ABSTRACT

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues [March 18, 2015]   [open pdf - 536KB]

"Even though the United States plans to reduce the number of warheads deployed on its long range missiles and bombers, consistent with the terms of the New START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] Treaty, it also plans to develop new delivery systems for deployment over the next 20-30 years. The 114th Congress will continue to review these programs, and the funding requested for them, during the annual authorization and appropriations process. During the Cold War, the U.S. nuclear arsenal contained many types of delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons. The longer-range systems, which included long-range missiles based on U.S. territory, long-range missiles based on submarines, and heavy bombers that could threaten Soviet targets from their bases in the United States, are known as strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. At the end of the Cold War, in 1991, the United States deployed more than 10,000 warheads on these delivery vehicles. That number has declined to less than 2,000 warheads today, and is slated to decline to 1,550 warheads by 2018, after the New START Treaty completes implementation. [...] The Obama Administration completed a review of the size and structure of the U.S. nuclear force, and a review of U.S. nuclear employment policy, in June 2013. This review has advised the force structure that the United States will deploy under the New START Treaty. It is currently implementing the New START Treaty, with the reductions due to be completed by 2018. Congress will review the Administration's plans for U.S. strategic nuclear forces during the annual authorization and appropriations process, and as it assesses U.S. plans under New START and the costs of these plans in the current fiscal environment. This report will be updated as needed."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33640
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2015-03-18
Series:
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
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