FAS In-Depth: May 3, 2012
In three weeks, 28 NATO member countries will gather in Chicago to approve the conclusions of a year-long Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR). Among other issues, the review will determine the number and role of the U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe and how NATO might work to reduce its nuclear posture as well as Russia's inventory of such weapons in the future.
A new FAS Special Report- Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons - concludes that Russia and the United States combined possess an estimated 2,800 nuclear warheads for their non-strategic nuclear forces. Several thousand other non-strategic warheads have been retired and are awaiting dismantlement. Non-strategic nuclear weapons were designed to fight nuclear battles during the Cold War, yet both NATO and Russia continue to attribute importance to such weapons and modernize the remaining forces.
Written by Mr. Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project, the report finds that unilateral reductions have been the most effective means to reduce the number and role of non-strategic nuclear weapons and that additional unilateral reductions remain an important way to reduce the remaining forces. But since Russia, the United States and NATO cloak their non-strategic nuclear forces in a veil of outdated and unnecessary secrecy, new initiatives are needed to increase transparency of such forces.
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To read the report, click here (PDF).
For more information on non-strategic nuclear weapons, check out these FAS resources and more on our website.
FAS Blogs and Projects:
Strategic Security Blog
Nuclear Information Project
Defense Department Nuclear Doctrine and Policy
U.S. Nuclear Policy
Congressional Research Service Reports:
Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons
U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues
U.S. Nuclear Weapons: Changes in Policy and Force Structure
Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
Nuclear Weapons in Russia: Safety, Security, and Control Issues
Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security: A need for New Weapons Programs?
Nuclear Posture Review Report April 2010 (U.S. Department of Defense)
The Future of Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces Discussions and Arguments (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology)
Nuclear Deterrence Skills (U.S. Department of Defense)
Nuclear Posture Review Hearing (U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services)