TITLE

US Nuclear Weapons

PUB. DATE
February 2014
SOURCE
Background Information Summaries;2/8/2014, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Encyclopedia
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
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.
ACCESSION #
94804511

 

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