Wednesday, October 06, 2021
Numbers published again
That’s how many nuclear warheads the United States has
Ex-President Trump declares the number of nuclear warheads a military secret during his tenure. His successor Biden breaks with this guideline and has it published. Even if there are fewer weapons than in previous years, the US is still a long way from making its own commitments.
The US has published the number of its nuclear warheads for the first time in four years. According to the State Department, the United States had 3,750 operational and non-operational nuclear warheads on September 30th last year. That was 55 fewer than a year earlier and 72 fewer than at the end of September 2017. Former US President Donald Trump had declared the number of nuclear warheads a military secret.
The current number is also the lowest since the height of the Cold War with Russia in 1967, when the US had 31,255 warheads. In addition to the number given by the ministry, there are around 2,000 decommissioned nuclear warheads that are to be dismantled.
The administration of US President Joe Biden is trying to resume arms control talks with Russia. More transparency in state nuclear weapons is “important for non-proliferation and disarmament efforts,” said the State Department.
Under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, the United States had reduced its disarmament agreements with Russia as a whole. So they got out of the INF treaty on nuclear disarmament in the medium-range range. The US also terminated the Open Skies Treaty on arms control from the air. In the negotiations on an extension of the New Start Agreement, Trump unsuccessfully advocated the inclusion of China.
“Productive” talks between Washington and Moscow
The US and Russia extended the New Start Agreement shortly after Joe Biden took office. Otherwise it would have expired on February 5th. By signing, Washington and Moscow committed to reducing their nuclear warheads to a maximum of 1,550 each.
Russian and US diplomats held closed-door talks in Geneva last week to discuss a follow-up deal for New Start and conventional weapons. A US representative called the talks “productive” and both sides said that the mere fact that the talks were taking place was positive.
According to a January count by the Swedish Peace Research Institute in Stockholm (Sipri), which also recorded decommissioned warheads, the USA had 5550 warheads, Russia 6255, China 350, Great Britain 225 and France 290. India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea together had around 460 nuclear warheads.