Russia and the United States continue to
undertake reductions of their strategic nuclear weapons under the New Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The status of their strategic (nuclear) delivery
vehicles and warheads under the Treaty has been periodically updated in the
U.S. State Department homepage (see table 1-2 below).
The number of warheads cited above does not
accurately reflect the actual situation of nuclear forces in both countries due
to the Treaty’s counting rule.
On the other hand, the United States disclosed the aggregate numbers, including
a breakdown by individual nuclear weapon systems and delivery vehicles in March
The number of U.S. deployed strategic
warheads and strategic delivery vehicles in September 2013 slightly increased
compared to their numbers of six months ago. One U.S. expert analyzed this
issue as follows:
“We will have
to wait a few months for the full aggregate data set to be declassified to see the
details of what has happened. But it probably reflects fluctuations mainly in
the number of missiles onboard ballistic missile submarines at the time of the
count. …The increase in counted deployed forces does not mean that the United
States has begun to build up is nuclear forces.”
He also pointed out that “the United States
has still not begun reducing its operational nuclear forces. Instead, it has
worked on reducing so-called phantom weapons that have been retired from the
nuclear mission but are still counted under the treaty.”
Since the entry into force of the New
START, an alleged noncompliance issue has not raised between two countries. In
January 2013, the U.S. State Department stated in the annual report that
“[b]ased on the information available as of December 31, 2012, the United
States certifies the Russian Federation to be in compliance with the terms of
the New START Treaty.”
In May 2010, the United States disclosed
the number of nuclear warheads it had possessed as of September 30, 2009 (not
including several thousand retired warheads awaiting dismantlement). Since
then, neither the United States nor Russia has declared the number
of nuclear weapons
possessed, except the status of their strategic
(nuclear) delivery vehicles and warheads under the New START mentioned above. The
U.S. expert estimates that the U.S. nuclear stockpiles in 2013 consist of 4,650
warheads and 800 delivery vehicles, having reduced 560 nuclear warheads
since September 2009, including 260 W80-0 warheads for the Tomahawk Land-Attack
Missile-Nuclear (TLAM/N), which was retired in 2013.
On the other hand, Russia reiterated the status of its non-strategic nuclear
weapons at the 2013 NPT PrepCom as following:
“[T]he Russian Federation has reduced by
3/4 the number of its non-strategic nuclear weapons. Today, the non-strategic nuclear potential of Russia does not exceed 25% of that the USSR
had in1991. At the same time, all Russia's non-strategic nuclear weapons were undeployed; they are located exclusively within the national territory, and are stored in centralized highly secure storage
for other nuclear-weapon/armed states, while there is little significant
progress on nuclear weapons reductions in 2013, France stated at the 2013 NPT
PrepCom that it “met the
target of reducing the air component of [its] deterrence force by one third” in
the previous year.
B) A concrete plan for further reduction of nuclear
As mentioned above, U.S. President Obama
announced in his Berlin speech on June 19, 2013: “After a comprehensive review,
I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and
maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed
strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third. And I intend to seek negotiated
cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.” He also stated that
the United States would “work with [its] NATO allies to seek bold reductions in
U.S. and Russian tactical weapons in Europe.”
According to his speech, the United States envisages to reduce U.S. and Russian
deployed strategic nuclear warheads to the level of 1,000-1,100 respectively.
In the Berlin speech, President Obama did
not mention pursuing
any new bilateral arms control treaty, although
he denies a possibility of unilateral nuclear reduction. Instead, the Obama
administration seems to seek parallel, reciprocal reductions of strategic
nuclear arsenals with Russia without codifying a legally-binding treaty due to
the difficulty to achieve an approval by two-thirds of the Senate for
ratification. The Senate Republicans, in particular, have insisted that the
administration should not reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenals through unilateral
or non-binding bilateral measures, which do not require Senate
deliberation or consent.
