Gradual Drawdown of Strategic Nuclear Arsenal Continues

The US strategic nuclear arsenal decreased slightly in size in the six-month period ending on March 1 as the nation’s gradual drawdown continues to meet the ceilings imposed by the New START agreement with Russia, according to the newest bilateral data exchange released this week. The United States had 1,654 deployed nuclear warheads, 792 deployed launchers (i.e. heavy bombers, ICBMs, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles), and 1,028 total deployed/non-deployed launchers as of March 1, according to the State Department’s April 3 fact sheet highlighting the biannual data exchange required by the treaty. Those totals are down compared to the 1,722 warheads, 806 deployed launchers, and 1,034 total deployed/non-deployed launchers as of Sept. 1, 2012, in the previous data exchange. As of March 1, Russia had 1480 warheads (down 19 compared to Sept. 1), 492 deployed launchers (plus one), and 900 deployed/non-deployed launchers (plus 16), according to the fact sheet. New START requires each nation to have no more than 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed launchers, and 800 deployed/non-deployed launchers by February 2018.