The United States and Russian Federation reached an important arms control milestone on December 5 when both sides completed reductions in the strategic nuclear arsenals to 6,000 accountable warheads each, as required under the START I Treaty. These numbers represent massive reductions from the size of the nuclear arsenals both countries deployed when the agreement was signed in 1991, and demonstrates the value of negotiated, verified arms reduction agreements in U.S. security policy. START I, however, remains the only strategic arms reduction agreement in force and there are not legal agreements now in place to guide or obligate either side to continue reductions. While the unilateral statements by Presidents Bush and Putin at their November summit that both sides will reduce to much lower levels are welcome, these political statements can quickly change and there are no means in place to verify if they will ever take place.

Through an extensive set of verification and data exchange procedures, as well as the assistance the United States has provided Russia in implementing cuts to its arsenal, the United States has high confidence that Russia has achieved those reductions set out under the treaty. Russia, too, is able to adequately verify U.S. reductions to the 6,000 level, as well as Treaty sub-limits on strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (missiles and bombers) and a limit on the number of accountable warheads on ballistic missiles (land and submarines launched). Of course, START I does not provide a totally accurate picture of the numbers of nuclear weapons deployed by each side since it attributes systems with weapons that may or not accurately reflect their actual loadings (more are likely deployed than reflected under the agreement) and the treaty does nothing to address sub-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons, or non-deployed weapons in storage.

The United States and Russia will exchange data on the exact deployments of their forces in six months, but through extensive research, an accurate picture of current U.S. nuclear forces under START I provisions can be derived from the information provided by the U.S. State Department on December 5, 2001. A chart of current forces follows.

US NUCLEAR FORCES as of December 6, 2001

 
Delivery Vehicles
Warheads
ICBMs    
MX/Peacekeeper (10 warheads)
50
500
Minuteman III ( with three warheads each)
350
1,050
Minuteman III (with one warhead each - deployed at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming)
150
150
Minuteman II (training missile and silo counted as one warhead - deployed at Elsworth, SD)
1
1
SUBTOTAL
551
1,701
*
   
SLBMs
   
7 Trident submarines with the C-4 missile (loaded with six warheads each - Pacific Fleet)
168
1,008
11 Trident with the D-5 missile (loaded with eight warheads each - 10 Atlantic Fleet and 1 Pacific Fleet, The U.S.S.Alaska )
264
2,112
SUBTOTAL
432
3,120
*
   
Bombers
   
B-52 equipped to carry Air Launched Cruise Missiles (counted as 10 warheads each)
97
970
B-52 not equipped to carry Air Launched Cruise Missiles (count as one warhead each)
47
47
B-1 not equipped to carry Air Launched Cruise Missiles (count as one warhead each)
91
91
B-2 not equipped to carry Air Launched Cruise Missiles (count as one warhead each)
20
20
SUBTOTAL
255
1,128
*
   
TOTAL
1,238
5,949