Saturday, October 21, 2006

just info

Nuclear Weapons and the United States
The same critics point out the fact that not only is the United States sitting on the largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world, but it is also violating its own non-proliferation treaties in the pursuit of so-called "nuclear bunker busters".
The United States is one of the five recognized nuclear powers under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It maintains a current arsenal of around 9,960 intact warheads, of which 5,735 are considered active or operational, and of these only a certain number are deployed at any given time. These break down into 5,021 "strategic" warheads, 1,050 of which are deployed on land-based missile systems (all on Minuteman ICBMs), 1,955 on bombers (B-52 and B-2), and 2,016 on submarines (Ohio class), according to a 2006 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2006
During the past few years, the navy has significantly changed the homeporting of SSBNs to meet new planning requirements. It transferred two SSBNs from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean in 2002 and another in 2003. On August 17, 2005, the Louisiana left Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, on patrol. Rather than roaming the Atlantic during its 58-day patrol, the sub sailed around Cape Horn and ended up at its new homeport, Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Washington. On September 27, 2005, the Maine left Kings Bay on a similar journey, bringing to nine the number of SSBNs in the Pacific. Five subs remain in the Atlantic.
The primary goal of the shift is to increase coverage of targets in China, according to navy officials. (Pacific-based SSBNs also target Russia and North Korea.) The buildup of the more capable Trident II D5s in the Pacific additionally "enhances system accuracy, payload, and hard-target capability, thus improving [U.S.] available responses to existing and emerging Pacific theater threats," Rear Adm. Charles B. Young, director of the navy's Strategic Systems Program, said in an August 2002 speech at the Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific.
[Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]


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