Contrary to President Obama’s commitments to further
nuclear reduction, it should be pointed out that the Nuclear Employment
Strategy Report includes some measures and guidance that may have an effect on limiting
actual cuts. For example, the Report indicates that:
Ø“The United States will maintain a sufficient number of non-deployed
weapons to hedge against the technical failure of any single weapon type or delivery
system at a time, …[and] provide intra-led hedge options—i.e., uploading
another warhead type from within a leg of the Triad in the event that a
particular warhead fails.”
ØThe U.S. Defense Department “should maintain legacy weapons to hedge
against the failure of weapons undergoing life-extension only until confidence
in each Life-Extension Program (LEP) is attained.”
Ø“A non-deployed hedge…will also provide the United States the
credibility to upload additional weapons in response to geopolitical developments
that alter our assessment of U.S. deployed force requirements.”
Furthermore, the Report mentions that the
United States will “maintain significant counterforce capabilities against
Generally speaking, counterforce strategy, which necessitates setting more targets than countervalue strategy, tends to inhibit
reductions of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems.
Russia has expressed its reluctance to
accept the Obama proposal on further nuclear cuts. Soon after the Berlin
speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Deputy Foreign
Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated the Russian position that Russia and the
United States needed to take into consideration various factors affecting
strategic stability—such as development of missile defenses, weaponization of
outer space and imbalance of conventional forces—when they engage in further
nuclear weapons reductions. Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov also argued that Russia
could not “indefinitely and bilaterally talk with the United States about cuts
and restrictions on nuclear weapons in a situation where a whole number of
other countries are expanding their nuclear and missile potentials,” – in short, that further reduction of nuclear weapons should be reviewed in a multilateral
On reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons
(NSNWs), the Obama administration has not made any concrete proposal, beyond expressing its intention to
promote their reduction made in the Berlin speech and so on. In the Nuclear Employment Strategy Report, the United States indicated that
its NSNWs—dual-capable aircraft—remain to play a certain role for “extended
deterrence and assurance of U.S. Allies and partners,” and that it should
maintain a forward-based posture in Europe.
NATO has also not made any concrete
proposal or direction regarding a reduction of NSNWs. However, in the Deterrence
and Defense Posture Review (DDPR) issued in May 2012, NATO showed its readiness
to discuss major cuts in forward-based NSNWs stationed in NATO on a mutual
basis with Russia.In February
2013, NATO agreed on the mandate of its new arms
control body, the “Special Advisory and Consultative Arms Control, Disarmament
and Non-Proliferation Committee,” for preparing a dialogue on confidence
building and transparency measures on tactical weapons with Russia.
In April, NATO Secretary General Anders F. Rasmussen stated that NATO had started
to consider measures for reducing tactical nuclear weapons with a range below 500
km. He also stated that their reduction would be dependent on Russia’s will and should
maintain a balance through reciprocal measures between NATO and Russia.
Russia has not shown its willingness to
reduce its NSNWs, which are considered an important instrument to complement
Russian conventional forces inferior to those of the United States and NATO. Rather,
Russia has proposed NSNWs disarmament, which is to be conducted by other countries.
For example, Russia stated in the 2013 NPT PrepCom as following:
“We have repeatedly called on other countries possessing
non-strategic nuclear weapons to follow the example of the Russian Federation and transfer those weapons to their territories,
eliminate all infrastructures that allows their prompt deployment abroad and cease preparations for their use with engagement of the military from
non-nuclear States. We are convinced that such steps would promote strengthening of
international security and stability.
We have to state that our calls still remain unanswered.”
Russia proposed to make the bilateral INF Treaty “universal and come to a legally binding
arrangement on complete elimination of such weapons.”
called for taking the following measures on NSNWs reductions, among others, in
the working paper issued at the NPT PrepCom:
Øreviewing promptly deployment posture
of non-strategic nuclear weapons in the context of their declaratory policies;
Øproviding information; and
Øas a first step on the way to the
elimination of non-strategic nuclear weapons, ensuring and increasing transparency
with respect to the current status of the implementation of the 1991 and 1992
presidential nuclear initiatives and possible verification of such implementation.
