US Nuclear Weapons

February 2014
Background Information Summaries;2/8/2014, p1
The United States (US) has fewer than 2,000 nuclear warheads in its active nuclear arsenal, compared to 12,000 in 1990. Scaling down the inventory has led to unexpected problems with weapons security, as revealed in a spate of incidents in 2012 and 2013. After the end of the Cold War, the US and the Russian Federation reduced their nuclear stockpiles by mutual agreement. That trend continues under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), a 10-year pact that went into effect in 2011. In the US military, particularly in Air Force missile units, the decline in the organizational importance of nuclear defense has had a corrosive effect on morale. On the civilian side too -- in national laboratories and weapons production facilities -- losses in budget and research priority have eroded attention to security and safety. US defense planners foresee an ongoing need for a small but highly capable nuclear force in the future. Today's weapons, based on 1970s technology, are being upgraded to extend their service life another 10 to 20 years. The Air Force and Navy are developing next-generation bombers, missiles, and submarines to enter service in the 2020s and 2030s.


Related Articles

  • Air Force Begins Centralizing Command of Nuclear Assets. Malenic, Marina // Defense Daily;12/2/2009, Vol. 244 Issue 41, p4 

    The article reports that the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) has taken control of 20th Air Force and its Minuteman III ICBM fleet. It is stated that the transfer is part of a phased approach to unify all Air Force nuclear-capable assets under one command. Global Strike Command was...

  • Price Tag Rising for Planned ICBMs. Reif, Kingston // Arms Control Today;Oct2016, Vol. 46 Issue 8, p1 

    The article focuses on the possible rise in the projected cost of replacing the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system of the U.S. from 85 billion dollars to over 100 billion dollars. It mentions the funding challenge facing the government for the modernization of its...

  • The ever-ready nuclear missileer. Hodge, Nathan; Weinberger, Sharon // Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists;Jul/Aug2008, Vol. 64 Issue 3, p14 

    The article discusses the career of a modern nuclear missileer, an air force officer who sit underground and wait for orders from the president to launch the missiles. According to the authors, missileers practice in the Missile Procedures Trainer, a mock-up facility, and some in real training...

  • Minuteman Lights L.A. Sky.  // Aviation Week & Space Technology;9/30/2002, Vol. 157 Issue 14, p31 

    Focuses on the launch of Minuteman III, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in California. Determination of the reliability and accuracy of the ICBM; Promotion of the Force Development Evaluation Program by USAF.

  • Air Force Tests Minuteman III Missile. Abott, Richard // Defense Daily;10/22/2015, Vol. 268 Issue 16, p8 

    The article reports on the successful test launch of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command from Vandenberg, California which traveled to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

  • Understanding the Indications and Warning Efforts of U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense. Hensley, Thomas K.; Caviness, Lloyd P.; Vaughn, Stephanie; Morton, Christopher // JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly;2015 3rd Quarter, Issue 78, p91 

    The article focuses on concerns associated the U.S. ballistic missile defense. Topics discussed include views of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency regarding use of the missiles by countries; features of ballistic missile systems like ability to strike target over longer distance; development of s...

  • MINUTEMAN ICBM WEAPON TEST.  // Armada International;Jun/Jul2012, Issue 3, p68 

    The article reports on a reliability test conducted to the U.S. Air Force's Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapons system with the support of Northrop Grumman in 2012.

  • Air Force Plans Minuteman III Test Launch Tuesday Morning.  // Defense Daily;12/16/2013, p4 

    The article reports that the U.S. Air Force will conduct a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test launch on December 17, 2013.

  • Countering Star Warski.  // Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists;Nov1987, Vol. 43 Issue 9, p55 

    Reports on the U.S. Air Force's development of penetration aids for Minuteman III, MX and small intercontinental ballistic missile reentry vehicles. U.S. preparation for the Soviet Union strategic defense development; Potential threat to antiballistic missile treaty breakout; Budget allocated...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics