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New Article: Russian Nuclear Forces, 2011

Russia has 3,700-5,400 nonstrategic nuclear weapons, including the old dual-capable AS-4 Kitchen air-launched missile seen here under the wings of a Tu-22 Backfire bomber at an unknown airbase. All Russian nonstrategic warheads are in central storage.   Image: web

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By Hans M. Kristensen

The latest Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists with our updated estimate of Russian nuclear forces is now available via Sage Publications: http://bos.sagepub.com/content/67/3/67.full.pdf+html.

We estimate that Russia currently has nearly 2,430 strategic warheads assigned to operational strategic missiles and bombers, although most of the bomber weapons are probably in central storage. Another 3,700-5,400 nonstrategic warheads are in central storage, of which an estimated 2,080 can be delivered by nonstrategic aircraft, naval vessels and short-range missiles. Another 3,000 warheads are thought to be awaiting dismantlement, for a total inventory of some 11,000 nuclear warheads.

See also: US Nuclear Forces, 2011 | US Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe, 2011 | Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons After the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (Brief 2011)

This publication was made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

10 NATO Countries Want More Transparency for Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons

Ten NATO countries recommend increasing transparency of non-strategic nuclear weapons, including numbers and locations at military facilities such as Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Neither NATO nor Russia currently disclose such information.

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By Hans M. Kristensen

Four NATO countries supported by six others have proposed a series of steps that NATO and Russia should take to increase transparency of U.S. and Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons.

The steps are included in a so-called “non-paper” that Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland jointly submitted at the NATO Foreign Affairs Minister meeting in Berlin on 14 April.

Six other NATO allies – Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Luxemburg and Slovenia – also supported the paper. Continue Reading →

New START Data Exchange: Will it Increase or Decrease International Nuclear Transparency?

U.S. officials say that aggregate numbers of the New START treaty will be made publicly available but that these may be very general numbers and a decision still has to be made. For a copy of the final START aggregate numbers, click here.

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By Hans M. Kristensen

The first data exchange of the New START treaty between the United States and Russia has taken place, according to a report by RIA Novosti.

This is the first of more than 20 such data exchanges planned under the treaty for the next 10 years where Russia and the United States twice a year will send each other a list showing how many long-range ballistic missiles and heavy bombers they have and how many nuclear weapons they carry.

But while the exchanges will increase U.S-Russia nuclear transparency, the rest of the world may be facing a future with less information about U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces than in the past.

“All exchanges are classified and will not be subject to release,” a U.S. official told me. “There may be some information on very general numbers under the Treaty that could be made public, but that is still to be determined, and will not occur for a least six months if it occurs at all.” Continue Reading →

Talk at Georgetown U Event on Tac Nuke Treaty

By Hans M. Kristensen

The Center on National Security and the Law and the Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic co-hosted an event at Georgetown University Law Center on Tuesday, March 1st: Next Steps after New START: A Treaty on Tactical Nuclear Weapons.

The event included a keynote speech by Edward Warner, the Senior Advisor to the under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

I gave a briefing on the status of US and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Other panelists included Michael May, former director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and now at Stanford University, Paul Dean from the Department of State, Madelyn Creedon with the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Tim Morrison from the office of Senator Jon Kyl. Dakota Rudesill from the Law Center moderated.

This publication was made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

 

Air Force Magazine Prints Nuke Chart

By Hans M. Kristensen

The January 2011 issue of Air Force Magazine has a nice spread on the Chart Page where they reproduce a chart I produced of U.S. and Russian nuclear warhead inventories.

The chart is the product of the research and public education I do about the status of nuclear forces in collaboration with the nuclear program over at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

This chart was initially used in a de-alerting briefing at the United Nations last October.

This publication was made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

New START: It’s in the Bag!

The New START treaty is in the bag, approved by the US Congress and Russian Duma.

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By Hans M. Kristensen

The upper house of the Russian Parliament (Duma) earlier today approved the New START treaty signed by presidents Medvedev and Obama in Prague on April 8, 2010. This follows approval of the treaty by the U.S. Senate in December despite opposition from hard-liners.

The Russian approval was followed by optimistic statements by Mikhail Margelov, the chairman of the international affairs committee, who declared: “The arms race is a thing of the past. The disarmament race is taking its place.”

What Now?

Now that the treaty has been ratified by both countries, the next step will be an exchange of Instruments of Ratification, at which point the treaty formally enters into effect. When that happens, the Moscow Treaty from 2002 will expire. Within 45 days after entry into force, the two countries will have an initial exchange of data (an initial exchange of site diagrams occurred 45 days after the treaty was signed on April 8, 2010), and photographs of the strategic offensive arms covered by the treaty will be exchanged. After that the inspectors go to work.

No it Doesn’t

But the treaty does not, as the New York Times report mistakenly states, “require the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals…to 1,550 warheads each, from between 1,700 and 2,200 now.” This is a misreporting that is frequent in the news media (see also RIA Novosti). In fact, the treaty does not place any limits on the total size of their nuclear arsenals — in fact, it doesn’t require destruction of a single nuclear warhead. Rather, New START reduces the limit for how many of their strategic warheads the two countries may deploy on long-range delivery vehicles at any given time. Both countries may – and do – have thousands of other nuclear warheads that are not deployed or not counted.

