Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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In 1991, both the United States and Soviet Union announced that they would withdraw most and eliminate many of their nonstrategic nuclear weapons. The United States now retains approximately 1,100 nonstrategic nuclear weapons, with a few hundred deployed with aircraft in Europe and the remaining stored in the United States. Estimates vary, but experts believe Russia still has between 3,000 and 8,000 warheads for nonstrategic nuclear weapons in its arsenal. The Bush Administration has not announced any further reductions in U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons to the contrary, it has indicated that nuclear weapons remain essential to U.S. national security interests and it has requested funding for the study of a new robust nuclear earth penetrator weapon. In addition, Russia has increased its reliance on nuclear weapons in its national security concept. Some analysts argue that Russia has backed away from its commitments from 1991 and may develop and deploy new types of nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Analysts have identified a number of issues with the continued deployment of U.S. and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Some argue that these weapons do not create any problems and the United States should not alter its policy. Others, however, argue that the United States should reduce its reliance on these weapons and encourage Russia to do the same. Many have suggested that the United States and Russia expand efforts to cooperate on ensuring the safe and secure storage and elimination of these weapons, possibly by negotiating an arms control treaty that would limit these weapons and allow for increased transparency in monitoring their deployment and elimination. The 110th Congress may review some of these proposals.
- Government and Political Science
- Nuclear Warfare
- Nuclear Weapons