New Pentagon Report on Chinese Military Forces

The 2009 Pentagon report shows hardly any changes of Chinese nuclear forces.

By Hans M. Kristensen

The new annual report on Chinese military forces published by the Pentagon shows essentially no changes in China’s nuclear forces compared with the previous report from 2008.

Perhaps most interestingly, the report shows that China has not increased the number of new DF-31 and DF-31A ballistic missiles, a deployment that has to pick up if the recent Defense Intelligence Agency projection that China’s “number of ICBM warheads capable of reaching the United States could more than double in the next 15 years” is to come true.

Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapons

New low-yield nuclear warheads for cruise missiles on Russia’s submarines?.

By Hans M. Kristensen

Two recent news reports have drawn the attention to Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons. Earlier this week, RIA Novosti quoted Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy head of the Russian Navy General Staff, saying that the role of tactical nuclear weapons on submarines “will play a key role in the future,” that their range and precision are gradually increasing, and that Russia “can install low-yield warheads on existing cruise missiles” with high-yield warheads.

This morning an editorial in the New York Times advocated withdrawing the “200 to 300” U.S. tactical nuclear bombs deployed in Europe “to make it much easier to challenge Russia to reduce its stockpile of at least 3,000 short-range weapons.”

Both reports compel – each in their own way – the Obama administration to address the issue of tactical nuclear weapons. Continue reading