C) Trends on strengthening/modernizing nuclear weapons
All nuclear-weapon/armed states continue to
modernize and/or strengthen their nuclear weapons capabilities.
The United States has stated its commitment
“not to develop new
nuclear warheads or pursue new military missions for nuclear weapons.” The
U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is planning to consolidate
four variations of the existing B61 nuclear gravity bombs into a single version,
named B61 mod 12, incorporating technology for improving safety and
reliability, and equipping tail kits for increased accuracy. The NNSA denies that a new capability or mission will be added for the B61-12. The U.S. government has
also been studying to develop follow-on ICBMs, SLBMs, Long
Range Strike-Bombers and Long-Range Stand-off weapons for replacing the
existing U.S. strategic delivery systems that entered service in the Cold War
continues to develop new strategic nuclear delivery systems for replacing its
aging ICBMs and SLBMs. In May 2011, Commander of the
Russian Strategic Rocket Force, Sergey Karakayev, “affirmed the strategic
missile force would be 98% modernized by 2021.”
In 2013, he “announced that by the end of the year, his service [would] add 15
RS-24 Yars missiles to the divisions in Novosibirsk and Nizhniy Tagil.”
Russia also plans to begin construction of a prototype of a new heavy
liquid-fuel ICBM in 2014,
which it is expected to deploy in 2018-2010, according to Commander Karakayev.
Furthermore, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told that Russia was
developing an additional new ICBM, called a “missile defense killer,” that is
able to penetrate missile defense (MD) systems.
In December, the Russian Defense Ministry disclosed deployment of Iskander
SRBMs in the Kaliningrad region.
However, President Putin said: “One of the possible responses [to a U.S.
deployment of MD system in Europe] is to deploy Iskander complexes in
Kaliningrad ... but I want to draw your attention to the fact that we have not
yet made this decision”
Russia’s possession and deployment of Iskander with range of 400km, which is capable
of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads, is not prohibited under the INF
Treaty. As for its sea-based deterrent, Russia is proceeding with the plan to
construct eight Borei-class SSBNs by 2020. It is reported that construction of
a fifth submarine would begin in late 2014.
In October 2013, Russia put forward a federal budget proposal “to increase
annual spending on nuclear weapons by more than 50 percent in the next three
The United Kingdom published the Trident
Alternative Review report in July 2013, which examined alternative options for a
replacement of Vanguard-class SSBNs —nuclear-armed SLBMs, nuclear-armed cruise
missiles, aircraft, maritime surface vessel, SSNs, SSBNs and SSGNs. Although
the review did not recommend any particular option, the report seemed to imply
that the like-for-like replacement—replacing by SSBNs—would be preferable in order to
maintain the U.K. independent nuclear deterrence from viewpoints of, among
others, value of deterrence and cost for research and development. The report
also pointed out the possibility that the existing continuous at-sea deterrence
(CASD) would not be sustained if the number of U.K. SSBNs were to be reduced
from four to three.
China is widely believed to continue
aggressive modernization of its nuclear forces, although it has released very
little information on its efforts. According to the Annual Report on China’s
Military, published by the U.S. Defense Department, “China may…be developing a
new road-mobile ICBM, possibly capable of carrying a multiple independently
targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV).”
In July and December 2013, China was reported to have conducted the first and
the second flight tests, respectively, of a new road-mobile, MIRVed ICBM Dong Feng-41 (DF-41), which is
estimated to have a range of 11,000-12,000km and capable to mount up to 10
warheads per a missile.
China’s three JIN-class SSBNs (Type 094)
are considered to be operational. Two more JIN-class SSBNs are to be
constructed and operational before proceeding to a next generation SSBN. The
JIN-class SSBNs will carry JL-2 SLBMs with an estimated range of 7,400 km. The
United States assessed that the JL-2 would reach initial operational capability
However, its actual status is not clear. China is considered to have a plan for
strengthening its nuclear deterrent through the introduction of new generation
SSGNs (Type 095) and SSBNs (Type 096, Tang-class).