Of the estimated 5,000 and 8,000 US and Russian, respectively, nuclear warheads in their military stockpiles, New START affects how 1,550 can be deployed on each side. How to deal with the remaining thousands of non-deployed and nonstrategic nuclear warheads is the focus of the next round of US-Russian nuclear arms control efforts. In addition, both countries have thousands of additional retired but intact warheads awaiting dismantlement, for total estimated inventories of 8,500 US and 11,000 Russian warheads.

New START is in the bag but a lot of work remains to be done.

This publication was made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.


Senate Approval of New START Moves Nuclear Arms Control Forward

By Hans M. Kristensen

The Federation of American Scientists today applauded the Senate’s ratification of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) between the United States and Russia.

The Senate voted 71 to 26 in favor of ratification of the treaty.

The approval of the treaty is a victory for common sense and an impressive achievement for the Obama administration in overcoming stubborn opposition from Cold Warriors to modest nuclear arms reductions.

New START does not require destruction of a single nuclear warhead, but it reduces the limit for how many of them can be deployed on long-range ballistic missiles and heavy bombers.

The United States and Russia possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons and will continue to do so when the treaty limit is reached seven years from now.

During the past year and in an effort to ensure Congressional support for New START, the administration has committed to significant increases in spending on modernizing nuclear weapons and the production complex over the next decade: well over $100 billion for modernization of missiles and bombers, and more than $85 billion for modernizing warheads and production facilities.

This modernization will have to be balanced against the other important goal of U.S. nuclear policy: securing international support for strengthening non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials. Demonstrating clear intensions to reducing the number and role of nuclear weapons will be essential to winning support for this agenda.

Despite its limitations, the approval of the New START treaty brings U.S-Russian strategic relations back on track, reestablishes a vital on-site inspection regime, and potentially opens the way for negotiations on additional reductions in the future.

Those negotiations must establish limits on and verification of U.S. and Russian non-deployed and non-strategic nuclear weapons, and prepare the ground for broadening nuclear arms control to the other nuclear weapons states.

This publication was made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

Tac Nuke Numbers Confirmed?

PDUSPD Jim Miller appears to confirm FAS/NRDC estimates for NATO and Russia tactical nuclear weapons.

By Hans M. Kristensen

A Wikileaks document briefly posted by The Guardian Monday appears to give an official number for the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe: 180.

The number appears in a leaked cable written by U.S. NATO Ambassador Ivo Dalder in September 2009, describing an earlier Nuclear Posture Review briefing U.S. Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller gave to NATO in July 2009.

Miller’s number is smack in the middle of the estimate Stan Norris and I have developed. I recently published a snapshot here (previous NATO posts are here), and a more detailed overview will appear in the January Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Miller also stated that Russia had 3,000-5,000 plus tactical nuclear weapons. That also fits our estimate of approximately 5,300 weapons, previously published here and here.

Whether Miller was providing certified U.S. intelligence numbers or simply referenced good-enough nonofficial public estimates is less clear. But his use of a specific number (180) for Europe rather than a range suggests that it might an official number. Continue Reading →

Missile Watch – November 2010


Missile Watch

A publication of the FAS Arms Sales Monitoring Project
Vol. 3, Issue 3
November 2010
Editor: Matt Schroeder

Contents:

Editor’s Note: Wikileaks and arms trafficking, Missile Watch sponsorship program
Global News: UN Arms Register: Venezuela was the largest importer of MANPADS in 2009
Global News: Extradition of Viktor Bout could reveal much about the illicit arms trade
Afghanistan: No evidence of Iranian MANPADS training, claims NATO official
Egypt: Another Massive Missile Cache Discovered in the Sinai
Somalia: Photos of missile confirms claims in UN report, but questions remain
United States: FAS obtains key counter-MANPADS report
Additional News & Resources
About the Authors
About Missile Watch

Download full issue

Editor’s Note
The surprise extradition of notorious arms trafficker Viktor Bout to the United States tops the list of developments covered in this edition of Missile Watch. The former Russian intelligence officer is widely considered to be one of the most prolific arms traffickers of the last twenty years, and his trial is likely to yield important new insights into the illicit arms trade. Also noteworthy is the release of the Department of Homeland Security’s final report on its counter-MANPADS program. The report confirms that two anti-missile systems evaluated during the program are capable of protecting planes from MANPADS, but the $43 billion price tag may preclude their installation on more than a small number of airliners.

Continue Reading →

New START Ratification: Seeing the Bigger Picture

Morton Halperin speaks at CSIS

By Hans M. Kristensen

Kevin Kallmyer at CSIS has an interesting recap of a recent debate between Paula DeSutter and Mort Halperin about the New START Treaty.

Ratification of the treaty is held up in Congress by a handful of Senators who (mis)use questions about, among other issues, verification to extort billions of dollars to pet nuclear modernization projects at the expense of greater U.S. interests.

During the CSIS debate, Mort Halperin provided an enlightening anecdote about how to judge whether ratification of the treaty is in the U.S. interest. It cuts to the heart of what is important and deserves a repost here: Continue Reading →