Biden Admin Declassifies US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Numbers

Biden Admin Declassifies US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Numbers
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Feb. 20, 2016. (U.S. Air Force via AP)
Jack Phillips

The Biden administration on Tuesday declassified the U.S. nuclear stockpile numbers, according to the State Department, revealing the United States had about 3,750 nuclear warheads in its arsenal as of September of last year.

“The United States is releasing newly declassified information on the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile to update the information previously released in September 2017,” said the State Department in a statement.
The 3,750 nuclear warheads is an approximate 88 percent reduction in the stockpile since 1967 when it reached its maximum of more than 31,255 warheads. It’s also an 83 percent reduction from its level when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.

“Increasing the transparency of states’ nuclear stockpiles is important to nonproliferation and disarmament efforts, including commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and efforts to address all types of nuclear weapons, including deployed and non-deployed, and strategic and non-strategic,” said the State Department.

Between 1994 and 2020, the U.S. dismantled about 11,683 nuclear warheads, and since September 2017, about 700 nuclear warheads have been dismantled, according to the agency. Now,  about  2,000 additional nuclear warheads are currently retired and will be dismantled.

According to the nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative, Russia currently has more than 6,300 nuclear warheads, including those waiting for dismantling, and the Heritage Foundation noted that Moscow “relies heavily on nuclear weapons” to offset the perceived inferiority of its conventional military forces.

Earlier this month, a senior Russian official said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is no longer considering a joint U.S.–Moscow freeze on nuclear weapons production.

“No, it was a one-time offer, and it was said so to the U.S. They missed the opportunity,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Geneva Center for Security Policy, according to state-run Russian media. ”They didn’t want a freeze on all warheads—they wanted an extremely intrusive verification and control at all our nuclear-related facilities.”

And in 2019, both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The only U.S.–Russia nuclear arms control agreement still standing is the New START treaty, which was signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The pact limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.

As for China, the Nuclear Threat Initiative says the Chinese regime only has about 320 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. Although, because the regime “closely guards information about its nuclear arsenal,” it’s unclear what the actual number is, the nonprofit notes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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