The Obama Administration could announce a decision as early as this month to slash the nation’s nuclear arsenal beyond the caps established in the New START agreement with Russia, according to the Associated Press. Although a “range of options” remains on the table, these reductions likely would involve the United States reducing its force of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,000 and 1,100, down from New START’s cap of 1,550 that takes effect in February 2018, reported AP (via the Philadelphia Inquirer) on July 4. Such a cut, although robust, would still be less severe than the proposal put forth by the Global Zero initiative in May for the United States to maintain only several hundred deployed strategic nuclear warheads. GOP lawmakers have said they would resist any attempt to further reduce the US nuclear stockpile beyond New START levels without first addressing Russia’s large arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons. “I just want to go on record as saying that there are many of us that are going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that this preposterous notion does not gain any real traction,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told AP.
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.