"Analysts have identified a number of issues with the continued deployment of U.S. and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons. These include questions about the safety and security of Russia's weapons and the possibility that some might be lost, stolen, or sold to another nation or group; questions about the role of these weapons in U.S. and Russian security policy, and the likelihood that either nation might use these weapons in a regional contingency with a non-nuclear nation; questions about the role that these weapons play in NATO policy and whether there is a continuing need for the United States to deploy these weapons at bases overseas; and questions about the relationship between nonstrategic nuclear weapons and U.S. nonproliferation policy, particularly whether a U.S. policy that views these weapons as a militarily useful tool might encourage other nations to acquire their own nuclear weapons, or at least complicate U.S. policy to discourage such acquisition. Some argue that these weapons do not create any problems and the United States should not alter its policy. Others, however, argue that the United States should reduce its reliance on these weapons and encourage Russia to do the same. Many have suggested that the United States and Russia expand efforts to cooperate on ensuring the safe and secure storage and elimination of these weapons, possibly by negotiating an arms control treaty that would limit these weapons and allow for increased transparency in monitoring their deployment and elimination. Others have suggested that any potential new U.S.-Russian arms control treaty count both strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. This might encourage reductions or the elimination of these weapons. The 111th Congress may review some of these proposals. This report will be updated as needed."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32572