The next administration will face massive challenges in nuclear security, most notably North Korea’s push to become a nuclear power, and it will require bipartisanship in Congress and bold leadership to address, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday. Speaking just about one week before leaving office, Biden touted multiple steps the administration has taken to limit nuclear proliferation — the New START Treaty, the Iran deal, and investment in modernizing the US’s arsenal. Right now, the US has 4, 018 warheads in service, with 2,800 in line to be destroyed, he said during a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. The US needs to push for more strong arms control agreements and build on this momentum from the New START agreement. Next year, as more limits go into effect, the strategic arsenals of Russia and the US will be at their lowest levels in six decades, Biden said. “It’s not about trust or goodwill, it’s about strategic stability and greater transparency between the world’s two great nuclear powers,” he said. Strong sanctions on North Korea are necessary as it defies international pressure. Kim Jong Un’s administration is “maybe the most significant challenge the next administration is going to face,” Biden said, and the US needs to stand with allies in the Asia Pacific to limit North Korea’s growth.
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.