The release of the ‘Transparency in US Nuclear Weapons Stock’ fact sheet comes as the Biden administration conducts a review of its nuclear weapons policy and capabilities ahead of a meeting of 2022 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference, where the United States and other nuclear powers party to the Treaty will review the disarmament commitments of each signatory.
“Increasing the transparency of states’ nuclear stocks is important to non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, including commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and efforts to address all types of nuclear weapons. nuclear weapons, including deployed and undeployed, and strategic and non-strategic, ”the State Department said.
Arms control experts welcomed the announcement.
“The Biden administration’s decision to declassify updated information on the number of nuclear warheads in the US nuclear arsenal is a welcome step that reverses a reckless decision by the Trump administration to file this information,” said the Arms Control Association in a statement Wednesday. “It also puts pressure on other nuclear-weapon states to keep their arsenals inordinate secrecy.”
ACA noted that “progress towards serious reductions in nuclear weapons stocks has stalled in recent years, and some states, particularly China and Russia, appear to be increasing the size and / or diversity of their arsenals.” .
ACA executive director Daryl Kimball told CNN that Wednesday’s announcement could put pressure on Russia and China to be more open on their stocks. The Biden administration hopes to continue talks with Moscow to reach new agreements that replace the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START. “To do this, we need the Russians to be a little more transparent than they are,” Kimball said.
The Chinese also “need to provide basic information, which they have had as part of their own policies over the decades, not provided.”
“Strong and credible deterrence”
“So what the Biden administration is trying to do here is lead by example,” Kimball said, “put some pressure on other major nuclear-weapon countries to be more open. on the nuclear weapons at their disposal “.
The ACA called Biden’s budget request inconsistent with his “stated desire to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US politics and to seek new harm reduction and arms control agreements with Russia and may -be China “.
In Tuesday’s statement, the State Department said there were 3,750 nuclear warheads in the U.S. nuclear stockpile as of September 2020, down 88% from its peak of 31,255 in 1967, according to the Department.
The United States also dismantled 11,683 nuclear warheads from 1994 to 2020, including 711 nuclear warheads since September 30, 2017. Two thousand nuclear warheads are being withdrawn and awaiting dismantling, the department also said.
This story was updated with additional details on Wednesday.