ABSTRACT

Defense Primer: Strategic Nuclear Forces [Updated November 12, 2021]   [open pdf - 536KB]

From the Document: "Since the early 1960s the United States has maintained a 'triad' of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. These include long-range land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), long-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and long-range heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear-armed cruise missiles and nuclear-armed gravity bombs. The number of nuclear warheads carried on these delivery vehicles peaked in the late 1980s, at around 14,000 warheads. It has been declining ever since, both as the United States complies with limits in U.S.-Russian arms control agreements and as it has changed requirements after the Cold War. As of February 2018, the United States had reduced its forces to comply with the New START Treaty [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty], which entered into force in early 2011. 'Table 1' displays the U.S. forces that count under the treaty limits, as of September 1, 2020. These forces fall below the treaty limits of 1,550 deployed warheads on 700 deployed missiles due to maintenance schedules and operational requirements. An update released in March 2021 indicated that the United States had 1,357 warheads deployed on 651 missiles and bombers."

Report Number:
CRS In Focus, IF10519
Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2021-11-12
Series:
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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