U.S. Nuclear Weapons: Changes in Policy and Force Structure [Updated January 13, 2005]   [open pdf - 227KB]

"During the Cold War the United States maintained a triad of ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers in a strategic nuclear arsenal of more than 10,000 warheads. During the 1990s, the United States reduced the size of this arsenal to around 7,000 warheads , but maintained all three legs of the triad. The Bush Administration has announced that the United States will further reduce its arsenal to between 1,700 and 2,200 operationally deployed warheads, but that it will not eliminate many delivery vehicles while reducing its force and it will retain many nondeployed warheads in storage as a responsive force that could be added to the deployed forces if conditions warranted. The Bush Administration has also announced that it will expand and enhance the infrastructure that supports U.S. nuclear weapons, so that the United States could respond to unexpected changes in the status of its arsenal or the international security environment. Analysts and observers have identified several issues raised by the Administrations Nuclear Posture Review. These include the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy, how to make the U.S. nuclear deterrent credible, the relationship between the U.S. nuclear posture and the goal of discouraging nuclear proliferation, plans for strategic nuclear weapons, and the future of non-strategic nuclear weapons."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31623
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
Media Type:
Help with citations