The One Country That Increased Its Nuclear Forces over the Last Six Months

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Oct. 3 2013 4:52 PM

The U.S. Increased Its Nuclear Forces Over the Last Six Months

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Hans Kristensen at the Federation of American Scientists notices that according to the latest data reported as part of the New START arms reduction treaty, the U.S. slightly increased its number of deployed nuclear forces by 34 warheads and 17 ICBM launchers, while Russia has reduced its forces.

Under the treaty, which was signed by the presidents of both countries in 2010 and entered into force in 2011,  the U.S. has until 2018 to reduce its number of deployed warheads to 1,550 (currently at 1,688), its deployed strategic delivery vehicles to 700 (currently at 809) and its total deployed and non-deployed launchers and bombers to 800 (currently at 1015). Russia was already below some of the START limits at the time of the signing.

Kristensen notes that the U.S. increase over the last few months “does not mean that the United States has begun to build up is nuclear forces,” but “probably reflects fluctuations mainly in the number of missiles onboard ballistic missile submarines at the time of the count.”  

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But it is a reminder of what a slow process disarmament can be even a country is at (relative) peace and wants to reduce its forces.  

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

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