Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2021-2022
In October 2021 the Biden White House is said to have declassified the number of nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. The Trump White House had kept the information secret for the last three years. The military has a total of 3,750 nuclear warheads, with about 2,000 more retired and awaiting disposal, although the actual number may still be declassified. The number indicates an increase in the stockpile. The number of nuclear weapons increased by 20 warheads between 2018 and 2019. While the increase is unexplained, there are a few theories. Production of the new W76-2 warhead, which began in 2019, might account for the difference. Another reason might be the “return from reserve” of a few warheads, as the government has about 2,050 usable warheads it holds in reserve. The increase is the first ever reported since the end of the Cold War in 1990.
— Slate, Feb. 18, 2020; Federation of American Scientists, Oct. 6, 2021; The Warzone, Oct. 7, 2021; Bulletin of Atomic the Scientists, Nuclear Notebook, Jan. 1, 2020; “Obama Backs Biggest Nuclear Arms Buildup Since Cold War,” Forbes, Dec. 15, 2015; “U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms,” New York Times, Sep. 21, 2014