Navy Personnel Ordered Not To Discuss Public Nuclear Policy

By February 8, 2006

The US Chief of Naval Operations has publicly issued an Instruction that orders US Navy personnel not to tell anyone that US warships do not carry nuclear weapons. Yet the same Instruction states that it is US policy not to deploy nuclear weapons on the ships.

The new Instruction, “Release of Information on Nuclear Weapons and on Nuclear Capabilities of U.S. Forces,” was published on February 6 and updates a previous version from 1993. Both versions state that nuclear weapons were offloaded from the ships in 1992.

The reason for updating the Instruction is to incorporate four guided missile submarines (SSGNs) that are being converted from ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The SSBNs carry nuclear weapons, but the SSGNs will carry conventional weapons, the publicly available Instruction helpfully informs (!).

Background and analysis here.

Categories: Nuclear Weapons, United States