For the first time, Russia, which is in the midst of a major strategic nuclear modernization, has more deployed nuclear warheads than the United States, according to the latest numbers released by the State Department.
Russia now has 1,643 warheads deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers. The United States has 1,642, said the fact sheet released Wednesday.
The warhead count for the Russians, based the Sept. 1 report required under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), shows an increase of 131 warheads since the last declaration on March 1. The U.S. reported a warhead increase of 57 during the same period. It is not clear why the warhead numbers increased.
The treaty limits each side to 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed missiles and bombers and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers.
On New START delivery systems, the latest fact sheet reveals that the current Russian arsenal of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, silo-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers is 528, up from 498.
Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic weapons specialist, said the latest fact sheet confirms Russian officials’ promises during New START ratification to increase their deployed nuclear arsenal.
“While so little information is released under New START that there is no way to say for sure, the Russian increases appears to reflect the arming of the two new Borey class ballistic missile submarines,” Mr. Schneider said.
“All U.S. numbers have declined since New START entry into force,” he added. “The fact that this is happening reflects the ineffectiveness of the Obama administration’s approach to New START.”
Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, called for a new U.S. policy aimed at halting Moscow’s nuclear arms buildup.
“Not only did Russia violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, it did so while negotiating with the Obama administration over New START, a 2010 arms reduction treaty,” Mr. Inhofe stated in a recent op-ed in Foreign Policy. “The White House was at best nave to Russian duplicity; at worst it was complicit.”
Mr. Inhofe stated that Russian deception in negotiating an arms reduction treaty while building up nuclear arms “poses a direct threat to the United States.”