Two nuclear-armed states in South Asia also
continue to develop ballistic missiles, but their focuses are different. India
conducted a flight test of Agni-5, land-based ballistic missiles with range of
5,000 km, in September 2013. It also plans to develop a MIRVed ICBM Agni-6 with
a range of 6,000 km.
On the other hand, Pakistan seems to prioritize development and deployment of short-
and medium-range missiles for ensuring deterrence vis-à-vis India. In February
and November 2013, Pakistan succeeded in testing Hatf-IX (Nasr) SRBMs with
range of 60 km.
Pakistan also conducted a flight test of the nuclear-capable Hatf-II with range
of 180 km. The
number of nuclear warheads they possess are estimated to gradually increase.
North Korea maintains nuclear- and missile-related
activities despite the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2094 in
March 2013, in which the Security Council reinforced international censure
against such. On March 31, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared at the Supreme
People's Assembly that it would bolster nuclear weapons development
concurrently with enhancing economic development.
In March 2013, Vice Defense Minister Kang
Pyo Yong stated that North Korea’s “intercontinental ballistic missiles and other
missiles are on standby, loaded with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear
it is not confirmed whether the North
actually possesses such capabilities. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA) concluded with “moderate confidence” that North Korea might have nuclear
warheads miniaturized for loading ballistic missiles whose reliability would be
In addition, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin gave an estimation, at
the National Assembly on November 20, that North Korea could build a nuclear
weapon using uranium.
As for ballistic missile-related activities, according to analyses by a U.S. expert,
North Korea “has embarked on a major construction program at the Sohae
Satellite Launching Station (commonly referred to at “Tongchang-ri”)…since
“probably tested a long-range rocket engine”
there in 2013. A development of a new long-range ballistic missile KN-08 is also
likely to proceed.
Samuel Locklear, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, stated:
military planning perspective, when I see KN-08 road-mobile missiles that
appear in a North Korean military parade, I am bound to take that serious, both
for not only the peninsula but also the region, as well as my own homeland
should we speculate that those missiles potentially have the technology to
reach out. …Whether they are real or not, or whether they have the capability
or not, [the] North Korean regime wants us to think they do and so we plan for
(Drafted by Hirofumi Tosaki, CPDNP)
The New START
treaty counts a heavy bomber as one delivery system and one nuclear warhead,
despite the fact that the bombers can actually load 6-20 warheads. Also,
according to its counting rule, “for ICBMs and SLBMs, the number of warheads
shall be the number of reentry vehicles emplaced on deployed ICBMs and on
 Hans M. Krintensen and Robert S. Norris, “US Nuclear Forces, 2013,”
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
Vol. 69, No. 2 (2013), pp. 77-86.
 “Statement by the Russian Federation,” at the Second Session of the
Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, Cluster I, Geneva, April
“Statement by the H.E. Mr. Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Ambassador, Permanent
Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament,” Second Meeting of
the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference (Geneva, 22 April-
3 May 2013), General Debate, Geneva, 22 April 2013.
 “Remarks by President Obama at the Brandenburg Gate,” Berlin, June
19, 2013, http://www. whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/19/remarks-president-obama-brandenburg-gate-berlin-germany.
 See, for example, Amy F. Woolf, “Next Steps in Nuclear Arms Control
with Russia: Issues for Congress,” CRS
Report for Congress, June 19, 2013.
 U.S. Department of Defense, “Nuclear Employment
Strategy Report,” p. 7.
Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary for International Security and
Nonproliferation Department of State, United States of America,” General Debate,
at the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee, 2015 Review Conference of
the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, April
 On the U.S. modernization of nuclear weapons capabilities, see, for
example, testimonies and debates at the Senate Armed Services Committee,
Strategic Forces Subcommittee, United States Senate, April 17, 2013.
 Mark B. Schneider, “Russian Nuclear Modernization,” Talking Points
from Remarks Made to an Air Force Association, National Defense Industrial
Association and Reserve Officers Association Seminar, June 20, 2012, p. 7.