Shifting Towards Equilibrium

The number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and launchers in the US inventory sank in the most recent six-month reporting period, according to the newest US-Russian data exchange required by the New START agreement. Meanwhile, Russia’s inventory grew. As of March 1, the United States had 1,585 deployed nuclear warheads and 778 deployed launchers (i.e. heavy bombers, ICBMs, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles), along with 952 total deployed/non-deployed launchers, according to the State Department’s April 1 fact sheet with these data. These lower totals compare to the 1,688 deployed warheads, 809 deployed launchers, and 1,015 deployed/non-deployed launchers that the United States declared on Sept. 1 in the previous data exchange. As of March 1, Russia had 1,512 deployed warheads (up 112 compared to September), 498 deployed launchers (plus 25), and 906 deployed/non-deployed launchers (12 more), states the fact sheet. The United States and Russia swap this information biannually under New START. The treaty requires each nation to possess no more than 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed launchers, and 800 deployed/non-deployed launchers by February 2018. (See also Good Allies Share Bad News, Too.)