Declassified: US Nuclear Weapons At Sea

afloat_swordfish1962
ASROC nuclear test, 1962

By Hans M. Kristensen

Remember during the Cold War when US Navy warships and attack submarines sailed the World’s oceans bristling with nuclear weapons and routinely violated non-nuclear countries’ bans against nuclear weapons on their territories in peacetime?

The weapons were onboard ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines, aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates and supply ships. The weapons were brought along on naval exercises, spy missions, freedom of navigation demonstrations and port visits.

Sometimes the vessels they were on collided, ran aground, caught fire, or sank.

Not many remember today. But now the Pentagon has declassified how many nuclear weapons they actually deployed in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean. In our latest FAS Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists we review this unique new set of de-classified Cold War nuclear history.  Continue reading

Why NATO Should Eliminate Its Tactical Nukes, Despite Russian Belligerence

In a new op-ed  published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Director of the Nuclear Information Project, Hans Kristensen and Adam Mount, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, write that with the upcoming NATO summit in Wales, it is time to revisit the question of what to do with U.S. tactical nukes in Europe. Despite Russian aggression in Ukraine and claims that these weapons are needed now more than ever, Kristensen and Mount argue that U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe detract from more useful defense initiatives.

With the recent actions by Russia in Ukraine, many of the new NATO members in close proximity to Russia are concerned about their security and look to the West for support. Kristensen and Mount state that the creation of the NATO Response Force in July 2014 (consisting of highly advanced forces from land, air, sea and special operations to deploy quickly when needed), is a great example of a more useful response to the threat posed to NATO members in Eastern Europe.The call to retain U.S. tactical nuclear bombs in Europe are are an echo from the past rather than a solution for the future as these weapons distract and divide the NATO alliance rather than unite it.

Read the op-ed here.