually allow Russia to deploy additional strategic nuclear weapons, while forcing the US to cut its deployed deterrent. She reasserted, however, that New START “protects our interests” and still allows the US to maintain “a very strong nuclear deterrent” suited to our strategic needs. Russia also has a “very large number” of tactical nuclear weapons outside the treaty that the US would like to see reduced, “but a country has to be willing to do that,” which Russia is not, she added.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.