The release of the “Transparency in the US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile” fact sheet comes as the Biden administration is reviewing its nuclear weapons policy and capabilities ahead of the 2022 meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Convention, where the US and other treaty parties to the nuclear powers will each Review the disarmament commitments of the signatories.
“Increasing transparency of states’ nuclear stockpile is critical to non-proliferation 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 ones,” the State Department said.
Arms control experts welcomed the announcement.
The Biden administration’s decision to make public updated information on the number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal is a welcome move, according to a statement Wednesday by the Arms Control Association, which calls for the Trump administration to categorize this information. reverses an unwise decision.” “It also puts pressure on other nuclear armed states that maintain extreme secrecy about their arsenals.”
The ACA noted that “depletion of critical nuclear weapons stockpiles has stalled in recent years, and some states, notably China and Russia, are 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 come out more about their reserves. The Biden administration hopes to pursue further negotiations with Moscow to reach new agreements that will replace the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START. “To do that we need to be a little more transparent than the Russians,” Kimball said.
The Chinese are also required to provide “some basic information, which they have for decades in terms of their policies, was not provided.”
‘Strong, reliable deterrent’
“So what the Joe Biden administration is trying to do here is lead by example,” Kimball said, “put some pressure on the other major nuclear armed countries to come to them more about nuclear weapons.”
The ACA described Biden’s budget request as “incompatible with his desire to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US policy and to demand new risk reduction and arms control arrangements with Russia and perhaps China.”
In a Tuesday release, the State Department said that as of September 2020, the US nuclear stockpile has 3,750 nuclear warheads, an 88 percent decrease from its maximum number of 31,255 in 1967, according to the department.
The department also said that the US destroyed 11,683 nuclear warheads from 1994 to 2020, including 711 nuclear warheads since September 30, 2017. Two thousand nuclear weapons have been retired and are waiting to be destroyed, the department also said.
This story has been updated with additional details on Wednesday.