FAS at Vienna Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

By Hans M. Kristensen For the next week I’ll be in Vienna for the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. This is the third in a series of conferences organized and attended by a growing number of countries and humanitarian organizations to discuss the unique risks nuclear weapons pose to humanity and life on this planet. According to the Austrian government: “With this conference, Austria wishes to strengthen the global nuclear disarmament and […]

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Pentagon Review To Fix Nuclear Problems – Again

Less than a decade after the Pentagon conducted a major review to fix problems in the nuclear management of U.S. nuclear forces, the Pentagon today announced the results of yet another review. The new review identifies more than 100 fixes that are needed to correct management and personnel issues. The fixes “will cost several billion dollars over the five-year defense spending program in addition to ongoing modernization requirements identified in last year’s budget submission.” The […]

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Pentagon Review To Fix Nuclear Problems – Again

Less than a decade after the Pentagon conducted a major review to fix problems in the nuclear management of U.S. nuclear forces, the Pentagon today announced the results of yet another review. The new review identifies more than 100 fixes that are needed to correct management and personnel issues. The fixes “will cost several billion dollars over the five-year defense spending program in addition to ongoing modernization requirements identified in last year’s budget submission.” The […]

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The New York Times: Which President Cut the Most Nukes?

By Hans M. Kristensen The New York Time today profiles my recent blog about U.S. presidential nuclear weapon stockpile reductions. The core of the story is that the Obama administration, despite its strong arms control rhetoric and efforts to reduce the numbers and role of nuclear weapons, so far has cut fewer nuclear warheads from the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile than any other administration in history. Even in terms of effect on the overall stockpile size, […]

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Polish F-16s In NATO Nuclear Exercise In Italy

By Hans M. Kristensen NATO is currently conducting a nuclear strike exercise in northern Italy. The exercise, known as Steadfast Noon 2014, practices employment of U.S. nuclear bombs deployed in Europe and includes aircraft from seven NATO countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, and United States. The timing of the exercise, which is held at the Ghedi Torre Air base in northern Italy, coincides with East-West relations having reached the lowest level in […]

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How Presidents Arm and Disarm

By Hans M. Kristensen [updated] It’s a funny thing: the administrations that talk the most about reducing nuclear weapons tend to reduce the least. Analysis of the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile shows that the Obama administration so far has had the least effect on the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile of any of the post-Cold War presidencies. In fact, in terms of warhead numbers, the Obama administration so far has […]

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W80-1 Warhead Selected For New Nuclear Cruise Missile

The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Council has selected the W80-1 thermonuclear warhead for the Air Force’s new nuclear cruise missile (Long-Range Standoff, LRSO) scheduled for deployment in 2027. The W80-1 warhead is currently used on the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), but will be modified during a life-extension program and de-deployed with a new name: W80-4. Under current plans, the ALCM will be retired in the mid-2020s and replaced with the more advanced LRSO, possibly starting […]

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New START: Russia and the United States Increase Deployed Nuclear Arsenals

By Hans M. Kristensen Three and a half years after the New START Treaty entered into force in February 2011, many would probably expect that the United States and Russia had decisively reduced their deployed strategic nuclear weapons. On the contrary, the latest aggregate treaty data shows that the two nuclear superpowers both increased their deployed nuclear forces compared with March 2014 when the previous count was made. Russia has increased its deployed weapons the […]

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Russia Declared In Violation Of INF Treaty: New Cruise Missile May Be Deploying

By Hans M. Kristensen The United States yesterday publicly accused Russia of violating the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The accusation was made in the State Department’s 2014 Compliance Report, which states: “The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or […]

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What Are Acceptable Nuclear Risks?

When I read Eric Schlosser’s acclaimed 2013 book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, I found a tantalizing revelation on pages 170-171, when it asked, “What was the ‘acceptable’ probability of an accidental nuclear explosion?” and then proceeded to describe a 1957 Sandia Report, “Acceptable Premature Probabilities for Nuclear Weapons,” which dealt with that question. Unable to find the report online, I contacted Schlosser, who was kind enough to share it with me. […]

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